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SYFY WIRE House of the Dragon

George R.R. Martin says 'House of the Dragon' actually improves on his Targaryen source material

It's not often that an author says an adaptation is better than the book.

By Josh Weiss
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen

It's not too often you'll hear an author say that a film or television adaptation of their writing is better than the source material. But when a celebrated creator gives a rare seal of approval like that, then you know you're probably on the right track. In a recent blog post, Westeros mastermind George R.R. Martin revealed that HBO's upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff prequel — House of the Dragon — actually improves on Fire & Blood, his 2018 history of the Targaryen family in certain ways.  

"I’ve now watched rough cuts of nine of the ten episodes, and I continue to be impressed," wrote Martin, who is credited as co-creator and executive producer on the show, which premieres in late August. "I cannot speak to the SFX, many of which are not in yet, but the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first rate ... I think [co-creator, co-showrunner, and executive producer] Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices. Even some improvements. (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so)."

The author continued: "For years, as some of you may recall, I have been saying the TV version of Shae, as portrayed by Sibel Kekilli, was a deeper, richer, and more nuanced characters than the Shae in my novels. In a similar vein, I am vastly impressed by the show’s version of King Viserys, played by Paddy Considine, who gives the character a tragic majesty that my book Viserys never quite achieved. Kudos to Paddy, Ryan and his writers, and Miguel [Sapochnik] and the other directors."

Set 200 years before the events of the main GoT series, the spinoff will explore the political dealings and machinations of the dragon-riding royals who ruled over Westeros until Robert Baratheon led a rebellion to destroy the fiery dynasty. House of the Dragon also stars the likes of Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen), Emma D’Arcy (Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen), Rhys Ifans (Otto Hightower), Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower), Steve Toussaint (Lord Corlys Velaryon), Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Targaryen), Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole), Sonoya Mizuno (Mysaria), and many more.

"There are a lot of great performances in House of the Dragon — or 'Hot D,' as I hear some are calling it," Martin continued (we're honestly not sure if he's joking about the "Hot D" thing). "You may never have heard of some of our actors, but I think you will learn to love them, just as you did with the cast of Game of Thrones."

Longtime Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik occupies the roles of co-showrunner and executive producer. He also helmed several installments of the 10-episode first season. Clare Kilner, Geeta V. Patel, and Greg Yaitanes (a co-executive producer) round out the series' directing team. Sara Hess, Jocelyn Diaz, Vince Gerardis, and Ron Schmidt are executive producers, with Hess pulling double duty as a writer. 

House of the Dragon premieres on HBO and HBO Max Sunday, Aug. 21.

Looking for some fantasy content to tide you over for the next four months? Click here for our list of the best fantasy films available on Peacock.