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How Game Of Thrones Fans Really Feel About House Of The Dragon Casting

When it comes to blowback from a fanbase, few series this side of "Lost" had an ending as controversial as "Game of Thrones," a fate that "House of the Dragon" no doubt wants to avoid. The prequel series for one of HBO's biggest franchises ever has some making up to do if it wants to earn back the fans' trust and avoid the mistakes of its parent series.

Focusing on the Targaryen dynasty 200 years before the events of "Game of Thrones," "House of the Dragon" follows a civil war that takes place amid the powerful royal family and all of the political intrigue that comes along as a result. With the show set to premiere later this summer, much of the attention the upcoming series has garnered thus far has come from its reveal trailer and the casting information that has come out.

With heavy-hitters like Matt Smith, Emma D'arcy, Paddy Considine, and Rhys Ifans in critical roles (via IMDb), the clout of the cast is not exactly in question. However, considering the visceral fan response to the final two seasons of "Game of Thrones," how are fans responding so far to the cast of the new series?

Fans seem excited about spin-off casting

Well, if the r/HouseOfTheDragon subreddit is any indication, it looks as though fans are generally feeling pretty optimistic about the casting of "House of the Dragon." A popular thread by u/One_Efficiency6615 saw most fans familiar with the characters from the book series swooning with excitement. 

As u/AfricanRain noted in the top voted comment: "Emma is so gorgeous in this shot." They're referring, of course, to Emma D'arcy, who landed a lead role of Rhaenyra Targaryen in the new HBO series. Meanwhile, u/savornt was incredibly enthusiastic to see D'arcy in the part. "As someone who has seen Emma in a lead role on stage, I can think of no better casting choice for Rhaenyra. Emma really is brilliant," they said. 

Naturally, the response to Matt Smith seems to be fairly positive as well. After all, the former "Doctor Who" actor is arguably the most prominent cast member in "House of the Dragon." Redditor u/Trusted_Charlatan was satisfied with the casting of both Smith and D'arcy. "They both look good in this shot. Perfect Targaryen mysticism," they observed.

Elsewhere in the thread, u/TyphonaX observed that any "Game of Thrones" casting is likely to come with some controversy. "Books hyped Valyrians as the most beautiful ppl eva," they commented. "Pretty sure no living actor and actress can satisfy such expectations. Whining was bound to happen."

Well, if this response from some of the biggest fans of the story and the lore that surrounds it is any indication, "House of the Dragon" is looking great in terms of the veracity of its characters. And there's another person who has weighed in on the casting of the series: none other than George R. R. Martin himself.

How Does George R. R. Martin feel about it?

George R. R. Martin is also eagerly anticipating the first season of "House of the Dragon." As the author of "Fire & Blood," on which the series is based, as well as the book series that "Game of Thrones" was adapted from, Martin's opinion boasts considerable clout for anything related to this world.

Martin began by expressing his joy that "House of the Dragon" topped IMDb's list of the most anticipated shows of 2022. He was also happy to see that the list was brimming with other science fiction and fantasy shows. "That's a hell of a list to be at the top of, too. Amazon's new Tolkien series? Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN? Marvel shows? STAR WARS shows? Good company," Martin wrote on his personal blog.

Martin also let it slip that he's seen some of the series already and is very happy with what he saw. "I've seen a rough cut of the first episode. And loved it. It's dark, it's powerful, it's visceral... just the way I like my epic fantasy," Martin said. And as for the much-discussed casting? Martin assured future viewers, "just as with GAME OF THRONES, most viewers will only have heard of a few of the actors, but I think you are going to fall in love with a lot of them."

Well, if the response from fans and the author himself are any indication, "House of the Dragon" ought to satisfy the appetites of dark fantasy fans when it arrives on August 21.