'House of the Dragon' Season 2: Everything We Know

The Dance of the Dragons is on its way.

house of the dragon season 2
(Image credit: Theo Whitman/HBO)

HBO's hit show and pop culture phenomenon Game of Thrones is officially a franchise. The first in-universe spinoff, House of the Dragon brought back the world of Westeros with a prequel story filled with royal intrigue and stunning dragons, led by a stacked cast of warring Targaryens.

Though some fans were skeptical of the show's chances after Thrones' divisive finale, House of the Dragon's renewal chances skyrocketed when its premiere episode brought in nearly 10 million viewers, the highest ratings for an HBO premiere ever. In response, the network decided to go all in on the Game of Thrones spinoff.

"We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with season one," Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming, said in a statement. "Our phenomenal cast and crew undertook a massive challenge and exceeded all expectations, delivering a show that has already established itself as must-see-TV. A huge thank you [to co-creator and executive producer George R.R. Martin and co-creator and showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik] for leading us on this journey. We couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing to life the epic saga of House Targaryen with season two.”

Here's what we know about the forthcoming second season so far.

Release Date

HBO revealed on November 2, 2023, that House of the Dragon will return in “early summer” 2024. Per Variety, the first trailer from the new season was also shown exclusively to attendees, though details about the clips' contents are under embargo. (Boo.) The network also confirmed that season 2 will consist of eight episodes, two fewer than season 1. (Boo again.)

HBO previously announced in April 2023 that production had begun filming season 2 at Leavesden Studios in the U.K., with the show's official Twitter posting a new photo from set. Variety later reported that the show's production wouldn't be affected by the SAG-AFTRA strike, as its cast is composed of primarily U.K. actors who are working under contracts governed by the local union, Equity.

"House of the Dragon has returned," showrunner Ryan Condal said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera. 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."

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Teaser

On December 2, HBO released the first look at House of the Dragon season 2, via a set of first-look images and the first teaser. The minute-long clip sets up the upcoming season's clash over the Iron Throne between Rhaenyra and Aegon II, with Aegon's mother Alicent Hightower stating, "The war will be fought, many will die, and the victor will eventually ascend the throne." As expected of a Targaryen civil war, the teaser is also filled with dragons and dragonfire, as we see one of the first battles of the epic conflict.

"There is no war so hateful to the gods as a war between kin," Princess Rhaenys says, "and no war so bloody as a war between dragons."

house of the dragon season 2

(Image credit: Theo Whitman/HBO)

house of the dragon season 2

(Image credit: Theo Whitman/HBO)

house of the dragon season 2

(Image credit: Ollie Upton/HBO)

house of the dragon season 2

(Image credit: Ollie Upton/HBO)

house of the dragon season 2

(Image credit: Ollie Upton/HBO)

Cast

HBO has confirmed which of the main cast is returning for the next season, including all of the main players in the Dance of the Dragons: Emma D’Arcy (Rhaenyra Targaryen), Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower), Matt Smith (Daemon Targaryen), Rhys Ifans (Otto Hightower), Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole), Steve Touissant (Corlys Targaryen), Eve Best (Rhaenys Targaryen), Harry Collett (Jacaerys Velaryon), Tom Glynn-Carney (Aegon II) and Ewan Mitchell (Aemond Targaryen). Among the actors we lost in Season 1 are Paddy Considine as King Viserys and Elliot Grihault as Lucerys.

Other returning actors include Bethany Antonia (Baela Targaryen), Phoebe Campbell (Rhaena Targaryen), Phia Saban (Helaena Targaryen), Jefferson Hall (Jason Lannister), and Matthew Needham (Larys Strong). Another surprising (unless you're a book fan) familiar name on the list is Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, a.k.a. the White Worm. Looks like she's survived the Hightowers' murder attempt at the end of season one to live another day.

We also know of a few characters who will either have a much larger role or appear for the first time next season. Now that they're on opposing sides, twins Ser Arryk and Erryk Cargyll (played by twin actors Luke and Elliott Tittensor, respectively) will be important knights to follow. Also, Season 2 ends with Jacaerys headed to Winterfell to secure the allyship of Cregan Stark (played by new cast member Tom Taylor), and HotD can't tease a Stark ancestor and not give them ample screen time. Finally, author George R.R. Martin previously teased that Viserys and Alicent's fourth child (yes, they have another grown kid) Daeron will appear in the new season, per EW.

As for the younger versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent, actors Milly Alcock and Emily Carey are officially not returning for season 2. Showrunner Ryan Condal previously told Variety that the two characters will not be involved, though they may return through flashbacks in later seasons. "[Alcock and Carey] are not a part of the story that we’re telling, yet. That’s not a thing that we’re doing right now," he said.

"There are things that we haven’t fully sorted out," he added. "I’m not closing the door on anything. So there, how’s that for an answer?"

house of the dragon

(Image credit: Ollie Upton / HBO)

Plot

Season two is expected to pick up immediately following the tragic death of Rhaenyra’s son, Prince Lucerys "Luke" Velaryon (Elliot Grihault), at the hands of Alicent’s son Prince Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) in the devastating season 1 finale. Rhaenyra had initially been a proponent of peace after her father King Viserys' death, but in the epic final shot of season 1, it was clear on Rhaenyra's furious face that blood will answer for blood. The Dance of the Dragons is officially a go.

Book readers (or the spoiler-prone) know who ends up on the Iron Throne at the end of it all, but if you're following along with the show, there are few hints to find of the specifics of the upcoming season. One thing we do know is that the future seasons of HotD won't include the drastic time jumps that were employed in bringing the season from Rhaenyra and Alicent's childhood days to the start of the war. Co-creator Ryan Condal confirmed to Deadline back in October 2022 that there won't be any more decade-spanning, recast-mandating time jumps in the next season.

"We tell the story in real time from here forward," he told the outlet. "The actors are playing these characters until the end. We’re not recasting anybody. We’re not making any huge jumps forward in time. We are now in the Dance of the Dragons, and we’re gonna tell that story.

house of the dragon

(Image credit: Ollie Upton / HBO)

Future Seasons

One big question about the GoT prequel is whether it'll face the same fate as Thrones: having more seasons than source book material (to the show's detriment). Luckily, the creative team already has a plan for the end of the whole series. For an in-depth Hollywood Reporter story, the duo revealed that they have an ending in mind and a plan for the show to run a certain number of seasons, which sources saying that three to four seasons are plotted so far.

They also hinted that the show, or a subsequent spinoff, could explore another period of the Targaryen dynasty, which stretches all the way back to the Doom of Valyria (the destruction of the family's first home country) and King Aegon I's conquest of Westeros.

“The Targaryens span both directions,” season 1 director Miguel Sapochnik told the outlet. “So as a spine to other possible stories and spinoffs … this is a great place to start.”

Quinci LeGardye
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.