House of the Dragon Boss Ryan Condal Breaks Silence on Co-Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik's Exit

Soon after the wildly successful debut of House of the Dragon, HBO renewed the Game of Thrones prequel for a second season, but that exciting news was itself tempered by a bit of surprising news: Miguel Sapochnik, one of the series' showrunners, would step down from the series in that capacity, leaving Ryan Condal the sole showrunner for the series. Now, Condal is breaking his silence about Sapochnik's departure, saying that while he's bummed about the situation, he's also very proud of the work they did together.

"We had a conversation in the summer — right around when the show premiered. I knew it was something that he was wrestling with," Condal told Variety "He doesn't have anything left to prove in Westeros, I don't think. He's shot every kind of battle: good and evil, light and dark, fantasy and not fantasy, dragon and no dragon. He's said what he has to say in Westeros. I knew that it was always a possibility that he was going to do one season, get this thing on its feet [and] be proud of having a hand in the actual creation of a Game of Thrones story. It was lingering in the back of my mind, knowing how much is involved with doing another season of the show, would he want to get up on the horse again? I was really bummed. He's tremendously talented. And I'm really proud of the work that we did. But I'm excited to see what he's got in store now."

Condal also said that he is excited for the story the series will tell in Season 2, even if going at it without Sapochnik is a little daunting.

"It's a lot. It's one of those things where, like, I've heard presidents say that they always have more trepidation about their second term than their first because they know the job that they're going into," he said. "I definitely am not comparing this job to the presidency at all. But it's lonely at the top, and now I find myself alone at the top. Thankfully, I have a wonderful team around me. I'm excited for the story that we're going to tell in Season 2. There are thousands of people that go into the making of this. It's on me to be able to be a great leader and try to inspire people, hopefully with some good writing, to get the very best work out of them and make another great season of the show,"

Sapochnik spent numerous years working on the acclaimed Game of Thrones prequel series, and it doesn't seem as though there are any harsh feelings influencing his exit from the series.

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"Working within the Thrones universe for the past few years has been an honor and a privilege, especially spending the last two with the amazing cast and crew of House of the Dragon," Sapochnik said in a statement. "I am so proud of what we accomplished with season one and overjoyed by the enthusiastic reaction of our viewers. It was incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me, personally and professionally. As I do so, though, I am deeply comforted to know that Alan will be joining the series. He's someone I've known and respected for a long time, and I believe this precious series could not be in safer hands. I am so glad to remain a part of the HBO and House of the Dragon family and, of course, I wish Ryan and his team success and all the best with season two and beyond."

New episodes of House of the Dragon air on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday nights.