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House Of The Dragon Showrunner Says Season 2 Will Be More Like Classic Game Of Thrones

"House of the Dragon" Season 2 is still a ways off at this point, but showrunner Ryan Condal dropped some major info about what we can expect from the show's sophomore effort.

Alongside showrunners from buzzy series like "Yellowjackets" and "Andor," Condal spoke to The Hollywood Reporter in a roundtable discussion (all of them happened to not be working at the moment thanks to the ongoing WGA strike, after all). When asked what creative leaps he think he can take in Season 2, Condal said that a major development in Season 1 has allowed him much more freedom.

"I mean, we replaced almost the entire cast in the sixth episode," Condal points out. "The second season will be more of the rhythms of storytelling in Game of Thrones that people are used to: multiple points of view, this person's over here, that person's over there. There are obviously big story moves and twists to come, but I feel like oddly the bold move — which was something that George insisted upon from the beginning — is that we had to cover 20 years of history to get people to where these women start the story, have children of their own who have now grown up to be at least of fighting or dragon-riding age. That was the big ask of the audience. We figured if we could get through season one and get people to watch, we would have them. Now it's a thing. People are paying attention."

House of the Dragon had a huge time jump halfway through Season 1

So what does Condal mean about replacing half of the cast? Well, at the midpoint of Season 1, the series embarked on a ten-year time jump; characters like Rhaenyra Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower, played by Milly Alcock and Emily Carey originally, were aged up by actors Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively. From there, the adult relationships between all the characters are explored, particularly Alicent and Rhaenyra.

The connection between these two women ultimately serves as the catalyst for almost every event not just in Season 1, but in the story as a whole. Alicent and Rhaenyra are childhood friends, but before the time jump, Alicent marries Rhaenyra's aging father King Viserys I (Paddy Considine), cementing herself as queen... and worse still, she has a son, Aegon, who cuts in line for claim to the throne ahead of Rhaenyra. A few other characters are aged up as well, but Alicent and Rhaenyra are, undoubtedly, the center of all the action.

Ryan Condal is set to produce yet another Game of Thrones property

During the interview, Tony Gilroy, who leads the Disney+ "Star Wars" series "Andor," tries to talk some of his contemporaries like Taffy Brodesser-Akner ("Fleischman is in Trouble") and Ashley Lyle ("Yellowjackets") out of taking on franchises, at which point Condal nods. However, when it's pointed out that he'll serve as executive producer for the other "Game of Thrones" spin-off, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Hedge Knight," Condal laughed... and said he's all in on "Game of Thrones."

"I mean, I love this," he admitted. "It's why I got into writing. I like nutritious popcorn. It's always been the thing that I've chased. I love all the shows on this panel, but I don't think of myself as capable of writing most of them. I like working in a world where there is a sense of escapism and myth-making because it allows you to explore timeless themes. Getting to play in the 'Game of Thrones' sandbox — even though there is this enormous, passionate fan base that's very specific about what they expect and what they want — it's exciting. That's why I agreed to do the second one, and I'm really just helping out as somebody that has done this before."

What else might happen in House of the Dragon Season 2?

So where does "House of the Dragon" go from here? Well, the first season, time jump and all, built nicely to the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, especially in its final moments. Thanks to the enmity between Alicent and Rhaenyra — as well as adult Aegon II's (Tom Glynn-Carney) mere existence — there's pressure on Rhaenyra to concede her birthright and acknowledge her half-brother as the rightful king. Before she can really decide, though, tragedy strikes.

Rhaenyra sends her second son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) to try and get the Baratheon family on her side; he fails, and as he leaves on his dragon Arrax, he's pursued by Alicent's own second son Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) on his much larger dragon, the legendary Vhagar. The two fight, and whether it's intentional or not, Vhagar kills and then eats both Arrax and Lucerys. In the very last shot of the season, we see Rhaenyra receive the news... and when she turns towards the camera, it's clear she's ready to wage war against her former best friend and current queen.

"House of the Dragon" Season 1 is streaming on Max now.