“we don’t want to copy Game of Thrones”

If the imprint of Game of Thrones is obvious, the House of the Dragon series wants to distil its references sparingly and does not aspire to follow its course to the letter. Meet the actors.

House of the Dragon did this monday august 22 his first steps on the small screen. Three years after the epic but controversial conclusion of Game of Thrones, the new series of HBO advances in minefield. Between tribute and rehash, the road to success is strewn with pitfalls.

The creative teams and the actors must thus bring out a new saga with colossal ambitions, and honor the stamp which quickly imposed itself as the main selling point of the American channel. We caught up with Milly Alcock and Fabien Frankel, who play Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Criston Cole respectively in House of the Dragonto discuss this issue with them.

Same universe, new challenges

If you had time to watch the first episode of House of the Dragon, you have probably not missed the various references and other nods that the narration makes to its elder. In front of Miguel Sapochnik’s camera, the first chapter of the series stands out as a summary of what makes Game of Thrones a complete and equally complex medieval epic.

For actors, this kind of score can sound like the chance of a lifetime. That doesn’t make it any less daunting, especially when you’re only 22 and given the lead role. Milly Alcock does not hide having felt a certain apprehension. “It’s terrifying, we don’t want to copy Game of Thrones, we want to make our own show.”

For Fabien Frankel, it is also a question of putting this spin-off into perspective, by immediately ruling out the possibility of becoming as iconic and popular as its predecessor.

“Television has changed in the 10 years since Game of Thrones started and there are so many great shows now that the chances of us getting our hands on what GOT has done are so slim. We just want to make a show that’s good, and people like it. We would already be very grateful. We don’t expect a reception like Game of Thrones, we can’t.”

But whether they like it or not, these new characters must come to terms with the shadow of the old ones hovering over their heads. This is especially the case for Rhaenyra Targaryen, who is reminiscent of another young blonde woman destined to ascend the Iron Throne. The spectators were quick to play the game of the seven differences.

“I didn’t expect it, not at all. It’s weird. Everybody yells at me Daenerys, Khaleesi, Milly, it’s fucking weird. I don’t know, I’m not trying to be Emilia Clarke. I hope people will love Rhaenyra, that they will love this character without having to compare it to Daenerys. I feel very grateful because my character is also in the hands of Emma. She plays a more mature version of the character, something I couldn’t have done, because of my age and experience. I’ve seen his work and it’s truly breathtaking.”

House of the Dragon
Credits: HBO

New perspectives

And House of the Dragon summons the ingredients of Game of Thrones, the series takes a new approach. The plot will be tighter, around a few places, where the series of DB Weiss and David Benioff had bet on an exploded narration to the four corners of Westeros and Essos.

Port-Réal should thus be the epicenter of this intrigue, even if some explorations are to be expected. For Milly Alcock, it is mainly this aspect that contributes to making House of the Dragon a different series.

“We explore this world with a new eye. It’s more condensed, we follow a family instead of four or five. All members of this family compete for the throne, which is very interesting. I also think that the style is very different, the rhythm too. I also think the way we do playoffs today is very different, so it will be different in essence.”

Fabien Frankel adds:

“Game of Thrones was such a phenomenon, an incredible series that feels more like a work of cinema with amazing characters, stunning settings, amazing directors like creator Miguel Sapochnik. He made one of the most important episodes of the series. For our series, it is therefore a question of honoring this license.”

From paper to screen

To properly honor the writings of George RR Martin, HBO has tapped the author to lead this project. The procrastinator, who seems ready to find all possible excuses not to conclude his literary saga, is writing the screenplay. He thus adapted his historical work for the small screen, with the help of Ryan J.Condal.

In this sense, the series is still moving forward on marked ground. For the actors, Martin’s involvement in the creative process didn’t prevent the story from taking some liberties. Fabien Frankel says:

“We knew from the start that no matter which book is adapted, the series will never be as faithful as the author has in mind. You watch every adaptation of every short story, there is never a script that is a completely faithful reproduction. You have to take narrative liberties to be able to sell the story on a screen rather than a page.”

However, the writer seems to have wanted to stay away from the teams once the shooting started. An absence which is explained according to Milly Alcock and Fabien Frankel by the pandemic.

“There was this chair, a director’s chair with his name on it. Every day I thought he would come on set and tell us our story, but he never came because of covid more than anything else. Miguel and Ryan were the two voices on this Game of Thrones legacy.”

It is still difficult, with a single episode, to predict a success similar to that of Game of Thrones pour House of the Dragon. The narrative promises many surprises as we explore the destiny of one of the most important houses in the universe. The hearings will be scrutinized over the next few weeks, by television observers, but also and above all by HBO.

The chain nevertheless seems to be rather confident since it has just been renewed for a second burst of episodes. The broadcast of the second episode this evening, at 3 a.m. in France, should still break audience records.

Source: Journal du Geek by www.journaldugeek.com.

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