George R.R. Martin’s Huge ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Update—Plus, Brand-New Info on the Release Date

The dragons are coming...soon

george rr martin house of the dragon
Ollie Upton/HBO

HBO has finally revealed when the second season of House of the Dragon is expected to premiere on Max and (spoiler alert) it's sooner than we expected.

Following the development of the writers’ strike (which has now been resolved) and the actors' strike, author George R.R. Martin addressed the elephant in the room and gave a major update on House of the Dragon season two. Even better, the author hinted that the saga of House Targaryen will continue beyond season two, thanks to a massively successful first season.

But the most exciting news of all is that HBO head Casey Bloys recently confirmed the second installment is now “done shooting and in post,” which means we’ll be able to see the aftermath of the Targaryen civil war sooner rather than later. In fact, the House of the Dragon season two release date will be in early summer 2024.

Keep reading for more details on the cast, plot, premiere date, spoilers and what Martin and Bloys had to say about House of the Dragon season two.

Steve Toussaint and Eve Best House of the Dragon CAT2
Ollie Upton/HBO

1. What Is House of the Dragon About?

House of the Dragon is based on Martin’s book, titled Fire & Blood, and takes place 200 years before the events in Game of Thrones. It follows House Targaryen, the family who currently controls the Iron Throne and the Kingdom of Westeros.

In his 5-star review, Phil Mutz, PureWow’s vice president of entertainment and news, said there are "many Easter eggs hidden throughout," adding, "The new show stays true to the style, feel, drama and excitement of its predecessor in the tone of the writing and in the plot points."

“So many things happen over the course of an hour that Game of Thrones likely would have spread over multiple episodes,” Mutz wrote. “The reason for this is there is a more focused story to tell (though it’s no less grand).”

2. When Was House of the Dragon Season Two Announced?

In August 2022, HBO confirmed on Instagram that the series was renewed for a second season. The caption read, "Fire reigns. #HouseoftheDragon has been renewed for Season 2."

The renewal news shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to GoT fans. (FYI, House of the Dragon broke the record for the largest audience of a premiere in HBO history.)

In a statement, Francesca Orsi (executive vice president of HBO programming), said, “We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with season one. Our phenomenal cast and crew undertook a massive challenge and exceeded all expectations, delivering a show that has already established itself as must-see-TV.”

In April 2023, the network announced that production had begun on the show’s second season. New episodes were being filmed at Leavesden Studios in the U.K.

House of the Dragon has returned. We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera,” said series co-creator Ryan Condal. “All your favorite characters will soon be conspiring at the council tables, marching with their armies and riding their dragons into battle. We can't wait to share what we have in store.”

george rr martin house of the dragon season 2 update
Ollie Upton/HBO

3. What Did George R.R. Martin Say About House of the Dragon Season Two?

In July 2023, the author revealed that House of the Dragon season two wasn’t affected by the Writer’s Guild Association (WGA) strike. (FYI, Martin isn’t serving as a writer on HOTD, but he’s an insider nonetheless.)

“One of the few shows still shooting is House of the Dragon, as you may have read,” Martin wrote in a blog post on his website at the time. “That’s true. I am told the second season is half done. ALL of the scripts had been finished months before the WGA strike began. No writing has been done since, to the best of my knowledge.”

He continued, “HOTD is shot mostly in London (and a little bit in Wales, Spain and various other locations), which is why filming has continued. The actors are members of the British union, Equity, not SAG-AFTRA, and though Equity strongly supports their American cousins (they have a big rally planned to show that support), British law forbids them from staging a sympathy strike.”

4. What Could Happen in House of the Dragon Season Two?

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Since HBO’s House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s published book, Fire & Blood, it’s more than likely the narrative will continue where the first season left off. In the shocking season one finale, Aemond and Vhagar murder Rhaenyra’s son, Luke, which marks the first major death of the civil war. While the House of Dragon season two plot is being kept hush-hush, we can assume that fans will see more violent acts of war play out in the future installment, following along with Martin’s book.

So, you may be wondering: What happens next in Fire & Blood? Since the novel details the full history of the Targaryen family, we are confident the series will detail the events following the death of Lucerys (Elliot Grihault). In addition, according to Screen Rant, “There are several tragic deaths and injuries on the horizon in the story, a clash between twins, and the ‘Blood and Cheese’ event which could be the event behind [how] Rhaenyra Targaryen earned the nickname Rhaenyra the Cruel.”

5. Who’s Likely to Return for Season Two?

What we do know for sure is that the main cast for House of the Dragon is set to return for the second season, including Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen), Emma D’Arcy (Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen), Phoebe Campbell (Rhaena Targaryen), Bethany Antonia (Baela Targaryen), Olivia Cooke (Lady Alicent Hightower), Rhys Ifans (Ser Otto Hightower), Ewan Mitchell (Aemond Targaryen), Tom Glynn-Carney (Aegon II Targaryen), Phia Saban (Helaena Targaryen), Steve Toussaint (Lord Corlys Velaryon), Harry Collet (Jacaerys Velaryon), Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Targaryen), Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole) and Graham McTavish (Ser Harrold Westerling).

The younger versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent, who were played by Milly Alcock and Emily Carney, respectively, are not going to return for the second installment.

6. What About Newcomers?

Deadline confirmed that House of the Dragon is adding four new cast members: Simon Russell Beale (Simon Strong), Freddie Fox (Gwayne Hightower), Gayle Rankin (Alys Rivers) and Abubakar Salim (Alyn of Hull). While little is known about their involvement, the newcomers are all connected to the story line through various season one characters.

7. How Many Episodes Will There Be?

It’s reported that House of the Dragon season two will have a total of eight episodes, which is shorter than the 10-episode lineup for season one. According to Deadline, a spokesman from HBO shared the reason behind the decision is purely “story-driven.”

8. When Is House of the Dragon Season 2 Set to Premiere?

House of the Dragon fans speculated the second season will premiere sometime in the summer of 2024. And by the looks of it, their prediction wasn’t that far off.

On Thursday, November 2, HBO CEO Casey Bloys attended an event held at Warner Bros. Discovery headquarters in New York City. While there, he shared an exciting new update about the second season. Though the HBO head kept additional details about House of the Dragon season two under wraps, he did share when fans should expect the return of the series.

“They are done shooting and in post. We hope to have that early summer,” Bloys said, according to Entertainment Weekly.

george rr martin house of the dragon season 2
Courtesy of HBO

9. Did Martin Hint That There Would be a Third Season of House of the Dragon?

He sure did. On his website, when responding to the news of the series getting eight Emmy nominations, Martin wrote, "I would have loved to see some of our writers, directors, and actors on the final ballot as well. You don’t get to contend for Best Dramatic Series unless you have some great actors, directors, and writers working of you. Most of our team will have other shots at the prize in seasons to come."

The author also added, "Keep watching. The best is yet to come."

10. What About Other Spinoffs?

Before the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes, HBO was in the middle of producing another Game of Thrones spinoff titled Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight. Since then, the production has been put on hold.

When asked to give a status update on the series, Bloys reassured fans that he hopes to start filming the new spinoff once the actors’ strike ends.

As for any other spinoffs? Bloys shared that they “always have got scripts in development.” He continued, “I wouldn't say there's anything else in that world that is close to a green light.”

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