‘House of the Dragon’: How Long Before ‘Game of Thrones’ Does the Prequel Take Place?

TL;DR:

  • HBO’s House of the Dragon serves as a prequel to Game of Thrones.
  • House of the Dragon takes place 200 years before the original series.
  • Because of the time period, there’s unlikely to be much overlap between shows.
Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon,' which takes place 200 years before 'Game of Thrones.' In the photo, both actors are staring at one another and there's sand behind them.
Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith in ‘House of the Dragon’ | HBO/Ollie Upton

HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel is finally here, and House of the Dragon promises to return fans to the familiar world of Westeros — though none of the characters in the series will be recognizable. That’s because the Targaryen-focused spinoff is set a long time before the events of the original series. So, exactly when does House of the Dragon take place compared to Game of Thrones?

How long before ‘Game of Thrones’ does ‘House of the Dragon’ take place?

According to HBO, House of the Dragon kicks off around 200 years before Game of Thrones takes place. That’s a long way off from the original series, meaning we’re unlikely to see much overlap in terms of characters and storylines.

Instead, House of the Dragon will focus on the ancestors of Game of Thrones’ major players. Mostly, it will follow House Targaryen before the Mad King brought about its downfall. A few Lannisters and Starks could show up throughout the prequel as well. But the main storyline will center House Targaryen and the great houses of Westeros closest to the family at the time.

‘House of the Dragon’ focuses on a Targaryen civil war outlined in ‘Fire & Blood’

So, if House of the Dragon takes place so long before Game of Thrones, what is the prequel series about? HBO’s new show will follow the history outlined in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, which chronicles the history of House Targaryen. Specifically, the show will bring The Dance of Dragons to life — a Targaryen civil war over the Iron Throne.

That war starts with King Viserys (Paddy Considine) declaring his only child, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock/Emma D’Arcy), his heir — despite having a younger brother. Daemon’s (Matt Smith) claim being revoked is enough to stir up trouble, but King Viserys later produces male heirs as well. And the lords and ladies of Westeros are outraged when he continues to call Rhaenyra his successor.

Naturally, that leads to friction between all the major players in this new Game of Thrones. Their scheming and political maneuvering will make up much of the series, which promises plenty of action and drama. But could we see any Game of Thrones cameos in it?

Could there be ‘Game of Thrones’ cameos in the HBO prequel?

The events of House of the Dragon will undoubtedly leave a long-lasting impact on Westeros — one that’s probably sung about when Game of Thrones takes place. However, it’s unlikely the series will lead directly into the original. It’s also unlikely we’ll see cameos. After all, the new series is set much earlier.

With that in mind, the only way to insert characters from Game of Thrones would be to embrace flash-forwards or time jumps. Those things are always a possibility. But it’s hard to see this franchise using such devices just to give a nod to fans.

Unless House of the Dragon takes viewers all the way up to Robert’s Rebellion — where we could see younger versions of several Game of Thrones characters — it’s hard to imagine how cameos would fit naturally into the story.

More likely, House of the Dragon will establish its own legacy and set the stage for what’s to come without referencing it. Of course, we’ll have to watch the prequel to know for sure.

House of the Dragon premieres on HBO on Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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