Let’s be honest, even if you hated the ending, you’ve been living the past two years with a Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your life.
But it doesn’t have to be that way any longer.
House of the Dragon, the prequel show set 200 years before the Iron Throne fell, has been quietly picking up steam, with the first official images released by HBO earlier this year.
And now we have a teaser to analyse, too.
OK, so admittedly there are only 77 seconds in the above video to play with — a decent chunk of which consists of text on a black background — but we shouldn’t let that put us off.
Here are some of the shots that stood out most to me (a tragically obsessed Game of Thrones nerd) when I was watching through the footage. Not all of them necessarily tell us anything much (some of them just look cool), but a few might offer clues as to what the show has in store.
To start with, it’s worth reminding ourselves what Matt Smith (who we know will be playing the king’s brother, Prince Daemon) says in the teaser’s background narration: “Gods. Kings. Fire. And blood. Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did.”
First up, the “gods” part. As Smith says the word, the camera cuts to a dark shot of what looks like torches laid before the very toothy statue of a dragon’s head. Could this be an early hint at the role religion will play in House of the Dragon? Or are we once again seeing the remains of Balerion, Aegon the Conqueror’s dragon whose skull we glimpsed in the Red Keep in Game of Thrones?
Next, as Smith mentions kings, we see a close-up of a man (whose face we don’t see, minus the beard), wearing a familiar pin: the Hand of the King’s brooch, which was worn by both Ned Stark and Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones. Next we see a close-up of the king himself, his hand gripped tight around a sword. On his finger is a gold ring bearing the sigil of House Targaryen.
As we already know from the official photos and cast list, these two men are Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) — two characters who are likely going to have a big role to play in the show’s first season.
Later, we see King Viserys sitting in the throne room during a feast — the guests of honour appear to be Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and his party, another wealthy Westerosi family who are bound to the Targaryens through marriage. Per a press release that accompanied the show’s teaser, new members of the Velaryon party include Wil Johnson as Ser Vaemond Velaryon (Corlys’ younger brother and the navy commander), John Macmillan as Ser Laenor Velaryon (Corlys’ son), Savannah Steyn as Lady Laena Velayron (Corlys’ daughter), and Theo Nate as Ser Laenor Velaryon (Corlys’ other son).
Feasts with different families are typically sources of tension (and occasionally horrendous violence) in the Game of Thrones world, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change much in House of the Dragon — a short while after the shots of the feast we get a brief glimpse of a sword fight in which one of Lord Valeryon’s sons aggressively duals another man.
As I mentioned earlier, the show’s teaser is pretty brief. We don’t get a whole lot more than this to go on, aside from some brief shots of other (previously announced) characters and a bit of jousting that we’d guess is entertainment that’s been put on for the visiting Valeryons.
Still, before we all go our separate ways and start counting down the days until a full trailer launches, it’s worth feasting our eyes one more time on the teaser’s final shot, in which an unseen Targaryen (most probably the king’s daughter, Princess Rhaenyra), approaches the Iron Throne.
We know that House of the Dragon is based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire and Blood, and we know that book documents a violent power struggle between different Targaryen’s vying for the Iron Throne.
This final shot, with its dingy lighting and proliferation of spiky metal, feels like an ominous set-up for the bloodshed that’s surely to come.
House of the Dragon will drop in 2022, with the exact date TBC.