The house of the dragon: the return to the land of fantasy, family wars, tragedies and unforgettable characters

The house of the dragon: the return to the land of fantasy, family wars, tragedies and unforgettable characters
The house of the dragon: the return to the land of fantasy, family wars, tragedies and unforgettable characters

June 16, 202400:00

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“Before the premiere of the first season I asked myself all the time: is anyone going to watch this show? Because the reality is that we were following in the footsteps of The Beatles, the most successful TV fiction of all time. Is it possible to do something to maintain that level? No, it is not. The only thing you can do is try to produce something good that stands on its own merits.” This is how Ryan J. Condal, the showrunner of the dragon housein a meeting with the international press in which he participated THE NATION, his state of mind in 2022, at the time of the launch of the HBO series which, despite its creator, the public expected to live up to its beloved game of Thrones.

Something that the dragon house achieved at least in terms of popularity and rating figures, which of course raised expectations for the second season that arrives this Sunday on the premium signal, at 10 p.m., and the Max platform. The almost two years that passed between the end of the first and this return contributed to increasing the enthusiasm for the history that now promises more family conflicts, more palace intrigues and, of course, more dragons. That in the first episodes they appear in broad daylight, an appropriate method to dispel the concerns of many viewers, who could barely glimpse the beasts – the mythical ones and the human ones -, in the dark palette chosen by the producers in the previous season. .

Emma D’Arcy as Queen Rhaenyra, the leader of the Targaryens in exileHBO

Of course, the biggest change from one season to the next is in the narrative development of the story adapted from the novel. Fire and bloodthe prequel to game of Thrones, written by George RR Martin, the soul of this complex universe that has attracted the public for decades. “We recorded the first season in the middle of the pandemic. And everyone was immersed in that uncertainty, so I thought it was brilliant that HBO brought this known world back to viewers who were surrounded by doubts and unknowns in real life. Because when everything on the outside was uncertain, in fiction they had the peace of mind of knowing what the Targaryens or the Baratheons were like and I think that that familiarity in times of anxiety gave the public something to cling to,” he said at the conference. press Ewan Mitchell, the actor in charge of playing Prince Aemond Targaryen, materially responsible for the central brotherly war in the eight new episodes. A division that, as seen in the finale of the first season, left Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) convinced that her son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) was the true heir to the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms and not her old friend and apparent queen, Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy). The confrontation between “the greens” based in King’s Landing and “the blacks”, exiled on the island of Dragonstone will increase chapter by chapter, with the sides willing to do anything to avenge their respective losses. How it happened in game of Thrones No character, no matter how beloved or innocent, has a guaranteed future. in any of the Seven Kingdoms.

A scene from the first episodes of the new seasonHBO

“At the end of the first season it became clear that we have two sides with a common history, who hate each other and that hate will only get worse. Aemond killing Luce changed everything going forward. What will be the response for this action and what will follow on the path of increasingly bloody and outrageous revenge? We established those narrative parameters so that the viewers already knew and understood the characters, what makes them strong or weak, what they want and what they love, and then put them face to face and see how they react,” Condal said about the new episodes of the season whose plot begins a few days after the events at the end of the previous one.

Olivia Cooke plays the dowager queen, Alicent HightowerHBO

“Everything they do ends in disaster. For them it’s all about legacy and having their name mentioned in the annals of history. Unfortunately they don’t think about the big picture of what their actions cause. They don’t even think about the small painting. In fact it is a self-portrait,” says Olivia Cooke, the actress who plays the now widowed queen Alicent Hightower, about the Targaryen men, their battles and unleashed violence. At his side, Phia Saban, the performer who plays Helaena, his daughter who is at the same time his daughter-in-law and the new queen – we already know the blondes’ desire for inbreeding -, nods and completes the idea: “with the Targaryen family split in half, it’s time to forge alliances, which will expand the spectrum of characters, clans and geography that the public knows thanks to game of Thrones. It’s about how much power each side will accumulate, how many men, weapons, dragons and intelligence. Unfortunately, they don’t use that last ingredient too much,” laughs the young performer, completely unrecognizable without her platinum wig and costume.to mysterious Helaena, one of the key characters in the new season that includes the appearance of a member of the Stark family and the guardians of the Wall and that will be played between epic battles and intimate scenes full of drama.

Phia Saban plays Queen Healena, a fundamental character in the new chapters of the series HBO

“It’s part of the trick of this job. I mean, we’re making a television show that tells these big stories that actually move forward thanks to those more intimate moments. What I am most proud of about this series are those scenes in which two characters are in a room resolving a conflict between them because we are doing eight episodes, almost nine hours of TV, full of drama and not everything can be dragons fighting each other. There has to be more to it than that and I think that if the audience engages with the characters on a deeper level when the big show arrives, if I did my job well, the audience will connect emotionally with them when they appear flying on impressive dragons. , detailed Condal during the talk with the international press in which the leading cast participated but, copying the structure in which the new chapters and the modes of fiction were recorded, divided into two groups: the green team and the black team.

Smith and D’Arcy in the new season of House of the DragonHBO

The first, in no order of priority or preference according to the producer, to appear on the stage of the press conference broadcast by Zoom, were the greens who, for many connoisseurs of Martin’s work, are the usurpers of the throne whose legitimate owner is Rhaenyra . A dilemma that will surely divide the waters among the show’s viewers. “I’m sure we all debated the issue. I hope it turns out that way and at the same time the narrative is flexible and malleable enough so that the audience can change sides. For me, it would be ideal if in one episode they were aligned with the black team and the next they switched to the green team. “It’s part of the fun and unpredictability of this season,” said Tom Glynn-Carney, the actor in charge of playing the malevolent King Aegon, whose actions in the new episodes could not only tip the balance towards the enemy clan but also remind the public to the infamous King Joffrey Baratheon from the original series.

The series promises great battles and the appearance of five new dragons that will enter the fightHBO

His castmates, however, preferred to be less even-handed. “The truth is that at this point we have our preference, we bleed green and we have a lot of fun with each other,” said Cooke, looking at the rest of the actors with whom he shared the more than five months of filming. “Like all the time we were on set we dedicated ourselves to recording our scenes, only when we see the finished episodes will we find out the black team’s point of view. Until now, for me the program is us,” Saban noted with a laugh.

Daemon, ready for battleHBO

Later, when defending the other faction’s position, Matt Smith, the actor who plays the charismatic and impulsive Prince Daemon, The only one of the cast who does not usually go unnoticed by fans in their daily lives and much less by the paparazzi who have been pursuing him for years, put forward a kind of defense for his character. “He’s crazy but do you know what I really like about Daemon? That he moves at his own pace, his morality only depends on his point of view. I admire him for that, I admire his conviction in his actions and even his mistakes. For better or worse, he is a man of action, a savage and that’s how I interpret him. I like to feel that chaotic spirit, the arrogance of it, it’s like walking all the time on a ledge of your own creation.”

In that precarious balance, always on the edge of the precipice, the new season of the program will take place, beyond the expectations of being “the new one.” game of Thrones managed to recover an experience that many believed was lost forever when its predecessor ended: making a TV program an event that week by week builds meaning, adds fans and brings fun back to fiction.

Among the figures related to the series that the viewer will be most interested in knowing is the confirmation that The House of the Dragon has just confirmed that it will have a third season. What follows is a detail of some of the elements that are part of the equation to make fiction what it is.

The rating: Expectations for the second season are high and in terms of ratings it is expected to exceed or at least equal the mark that the series achieved in 2022. Its best mark was in the second episode with a cumulative rating of 10.2 million viewers only in the United States.

New creatures: In addition to the debut of characters that will be fundamental to the story such as Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor), the future lord of the North, five new dragons will appear in the new season that will be part of the bloody battles for the throne of the seven kingdoms.

Episodes: unlike the first season which had ten episodes, this time fans of the show will have to settle for eight episodes. The consolation: most will last just over an hour.

The Filmation: Recording began in April 2023 and was completed in September. Although, as usually happens in productions of this caliber, there were new filming days until March that raised fears of a delay in the program’s launch date.

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