Spoilers for House of the Dragon below.
House of the Dragon has been renewed for a second season on HBO, which comes as no surprise following the show’s record-breaking premiere on August 21, 2022.
Given its predecessor, Game of Thrones, dominated TV for eight seasons, this could be the beginning of another years-long reign for the fantasy franchise based on George R. R. Martin’s books. (The author is also an executive producer on the series, while Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik are co-showrunners.)
“We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with season one,” Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO programming, said in a statement. “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. A huge thank you to George, Ryan, and Miguel for leading us on this journey. We couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing to life the epic saga of House Targaryen with season two.”
While the premise for the next season remains unconfirmed, we can expect a dive deeper into the history of House Targaryen, and the civil war called the Dance of Dragons, just like the show’s source material, Martin’s Fire & Blood.
When does House of the Dragon season 2 come out?
It’s far too early to say for sure. However, fans noticed that the Spanish newspaper Hoy reported HBO plans to return to the town of Cáceres, Spain, to film King’s Landing scenes for season 2 from March to June 2023. Using season 1’s timeline as a reference (filming reportedly began in April 2021 and it premiered in August 2022), it seems possible we’ll have to wait until 2024 for the next season to drop.
Indeed, HBO and HBO Max Content CEO Casey Bloys has said it’s “a good guess” for HOTD to return in 2024—but after the Emmys eligibility period that year, Variety reports. So the best guess for now is summer 2024, according to the outlet. The exact date is still unconfirmed.
That said, Condal has confirmed the production is plunging headfirst into season 2, telling Variety, “Because of the incredibly demanding production schedule of the show, facets of the show have to overlap with one another, which means that we were writing season 2 long before they ever announced it, while we were in post in season 1. So we really have to storm right into the making of season 2 now in order to keep pace with our our fans’ healthy appetites for material and HBO’s need and desire to release the show in a reasonable timeframe from season to season.”
He also revealed in March 2022 that production would begin “shortly,” according to Deadline.
Who will be in the cast?
The official season 2 cast hasn’t been announced yet, but here’s our best guess on who’s coming back: Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Eve Best as Rhaenys Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon Targaryen, Ewan Mitchell as Aemond Targaryen, Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen, Harry Collett as Jacaerys Velaryon, Bethany Antonia as Baela Targaryen, Phoebe Campbell as Rhaena Targaryen, Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling, Matthew Needham as Larys Strong, and Jefferson Hall as Tyland and Jason Lannister.
Some characters’ chances of returning are up in the air, like Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan), who’s still alive but faked his death and exiled himself from Westeros. Could he return in the second season to shake things up? Or will we have to wait longer (á la Gendry) for his grand comeback? Also, at this point in the series, it’s unconfirmed if Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) will survive and make it into season 2. (All signs point to yes.)
Unfortunately, we said goodbye to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as young Rhaenyra and Alicent after the season 1 mid-season time jump. Despite hopes that they could show up in flashback scenes in season 2, showrunner Ryan Condal says the young duo probably won’t return. “[They] are not a part of the story that we’re telling, yet,” he told Variety. “That’s not a thing that we’re doing right now.”
Paddy Considine sadly took his final bow as Viserys in episode 8, so he won’t return either. And (a season 1 finale spoiler!) Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys dies at the end of the season, so Elliot Grihault also likely won’t come back.
We can expect a number of new cast additions in season 2, however. Condal teased to Variety, for instance, that the characters Cregan Stark and Daeron Targaryen will make appearances—but he kept his lips sealed as to who will play them.
What about the dragons?
Great question. Almost 10 majestic winged creatures appear in House of the Dragon season 1 (and even more are mentioned by name), but there will be some additions in season 2. “You’re going to meet five new dragons” next season, Condal said at a For Your Consideration event on March 7, 2023. We can’t wait to meet them.
Who will run the series?
Sapochnik, Dragon co-showrunner and former Game of Thrones director, stepped away from the series in August. Co-creator Condal will continue showrunning while Alan Taylor, a Thrones veteran, will join as an executive producer and will direct multiple episodes next season, per The Hollywood Reporter.
What will season 2 be about?
Given the series tells the story of the Dance of the Dragons, we can expect to see more events from the Targaryen civil war hit the screen. Season 1 ended with a tragic death for Queen Rhaenyra, so the next chapter will likely show the aftermath and how she reacts to the loss. While most of the first season revolved around the events leading up to the civil war, the second season will depict the conflict in full swing.
Condal told The Sunday Times that the next season will have a faster pace. “Series 2 will hit the rhythms people came to expect from the middle run of Game of Thrones, but it will have been earned, and viewers will feel the tragedies because we put the work in,” he said per IndieWire.
He also teased that they plan to include “natural pathways into moments of levity”—in other words, more humor. That might be difficult without Peter Dinklage playing Tyrion Lannister in Dragon, but Matt Smith might help fill that gap. “I think Matt Smith is very funny,” Condal added. “If there is one character that does not care, it is Daemon.”
How many episodes will there be?
Season 2 will have eight episodes (two fewer than season 1), according to Deadline, but the change is “part of a long-term plan for the show,” which could include HBO greenlighting a third season.
How many seasons will House of the Dragon have?
George R. R. Martin has a number in mind. “It is going to take four full seasons of 10 episodes each to do justice to the Dance of the Dragons, from start to finish,” he wrote in a post on his website. However, HBO has yet to confirm plans of a four-season arc. The series could even go on for longer, considering Game of Thrones went on for eight seasons, with the last two departing from Martin’s books.
This story will be updated.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE.