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House of the Dragon Would Have Begun 40 Years Earlier, Had More Time Jumps, If George R. R. Martin Had His Way

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HBO’s hit fantasy adaptation House of the Dragon would have started decades earlier, featured more jarring time jumps and recast characters more often, if George R.R. Martin had had his way.

House of the Dragon‘s recently wrapped 10-episode freshman run drew some criticism for the way it skipped through time — a full decade between episodes, at one point — and the at-times confusing recasts that came as a result. (In fact, showrunner Ryan Condal made a point to assure fans that the time jumps and recasts “are done,” and the story will be told “in real time” from here on. Season 2 isn’t expected to arrive until the year 2024, BTW.)

But there could have been even more time jumps and recasts, Fire & Blood author Martin shares in the interview below with Penguin Random House (at the 18:45 mark).

Martin says there were “a lot of spirited discussions” amongst the writers about where to begin the story in HBO’s small-screen adaptation. One suggestion, for example, was to start the story later than the HBO series did, with King Viserys’ wife/cousin Aemma dying, while one writer “wanted it to be even later than that, with Viserys dying” — which in the series didn’t happen until the end of Episode 8 — and account for the major events that came before with “flashbacks or dialogue,” Martin says.

“The other possibility we discussed — which was actually my favorite, but nobody liked it but me” — had the series opening “like 40 years earlier,” Martin reveals, “with the episode I would have called ‘The Heir and the Spare,’ in which Jaehaerys’s two sons, Aemon and Baelon, are alive. And we see the friendship, but also the rivalry, between the two sides of the great house.”

Martin sums up some of those much earlier storyline catalysts — book spoiler alert! — by noting, “Aemon dies accidentally when a Myrish crossbowman shoots him by accident on Tarth, and then Jaehaerys has to decide who becomes the new heir. Is it the daughter of the older son who’s just died, or is it the second son, who has children of his own…?”

If they had gone with Martin’s suggestion, he acknowledges, “you would have had even more time jumps, and you would have had even more recastings” in the episodes/seasons that followed. But ultimately, the writers chose a different approach. “Yeah, I was the only one who was really enthused about that,” GRRM shares with a chuckle.

Relatedly, Martin recently shared that he is now three-quarters of the way done with Winds of Winter, the sixth novel in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. (And is it just me, but when you watch an interview like below, do you wonder if he could have maybe banged out another 10 pages with his time instead…?)

What did you think of House of the Dragon‘s starting point and the amount of time jumps/recastings we got? Would you have endured more, to get 40 years’ more worth of the earlier Fire & Blood story?

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