Acting in House of the Dragon as if you were “walking into a live Shakespeare play”

Filming the first season of House of the DragonHBOs Game of Thrones prequel series, is coming to an end. The show is set about 200 years before the original series and adapts George RR Martin’s book Fire & Blood, a history of the Targaryen dynasty. The main action will revolve around the Dance of the Dragons, a bloody civil war in which different branches of the Targaryen family fought each other for the Iron Throne.

But the Targaryens aren’t the only players that matter. Like Game of ThronesHouse of the Dragon has a huge cast. A key figure is Ser Harwin “Breakbones” Strong, a skilled warrior who is heir to Harrenhal’s castle. He is also (allegedly) the lover of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and the actual father of her three sons, even though she is married to Laenor Velaryon.

Ser Harwin is played by Australian actor Ryan Corr, who goes to the House of the Dragon set after filming a smaller drama series called The Secrets She Keeps† “In Australia we do 12-15 scenes a day and shoot about the equivalent in minutes, where you can shoot one scene every two weeks there,” he said.† “If you’re ready to start at the beginning of the day and all takes are active, you can be a little exhausted by the time you’re on time at the end of the day. There’s a little adjustment if your bigger going to do things, but essentially the work is the same – it all depends on trust and who you work with.”

Its sheer size was something I was amazed at. When you walk into operational sets with real jousting tournaments and full size castles with fire cauldrons hanging from the roof, it’s quite an incredible place to be. It’s like walking into a live Shakespeare play.

House of the Dragon showrunners separate their series from Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones fans are used to television on a large scale and it’s no surprise that House of the Dragon will continue that tradition. Actually, Game of Thrones was such a huge hit that it could weigh on the minds of anyone working on the prequel. Corry acknowledged that there are many fans to whom the story “meant so much”, but he does his best not to let a good performance get in the way. “There’s an unconscious pressure that can build up if you’re not careful,” he said.

Fortunately, showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik emphasized to Corr and his castmates that this was a new story. “What Miguel and Ryan talked to us about on set and during the auditions, it blows all of that out of your head,” Corr recalls. “They said, ‘We don’t want people here acting like they’re on… Game of Thronesit’s about putting yourself first and humanizing these people.’”

That seems very sensible to us. For what it’s worth, the strategy seems to be working, at least for George RR Martin, who loved the first few episodes of House of the Dragon when he got to see them a while back. “It’s dark, it’s powerful, it’s deep-seated… just the way I like my epic fantasy,” he exulted.

House of the Dragon coming out later this year. Hopefully we’ll get news about a release date soon.

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