A new House of the Dragon photo shows Matt Smith’s character Prince Daemon Targaryen in full armor ahead of the Game of Thrones spinoff’s debut. The prequel series from Miguel Sapochnik, George R. R. Martin, and Ryan J. Condal will feature the infamous Westerosi family in their prime and chart the course to their downfall. Taking place 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is expected to build toward the massive Targaryen civil war known as the Dance (or Dying) of the Dragons.
With a new cast of characters to follow, House of the Dragon will share some similarities to Game of Thrones, notably the family drama on a kingdom-wide scale that brought personal stakes and humanity to the fantasy universe’s political machinations. This time, much of the action will be centered on the Targaryens, who will certainly prove themselves to be less likable than the kind-hearted Starks. On top when House of the Dragon opens is King Viserys (Paddy Considine), the namesake of Daenerys’ brother. Viserys defends his daughter Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) claim to the throne despite her gender. The Hand of the King, Otto Hightower, is portrayed by Rhys Ifans. Smith plays the king’s younger brother Daemon Targaryen, an esteemed warrior with an unstable nature.
A new image released by Empire offers a glimpse of Smith as the fabled fighter. In it, he wears full Targaryen armor, likely readying for battle. Check out the image below:
Based on comments from the showrunners and lead cast, House of the Dragon will be an intense and worthy successor to Game of Thrones. Smith and Ifans have pointed to a rivalry between their characters that will certainly pay off. And with Daemon’s intimidating stance in the new image, he’s being set up as a daunting adversary to Hightower. Schemes and power struggles are nothing new to fans of Westerosi drama, but there will be plenty to set House of the Dragon apart from its predecessor. King Viserys, for one, is widely known as a competent and benevolent ruler, which is a rare sight for Thrones viewers. It remains to be seen whether the King will catch on to his little brother’s instability.
After the backlash garnered by Game of Thrones season 8, there are plenty of viewers unwilling to dive back into the kingdom of Westeros, concerned about being let down once again. While this is an understandable position, the information released so far about House of the Dragon promises a deep dive into excellent high fantasy storytelling. With the current fantasy renaissance on streaming including The Witcher, Wheel of Time, and LOTR: The Rings of Power, it’s exciting to see HBO return to Martin’s novels and create something fresh, with plenty more dragons.