For almost a decade, society was divided into two distinct categories: Those who watched Game of Thrones, and those who didn’t.
And it seems the old divide is set to return, with HBO reportedly beginning the casting process for the main characters in their highly anticipated GoT prequel series, House of the Dragon.
While many have tried, few television programs have garnered the same adoration, fanaticism and wide-spread obsession as GoT when it first hit screens in 2011.
The series is co-created by @GRRMSpeaking and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series. pic.twitter.com/9ttMzElgXm
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) October 29, 2019
By the time the eighth and final season ended in 2019, it had become one of the most-watched shows in history and left its enormous fanbase desperate for more.
And the few who hadn’t been swept away by the hype were finally able to show their faces in public without fearing the inevitable indignation they encountered every time they outed themselves as a non-fan.
“What do you mean you’ve never seen it? Have you watched the first episode? It’s the best show. You just need to give it a go!” the rabid fans would yell, frothing at the mouth.
But with the new series already in pre-production, it seems the GoT drought might finally be over.
House of the Dragon is coming …
The series will be based on the book Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin and is set 300 years before the events in GoT.
According to HBO programming president Casey Bloys the show has a while to go before viewers can sink their teeth into it.
“My guess is some time in 2022,” Mr Bloys told Deadline.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the series will likely chronicle the history of House Targaryen, and will cover the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, which brought destruction to Westeros.
The book spans 150 years but there is no word yet on whether the series will only focus on a specific time, or if it will cover the entire period.
Reports suggest casting has already begun for two prominent characters featured in the book, Queen Alicent Hightower, wife of King Viserys I, and her step-daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.
The 10-episode series will be written by Hercules (2014) and Rampage (2018) screenwriter Ryan Condal, who created the series with Martin.
Mr Condal will share the co-showrunner title with GoT veteran director Miguel Sapochnik, who will direct the pilot and some additional episodes.
Mr Sapochnik is known for directing episodes in the original series including Emmy-winning The Battle of the Bastards, The Long Night and The Winds of Winter.
Mr Bloys praised those who had already signed on to the new series.
“The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories,” Mr Bloys said.
“We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George.”
But while House of the Dragon might be the last spinoff standing, it wasn’t the only one HBO had in the works.
The pilot that failed to land
Another GoT prequel series was due to hit screens starring Naomi Watts and written by The Kingsmen screenwriter Jane Goldman.
This series was set 8000 years before the events of GoT, and while the pilot has already been shot, a lengthy post-production period combined with a poor reception resulted in the project being killed off by HBO.
“For me for right now, I think getting House of the Dragon on the air will be the No.1 priority,” Mr Bloys said.
“There are no other blinking green lights or anything like that. Some time down the road who knows, but there are no immediate plans. We are all focusing on House of the Dragon.
“In development, in pilots, sometimes things come together, sometimes they don’t,” he said.
“One of the things I think Jane took on beautifully, which was a challenge, there was a lot more world creation because she set hers 8000 years before the (mothership) show, so it required a lot more. That is a big swing.
“One of the things about House of Dragons, there is a text, there is a book so that made it a little bit more of a road map for a series order.
“I think Jane did a beautiful job. It was a big challenge but there was nothing that I would point to and say, oh, that one element did not work, just overall it did not quite gel.”
Fans can re-watch the entire series on Foxtel’s streaming platform Binge, and non-fans can either finally give in, or enjoy the last two years before the GoT hysteria starts once again.