Created by George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal, House of the Dragon is a prequel to HBO’s successful and very popular show, Game of Thrones, which aired from 2011 to 2019. House of the Dragon is the second show in the A Song of Ice and Fire franchise based on Martin’s 2018 novel Fire & Blood. The story is set a hundred years after the Seven Kingdoms are united and nearly 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon
Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke in House of the Dragon | HBO

The first season of the show premiered in 2022, with ten episodes, and the response that the show received was positive from critics and the audience. Special praises were mentioned for the character developments, the visual effects, the writing, and Ramin Djawadi’s capturing score. The second season premiered on June 16, 2024, and the show runner ahead of the premiere shared one thing that stressed him out with the show.

Ryan Condal reveals one thing about House of the Dragon that stressed him out

Ahead of the premiere of season two of House of the Dragon, showrunner Ryan Condal spoke to The Nerds of Color, where he was asked about his reaction to the response the show received with season one in 2022. He said that it’s just a natural creative process, and they are always looking to improve themselves, adding that they went through an extensive post-mortem process after making Season 1 to figure out how and what they can do better for Season 2. Season 2 features Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Fabien Frankel and more.

Upon asking if there was any pressure that they felt while filming Season 1, Condal said,

The thing about Season 1 that probably stressed me out the most was whether anyone would watch the show. Does anybody care? How do you follow a monolith like Game of Thrones? You don’t. You just try to do your own thing and have it stand on its two feet. And I think we did that. And now we have to deliver on the high expectations we set for the audience. And they’re going to have to be the judges of that.

House of the Dragon is prequel to Game of Thrones
Kit Harington and Emilia Clark in Game of Thrones | HBO

Game of Thrones ran for over eight seasons, with the final season receiving the most criticism for its reduced length, the lighting in the overall season, and the ending of the series. The performances by the actors were, however, praised, but the audience was not happy with the creative decisions made in the last season. This led to the audience signing a petition to get the last season reshooted.

The author George R. R. Martin, during an interview with the NY Times back in 2022, addressed the criticism for season 8, adding that he was out of the loop for the last four seasons of the show and he does not know why.

Martin’s agent shared at the time that Martin loved Dan Wiess and David Benioff, but he was worried about the direction they were taking the show, adding that he told them that they were not following his template. So with the history, it’s understandable why Ryan Condal would feel a little bit of pressure.

Ryan Condal talks about the creative freedom to tell the story in House of the Dragon

During the Nerds of Color interview, the showrunner was asked if he had to deviate or stick to specific segments while working on the show since there are other spin-offs potentially taking place. Condal said,

I always felt I had a good narrative freedom to tell the story we wanted to tell. The nice thing about the Targaryen dynasty is that they ruled for almost 300 years. So there’s a lot of leeway. Not everything is packed into a dense period. I think the big thing we’re very conscious of doing is keeping the history intact and the canon.

House of the Dragon
Matt Smith plays Prince Daemon Targaryen on the show |HBO

Condal further explained that with the decisions they made in their story, they made sure that they didn’t kill off a character who would become a king later on in history. The showrunner added that they are the big things, and if a mistake is made, it could have ripple effects. He also revealed that he has been in communication with Ira Parker, creator of Duck and Eggs, which does take place when the Targaryens were in power despite not being a Targaryen story.

The showrunner mentioned that there is no link between the two stories, but they have to be conscious of those things. Season 2 premiered on June 16, 2024, on HBO Max.

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