What book is House of the Dragon based on?

Jessica Cullen
Emily Carey and Millie Alcock as Alicent and Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon follows the world brought to life by George R.R. Martin’s books, but which book is the show based on?

Game of Thrones might be one of the most famous small screen adaptations ever produced, and House of the Dragon isn’t far behind. Exploring George R.R. Martin’s immersive world of dragons and feuding kingdoms, HBO managed to bring the epic fantasy drama to life, and made one of the best TV shows in doing so.

The most hardcore Game of Thrones viewers will likely have read the Song of Ice and Fire series, but which book does House of the Dragon’s TV tale come from?

Here’s everything you need to know, including details on how the book was received and how the show lives up to it.

What book is House of the Dragon based on?

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R Martin’s history book, Fire & Blood.

Rather than a typical novel, the book is actually credited as being written by an Archmaester of Westeros, essentially serving as a fictional collection of accounts as to what happened during Targaryen reign.

It covers the House Targaryen dynasty. In 2017, Martin revealed that Fire & Blood had simply grown too big for one book (since he’d incorporated so much material), and that the book would be split into two volumes.

The first volume is Fire & Blood, the second half of which is what House of the Dragon is based on. Specifically, it’s based on the ‘The Dying of the Dragons’ text, which totals about 60,000 words.

Other texts included the conquests and reigns of Aegon I Targaryen, Aenys I Targaryen, King Maegor I Targaryen, and Jaehaerys I Targaryen. It ends with Aegon III’s reign in the ‘Aftermath’ text.

The second volume is assumed to still be in progress, and in 2022, Martin hinted that he might name it Blood & Fire.

How does it compare to A Song of Ice and Fire?

At the time of its release in 2018, Fire & Blood received mixed reviews.

Some described it as a masterpiece and integral to the understanding of the history of the Seven Kingdoms, while others dubbed it as being self-indulgent.

House of the Dragon, on the other hand, is a very highly-rated show. At the time of writing, it has 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has received generally positive reviews for its second season.

Is House of the Dragon accurate to the book?

Since Fire & Blood is more of a scholarly telling of “history”, there are no specific scenes or character motivations for House of the Dragon to stick to. Therefore, the show adapts the events of the book with a fair amount of creative freedom.

The major events are used as beats for the show, but finer details are left to interpretation for the reader. Therefore, HBO is able to adapt the scenes as they see fit.

House of the Dragon Season 2 arrives on June 16, 2024 on HBO. For more, here’s everything to know about Blood and Cheese, one of the more horrific moments from the book. You can also learn about A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, and find new TV shows to stream this month.

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