Lists Recaps Reviews Interviews Explainers
News

House of the Dragon is based on a book but there will be some changes and here’s why

Milly Alcock stars as Young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in HBO's House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock stars as Young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Fans of Game of Thrones are eagerly awaiting the upcoming prequel series, House of the Dragon. Set some 200 years prior to the events that unfolded in the original HBO series, it will delve further into House Targaryen.

The new series will also revolve around a battle for the Iron Throne. This time, though, it will be contained within the Targaryen family as King Viserys (Paddy Considine) decides to place his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) as his successor rather than his brother, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith).

Season 1 is set to drop on August 21, and HBO is already suspected to quickly renew the series for a second season after the show airs.

Just like Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is based on written material by George R. R. Martin. While the original series was based on the A Song of Ice and Fire book, House of the Dragon will be based on Fire and Blood.

This massive book is, essentially, a fictional historical account of the Targaryen’s rule in Westeros.

Now, it appears that the House of the Dragon’s showrunners will not follow the book exactly as it is laid out — and there is a good reason for this.

House of the Dragon will differ from the book

With House of the Dragon based on a fictional history book, there is certainly going to be plenty to be gleaned from its pages.

Told by Archmaester Gyldayn of the Citadel of Oldtown, the book is listed as being “transcribed” by George R. R. Martin in the front matter of the book.

Gyldyn tells various stories of the Targaryens using various sources when it comes to recording the history of his time.

And this is the very reason why House of the Dragon will vary from the book.

Paddy Considine portrays King Viserys Targaryen in Season 1 of HBO's House of the Dragon
Paddy Considine portrays King Viserys Targaryen in Season 1 of House of the Dragon. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Here’s why the TV show will be different

As with all historical manuscripts, the content is open to interpretation based on the sources. For example, an eyewitness account would be considered more factual than an account written down regarding an event the writer did not live through or if they used hearsay.

This is how House of the Dragon’s showrunners approached Season 1, according to IGN.

“We’re taking more of the approach [of] playing with the history as it was written. Essentially, saying that this is the objective truth that happened,” co-showrunner Ryan Condal said.

“Most of those historical accounts that [Fire & Blood’s fictional writer] Archmaester Gyldayn was sifting through, at least two of them weren’t really around at the time. Or at least weren’t present as the events were happening. [Court jester] Mushroom was, if you believe Mushroom, but one was written after the fact. And then, Gyldayn certainly lived long after [the Targaryens] did. We’re taking the approach that history in its telling changes the story. Because the historian only ever knows so much about what happened, which is why primary sources and eyewitness accounts are so important. But we didn’t have all of that in this.”

With this in mind, readers can possibly expect a different outcome from what they read about in the book.

Season 1 of House of the Dragon will premiere on August 21 on HBO Max.