The premiere date for House of the Dragon draws ever closer, and it brings with it fire and blood. The first Game of Thrones successor show will cover a brutal Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, some 200 years before the original series began. We already heard a little bit about the Dance during Thrones; little Shireen Baratheon explained it to Ser Davos Seaworth not long before she was burned at the stake by her parents.
We’d like to say that things will be a bit less grim in House of the Dragon…but we wouldn’t want to lie to you. The Dance of the Dragons is one of the bloodiest periods of Westerosi history, with shocking twists and turns equal to anything on Game of Thrones.
One thing that many fans the world over enjoyed doing when Thrones was on the air was comparing the show to its book counterparts. How was it the same as George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire? How was it different? Where was Lady Stoneheartand did we really need her anyway?
If you’re looking to have a similar experience with House of the Dragonthe good news is that, just like Game of Thrones before it, it is based on one of Martin’s books. And fortunately, this one is already completed.
What book is House of the Dragon based on?
House of the Dragon is based on material drawn from Martin’s book Fire & Blood; Specifically, the events of the show will cover roughly the last third of the book. That’s because Fire & Blood is not a novel in the traditional sense, but instead a fake history book that recounts the reigns of Targaryen kings from Aegon the Conqueror through to the end of the Dance of the Dragons. That’s roughly 150 years of history, and the Dance of the Dragons only makes up the climactic part of that dynastic story.
Fire & Blood is told from the point of view of a maester who is sifting through three different historical accounts of events, so we often get conflicting viewpoints and a plethora of rumors that cast doubt on what actually happened. The result is that the writers on House of the Dragon have a lot more leeway to decide how to depict things than the ones on Game of Thrones did. Despite all that, there are some major events that we can tell will be happening from the text; the question is more a matter of how the show will execute them.
If you want to get in on the ground floor and be able to make book-to-screen comparisons when House of the Dragon airs, you’ll need to read Fire & Blood.
How to buy Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin
Unlike Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the events that will be covered in House of the Dragon are already set down in their entirety by Martin on the page. Martin has said that he plans to write a sequel to Fire & Blood, but that book will cover the history of Westeros in the years after the story of the show concludes. The civil war depicted in House of the Dragon is covered from start to bloody finish in Fire & Bloodso you can find out now how it all ends for characters like Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, Alicent Hightower, and Corlys Velaryon.
Fire & Blood was first published in 2018. As of this writing, the book is available in hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, audio, and e-book. HBO has even released a tie-in edition of the book with a new dragonscale-themed cover.
House of the Dragon premieres August 21 on HBO, so if you want to discover what lies ahead, you’d best start reading.