An interview long in the making, we finally got to sit down with Ryan Condal, lead writer, executive producer, and now sole show runner of House of the Dragon last week to talk about the show. After Linda had a chance to say hello, she headed off to keep an eye on our very rambunctious puppy Lancelot, we started the interview. We open up with a question on post-production, and then get into the weeds on favorite book characters, depictions of violence, heraldry, a forgotten Valyrian house, the change from book canon when casting the Velaryons, whether Ryan will continue with the show after completing this particular story, and more.
Ryan Condal behind the scenes with a maquette of Caraxes. ©️ Ollie Upton/HBO
A lot of words have been spent on discussing the tournament in the first episode of House of the Dragon, especially in regards to its incredible levels of violence and how that seems to be received by the audience of spectators in the show. A new video about the tournament scene—focused on the work needed to bring it to the screen—reminded us that we had some thoughts we wanted to share, expanding on some things we said in our “Not a Review”.
The release of the DracARys augemented reality app was a fun approach by HBO to market House of the Dragon, letting anyone with a mobile phone have their own pet dragon. While we were never stirred by Pókemon-mania, we’d each had Tamagotchi when we were young and playing with the app definitely inspired some nostalgia. So much so, that we check in with our dragons several times each day, and rush outside whenever there’s a notice of something interesting (such as the first visit by a dragon from Westeros).
Given our interest, and seeing that there’s a small but active community for the app, we reached out to HBO to see if we could talk to the creatives and developers behind the app. HBO led us to Victor Piñeiro and Samantha Garrison from HBO Max, as well as Kevin Young at The Mill, who kindly answered our many questions.
A dragon soars over Bohus Fortress
We’ve had the opportunity to watch the first six episodes of House of the Dragon, and we certainly have some thoughts about the show. Maybe too many thoughts.
First, a disclaimer: Linda and I have discussed a fair bit about how exactly to write about the show. The fact is that we have a connection to the Dance of the Dragon material that is unique. George first wrote the material, almost precisely as it is presented in Fire and Blood, for The World of Ice and Fire. A book we co-authored with him. And when it proved, as with most of the Targaryen material, well beyond the size we could publish in that book, we used it to summarize very, very concisely the events of the Dance, giving readers some of their first looks into that period. And now we’ve done it again, at George’s and Random House’s kind request, in the forthcoming The Rise of the Dragon (out on October 25th!)