Like Game Of Thrones, House Of The Dragon Has Its Own Issue With Adapting The Books
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Like Game Of Thrones, House Of The Dragon Has Its Own Issue With Adapting The Books

By Soniya Hinduja
January 14,2022

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has long confirmed that the prequel series House of the Dragon will be based on books. And it is certain that the show has an upper hand regarding its predecessor. However, the spin-off will still face problems in fleshing out the written works for visual consumption. The Game of Thrones prequel will adapt George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood. The story depicts the early history of House Targaryen. 

House of the Dragon will translate the tale of the Targaryen Civil War known as the Dance of the Dragons. The event is a prominent one, and it occurred over 200 years before that of Game of Thrones. Martin is also a co-creator of the show. He is accompanying great minds like Colony’s Ryan Condal, who serves as co-showrunner with Miguel Sapochnik. However, it appears as if the show might face some issues regarding the original books. 

The Problem With Game Of Thrones’ Adaptation

House of the Dragon

Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon

HBO’s Game of Thrones had a winning strike when it first premiered. To see an on-screen adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series at such a grand scale was truly mesmerizing. But viewers of the show know that the HBO series pulled ahead of the books at and around Season 5. Martin briefed showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss about his ideas for a potential ending. 

But at the end of the day, the creators of the show had to fabricate several paths and endings on their own. This stole the authenticity they held on to for all this time. One of the many reasons behind Game of Thrones Season 8 arriving on such a controversial finale was this. That the creators did not have a source to draw inspiration from. Which is why viewers often ponder on how the outcome had been different had Martin completed writing the books before the show reached its end. 

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House Of The Dragon Has A Different Issue

House of the Dragon Iron Throne

The Iron Throne in House of the Dragon

Thankfully, House of the Dragons will not have to face the same issue. This is because the event of the Dance of the Dragons has already seen pen and paper. The show does not have underlying mysteries. Like the ultimate one in Game of Thrones about who will rightfully claim the Iron Throne. The Targaryen Civil War, the epic aftermath, and who prevails through it, has already been told by Martin in the books. Which is why a strong and promising ending for the prequel is a given. 

But that’s not all. House of the Dragon has its own set of problems to deal with. Fire & Blood is not a novel written as per the style of the A Song of Ice and Fire books. Instead, it is a history book told as though it were written by Archmaester Gyldayn. In fact, Gyldayn himself is seeking the help of various historical events to understand those events. While the concept is the very essence of Fire & Blood, it might create some challenges for House of the Dragon.

The Events Of The Dance Of The Dragon

Game of Thrones’ portrayal of Targaryen’s history has been blurry on the edges. Which is why House of the Dragon will have to take a different approach. It will have to adapt to a more precise and conclusive storytelling. Everything we know about the Dance of the Dragons is derived from several scattered places.  Firstly, there is Gyldayn himself. He uses his research material and expresses his personal thoughts. Secondly, there are the writings of two people who were there at the time. One is Septon Eustace, who served during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen; and the second is Mushroom, a court fool for Viserys. The two are known to have been present for many of the events before, during, and after the Dance of the Dragons. 

However, both their iterations of the events differ in specifics. There is little similarity in their examination of events as well as who did what and when. Also, there are also some indelicate pictures created by Mushroom. All these factors help build up the intrigue of the overall narrative. While it is not yet certain, it is imminent for House of the Dragon to have a particular recital of the story. Because without it, the show would simply have to include visuals to depict what happened. Even if that happens, the story remains quite an engrossing one. Yet, there is room for error, and the show could risk losing its most interesting and immersive plot points. 

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House Of The Dragon Needs A Steady Storytelling


House of the Dragon poster

On the other hand, House of the Dragon will also need to flesh out a story with a strong pace. One that sees actions and not simply narration. The book reads itself in detail, much like any other historical text. However, the Game of Thrones spin-off will have to put up an active turn of events. This approach is, in fact, beneficial to storytelling. Since it will enable the show to flesh out the characters in stark detail. 

Also, while the show appears to have a brief source to work with, it only decreases the margin for error. The scenario is like another book problem that stood in the way for Game of Thrones. A Song of Ice and Fire was originally written with multiple point-of-view chapters. But that is impossible to translate on screen. When considering the issue, the show managed to pull off Martin’s adaptation with remarkable finesse. And we expect the same from House of the Dragon as well.