The tagline for “House of the Dragon” defiantly proclaims that “Fire Will Reign,” and that was certainly the case this past TV season as HBO’s blockbuster caught fire with “Game of Thrones” fans and TV audiences worldwide. After boasting almost 10 million viewers for its premiere episode last August (cementing it the most-watched HBO series premiere ever), the fantasy smash shattered records throughout its 10-episode freshman season run, generating so much mouth-watering buzz for studio Warner Bros. Discovery that expectations are now sky-high for the show’s Emmy prospects later this year.
“House of the Dragon,” the prequel series to HBO’s megahit “Game of Thrones,” was created by novelist George R. R. Martin and collaborator Ryan Condal and stars Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen alongside Emmy nominee Matt Smith (“The Crown”) as Prince Daemon Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. The sprawling cast also includes Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.
SEE Memo to awards voters: Paddy Considine gives the performance of his career in ‘House of the Dragon’
The 10-episode first season is set two centuries before the events of “Game of Thrones” and 172 years before the birth of the now-iconic “Thrones” character Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), depicting the events leading up to and covering the bloody Targaryen civil war of succession known as the “Dance of the Dragons.”
According to our current 2023 Emmy racetrack odds, “Dragon” is sitting comfortably in sixth place with 10/1 odds behind presumptive frontrunner “Succession,” recent Golden Globe and SAG victor “The White Lotus: Sicily” (11/2) in second, the swansong season of “Better Call Saul” in third, HBO megahit “The Last of Us” in fourth and previous winner “The Crown” in fifth. Previous nominee “Yellowjackets” is clinging to seventh place just ahead of “The Mandalorian” in eighth. Rounding out the top ten are two “on the cusp” contenders: “Andor” and “Yellowstone.”
SEE Awards spotlight: Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Eve Best run the world of Westeros in ‘House of the Dragon’
HBO is hoping that “House of the Dragon” can possibly match its Emmy-magnet predecessor “Game of Thrones” across the board. “Thrones” amassed a staggering 164 Emmy nominations over the years, including eight consecutive Best Drama Series nominations and a grand total of 59 wins (holding the all-time record for most Emmys won for a drama series), including top drama series wins for each of its last four seasons. Of its 164 nominations, 32 were for the original series’ cast, spread among 12 members of its ensemble. Supporting actor Peter Dinklage was the only actor from the show to win, which he did four times.
Interestingly, among last year’s drama series top eight Emmy lineup, all but one (“Stranger Things” season 4) were nominated at the precursor Golden Globe or Critics Choice Awards for Best Drama Series. Of the lucky seven, three shows claimed nominations at both kudosfests (“Succession” season 3 and the first seasons of both “Severance” and “Squid Game”), pole-vaulting them to almost-certain drama series Emmy nominations. Similarly, earlier this year, three series were nominated at the Golden Globes and Critics Choices for drama series: “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown” and – you guessed it – “House of the Dragon.” If I am running the Emmy campaigns of any of these three series, that’s a fun fact I’d be shouting from the mountaintops.
Outside the coveted Best Drama Series prize, the prequel’s Emmy prospects still look pretty solid. “House of the Dragon” has been a huge success for HBO commercially and with critics (it has an impressive 93% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes) and the industry has also shown the series plenty of love, with nominations across the board from Hollywood guilds representing the cinematographers, editors, makeup artists and visual effects maestros. There was also a Best Stunt Ensemble nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and a win for the series’ costume designer Jany Temime from the Costume Designers Guild.
Fire Will Reign, indeed.
PREDICT the 2023 Emmy nominees through July 12
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