By James Hibberd
October 30, 2019 at 11:30 AM EDT

HBO has greenlit to series a new Game of Thrones prequel titled House of the Dragon. Here’s what we know so far:

What is House of the Dragon?

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin‘s 2018 book Fire & Blood, a history of House Targaryen in Westeros that begins roughly 300 years before the events in Game of Thrones. The book spans 150 years (but only tells half of the Targaryen family history; a second book is planned which continues the family’s story up to Robert’s Rebellion).

What was Fire and Blood like?

Here’s some description from EW’s deep-dive review of the book: “Fire & Blood is most clearly the story of the Targaryen family in Westeros. It starts with the arrival of Daenerys Targaryen’s greatest-grandfather-uncle Aegon, and then ends some 150 years later, halfway to the Thrones timeline. You witness multiple generations rise into ruin and fall into legend. First come Conquering Aegon and his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, a Holy Blond Trinity of fantasy archetypes: one steady ruler, one imperial warrior, one dreamy explorer. We track their offspring’s offspring through the decades. There’s another Aegon who loves to party, a third who barely speaks, a fourth I lost track of. There are simpleton monarchs with no head for politicking, and devious keeners chessmatching quadruple-backstabs … Parts of this book were published before, as breakaway novellas. Rereading them here adds context (so that’s who everyone was descended from!), but you could still read Fire & Blood as a series of separate stories, some book-length on their own, others just a few paragraphs.”

Will the show be like the book?

If the show were shot like the book is written, the main characters would change every few episodes as Targaryen leaders rise and fall. So one would expect the series to primarily focus on a particular time period and set of characters so there is some level of cast consistency through large swaths of the series (if not through all of it). EW has heard the show will focus on a period that leads up to, then eventually includes the most dramatic event during Targaryen rule — The Dance of Dragons, the Targaryen Civil War.

What was the civil war about?

Let’s turn this over to doomed young Shireen, was reading about the Targaryen history in GoT and aptly described the tale to her father, Stannis: “It’s the story of the fight between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half-brother Aegon for control over the Seven Kingdoms,” she said. “Both of them thought they belonged on the Iron Throne. When people started declaring for one of them or the other, their fight divided the kingdoms in two. Brothers fought brothers, dragons fought dragons. By the time it was over, thousands were dead. And it was a disaster for the Targaryens as well. They never truly recovered.”

Is the show only about Targaryens?

Almost certainly not! Other familiar families are around then too and had roles to play. The Starks and the Lannisters, for instance, were both involved in the Targaryen civil war. The Greyjoys, Baratheons, Tyrells and others were also in the mix.

Who’s behind the show?

The series was co-created by Martin and writer Ryan Condal (Colony). The concept was originally developed by acclaimed GoT writer Bryan Cogman, who went on to an overall deal at Amazon Studios and has worked on the upcoming The Lord of the Rings series.

Condal will serve as showrunner along with Emmy-winning GoT director Miguel Sapochnik, who directed stand-out episodes like “Battle of the Bastards,” “Hardhome” and “The Long Night.” Sapochnik will direct the first episode of the new series in addition to other episodes. Sapochnik also landed an overall production deal with the network. The GoT showrunners have opted not to be involved with the prequels.

HBO’s other GoT prequel — written by Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts — is not moving forward to series. More on that here.

How many episodes?

Ten first-season episodes have been ordered (just like the first installment of GoT).

Who’s in the show?

There is no cast or character list yet. As the show is a distant prequel, no GoT cast members are expected to appear, though some are theoretically possible (such as Melisandre, who was hundreds of years old in Thrones).

When will House of the Dragon air?

There is no premiere date yet, but 2021 seems most likely.

There is also a teaser image with a tagline “Fire Will Reign”:

HBO

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