House of the Dragon: George R.R. Martin wanted to begin the story even earlier

Last Updated on November 1, 2022

House of the Dragon, finale leak

With the first season of House of the Dragon concluded, and a likely two year wait for the next season, there’s plenty of time to talk about the prequel series. Unlike Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon actually covered quite a lot of ground in its first season. With its frequent time jumps, House of the Dragon actually covered close to twenty years of Targaryen history to set up The Dance of the Dragons. It began with the King Jaehaerys Targaryen deciding which of his heirs should succeed him, but George R.R. Martin told fellow fantasy writer David Anthony Durham that he fought for the series to start even earlier.

One of the writers wanted to begin it later, with Aemma dying,” George R.R. Martin said. “Skip the Great Council, skip the tournament, a scream sounds out, Aemma is dead, that’s where you begin. That was one possibility. Another of the writers wanted to begin even later than that, with Viserys dying. But what happens there? Then you have to present all that material in flashbacks or dialogue, that becomes challenging too. But we discussed all these possibilities.” Although Martin admitted that no one liked his preferred starting point, he had “spirited discussions” about beginning the story forty years before the Great Council.

I would’ve begun it like 40 years earlier, with an episode I would’ve called ‘The Heir and the Spare;. Jaehaerys’ two sons, Aemon and Baelon, are alive, and we see the friendship but also the rivalry between the two sides of the great house. Then Aemon dies accidentally when a Myrish crossbowman shoots him by accident on Tarth, then Jaehaerys has to decide who becomes the new heir.

Martin continued, “Is it the daughter of the son who’s just died, or the second son who has children of his own and is a man where she’s a teenager? You could’ve presented all that stuff, but then you would’ve had 40 more years, and even more time jumps and recastings. I was the only one who was really enthused about that.

As for where the second season of House of the Dragon will take us, showrunner Ryan Condal teased that the first season was merely “setting the table for a very bloody feast to come.” Condal added, “The reason that I wanted to really spend our time doing this is because I wanted everybody to understand who all of these characters were and the long history they had behind them — behind their fathers and their grandfathers — that led us to this point where they end up fighting a civil war against each other.” With the history behind the warring families out of the way, Condal is “really interested in picking up with all of those characters that we spent all of this time introducing, particularly Rhaenyra and Alicent’s families, and seeing what happens now that we’ve flipped the chessboard over and spilled the pieces on the ground,” Condal continues. “How do all those react? That’s the story that we tell in season 2 and beyond.

Would you have wanted House of the Dragon to begin the story earlier than it did?

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.