House Of The Dragon Is ‘A Different Animal’ To Game Of Thrones: ‘It’s Psychological, Interpersonal, Familial’ – Exclusive Image | TV-Series

There are many reasons why Game Of Thrones became the biggest TV show of all time. It had an array of gripping characters whose heads always seemed seconds away from rolling. It created a rich, vast fantasy world that you really believed in. And, particularly in its later seasons, it delivered astonishing spectacle – bloody battles, flame-wreathed dragon attacks, and ice-zombie showdowns. It was an all-out fantasy epic wrapped around a political thriller. In many ways House Of The Dragon – HBO’s much-hyped prequel spin-off, set 200 years before that series and focusing on the Targaryen rule of Westeros – offers the very things that audiences already loved. There’s backstabbing, politicking, and winged beasts galore. But set in a whole new era of George RR Martin’s fantasy kingdom and with the ever-unpredictable Targaryen family ready to plummet from the peak of it power, House Of The Dragon presents its own twisted tale.

“Fundamentally, House Of The Dragon is a different animal,” teases Emma D’Arcy, who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in her adult years – the daughter of Paddy Considine’s ruling King Viserys. D’Arcy (who uses they/them pronouns) promises even knottier mind games in the confines of the Red Keep this time around. “I think we’d be really naive if we tried to mimic or emulate Game Of Thrones,” they explain. “I think the thing that’s distinct, and something I love about this season, is that it’s really rooted in the home. It’s domestic, it’s psychological, it’s interpersonal, it’s familial.”

Olivia Cooke – who plays Rhaenyra’s childhood friend Alicent Hightower, a key part of that interpersonal and familial dynamic, having grown up in the courts of King’s Landing – agrees. “It feels more intensely focused on one extended family, rather than many other families,” she explains. “It’s much more nuclear than the other TV show, but still incredibly thrilling and intense and all the things we were excited about when we watched Game Of Thrones.”

What it does have is plenty of familiar locations – but not quite how you remember them. For one, the Iron Throne is far grander (read: more swords) this time around, closer to the one depicted in George RR Martin’s book. It speaks to a sense of prosperity in Westeros that was much diminished in the hardscrabble times of Thrones. “It’s a time of decade greaternce and influence,” says showrunner Ryan Condal. “That’s why the Iron Throne is dressed up so much grander. This particular story sees the Targaryens at the very apex of their wealth and power. I think that’s a fascinating story to tell.” Bring on the fire and blood.

Read Empire’s full House Of The Dragon feature – speaking to showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, plus stars Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith, and Rhys Ifans, and packed with exclusive images – in the upcoming issue, on sale Thursday 4 August and available to pre-order online here. House Of The Dragon airs on Sky Atlantic / NOW from 22 August.

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