‘House of the Dragon’ Will ‘Tell the Objective Truth’ About the Targaryens

House of the Dragon depicts the Targaryen family, whose descendants Game of Thrones made famous. This is a fictional family in a fictional kingdom, so how can it be true? Creator Ryan Condal called House of the Dragon “the objective truth,” at least as far as author George R.R. Martin’s creation goes.

'House of the Dragon': Viserys sits on the iron throne and Rhaenyra stands in front of him
Paddy Considine and Milly Alcock | Ollie Upton/HBO

Condal and Executive Producer Miguel Sapochnik were guests on Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast on Aug. 8 to preview House of the Dragon. Here’s how Condal and Sapochnik figured out the truth of the House Targaryen. House of the Dragon premieres Aug. 21 on HBO Max.

‘House of the Dragon’ Targaryen history is based on George R.R. Martin’s ‘Fire & Blood’

Martin wrote Fire & Blood, a history book about the Targaryan family prior to his Game of Thrones prequel. Condal treated that like a real history book, but that didn’t make House of the Dragon easy.

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“He wrote it as a fake history,” Condal said on Hero Nation. “It’s written from multiple different points of view. There’s another imaginary character named Archmaester Gyldayn that’s sifting through these primary sources trying to figure out what actually happened. It presents a big chance for a lot of invention and for us as the filmmakers to go through it and figure out what’s the actual story that we want to tell? We set out from the very beginning, we are going to tell the objective truth here.”

‘Fire & Blood’ left room for ‘House of the Dragon’ Targaryen stories

Condal described the text of Fire & Blood. He and the writers room for House of the Dragon laid out the timeline they had to follow. Along the way, there were plenty of moments Martin had not written. 

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We went in and laid it out like a historical roadmap. What’s the history as we see it having happened? Which version of this history do we think actually happened? And then laid it out. There’s a tremendous amount of invention and latitude that you have between those points because you’re really just trying to connect these events together and create a cohesive story over time. It was certainly a brain bender and very challenging at times. I think it was fun in the latitude it gave us. You can at once create a very faithful adaptation but still have a ton of room to play as a writer/director on the other side of it.

Ryan Condal, Hero Nation podcast, 8/8/22

You know ‘Game of Thrones’ but you don’t know everything yet

Game of Thrones fans may feel they already know how House of the Dragon ends. The Targaryens have to end up in the place they began in the first series. However, Condal and Sapochnik feel they have plenty of room to surprise viewers. 

“It’s like the Titanic, really,” Sapochnik said. “You know it’s going to sink but the question is the how and whys is up for grabs. That’s an interesting challenge.”

Condal added, “It was an incredible challenge in terms of an adaptation, but I think a fun one just as a screenwriter who’s done a lot of these over the course of my career: comic books and books and remakes and sequels and things like that.”

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