Warning: SPOILERS ahead for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10.House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal says season 2 of the show will have an ensemble structure similar to Game of Thrones. House of the Dragon season 1 followed a relatively smaller cast of major characters compared to its parent series, as the focus was primarily limited to the royal Targaryen family. The budding conflict between former friends Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower was the central focus of the season. While other storylines received some attention – such as Lord Corlys Velaryon’s brush with death and Lord Larys Strong’s loyalty to Alicent – everything shown was directly part of the buildup to the Dance of the Dragons.
Despite the singular focus, House of the Dragon’s lead-in to civil war was presented through the eyes of many characters. While they did not appear in every episode of the series, figures like Corlys, Larys, and Ser Criston Cole of the Kingsguard have gone through their own smaller journeys, impacted by the brewing conflict. Ser Criston, for example, develops from wanting to marry Rhaenyra to becoming a loyal servant to Alicent, even after King Viserys’ death. The decision to have multiple characters set up as important players from the start sets the stage for House of the Dragon season 2’s planned structure.
In an interview with EW, House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal explained that season 2 of the show would take a wider look at Westeros, featuring an ensemble cast akin to Game of Thrones. Condal said that, while House of the Dragon season 2 would not have the same type of sprawling narrative as Game of Thrones, the show would grow familiar for those who watched its parent series. Check out what Condal had to say below:
I don’t know if the Dance of the Dragons will ever have the sprawl that the original Game of Thrones did, simply because of North of the Wall and Esso and all these other places that it went. But certainly the season that we’re writing, the rhythms of this show are going to feel much more like a middle season — seasons 3-6 of Game of Thrones — in terms of its scope and breadth and the number of characters.
[Season 2] does fall into that ensemble piece where you’re following multiple characters. They’re not all in the same place, but this is still very much a story of Alicent and Rhaenyra and their families pitted against each other. We’re not gonna suddenly pull away from telling their stories. It’s just the nature of this thing, in season 2, it really opens up the world in a big way and the sprawl grows quite a bit.
In keeping with Condal’s promise, House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10 opened the possibility of a wider geographical focus for season 2. Rhaenyra’s children, Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon, are tasked with flying out on their dragons to find allies for the upcoming war with Queen Alicent and the greens in control of King’s Landing. During his mission to Storm’s Landing, Lucerys is killed by Aemond Targaryen’s dragon. The location of his death could allow for House Baratheon’s perspective of the war to be shown. Jacaerys’ flight to find allies in the North also means the Starks will appear once more in the Game of Thrones universe, possibly introducing a character – like Lord Cregan Stark – that can offer viewers a northern perspective on the Dance of the Dragons.
Additionally, characters the audience already knows may find themselves in a brighter spotlight. House of the Dragon season 2 could feature Aemond’s perspective on the fallout of his grave mistake, giving the sadistic young prince deeper character development in the process. Another candidate as a new, primary perspective, is Lord Corlys, who pledged his allegiance to Rhaenyra and offered her the Velaryon fleet to cut off trade to King’s Landing. The introduction of new characters and refocusing on known figures in House of the Dragon offers plenty of ways for Condal to present an ensemble war narrative to viewers in season 2.