George R R Martin has seen a rough cut of the first episode of House of the Dragon. The author, renowned for his book series A Song of Ice and Fire, became a household name when the novels were adapted for the incredibly popular HBO series Game of Thrones and its upcoming spinoffs. Despite the TV adaption wrapping up in 2019, Martin remains coy regarding the release date of The Winds of Winter, the next book in the series, despite the show long surpassing its source material before its eventual conclusion.
House of the Dragon is set some 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, in a time where dragons still rule the skies above Westeros. The show, which will star Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, and former Doctor Who lead Matt Smith, will chronicle the outbreak of civil war amongst the Targaryen family and its subsequent effects on the Seven Kingdoms. Despite a rocky end to Game of Thrones, interest in further work based on Martin’s fantasy universe hasn’t subsided. Recently, House of the Dragon topped a most anticipated list, beating the likes of Amazon’s upcoming The Lord of The Rings series to the top spot.
Despite busying himself with his much anticipated next novel, Martin has still found time to check out the upcoming House of the Dragon, and he’s delighted with what he’s seen. Posted on Martin’s blog, the author has confirmed he’s seen a rough cut of the first episode of the series, which he describes as powerful, dark, and visceral. He also praised producers Ryan J. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik for their hard work before teasing fans, highlighting that he thinks people will “fall in love” with the cast “only to have [their] heart broken later,” something Game of Thrones aficionados will be used to by now. Check out the full quote below:
“I am anticipating House Of The Dragon pretty eagerly myself, for what it’s worth. Okay, I am hardly objective. And I know a lot of what you will be seeing. (I, um, wrote the book). Also … mum’s the word now, don’t tell anyone… I’ve seen a rough cut of the first episode. And loved it. It’s dark, it’s powerful, it’s visceral… just the way I like my epic fantasy.
Ryan and Miguel have done an amazing job, and the cast… just as with Game of Thrones, most viewers will only have heard of a few of the actors, but I think you are going to fall in love with a lot of them. (Only to have your heart broken later when… but no, that would be telling). I think the Targaryens are in very good hands. Anticipate away. I do not think you will be disappointed.”
Martin’s words are promising, helping to settle doubts formed from the unsatisfactory final Game of Thrones season. While it’s unlikely that the author would turn viewers away from an adaption of his own work, Martin himself has openly criticized how Game of Thrones ended, showing that he’s not afraid to admit when his work has drifted off course. If the first episode manages to be as dark and powerful as Martin says, it sounds like House of the Dragon is on the right track to be every bit as epic as Game of Thrones was at its best.
Backing up Martin’s claims, early images and trailers for House of the Dragon look fantastic, with the show benefiting from a batch of fresh faces, both off and on the screen. Perhaps most notably absent are Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, neither of whom are involved with the upcoming project or, in fact, any currently planned spinoffs in the franchise. While the pair did wonders making the fantasy epic as popular as it is, the future of Game of Thrones now rests in the hands of others. While only time will tell if House of the Dragon can recreate its predecessor’s success, what better endorsement could the show receive than compliments from Martin himself.