There be dragons in Hall H! Fire and blood ruled over SDCC 2022 on Saturday, July 23, 2022, as the cast and creators of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon took to the coveted geeky hall to dish about the new series. So, who participated in this royal panel moderated by podcast host Jason Concepcion? Let’s start with the creative team: 

George R.R. Martin, co-creator/executive producer/author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series; Ryan Condal, co-creator/co-showrunner/executive producer/writer and Miguel Sapochnik, co-showrunner/executive producer/director.

Cast members Paddy Considine (King Viserys I Targaryen), Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen), Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower), Emma D’Arcy (Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen), Steve Toussaint (Lord Corlys Velaryon), Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Targaryen), Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole), Graham McTavish (Ser Harrold Westerling), Milly Alcock (young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen) and Emily Carey (Young Alicent Hightower) also joined the Westerosi fray. 

Thank you to the official House of the Dragon Twitter account for live-tweeting the proceedings!

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The panel commences with Sapochnik thanking the audience for joining them on this fine Friday. “I am deeply honored, so many of you showed up to show your support for House of the Dragon, and you will finally see what we have cooking up in less than a month,” he says. Then, the panelists dive into their characters, starting with Best, whose Princess Rhaenys was meant to be the Queen of Westeros.

Actors Emily Carey, Milly Alcock, Emma D'Arcy, Fabien Frankel, Olivia Cooke, author George R.R. Martin, Paddy Considine, Eve Best, Steve Toussaint and producer/writer Ryan Condal standing in front of the House of the Dragon "Dragon's Den" exhibit at SDCC 2022.

The HOUSE OF THE DRAGON cast posing in front of the Dragon’s Den exhibit at SDCC 2022. Photo courtesy of the House of the Dragon official Twitter account.

“She should have been the queen, and it’s kinda annoying she isn’t, and it’s annoying that people keep reminding her that she isn’t,” Best reveals. Smith discloses his hopes for the series and the work he created with Considine, who portrays his brother in House of the Dragon. “I hope me and Paddy found a lot of depth and richness in the work that we did … everything is about his brother, for Daemon,” Smith tells fans. 

Meanwhile, D’Arcy delves into Princess Rhaenyra’s arc and the thought process behind her actions. “I think Rhaenyra is fueled by that old Targaryen stuff, and I think the journey she goes on in the series is when to let that fire burn and when to dampen it,” she explains. Fire and blood, baby!

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Next, we learn from Condal that there are 17 dragons “at the heart of this.” Phew! Then, Martin dives into what makes a good king, adding, “I think one of the fundamental things in a good king is someone who remembers that being a king is a privilege and not a duty.” Quick, someone tell that to Stannis Baratheon! 

Condal gushes about Considine’s performance on the show, namely his ability to awaken that innate fire in King Viserys. “The thing Paddy brought to Viserys is this real inner fire … he fiercely tries to bring everyone together,” he says. He is a Targaryen, after all. 

According to the House of the Dragon Twitter account, Considine put his High Valyrian on display for the panel attendees. I need to see video evidence of this, and I needed it yesterday. 

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Toussaint’s character is known as the “Sea Snake” and “Lord of the Tides,” as the head of House Velaryon. So, imagine our surprise when the actor confesses he’s prone to sea sickness! “I actually get seasick, which doesn’t go over well … I was jealous because my whole family can ride dragons, and I don’t,” he tells the audience.

Alcock describes what it’s like to ride a bona fide dragon — erm, a mechanical bull? “You’re propped up on what looks like a mechanical bull which you’ll find in a bar, and lifted six feet in the air … there are four guys below with leaf blowers. It’s strange,” she reveals. Hey, it’s the magic of Hollywood, folks. 

House of the Dragon

Pictured: Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in HOUSE OF THE DRAGON. Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

Next, Carey expresses their hopes for the series and the immense pressure of following in its predecessor’s footsteps. “It’s weird, isn’t it? This behemoth we are following in its footsteps, and there’s pressure on getting you guys what you want but put our own stamp on it … Yeah, man. I just hope you like it,” they say to the fans. 

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Smith confesses that after playing the beloved Eleventh Doctor in BBC’s Doctor Who, he was looking for a change of pace. “Once I played The Doctor, I was actively looking to play something different,” he explains. I want Daemon to ride Caraxes into the TARDIS. Is that too much to ask?

Then, Condal talks about the challenges of adapting Fire & Blood for the small screen, noting that Martin’s work serves as a “history book” of Westeros. He reveals the key to executing the narrative is “painting in the lines” and adopting a simplistic approach to the story. Additionally, he tells attendees that Driftmark of House Velaryon is a new world the show explores “quite a bit.” 

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That’s a wrap on the House of the Dragon panel at SDCC 2022! Be sure to tune in Sunday at 9 pm EST for the Comic-Con extended trailer on the Discovery Channel. Brace yourselves for the Dance of the Dragons when House of the Dragon debuts on Sunday, August 21, 2022, on HBO Max. 

What are you most excited to see in this epic prequel series? Sound off in the comments below!

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