“Gods, kings, fire, and blood. Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did.”

HBO Max caught everyone by surprise this morning by dropping the first look at Game of Thrones‘ highly anticipated prequel series, House of the Dragon. Forget everything you think you know about Westeros and A Song of Ice and Fire. This new show takes place 200 years before the events of the original series, during the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, so it’s unlikely we’ll see any familiar faces. That said, there are definitely some familiar elements in play.

Perhaps the most recognizable performer in this teaser is former Doctor Who star Matt Smith. He is playing Prince Daemon Targaryen, a fierce warrior who is also the brother of King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine). However, if Daemon has any desire for his brother’s Iron Throne, then he’ll have to get past his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy). She’s the king’s daughter, and perhaps destined to become Westeros’ first queen, if she can survive the challenges ahead.

House of the Dragon was co-created by A Song of Ice and Fire novelist George R. R. Martin and screenwriter Ryan J. Condal. It may be Martin’s world, but Condal will be the showrunner who brings Martin’s vision to life.

Rhys Ifans’ character, Ser Otto Hightower, is only identifiable in the teaser by the signet of the Hand of the King. That makes him one of the most important men in the Seven Kingdoms. And if his daughter, Lady Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), has her way, she will retain her family’s influence with the king.

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HBO is reportedly considering another spinoff series centering on “the Sea Snake,” Lord Corlys Velaryon, who features heavily in House of the Dragon as Lord Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), Hand to Queen Rhaenyra, while Eve Best is playing his wife, Princess Rhaenys Velaryon. Rhaenys is the cousin of the king, and she also had a claim on the throne before she was passed over.

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Sonoya Mizuno also co-stars in the series as Mysaria, with Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling, Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin Strong, Jefferson Hall as the twins Lord Jason Lannister and Ser Tyland Lannister, David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos, Matthew Needham as Larys Strong, Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury, and Gavin Spokes as Lord Lyonel Strong.

House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO and HBO Max in 2022.

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