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The Scary Reason George R.R. Martin Missed The House Of The Dragon Premiere

It's unsurprising that fans flocked to San Diego Comic-Con 2022, after the annual event took a virtual approach in the last two years during the pandemic. Although Marvel Studios and DC took most of the spotlight, Warner Bros. and HBO also stunned audiences with an in-depth look at its "Game of Thrones" prequel series, "House of the Dragon." The show looks at House Targaryen 300 years before the events of the main series, as the titular family start to fall from grace. On a storyline level, "House of the Dragon" follows Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) when her father, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) names her as his successor to the throne. It's a controversial decision, and she's immediately challenged by her own uncle, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith). Viserys' decision creates a cavernous divide among the family, and the rest of the respected houses across the country. 

The latest trailer for the series shows off what Westeros looks like under Targaryen control ... and there be dragons. Lots of them. When discussing the new series at San Diego Comic-Con (via The Hollywood Reporter), "Game of Thrones" author George. R.R. Martin explained "It's powerful, it's visceral, it's dark, it's like a Shakespearean tragedy," before adding, "They're all flawed. They're all human. They do good things. They do bad things. They're driven by lust for power, jealousy, old wounds — just like human beings."

Sadly, the critically acclaimed writer had to miss the "House of the Dragon" premiere, for a reason that he had tried very hard to avoid.

George R.R. Martin has COVID-19

When George R.R. Martin attended San Diego Comic-Con, the author was incredibly worried about catching COVID-19 — so much so that he posted on his blog letting fans know that he wouldn't be taking photos with people. Promising he may someday do selfies again, he emphasized that he currently had too much on his plate to spend time recovering. "Once covid goes away for good — if it ever does — perhaps I will be able to do all that again," he wrote. "But not now. I cannot get sick. I have too much work to do.

Martin ended up canceling all of his in-person signings due to concerns over COVID-19. However, even though the author was cautious about the pandemic, he once again took to his blog on July 27 to confirm that he had caught the virus. 

Martin explained in a video that his plans after the convention had been derailed after testing positive for COVID. The 73-year-old writer noted that he's had mild symptoms so far, and that everyone else that he came into contact with at the convention have all tested negative. This obviously means that he's missed the "House of the Dragon" premiere, which is a shame given that this is the first "Game of Thrones" spin-off project to make it to the screen. But HBO Max's chief content officer Casey Bloys reassured those in attendance that Martin was feeling okay (via Variety) saying, "I was going to start today by introducing George R.R. Martin and tell you how great it is to have George on the journey with us. Unfortunately, George got COVID at Comic-Con, so he's not here. I think he's feeling fine, so nothing to worry about."

"House of the Dragon" starts airing on August 21.