Ryan Condal says George R.R. Martin "mentions things at times."

Making a Game of Thrones successor show has its perks. One of those is getting the goods on George R.R. Martin's long (long, long) awaited next entry in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, The Winds of Winter.

Ryan Condal, who created prequel drama House of the Drama for HBO with Martin, revealed during a panel Saturday morning during the official Game of Thrones Convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center that he knows a thing or two about where the esteemed fantasy author is taking his literary series next.

Condal appeared on screen virtually for a moderated conversation with Game of Thrones podcast hosts Jason Concepcion and Greta Johnson. "It's cool because I still get to be a fan… I'm as excited for The Winds of Winter as everybody in that room," he told the moderators. "I know some things because George just mentions things at times."

"He's told me things that have, not a direct connection [to House of the Dragon], but when he's explaining mythologies and things like that, he'll just casually mention things," Condal continued. "It's so cool but it's like, 'Ah! I just want to read the book.' So I'm very much looking forward to that as a fan, and I'm a fan of his too. I'm really rooting for him and I want him to get, as he calls it, the monkey off his back."

House of the Dragon
Ryan Condal
| Credit: HBO

Condal didn't speak much about House of the Dragon season 2 during the 40-minute-long panel, but remarked he and the crew are "in the thick of things" and that "the machine" is moving full-steam ahead.

The showrunner, who will now be the sole showrunner of the series moving forward after season 1 co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik decided to take a few steps back, also screened a never-before-seen deleted scene from House of the Dragon for the audience.

The sequence was a conversation between Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) and her granddaughter Baela Targaryen (Bethany Antonia) at Dragonstone while Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) is in labor and Daemon (Matt Smith) is plotting his war against the Greens.

"War is coming," Rhaenys says. "We must collect Rhaena and leave Dragonstone at once."

"If war is coming, it's coming for all of us," Baela retorts.

Rhaenys exoresses how she's lost too much of her family already and can't bear to lose more, but Baela holds her ground, reminding her grandmother that she too is a dragonrider. If the Greens are going to commit treason against the true queen, Rhaenyra, then "they must be answered with fire and blood," she declares.

Rhaenys smiles. "I just saw my daughter for the first time in years," she tells Baela.

Condal confirms that Baela, as well as Rhaena, is someone "you'll be seeing more of in season 2." He then went on to explain why this moment was cut, citing HBO's concern about the runtime of episodes in international markets where commercials are run against the episodes.

"We felt like the finale ended up being, as many of our episodes did, so long at the end," Condal explained. "In certain cases, HBO was very open and willing to go along, particularly in episode 6 when we introduce all the new cast. In other cases, they were just like, 'We need to hold to it,' because they release the show all over the world and some people work commercials into the show."

House of the Dragon Season Finale
Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys
| Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

"If this was just airing on HBO Max and that's the only place it every aired, I don't think it would be as much of a concern or a discussion," he added, noting that scene "didn't tell you anything more about where we were in that story."

"It was a pacing thing and a time thing," he said.

Condal was also asked about a scene from season 1 that has been criticized by some viewers: the finale scene when Daemon strangles Rhaenyra at Dragonstone. Condaal previously addressed this moment, including in an interview with EW. But he offered a more in-depth response.

"I think the reason it shocked probably you and a good portion of the audience is we want to root for Daemon," he began. "We want to believe that he is the hero and that everything is going to be okay. I think Daemon has a lot of good aspects to him, but there is this darkness in him that he really struggles with, and his core injury is the fact that Viserys rejected him."

"Everybody thinks that Daemon wanted the crown," Condal continued. "And maybe he did. Maybe he toyed with the idea of it, but really, really deep down what he wanted was to be Viserys' Hand. He wanted to be his brother's guy, he wanted to help him and protect him."

Emma D'Arcy - House of the Dragon Season 1 - Episode 10
Emma D'Arcy on 'House of the Dragon'
| Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

After what Condal called this "helluva day" when Daemon learns about the Greens taking the throne and his wife's birthright, and Rhaenyra miscarriages, Rhaenyra then tells him about the prophecy his brother never clued him in on.

"Viserys never told. He never made him Prince of Dragonstone, Daemon was never Viserys' heir ever in his mind, and I think it just shatters him," Condal says.

The showrunner acknowledges that the strangling is "an act of violence against Rhaenyra, but it is a lashing out of a wounded man and it's the only way he knows how to express it." Condal also divulged that the way the show's writers wrote Daemon was with the idea that he sees Rhaenyra "as an extension of his brother."

"Because he can't put his hands on Viserys, that's the next best thing," he said.

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House of the Dragon

A Game of Thrones prequel focusing on the dragon-riding Targaryens.

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