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Miguel Sapochnik And Ryan Condal Discuss How Game Of Thrones' Controversies Influenced House Of The Dragon

Showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal had their work cut out for them when it came to "House of the Dragon." It's the follow-up to one of the most talked-about and beloved TV series of all time, "Game of Thrones," providing backstory into the history of House Targaryen. It's set 172 years prior to the birth of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and shows what her ancestors were up to during a time when dragons were prominent. 

While "House of the Dragon" may be a prequel set in the past from the events of "Game of Thrones," it's also a chance to look toward the future of the franchise. After all, "Game of Thrones" wasn't without its controversies and its oversights, especially when it came to inclusion. But these can function as teachable moments, and "House of the Dragon" is already on a promising path to addressing those issues. 

In fact, Sapochnik and Condal spoke about said controversies during a roundtable discussion Looper attended. They were quite aware of the problems that plagued "Game of Thrones" and shared what they wanted to bring to the table to make "House of the Dragon" more representative of the culture at large.

The House of the Dragon showrunners want to be 'part of the solution'

The cast of "Game of Thrones," especially those of the Targaryen lineage, was exceptionally white. It was also male-dominated, which isn't to say there weren't still plenty of powerful female characters to fill out the ranks. According to the showrunners, "House of the Dragon" aims to create greater equity in terms of gender and race both in front of and behind the camera. As Miguel Sapochnik put it, "We've felt very strongly that we want to be part of the solution. That's why we have worked hard in front of [and] behind the camera to address gender equality."

Ryan Condal added that it was important — but not impossible — to service the story while also being as inclusive as possible. "The challenges [are] in serving the fidelity of both George [R.R. Martin's] world, the world that David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] created, but also finding opportunities to bring in characters from different backgrounds — but doing so in a way that feels organic and story-based rather than doing so to tick a box, so to speak. [We want] to tell those stories and have a compelling reason for that character being in the story."

Condal concluded by saying he's proud of what they've managed to accomplish in terms of diversity with this story, noting how they worked to ensure people seen in front of and behind the camera reflect the world around us. Audiences can see a far more diverse Westeros as "House of the Dragon" continues to air new episodes throughout its first season.

"House of the Dragon" airs new episodes every Sunday on HBO Max.