Go back in time two years, and you’d find that half the world was obsessed with “Game of Thrones.” This strange ‘dungeons and dragons’ themed show, with a story that had already been told in books by George R. R. Martin but had gone largely unnoticed by almost everybody, had somehow become the most popular show on television. Everyone had a theory about how the show was going to end. People were so obsessed with the lead characters that newborn babies were being given names like “Daenerys” and “Khaleesi.” It was a pop culture sensation of the kind that we very rarely see anymore, and references to the show were everywhere.
Things aren’t quite the same today. Part of that is down to the fact that the show is over after eight seasons, and so interest is bound to wane in a show after it comes to an end. There’s more to it than that, though. The general consensus – even from some of the actors who worked on it – is that the final season was sub-par and that the last episode, in particular, was a disaster. Character arcs that had slowly been built up over several years disappeared out of the window. Bran Stark – a character that almost nobody liked – ended up on the Iron Throne. Jaime and Cersei had one of the most underwhelming death scenes in television history. It was bad, and it damaged the show’s legacy.
Even taking that into account, though, there are signs that the popularity of the show continues. Some of the most compelling evidence for that can be found at online slots websites such as UKSlotGames.com. There is not one, not two, but a whole three different official “Game of Thrones” online slots available to players, and all of them are popular. While it isn’t uncommon for a hit television show to be accompanied by an online slots tie-in, three wouldn’t be made unless there was an established market for them. Clearly, a lot of people are spending a lot of money on those online slots and so, theoretically, at least, a lot of people will happily watch the show’s prequel when it eventually arrives.
We have a little bit of news on that front, but we don’t want people to get too excited by it. After over a full year of development, the show, which focuses on the history of the Targaryen family and will be called “House of Dragons,” has been given a release date, but the release date is a long way in the future. In fact, it isn’t for more than a year. A month hasn’t been specified yet, but we can now tell you with absolute certainty that it will arrive on HBO Max – with details to follow about the rest of the world – at some point in 2023. Anyone who was expecting to have their “Game of Thrones” fix restored to them in 2023 is, unfortunately, going to be disappointed.
As disappointed as people might be by the news, they shouldn’t be surprised. 2023 has been a challenging year for television and movie production. Plenty of projects that were scheduled to start filming in 2023 – including some huge movies – have been pushed back to 2023. Even some films that are already in the can and have been through post-production have been delayed to 2023 in the hope that people will be able to return to movie-theaters by then. There’s no way that a show like “House of Dragons” can be made without an enormous crew on-site, and there’s no way that anyone can have a massive crew on-site with the current restrictions that cover most of the necessary filming locations. Filming won’t even be able to begin until part of the way through 2023, and with a project this size, it won’t be a small job. We think we’re more likely to see the show arrive toward the end of 2023 than toward the start of it.
When it does arrive, though, there will be a face that’s very familiar to fans of science-fiction and fantasy on screen. Last week, HBO announced that Matt Smith, who played the eleventh incarnation of the BBC’s “Doctor Who,” has been cast as Prince Daemon Targaryen. The character is the younger brother of King Viserys, who we already know will be played by Paddy Considine. Olivia Cooke has also recently been confirmed as a new addition to the cast playing Alicent Hightower, the most beautiful woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She shouldn’t have any difficulties in that role. Rounding out the new announcements is Emma D’Arcy, playing Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the King’s eldest daughter, and first-born child. It’s an all-star cast, and presumably, one that was extremely expensive to assemble. That should be taken as a measure of the confidence that HBO has in the show.
Fans of the franchise who still haven’t got over the mess of the final season of the original show might take heart in the fact that writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who took the brunt of the criticism for the failure, won’t be anywhere near the scripts. Ryan Condal, who had great success with “Colony” but slightly less with the 2014 movie “Hercules,” has that task instead. He’s worked extensively with George R. R. Martin in the creation of the new show and has promised fans that he’ll take a new approach to the story we see on screen. He’s got a different period of Westeros history to deal with and won’t be bogged down by the continuity of what’s gone before, and so while success can never be guaranteed, there’s no reason to suspect that “House of Dragons” will be a disappointment purely because the last season of “Game of Thrones” was.
Will the world go crazy for “House of Dragons” in the same way they did for “Game of Thrones?” That remains to be seen. It’s often said that lightning doesn’t strike twice, but occasionally, on very special occasions, it does. The only way to find out is to sit tight for two years and wait for the show to land in 2023, and so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.