This article contains potential spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2.
While the American entertainment industry is shut down by studios’ refusal to give writers and actors a fair deal, some productions overseas are able to continue apace. One of those productions is season 2 of Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.
According to a source no less authoritative than A Song of Ice and Fire writer and Game of Thrones progenitor George R.R. Martin, the scripts are wrapped on season 2 and filming is still underway in Wales, Spain, and other locations around Europe.
“The [HOTD] actors are members of the British union, Equity, not SAG-AFTRA, and though Equity strongly supports their American cousins (they have a big rally planned to show that support), British law forbids them from staging a sympathy strike. If they walk, they have no protection against being fired for breach of contract, or even sued,” Martin writes on his LiveJournal blog.
Is that an unfortunate situation for the British cast of actors, many of whom would like to support their striking American colleagues? Absolutely. Is it in poor taste for HBO to find a way to continue filming, putting showrunner Ryan Condal (of both the non-striking directors’ guild and the striking writers’ guild) in a difficult spot? You betcha. Does it also mean we still get to receive compelling House of the Dragon season 2 news amid a relative content desert? Ok fine, yeah. It does. But let’s be respectful about it.
In addition to Martin’s revealing blog post, some big downloads of House of the Dragon season 2 information have dropped within the past couple of weeks. And nearly all of them point to a major storyline that fans of the source material Fire & Blood will be delighted to see made the cut.
The first bit of news is a casting. Per Winter is Coming, compiling a report from reliable scoop site Redanian Intelligence, Amanda Collin has been cast as Jeyne Arryn. Sci-fi fans will be familiar with Collin through her role as the enigmatic and powerful android Mother on HBO Max series Raised by Wolves. Interestingly enough, House of the Dragon has also reportedly cast her android “Father” counterpart in that show, Abubakar Salim, as Alyn of Hull in season 2.
In Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire timeline, Jeyne Arryn was the Head of House Arryn and the Lady of the Eyrie through the reign of four Targaryen monarchs. As a female ruler of her region, Lady Jeyne understandably has some Westerosi bullshit to deal with, including the fact that the fictional “historians” presented in Fire & Blood have a lot to say about her sexuality. The source Mushroom insists that she had a voracious appetite for men. Septon Eustace points to her lifelong friendship with Jessamyn Redford as an indication she was attracted to women. House of the Dragon will have a chance to answer that question, but more importantly will also get to depict House Arryn’s continuing frayed relationship with House Targaryen, following Prince Daemon’s likely murder of The Vale’s own Lady Rhea Royce.
The casting of Jeyne Arryn will be an opportunity for season 2 to spend more time with one of its most important characters: Queen Rhaenyra’s eldest son Jacaerys Velaryon. You might recall that in House of the Dragon season 1’s final episode, Rhaenyra sent her two eldest boys on recruiting missions. The younger Lucerys “Luke” was sent south to the Stormlands on what was seen as the relatively safer journey, while the older “Jace” was sent north for the more perilous route.
Unfortunately, even the “easier” task ended up costing Luke his life. How then will Jace be able to handle his northern responsibilities? The introduction of Jeyne Arryn suggests that it might go better than one might think … as does the inclusion of a region north of The Vale. And that brings us to the set photos.
On Aug. 1, several House of the Dragon fan social media accounts posted some very revealing behind-the-scenes imagery.
That’s right, friends. It’s The Wall! As depicted in Fire & Blood, Jace’s trip to The Vale will likely go well enough that he’s able to continue on to some of the most iconic Thrones regions in The North: Stark castle Winterfell, and The Night’s Watch home on The Wall. Though they never actually appear “onscreen” (remember that Fire & Blood is presented as a history book and there aren’t many sources on the ground with Jace in The North), Jace’s time spent with the Stark family is a favorite passage among fans.
Like season 1 before it, House of the Dragon season 2 will be an enormous undertaking that incorporates many narratives, settings, and characters. Based on the latest teases from Thrones-world, however, we’re comfortable concluding that Jace Velaryon and his many journeys will be as big a fan favorite for TV watchers as they were for book readers. Now if we could just get that Cregan Stark casting announced…