The upcoming spinoff prequel series has a more racially diverse cast, including an elite Black family comprising the House of Velaryon, a central ruling family with deep political ties in Westeros.
Co-showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik set out for a “reimagining” of George R.R. Martin’s original books when bringing them to the screen. The spinoff premieres August 21.
“It was very important for Miguel and I to create a show that was not another bunch of white people on the screen,” Condal told Entertainment Weekly. “We wanted to find a way to put diversity in the show, but we didn’t want to do it in a way that felt like it was an afterthought or, worse, tokenism.”
“Game of Thrones” was previously slammed for its lack of POC actors and portrayals of slavery.
As the EW piece reported, author Martin “toyed early on with the idea of depicting the Velaryons as Black conquerors who came to Westeros from the west,” which Condal immediately saw as the future of the series.
“Once we had that idea, it just felt like everything fell into place,” Condal explained.
The House of Velaryon’s claim to the throne is rooted in Rhaenys Targaryen’s marriage to Corlys Velaryon aka the Sea Snake (Steve Toussaint), with the Targaryens ruling the skies and the Velaryons leading the seas. Per EW, the ruler of Driftmark, House Velaryon’s ancestral seat, inherits the name Lord of the Tides and is often granted a place among the ruling Targaryen king’s Small Council.
“House of the Dragon” tells the story of how the House Targaryen fell from grace following a civil war 200 years prior to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) rising to power in “Game of Thrones.”
“Yes, for all you book fans, it IS my story. Sure, there are some changes from ‘Fire & Blood’ — we could not present three alternative versions of every major event, not and keep our sanity — but I think Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices. Even some improvements. (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so),” Martin wrote.
Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Milly Alcock, Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine, Maggie Q, Bethany Antonia, and Rhys Ifans are among the ensemble cast for the series.