Despite a recent halt due to a COVID-19 outbreak, production on the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is underway in the UK. Based on creator George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, the series is set 300 years before Game of Thrones during the reign of House Targaryen in Westeros. In the series, Olivia Cooke plays Alicent Hightower, the second wife of the king of Westeros Viserys Targaryen and while details about the character are few, the Queen is in a battle for power with her husband and stepdaughter Rhaenyra over who will next sit on the throne. Rhaenyra wants it for herself but Alicent wants the throne for her sons. It's a complex conflict and it's one that Cooke says will lead the audience to want to "see the worst" in her character.
"What's amazing about Game of Thrones, like we saw in the past series, is that one season, you hate a character, and the next, you absolutely love them and will go to the ends of the earth for them," Cooke told Collider. "You just don't know what you're gonna get with these characters. They're so well-written. Such is the human condition, you can do some horrendous things, but then you can also do some wonderful things as well. It's very complex, and it's not black and white at all."
What happens in the fight for the throne, which spawns a civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, leads to the fall of the Targaryen dynasty which itself formed the backdrop of the events of Game of Thrones. It makes House of the Dragon a pivotal chapter in Martin's saga. In addition to Cooke, the series stars Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Emma D'Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Rhys Ifans, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel, as well as recent additions Milly Alcock and Emily Carey.
For now, House of the Dragon is the only Game of Thrones prequel officially in production at HBO. Earlier this year HBO content chief Casey Bloys addressed some of the discussion of other spinoffs, noting at the time that there were a number of interesting projects in development.
"The good news is that everything you do [connected with GoT] becomes news," Bloys explained. "Any script that is development or script that is pitched becomes news and it inevitably gets reported and people assume they are in production. Only House of The Dragon is in production, the rest is in development, and we will make a decision."
"Nothing else is greenlit but a lot of interesting [projects in] development," Bloys added.
House of the Dragon does not yet have a premiere date, but the show is expected to debut in 2022.