For a series that executed a 10-year time jump in its last episode, House of the Dragon continues to be patient. Eventually, it will cover the “Dance of the Dragons,” the brutal war of succession between the Targaryens. But instead of starting the series with the civil war, showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal elected to spend the first five episodes on exposition. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the House of the Dragon showrunners explained why season 1 is a “slow burn,” and how diligent character development will pay off in the long run.
“No one ever said to us, ‘When’s the drama going to start?’” Sapochnik said. “There’s a real advantage to taking the time to get to know the characters because the investment is worthwhile. House of the Dragon season 1 is a slow burn. And it’s worth it because there’s enough in there to keep everybody interested, but we have purposely tried to move away from doing spectacle so that when we return to the spectacle we can do it properly.”
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“Most other places would not have had the patience and boldness to allow us to tell the story we’re telling. But this is how you tell this story correctly,” said Condal. “We’re telling a story of a generational war. We set everything up so by the time that first sword stroke falls, you understand all the players — where they are and why they are. All the history is there instead of being told to you in exposition. This way you get to see it all happen.”
This investment in character development is paying off as ratings continue to soar as the season progresses. With an older Rhaneyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, it’s only a matter of time before the “most famous and bloody conflicts in the history of Westeros” begin.
The seventh episode of House of the Dragon airs Sunday, October 2, at 9pm on HBO.
What are your predictions for the upcoming episode? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Recommended Reading: The Rise of the Dragon: An Illustrated History of the Targaryen Dynasty, Volume One