The north remembers: House of the Dragon makes me excited and nervous

Photo Credit: Jonah Dayton

Photo Credit: Jonah Dayton

Do you like incest? Dragons? Violence? Deeply complicated familial politics that directly affect millions of people? Well then cuddle up next to your sibling as you anxiously await the recently announced Game of Thrones (GoT) prequel series entitled House of the Dragon, based on George R.R. Martin’s prequel novel Fire & Blood.

Virtually no information regarding casting or production has been released, but the good news is that the show will be led by Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal, with Martin serving as an executive producer. The series is set to tackle the Targaryen dynasty, including the rise and fall of the most powerful family in Westerosi history.

Okay, now this is exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time; for one, it gives us a chance to wash away the horrid taste that the final season of GoT left in our mouths. On the other hand, traumatic flashbacks from season eight of GoT are creeping into my head. What if they ruin it again? What if they leave another coffee cup on set? That ‘don’t-kick-it-further-it’s-already-dead’ thought was one that quickly popped into my mind after hearing of the announcement.

I honestly do believe that the show will live up to the hype for a couple of reasons: going off of pure content alone, the sheer amount of stuff that the show-runners have to work with is enough to pump out dozens of juicy episodes. From Aegon the Conqueror riding on the back of Balerion, to Baelor the Blessed and many more legendary Targaryens, the writers will have lots of material to work with; Fire & Blood covers 150 years of Targaryen history and is over 700 pages long.

Another reason this series should work are the people who are running the show: Sapochnik is a seasoned veteran of GoT, directing multiple episodes including the legendary episode “Hardhome”, where Jon Snow battles the Army of the Dead for the first time and “Battle of the Bastards”, a gorgeously shot episode where Jon once again leads his army into battle and takes back the North.

He also directed the now infamous season-eight episode, “The Long Night”, which was a huge letdown in every sense of the word. However, Sapochnik has gone on-record several times to share his true ideas for the episode — including removing all the plot-armor that the characters had and an army of direwolves fighting the Night King’s undead dragon — but was heavily policed by the now universally despised David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the show-runners for GoT (seriously, if you search ‘bad writers’, pictures of those two are the first result).

“I wanted to kill everyone. I wanted to kill Jorah in the horse charge at the beginning. I was up for killing absolutely everyone. I wanted it to be ruthless, so that in the first 10 minutes you say, ‘All bets are off; anyone could die.’ and [Benioff] and [Weiss] didn’t want to,” said Sapochnik in a Vanity Fair interview earlier this year.

He also went on to say that he was “visually policed” for the first three months of his shoot. So imagine this guy running the show without being babysat by two ding-dongs who couldn’t wait to finish GoT so they could move on to their next project (a Star Wars trilogy which they allegedly parted ways from the day before House of the Dragon was announced). I felt like Cersei wryly smiling after blowing up the Sept of Baelor upon hearing of this justice.

Anytime you’re basing a show/movie off of a book, it’s always good to have the original author on board. George R.R. Martin wrote in a blog post that he hopes to write some episodes for the new show, but not until the sixth book of the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, The Winds of Winter, is completed. After all, it has been eight years already.

While the show probably won’t air for at least a few years, just knowing that there will be more GoT content is a good feeling. But with all the excitement, comes a little shred of uneasiness after watching season eight. After all, the north remembers.

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