House of the Dragon showrunners say Game of Thrones hatred “doesn’t affect them”

Matt Smith in House of the Dragon and Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington in Game of Thrones.HBO

The showrunners on House of the Dragon aren’t fazed by the controversy that’s blighted the legacy of Game of Thrones, saying they aren’t “affected” by it.

No other show in the history of television has experienced the same trajectory as Game of Thrones. It started as the explicit, gory outsider on HBO, quickly becoming one of the most widely-watched dramas across the world.

Dense, wordy mythology became part of the cultural lexicon, and in its last few seasons, each weekly episode was a full-blown event; pubs held screenings, where rapturous cheers and wails of woe filled the air, whether it was the Battle of the Bastards or the ending of The Long Night.

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Then the ending ruined everything. For the vast majority of fans, it felt like a gross insult to the overall direction of the series, seemingly trading genuine investment in the characters for blockbuster television without substance backing its shocks. Its pop culture footprint has almost vanished – but a comeback is upon us.

House of the Dragon showrunners respond to Game of Thrones ending controversy

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the show’s release in August, co-showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik spoke about the reaction to the original show’s ending and whether it affected them on House of the Dragon.

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Condal, who co-created the prequel with author George R.R. Martin, said: “People are always going to have something to say about the way a beloved thing comes to an end.

“What they say doesn’t really affect the way we approach this. We have this huge legacy to carry forward. [And we want to] do that in the best way that honors what came before, but also doesn’t do the thing that I think a lot of sequels do: here’s [what] you love wrapped up in a different packaging.”

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Paddy Considine, who stars as the reigning King Viserys I in House of the Dragon, understands the controversy that engulfed David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ stewardship of the series.

He said: “When you live with something for so many years and watch those characters on that adventure, I think people start to write their own endings.

“I feel like a bit of that probably happened. And I was probably one of them, as well.”

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House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO on August 21, 2022.