Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has shared his reaction to early footage from HBO’s upcoming House of the Dragon series – and it sounds like fans are in for a treat.
“I have seen rough cuts of a few of [the episodes], and I’m loving them,” Martin wrote in a recent blog post (opens in new tab), in which he also confirmed that filming has now wrapped on “all ten episodes” of the new fantasy series.
“Of course, a lot more work needs to be done [...] But the writing, the directing, the acting all looks terrific," Martin added. "I hope you will like [the episodes] as much as I do."
Based on Martin’s 2018 novel Fire and Blood, House of the Dragon will tell the backstory of the Targaryen dynasty, taking place 200 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones. The likes of Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine and Rhys Ifans are all set to feature in the series as part of a vast ensemble cast, with Martin himself in tow as executive producer.
Fans were given a first proper look at the show in October last year, when an ominous teaser trailer showed off battles, banquets and, of course, plenty of flames – but HBO still hasn’t been forthcoming with an official release date for House of the Dragon in 2022.
It seems as though Martin is also none the wiser on that front. In the same blog post, the writer wrote: “So when will you get to see it, you ask? When will the dragons dance? I wish I could tell you. Lots of work remains to be done [...] and Covid makes planning difficult. This spring? Unlikely. Maybe summer? Could be. Fall? Who knows? You’ll know when we do.”
That remaining work, according to Martin, includes “special effects, color timing, score [and] all the post production work,” so we don’t anticipate House of the Dragon to arrive in the first half of 2022, at least.
Still, with filming now wrapped, the show is no longer beholden to the same pandemic-induced production roadblocks – so there’s a good chance that these finishing touches will be completed in a matter of months, rather than years.
A dragon-sized gamble for HBO Max
We recently published a report on the excellent year HBO Max enjoyed in 2021, in which we also detailed our skepticism towards whether the streamer could maintain its momentum in 2022.
A large part of that recent success can be attributed to the streamer’s day-and-date release schedule, which saw movies like Dune and The Matrix Resurrections made available on the service alongside their respective theatrical releases.
WarnerMedia isn’t repeating the strategy in 2022, though, meaning HBO Max will have to maintain its challenge to rival streamers like Netflix and Disney Plus through industry-leading original programming.
The early signs suggest HBO has the content slate to do so – Euphoria season 2 has so far surpassed all expectations, while Succession season 4 and The Last of Us TV show seem primed to add yet more subscribers to HBO Max – but House of the Dragon, in particular, may have to do much of the streamer’s heavy lifting in 2022.
It’s promising, then, to hear that the show has received the seal of approval from George R. R. Martin, the author responsible for the most successful TV series of all time. As for whether House of the Dragon can repeat Game of Thrones’ era-defining success, the jury will remain out until later this year.
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