The 'Game of Thrones' prequel leads and season 1 directors revealed

By James Hibberd
December 11, 2020 at 03:30 PM EST
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House Targaryen is taking shape: HBO has cast three actors in major lead roles in the eagerly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel series.

The new House of the Dragon cast members are Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, and Matt Smith, EW has learned.

The network also revealed its directors for the debut season.

Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images; David M. Benett/Getty Images; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One, Bates Motel) will play Alicent Hightower. The character is described as  "the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms.  She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen."

Matt Smith (The Crown, Doctor Who) as Prince Daemon Targaryen. The character is described as the "younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne. A peerless warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon possesses the true blood of the dragon.  But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air…" Smith has been in talks for the role for a couple of months and the production's interest in the actor was first reported as a rumor by Winter is Coming.

Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers) as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. The character is described as "the king’s first-born child, she is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider.  Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man." Rhaenyra is considered a major rock star role within the show.

The trio joins the previously announced Paddy Considine (Peaky Blinders) as King Viserys I Targaryen ("King Viserys Targaryen is chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather's legacy. But good men do not necessarily make for great kings.")

HBO also revealed the directors for season one will include Clare Kilner (EastEnders), Geeta Patel (The Witcher), and Greg Yaitanes (House). All are newcomers to the GoT franchise and join veteran Miguel Sapochnik ("The Battle of the Bastards"), who was previously announced as directing the pilot and serving as a showrunner on the series along with Ryan Condel (Colony). The first season is confirmed to consist of ten episodes.

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, and the series is set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon goes into production in England in 2021 and is expected to debut on HBO in 2022.

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