‘House of the Dragon’ Boss Doesn’t Mind Backlash: I’m Making Choices ‘Not All of You Are Going to Like’

Showrunner Ryan Condal understands that his "Game of Thrones" spinoff is never going to please everyone.
Three men standing outside in medieval armor; still from "House of the Dragon."
"House of the Dragon"

House of the Dragon” was never going to please everyone. The high-profile fantasy epic had massive shoes to fill after the success of “Game of Thrones,” and the status of HBO’s many other Westeros-set spinoffs remains dependent on its success. The source material, George R.R. Martin’s “Fire and Blood,” also left plenty of ambiguity, presenting the history of the Targaryens through a series of unreliable narrators. That forced the creative team to make judgment calls, and some hardcore fans have been disappointed in the show’s portrayal of characters like Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, “House of the Dragon” showrunner Ryan Condal laughed at the notion that fans are more qualified than him and George R.R. Martin to make decisions about important characters. “Yeah, please explain to me and George who Daemon is as a character, everybody,” he said.

Condal said he feels like his “Game of Thrones” fandom makes him as qualified as anyone to run the show.

“I’ve done a lot of work, hopefully successful work, to try to show them that I am one of them,” he said. “I come to this show as a massive, longtime fan of the books: I read the books multiple times, I’ve listened to all the audio books, I’ve now read ‘Fire and Blood’ probably more times than any volume of the ‘Song of Ice and Fire,’ I communicate with George regularly. I am as in it as you can be. I am still going to make choices that not all of you are going to like, but, on the whole, I am really looking after the sanctity and wellbeing of George’s work. I care about it immensely as both a fan and as the steward and the showrunner. As long as I can lay my head on the pillow at night knowing that I have brought that kind of love and fidelity to his work, then I feel like I’ve done my job.”

“House of the Dragon” was renewed for a second season almost immediately after premiering on HBO in August. As Condal begins work on the new season, he promises that the pace will soon pick up and match the intensity of “Game of Thrones.”

“Series 2 will hit the rhythms people came to expect from the middle run of ‘Game of Thrones,’ but it will have been earned,” he recently said. “Viewers will feel the tragedies because we put the work in.”

Meanwhile, here are seven things IndieWire hopes to see in “House of the Dragon” Season 2.

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