The upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, recently cast actor Fabien Frankel, who previously appeared in the romantic comedy, Last Christmas, alongside Emilia Clarke. For eight seasons, the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s wildly popular book series, dominated the pop culture landscape. Critically-acclaimed for the majority of its run, the show received numerous awards, including a record-breaking number of total Emmy Awards wins for a scripted television series. A reported 19.3 million viewers watched the series finale in 2019, making it HBO’s most-watched episode of all time. Among this fanfare, much of the fan-base has eagerly called for new stories to dig into the rich history of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
The forthcoming House of the Dragon follows the Targaryen family as they traverse the political minefields of Westeros. Set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the show aims to expand the scope of the franchise’s canon, allowing for new characters and histories to take center stage. It is one of six prequel projects currently in production at HBO. A round-up of confirmed cast members for House of the Dragon include stars Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Paddy Considine, and Matt Smith.
According to THR, Frankel will play Ser Criston Cole, a loyal, bold member of King Viserys I Targaryen’s Kingsguard. On George R.R. Martin’s blog, the author shared an exclusive description of the character:
He is the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven. He has no claim to lands or titles, all he has is his honor and his skill with sword and lance. He is a challenger, a champion, cheered by the commons, beloved of the ladies. He is a lover (or is he?), a seducer (or is he?), a betrayer (or is he?), a breaker of hearts and a maker of kings … Welcome to Westeros, Fabien. And do keep that sword sharp.
Anticipation for the multiple Game of Thrones spinoffs remains high, despite the titular show’s lambasted series finale. Critical reception of the last installment of Game of Thrones was largely negative, as most viewers and critics condemned the story’s poor pacing and sloppy characterizations. A significant portion of the criticism slammed the uneven and unexpected demise of Emilia Clarke’s beloved character, Daenerys Targaryen. At the same time, the world-building of Game of Thrones endures as a feature of fascination for many fans, which has resulted in HBO’s decision to produce a number of prequels.
While Game of Thrones ended with an unceremonious whimper, rather than a bang, there is still hope for the slate of future projects about to start production. Hopefully, House of the Dragon succeeds as an effective reset of the overall genre, fixing the narrative woes of its predecessor and re-discovering the magic of what made the franchise work so well in the first place. It is certainly helpful to remember that viewers are canny consumers of media, able to quickly parse and assess storylines with a keen eye that should not be underestimated.