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People on Reddit have been trying to figure out what scenes take place in which episodes, and there seems to be a consensus that the Velaryon funerals take place in the episode after the time skip. . . but that the Strongs will have perished in the fire prior to then, which would mean that there’ll be almost no scenes between Rhaenyra and Harwin. I hope that this isn’t true, because that seems like such a colossal waste to me, and learning more about their relationship was something I was looking forward to on the show.

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16 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

People on Reddit have been trying to figure out what scenes take place in which episodes, and there seems to be a consensus that the Velaryon funerals take place in the episode after the time skip. . . but that the Strongs will have perished in the fire prior to then, which would mean that there’ll be almost no scenes between Rhaenyra and Harwin. I hope that this isn’t true, because that seems like such a colossal waste to me, and learning more about their relationship was something I was looking forward to on the show.

It's possible they may kill off the Harwin and his Lyonel before the time jump in Ep 6. 

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Rewatching 'Versailles' right now ... and I must say that the depiction of the relationship between Louis XIV and his brother Philippe as well as Philippe's relationship with the Chevalier could have been the kind of writing they could have drawn on for HotD if they had decided to cover the reign of Viserys I in two seasons.

The kind of love and jealousy you see between the king and his brother could have been what drove Viserys and Daemon, too.

And Laenor Velaryon could really have been a gay prince whose lovers and favorites caused his family nothing but grief.

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Two articles from HBO, one with a slideshow of promotional pictures and another with descriptions of what the show is about and some interviews with the actors.

We also are seeing some new pictures of Jaehaerys I, Aemma Arryn, and what seems to be Ryam Redwyne and the High Septon of Jaehaerys I at the Council of Harrenhal.

https://ew.com/tv/house-of-the-dragon-cover-story-game-of-thrones-enters-new-age/

https://ew.com/tv/house-of-the-dragon-cover-photos/

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Is it weird that reading the article made me. . . less excited for the show than before? Some of the Rhaenyra quotes have me worried. Obviously she’s going to be frustrated by sexism, but I hope the message isn’t “Rhaenyra should be queen because she’s not like other girls. She does cool guy stuff, not stupid girly shit like embroidery.” But after GOT, I really don’t have much faith that this won’t be the case.

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Rhaenyra aspiring to be seen as 'male' doesn't click with me at all.

She is a very, well, feminine woman. And it is not exceptional for a Targaryen woman to ride dragons. Most of the female dragonriders liked to ride their dragons more than their men (Rhaenys, Rhaena, Alysanne, Alyssa, etc.).

Yes, okay, Rhaenyra should not be doing needlework. But she isn't the kind of woman who would want to hunt and fight and go to war. But she still wants to rule and govern. That shouldn't be that hard to depict.

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14 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Rhaenyra aspiring to be seen as 'male' doesn't click with me at all.

She is a very, well, feminine woman. And it is not exceptional for a Targaryen woman to ride dragons. Most of the female dragonriders liked to ride their dragons more than their men (Rhaenys, Rhaena, Alysanne, Alyssa, etc.).

Yes, okay, Rhaenyra should not be doing needlework. But she isn't the kind of woman who would want to hunt and fight and go to war. But she still wants to rule and govern. That shouldn't be that hard to depict.

Yeah, the article tries to paint this show as progressive, but the idea that the most competent women are the ones that act like men is antiquated as hell.

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4 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Yeah, the article tries to paint this show as progressive, but the idea that the most competent women are the ones that act like men is antiquated as hell.

In context also not very well thought out.

Royalty doesn't behave like normal (or even noble) men and women. They do present themselves as male or female royalty.

They would all be prepared to represent the dynasty, meaning their duties for the family would be the same in many instances. Some things women couldn't do, other things men couldn't or wouldn't do.

But manliness wouldn't be the criterion to be able to lead ... especially not for a Targaryen since they ride dragons. That should trump riding an armored horse into battle any day of the week.

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I think Elio & Linda said they're on vacation, but HUGE cover story update in Entertainment Weekly today:

https://ew.com/tv/house-of-the-dragon-cover-story-game-of-thrones-enters-new-age/

Comes with our first cast video ever:
 

Notes:

  • Ryan Condal really seems to "get it" about what sets this specific prequel era apart from the others: "it's the Targaryens at their greatest height, and then the civil war that began their decline. It's the fall of Rome" - "when we start, it's an era of decadence and great wealth", "there's been peace for over 50 years, 70 by later in season one, there hasn't been a major war in living memory so they've gotten complacent"  -- all great stuff. 
  • Jaehaerys I Targaryen has been cast: veteran English actor Michael Carter (he also played Bib Fortuna in Return of the Jedi)
  • We got a promo photo of Jaehaerys in full costume presiding over the Great Council at Harrenhal (bit of a condensation but I'm all for it). Photo also confirms rumor that Sian Brooke has been cast as Aemma Arryn. We also see Garry Cooper as Ryam Redwyne.
  • (We actually heard rumors about who was playing Jaehaerys and Aemma months ago, but I didn't report on the Jaehaerys one because it was just too big of a spoiler; some of you may remember I said "it's someone who had a speaking role in a Star Wars movie, but you wouldn't recognize the actor's name, it's not like a household name" - he's more of a stage actor)
  • They're apparently keeping the detail that "Rhaenys lost the vote by twenty to one" because Eve Best mentions this in the video.
  • They're apparently keeping the detail that "the Velaryons are actually an older House than the Targaryens in a sense, because they settled Driftmark centuries before the Doom of Valyria, as a remote trade outpost between Valyria and Westeros. The Targaryens came much later." etc. Corlys actor mentions it.
  • Intriguing notes on the audition process give insight into how they see the actors? They all say they auditioned with placeholder dialogue and didn't even know what role they were auditioning for:
    • Milly Alcock (Young Rhaenyra) mentions they gave her ARYA dialogue as a placeholder in the audition sheet
    • Olivia Cooke (Alicent) says they gave her CERSEI dialogue as a placeholder in the audition sheets
    • Steve Toussaint (Corlys) says they gave him TYWIN dialogue as a placeholder in the audition sheets
Edited by The Dragon Demands
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Based on some of the actors’ comments, it sounds like most of them read FnB, which is a nice change from GOT (granted, it’s a much easier read).

The fan discourse around this show is already pretty toxic and dispiriting, and not just because of GOT. It hasn’t reached Rings of Power levels, but there’s already a lot of bickering about race, gender, whether the actors are “pretty enough,” etc. Right now, it’s mostly the anti-woke people who are angry, but I fully expect the woke people to lose it too once they find out that the Asian lady is playing a sadistic sex worker, the Black characters are part of a group called “the blacks,” and all the gay men are killed off (one of whom is beaten to death by a Dornishman). You can never please everyone, but HOTD does seem to have a lot stacked against it at the moment. 

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The one tidbit about the Daemon-Rhaenyra thing from the interviews to like is that they work well together because they are alike in their ambition. The vibe one gets from their very late marriage is that it was as much about uniting the families and preserving and building a power bloc than 'love' or 'passion'.

That said - one hopes the show has them better prepared than George in his book. There Dalton Greyjoy had more political acumen and foresight than Rhaenyra and Daemon who literally DID NOTHING AT ALL TO PREPARE FOR WAR!

They cannot really change the silly 'Oh, by the way, we have to send envoys out to asks folks whether they want to support us because we never cared about cultivating the love and loyalty and support of the most important noble houses in the Realm despite the fact that the Blacks and Greens were hating each other for almost twenty years' plot ... but they could tone it down and make it more a sort of a 'consultation with confirmed allies' (which would make Borros Baratheon an even bigger disappointment/traitor) than having young boys beg the Baratheons, Arryns, and Starks for aid.

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19 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

The one tidbit about the Daemon-Rhaenyra thing from the interviews to like is that they work well together because they are alike in their ambition. The vibe one gets from their very late marriage is that it was as much about uniting the families and preserving and building a power bloc than 'love' or 'passion'.

That said - one hopes the show has them better prepared than George in his book. There Dalton Greyjoy had more political acumen and foresight than Rhaenyra and Daemon who literally DID NOTHING AT ALL TO PREPARE FOR WAR!

They cannot really change the silly 'Oh, by the way, we have to send envoys out to asks folks whether they want to support us because we never cared about cultivating the love and loyalty and support of the most important noble houses in the Realm despite the fact that the Blacks and Greens were hating each other for almost twenty years' plot ... but they could tone it down and make it more a sort of a 'consultation with confirmed allies' (which would make Borros Baratheon an even bigger disappointment/traitor) than having young boys beg the Baratheons, Arryns, and Starks for aid.

Well, Daemon at the very least had spies at court. He was able to coordinate the Harrenhal ploy because of his “friends on the Green Council.”

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39 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Based on some of the actors’ comments, it sounds like most of them read FnB, which is a nice change from GOT (granted, it’s a much easier read).

Steve Toussaint respectfully said he didn't: and I fully support this, because:

  • 1 - Conleth Hill (Varys) remarked in the Season 8 DVD commentary that numerous cast members didn't read the books but would simply claim they did when asked in interviews, just to brush off the question. He felt it was very dishonest. Julian Glover was one of the few who openly said he didn't, but had an articulated response: that in his 40+ year career, he officially has a rule that he won't read source material when doing an adaptation - he philosophically believes that this is the job of the screenwriter and doesn't want to second guess them. So fine, be believes that and is willing to stand by it - Conleth Hill was instead disgusted with the cowardice and dishonesty of the MANY cast members who just pretended they read the books.
  • 2 - ....The Dance of the Dragons, more than any other prequel era, has the "unreliable narrator" element at such high levels, the whole Roshomon thing, that it's probably advisable for cast members NOT to read it. Condal's version is allegedly the "real" version that the rival accounts then distorted. So why make Toussaint read Fire & Blood, if it says "our sources diverge: Corlys may or may not have had Harwin Strong killed but we don't know the truth"?  And that's not even touching the question of "who was the 'real' Rhaenyra? Behind all these biased historical sources?" ---- I really wouldn't be upset about whether they read the books or not, so long as they take the TV role seriously and read the SCRIPTS attentively. 
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46 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

and all the gay men are killed off (one of whom is beaten to death by a Dornishman). 

Ma'am, they shouldn't be surprised: it is well known how hot-blooded the Dornish are...

Edited by The Dragon Demands
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12 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Well, Daemon at the very least had spies at court. He was able to coordinate the Harrenhal ploy because of his “friends on the Green Council.”

Yes, there also were Blacks at court Otto Hightower had imprisoned during the coup. But they were clearly ill or not prepared for the death of King Viserys and/or a coup nor to defend Rhaenyra's rights at swordpoint.

It is also quite striking that, Tyland Lannister aside (who wasn't a great lord but merely a great lord's brother) none of the great lords actually belonged to the inner circles of the two rivaling factions.

Any sane person with political acumen would have cultivated the allegiance/friendship of the Lord Tyrell of Highgarden in preparation for that ... and, failing that, the allegiance of the Lord of Casterly Rock.

I mean, George kind of explains the weakness of the Arryn link by making Jeyne merely the descendant of Aemma Arryn's elder half-brothers ... but she and Rhaenyra are still cousins. Yet Jacaerys Velaryon has to beg her for help, too ... and most of that only comes long after Jace and Rhaenyra are both dead. Otto and Alicent Hightower can count and rely on their relations in Oldtown ... Rhaenyra could not rely to the same degree on the family of her mother.

If no great lord wanted to attend the future queen on Dragonstone in the last ten years then at least some of their heirs or children should have been there. Vice versa, Rhaenyra herself should have sent many of her younger boys and her step daughters as pages, squires, and companions to the castles of the great houses to strengthen whatever ties she had with them.

As things stand, already seems to have relied on to ascend the Iron Throne was her dad's wishes an oath sworn over twenty years ago. That this wasn't enough even Dalton Greyjoy realized. But Rhaenyra and Daemon and the Velaryons didn't expect resistance or a coup nor the death of the king. Else they would have been prepared in 129 AC.

Edited by Lord Varys
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37 minutes ago, The Dragon Demands said:

Steve Toussaint respectfully said he didn't: and I fully support this, because:

  • 1 - Conleth Hill (Varys) remarked in the Season 8 DVD commentary that numerous cast members didn't read the books but would simply claim they did when asked in interviews, just to brush off the question. He felt it was very dishonest. Julian Glover was one of the few who openly said he didn't, but had an articulated response: that in his 40+ year career, he officially has a rule that he won't read source material when doing an adaptation - he philosophically believes that this is the job of the screenwriter and doesn't want to second guess them. So fine, be believes that and is willing to stand by it - Conleth Hill was instead disgusted with the cowardice and dishonesty of the MANY cast members who just pretended they read the books.
  • 2 - ....The Dance of the Dragons, more than any other prequel era, has the "unreliable narrator" element at such high levels, the whole Roshomon thing, that it's probably advisable for cast members NOT to read it. Condal's version is allegedly the "real" version that the rival accounts then distorted. So why make Toussaint read Fire & Blood, if it says "our sources diverge: Corlys may or may not have had Harwin Strong killed but we don't know the truth"?  And that's not even touching the question of "who was the 'real' Rhaenyra? Behind all these biased historical sources?" ---- I really wouldn't be upset about whether they read the books or not, so long as they take the TV role seriously and read the SCRIPTS attentively. 

Oh, I don’t know. If, say, Natalie Dormer had read the books, she would have known ahead of time that her character marries a child and may not have ended up asking the showrunners to kill her off back in S5 rather than continue a plot line she was clearly very uncomfortable with. 

The idea that actors are better off not reading the source material is such a silly argument to me. Actors don’t need to interview drug dealers or prostitutes to play them in a movie, but plenty of them do, despite real people not having the same story as their characters. Directors give their actors research assignments all the time to prepare for a role. The cast didn’t read ASOIAF because they didn’t want to sift through five 1,000-page books.

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