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House of the Dragon Season 2: Cast, Episode Count, Possible Release Date, Latest News, and More

Despite the writers strike, the Game of Thrones spin-off will continue to film in Europe

Tim Surette, Kat Moon

House of the Dragon more than exceeded expectations in its first season. Sure, some Game of Thrones fans — fine, maybe most — were skeptical of the HBO prequel when it was first announced. But few can deny that the drama about the Targaryen Civil War was one of the best shows of 2022. 

Now, we'll do anything to get back to Westeros for some bitter family feuds. Season 2 isn't expected to premiere until 2024, but now that it's officially in production, we can rest easier knowing the dragons are one step closer to our screens.

While we wait, we have plenty of questions. When will House of the Dragon Season 2 air? Who will be in it? How long will it be? We'll try to answer all those question below. 

Here's everything to know about House of the Dragon Season 2.

Paddy Considine, House of the Dragon

Paddy Considine, House of the Dragon

Ollie Upton / HBO

Latest House of the Dragon Season 2 news

The Writers Guild of America is on strike as of May 2, but while other shows will see their productions disrupted — late-night shows are going into repeats immediately, for example — House of the Dragon Season 2 will continue filming. That's because all the scripts for the season have been written, according to Variety, and all that's left is the massive undertaking of getting it on film. 

House of the Dragon Season 2 release date prediction

No release date has been announced for Season 2, but news that production has kicked off is a promising sign for fans who are itching to get back to Westeros. "We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera," House of the Dragon co-creator, showrunner, and executive producer Ryan Condal said in a statement on April 11. "All your favorite characters will soon be conspiring at the council tables, marching with their armies, and riding their dragons into battle. We can't wait to share what we have in store."

Looking at Season 1, there was a 16-month span from the start of filming to the show's premiere on HBO (April 2021 to August 2022); doing some math and carrying the one, that means Season 2 could begin in summer 2024. That fits with reports; in March 2023, Deadline reported that Season 2 was on schedule for "a likely summer 2024 premiere." 

In October 2022, HBO chief content officer Casey Bloys told Vulture he thought the new season would be ready "sometime in '24" and cautioned fans not to expect it in 2023. He added, "We're just starting to put the plan together, and just like last time, there are so many unknowns. It's not to be coy or secretive, but you don't want to say it's going to be ready on this date, and then you have to move it."

House of the Dragon Season 2 renewal

It didn't take HBO long at all to renew House of the Dragon for a second season. Five days after the premiere of Season 1, HBO officially gave the green light, referencing the impressive audience for the first episode: the largest audience ever for an HBO show on its first night (almost 10 million), and more than 20 million viewers on linear, streaming, and on-demand services over its first five days. As fast as that renewal was, it took longer than Game of Thrones did to be renewed. Game of Thrones was renewed for a second season just two days after the premiere in 2011. 

While there have been no further season renewals, George R.R. Martin previously said he believes it will take four full 10-episode seasons to tell the story laid out in the books that the series is based on, the two-volume Fire & Blood series. (In March, HBO shortened the episode count to eight for Season 2.)

How many episodes will House of the Dragon Season 2 be?

It looks like House of the Dragon is already going the way of Game of Thrones in its later seasons. Well, in quantity, at least. Hopefully not in quality, too. In March 2023, Deadline reported that Season 2 will run for eight episodes, down a couple from the 10 episodes of Season 1. While some may rightfully point toward HBO's parent company Warner Bros. Discovery continuing to cut costs as a likely reason for the season shortening, reps from HBO insist that the decision was story-driven. The silver lining here is that shortening Season 2 because of story also means that a Season 3 renewal is more likely, and that the series could run for four seasons to get through the source material.  

House of the Dragon Season 2 cast

Following several time jumps that saw characters age out of their actors, things should slow down as Season 2 focuses more on the Dance of the Dragons, otherwise known as the Targaryen civil war. We're also going to be introduced to a slew of characters. On April 24, Variety reported that Gayle Rankin has been cast as Alys Rivers in House of the Dragon Season 2. According to George R. R. Martin's Fire & Blood, Alys is known as the Witch Queen of Harrenhal and becomes a key figure among the Greens. In addition to Rankin, Simon Russell Beale was announced to play Ser Simon Strong, the great-uncle to Matthew Needham's Lord Larys Strong.

Meanwhile, Freddie Fox is set to star as Ser Gwayne Hightower, who is Queen Alicent Hightower's (Olivia Cooke) brother and Otto Hightower's (Rhys Ifans) son. Yes, that means he's also uncle to King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), Queen Helaena (Phia Saban) and Prince Aemond (Ewan Mitchell). Also joining the cast is Abubakar Salim, who will play Alyn of Hull. Alyn is "a sailor in the Velaryon fleet who served in the Stepstones campaign," according to Variety.

And below are members of House of the Dragon's returning cast.

House of the Dragon Season 2 behind-the-scenes

Just like the Targaryens, the brass of House of the Dragon is changing regimes. After production on Season 1 was finished, co-showunner Miguel Sapochnik, who also directed three Season 1 episodes, stepped down from his role. No official reason was given, but it sounds like the rigors of the job — Sapochnik worked for three years on House of the Dragon just for Season 1 after directing some of Game of Thrones' most demanding episodes — became too much for Sapochnik. Ryan Condal will remain on board as the sole showrunner, while Sapochnik will remain as an executive producer. 

To fill the void left by Sapochnik's departure, veteran TV and film director Alan Taylor is joining Season 2 as an executive producer. Taylor's directing credits include seven episodes of Game of Thrones, including Season 1's "Baelor" and Season 7's "Beyond the Wall." 

Where is House of the Dragon Season 2 being filmed?

Season 1 was filmed in several locations in Europe — Cornwall, England; Herfordshire, England; Cáceres, Spain; the Castle of Monsanto in Portugal; and more. Expect Season 2 to film in the same locations, with Spain being the only confirmed location as of October 2022.

House of the Dragon Season 1 finale recap

House of the Dragon Season 1 ended with a lot of blood and death. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) traveled from King's Landing to Dragonstone to let Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) and Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) know that one, King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is dead and two, Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) has been crowned King by the Hightower-led Greens. Rhaenyra goes into premature labor upon hearing this news, and loses her daughter. And while Daemon wanted to jump into war immediately and fight back with dragons, Rhaenyra wished to wait — she does not want to rule over "a kingdom of ash and bone." Hand of the King Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), the architect of the Greens' plan to take the Iron Throne, arrived at Dragonstone to offer peace terms on behalf of Aegon, and Rhaenyra said she would consider them.

At the same time, the Targaryen-led Blacks were making moves to gather support from Westerosi lords for Rhaenyra's claim. A sickly Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) returned from sea, and after some prodding from his wife Rhaenys declared his loyalty to Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra's son Jacaerys (Harry Collett) volunteered to deliver messages to the other lords, and Rhaenyra agreed to send him and his brother Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) — Jacaerys would go to the Eyrie and Winterfell, while Lucerys went to Storm's End. 

But at Storm's End, Lucerys saw that the fearsome dragon Vhagar was already there (that was your sign to leave, Luke!). Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) arrived earlier and already spoke to Borros Baratheon. The Lord of Storm's End was more interested in Aemond's offer — which included a marriage pact — and turned Lucerys away. Resentful Aemond, sensing an opportunity to further dominate the cousin who slashed his left eye, prepared to fight Lucerys and demanded he gouge out his own eye to pay his debt – a literal eye-for-an-eye proposition. But Lord Baratheon forbade the Targaryens from fighting under his roof. 

When Lucerys left on his dragon Arrax, he was followed by Aemond — who rides the much larger Vhagar. Aemond seemingly only wanted to taunt his nephew, but after Arrax spat fire at Vhagar, the she-dragon retaliated by chewing up Arrax in the air... leading to the death of sweet Lucerys, who was only 14 years old. The dragons are only under Targaryen control to a point, which is a scary thing. They're basically nuclear weapons with emotions and minds of their own, you know? 

The last scene of House of the Dragon Season 1 showed Daemon delivering the news to Rhaenyra — we did not actually hear this, but it's safe to assume this is what Daemon said. Rhaenyra shakily walked to the fireplace, turned around with a deadly glare, and the Dance of the Dragons is on!

Where to watch House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon Season 1 is available to stream on HBO Max.