Can ‘House of the Dragon’ Be HBO’s Next ‘Game of Thrones’? | Big Indy News
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Can ‘House of the Dragon’ Be HBO’s Next ‘Game of Thrones’?

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LOS ANGELES — George R.R. Martin has seen the comments, and he’s read the emails.

Ever since “Game of Thrones,” the groundbreaking HBO fantasy series, went off the air in May 2019, he has been well aware of the backlash against the show’s final season. Martin, the man who painstakingly created the “Thrones” universe over the last three decades through his many books, and who was mostly on the sidelines during the final seasons of the TV series, does wonder if there will be some viewers who skip “House of the Dragon,” the first “Thrones” spinoff. The series will make its much-anticipated debut on HBO and HBO Max on Aug. 21.

“People say, ‘I’m done with “Game of Thrones,” they burned me, I’m not even going to watch this new show — I’m not going to watch any of the new shows,’” Martin said in a recent interview.

The question, he said, is how much of the “Thrones” audience do the complainers represent?

“I mean, are we talking about a million people?” he asked. “Or are we talking about 1,000? People who have nothing to do except tweet all day over and over again? I don’t know.”

Martin and HBO are about to find out.

Three years after the most popular show in HBO’s history bowed out, the hunt for a successor is finally over. It took a lot of effort to get here. Numerous “Thrones” prequels were put into development, and a pilot episode for another spinoff was filmed before it was canceled. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into the winner of the bake-off, “House of the Dragon.”

The stakes are high. Success for “House of the Dragon” would reassure HBO executives that viewers are craving more “Thrones” stories and could lead to many more shows set in Westeros and beyond. In addition to this series, HBO has at least five other “Thrones” projects in active development.

“The trick here is, you don’t want to just remake the original show,” said Casey Bloys, the HBO chief content officer. “You want to make a show that feels related and honors the original, but also feels like its own.

“It is a very important franchise to us.”

But if the first one out of the gate fails to find an audience, it could raise questions about whether the Thrones Cinematic Universe is really the intellectual property gold mine that HBO executives hope it is.

HBO’s new corporate overlords, executives from Discovery, have a crushing $53 billion debt load, and they have been looking for savings — in other words, high-cost “Thrones” spinoffs had better pay off. “House of the Dragon” will also have plenty of competition in the would-be blockbuster space. Two weeks into the prequel’s run, Amazon will debut its enormously expensive and ambitious “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” Will two splashy, big-budget fantasy series be too much for some viewers?

It will also have to overcome the stench of a final few episodes that left fans and critics scratching their heads at hairpin narrative turns as the series galloped well past the still-unfinished works of Martin’s series of books, “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

But those are the challenges.

Here’s what “House of Dragon” has going for it: “Thrones,” which ran between 2011 and 2019, was the most-watched show in HBO’s history. That controversial finale drew nearly 20 million viewers the night it premiered — an astonishing figure in the fragmented streaming era. “Thrones” was also a delight to critics and won more Emmys than any series in TV history, including winning best drama four times.

The series changed television in so many ways — lavish budgets, technical wizardry, a cinematic scope that was once rare for the small screen — that it can be a little too easy to overlook the incredibly strong foundation it built for spinoffs.

“I do believe that is a little bit more of an online narrative than it is in real life,” Bloys said, of the final season backlash. “I mean, we have the data of who’s watching ‘Game of Thrones,’ and it is consistently in the Top 10 assets that people watch on HBO Max around the world. As we’re coming closer to the premiere of this show, we’ve seen people going back, and we’ve seen an uptick in the viewership on HBO Max for the flagship series.”

“House of the Dragon” takes place almost 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.” The series follows the Targaryen family — that would be the silver-haired, dragon-flying crew, the one that Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) made famous in the original series — just as it is about to rupture, with dire consequences for the realm.

And in the premiere episode, there are elements that will look familiar to “Thrones” viewers, including plenty of gore, multiple dragons and an Iron Throne. Also: nudity and an orgy.

It took more than five years to get to this point. In May 2017, with the penultimate season of “Game of Thrones” about to debut, the network announced that it had four potential spinoffs in the works. A year later, a candidate was chosen: a prequel that would take place some 1,000 years before the events of the original series.

It would not last. By 2019, after the pilot was shot, the network pulled the plug.

“Once I saw that first pilot, I knew that was not the series to launch,” Bob Greenblatt, the former chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, where he oversaw HBO, wrote in an email. Greenblatt said the pilot didn’t feel “expansive or epic enough.”

At that time, the clock was also ticking. HBO had been very deliberate in developing spinoffs, and WarnerMedia, then owned by AT&T, was months away from debuting its new streaming service, HBO Max. Greenblatt was “desperate to get something — anything — from the ‘Game of Thrones’ I.P. into our pipelines,” he wrote.

“I understood Casey and the team’s reluctance to throw a new ‘Game of Thrones’ show into production (especially since the backlash from the final season of the original series),” he added. “However, while we all knew no sequel or prequel would probably ever rise to the level of the original, there was agreement we had to go forward with something.”

Luckily, the network had another project in development, one that Martin had been pushing for some time: his rise-and-fall tale of the Targaryens, which he had written about extensively in his books. “House of the Dragon” is adapted from Martin’s “Fire & Blood,” the first in a planned two-volume chronicle of the family’s exploits and clashes.

“He was very passionate about this particular story,” said Miguel Sapochnik, a veteran of the original series and a showrunner of “House of the Dragon.”

The network cycled through two writers before Martin asked for help from an old friend: The writer Ryan Condal, a creator of the USA science fiction show, “Colony.”

Condal caught up regularly with Martin over dinner and drinks and geeked out over the works of other fantasists like Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ursula K. Le Guin. “When we would get together we would, you know, talk like two fanboys do,” Martin said. Martin asked Condal to start writing a Targaryen prequel.

HBO executives liked what they saw in Condal, who signed on as a creator, with Martin, and as a showrunner. After Sapochnik, who directed some of the original’s biggest episodes, also agreed to be a showrunner, HBO ordered “House of the Dragon” straight to series.

“What appealed to me about it was it’s a family drama,” Bloys said. “Anybody who has stepparents or siblings or half siblings, or had warring factions of a family — I think every single family in America has dealt with some version of this.”

As Condal got to work on “House of the Dragon,” he leaned on Martin’s expertise a lot — the opposite of what had happened with Martin in the later seasons of “Game of Thrones.” In the early seasons, Martin wrote and read scripts, consulted on casting decisions and visited sets. Over time, however, as he stepped back to focus on his long-delayed next “Thrones” novel, “The Winds of Winter,” Martin grew estranged from the show, which was created by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff.

“By Season 5 and 6, and certainly 7 and 8, I was pretty much out of the loop,” Martin said.

When asked why, he said, “I don’t know — you have to ask Dan and David.” (A representative for Weiss and Benioff declined to comment.)

Martin also said that “The Winds of Winter” — which he conceded is “very, very late” but vowed to finish — diverges from where “Game of Thrones,” the series, went.

“My ending will be very different,” he said.

Martin said he wants from “Thrones” what Marvel has done — created a world that Disney continues to mine and that fans reliably show up to watch. Last year, he signed an overall deal with HBO, and he has been actively involved with the other spinoffs in development.

“George, for us, in this process has been a really valuable resource,” Bloys said. “He is literally the creator of this world. He is its historian, its creator, its keeper. And so I can’t imagine doing a show that he didn’t believe in or didn’t endorse.”

As for viewership totals, Bloys said he did not expect “House of the Dragon” to match the heights of “Game of Thrones.” But he was still hopeful that it will be a hit and lay the groundwork for future spinoffs.

“There’s no world in which we expect this to pick up where the original left off,” Bloys said. “I think the show will do really well. But it will have to do the work on its own to bring people in and to sustain the viewership.”

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This Soft Turtleneck Sweater Dress Will Keep You Warm All Winter — Only $40!

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Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

Sweater dresses are delightful in theory but difficult in execution. They’re usually either too long or too short, too thin or too thick, too tight or too loose. We can never seem to strike the perfect balance — so, then we end up wearing pants and tops all season instead. Boring! Time to switch up our winter wardrobe with a sweater dress that keeps Us warm without concealing our shape. We deserve to look hot and feel hot at the same time!

After many failed attempts in the past, we finally tracked down a sweater dress that delivers. This fashion-forward turtleneck frock toes the line between a mini and a midi — it’s the optimal length to rock with knee-high boots! You can style the sweater dress as is if you prefer a relaxed fit or add a belt if you want to accentuate your waist. Even the turtleneck itself is a happy medium, a drapey fold-over style that will shield you from the cold but won’t constrict you. Keep scrolling to shop this versatile sweater dress from Amazon!

Get the Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress for just $40 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 5, 2022, but are subject to change.

The Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress is a closet staple for sweater weather! Now that it’s December, we’ll only don knit dresses. Shoppers say that this style is both warm and flattering — and the knit blend is so soft!

The intricate detailing makes this sweater dress seem like a piece you might find in a boutique — no one will believe you got this frock from Amazon! Available in six solid shades, this turtleneck really is an everyday essential. Take this dress from daytime to date night!

Get the Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress for just $40 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 5, 2022, but are subject to change.

We always rely on reviews before settling any shopping debates! And the overall consensus from customers is that this sweater dress slays.

  • “Great winter dress. Good sturdy material. Not too heavy or thin.”
  • “The fabric is SO soft. For the price, this is an amazing sweater dress! It’s very warm and flattering. Also, the turtleneck part is loose for those of you who get claustrophobic with tight things.”
  • “I would recommend this thick sweater dress. Its fabric is very soft and comfortable. And it’s a good thick material, but not heavy. Can make you feel warm in cold weather. This will be the perfect choice for winter wear. I love it so much.”

As Ramona Singer would say, “It’s turtle time!” Warm up your neck and spice up your style with the softest sweater dress from Amazon!

See it! Get the Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress for just $40 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 5, 2022, but are subject to change. 

Not your style? Shop more from Miessial here and explore more sweater dresses here! Don’t forget to check out all of Amazon’s Daily Deals for more great finds!

Looking for additional ways to elevate your closet? Check out more picks below:

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women’s sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from the advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping!

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Khloe Kardashian – who weighs only 123lbs – claims to pull ‘over 100lbs’ of weights

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‘An hour of torture’: Khloe Kardashian – who weighs 123lbs – claims to ‘pull over 100lbs’ of weights in a gym… as she appears thinner than ever

Khloe Kardashian took to Instagram on Monday morning to share videos of herself working out.

During one of the Insta Stories clips the 38-year-old beauty – who is 5ft10in – claimed that she was exerting herself more than usual as she pulled 100lbs worth of weights. The TV icon said the gym workout was ‘torture.’

The Keeping Up With The Kardashians vet was having difficulty with the workout as she weighs only about 123lbs, it has been claimed, after a recent weight loss.

Ouch: Khloe Kardashian took to Instagram on Monday morning to share videos of herself working out. During one of the Insta Stories clips the 38-year-old beauty – who is 5ft10in – claimed that she was exerting herself more than usual as she pulled 100lbs worth of weights

Thinner than ever: The Keeping Up With The Kardashians vet was having difficulty with the workout as he weighs only 123lbs, it has been claimed, after recent weight loss; seen last week

Thinner than ever: The Keeping Up With The Kardashians vet was having difficulty with the workout as he weighs only 123lbs, it has been claimed, after recent weight loss; seen last week

‘Bear crawls with pulling over 100 pounds,’ she wrote over a photo as she linked to Don-A-Matrix Training.

Over a video the TV siren wrote, ‘I do not care about my form here. I am dying. An hour of torture from this monster Don-A-Matrix.’

She is referring to Don-A-Matrix, a workout center on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

Khloe wore a light brown crop top and leggings with her honey blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail as she stopped to take selfies in the mirror.

The mother of two is seen in a gym as she works up a sweat.

Committed: Over a video the TV siren wrote, 'I do not care about my form here. I am dying. An hour of torture from this monster Don-A-Matrix'

Committed: Over a video the TV siren wrote, ‘I do not care about my form here. I am dying. An hour of torture from this monster Don-A-Matrix’

In one image she can be seen pulling a very heavy weight structure and in another Khloe is pulled on two straps connected to a weight bundle.

The Revenge Body star was also on the treadmill, she shared.

In February, Khloe confirmed she has lost weight. She did not say how much but it looked to be over 10lbs.

‘About 3 months apart,’ began the designer in her caption for her followers. ‘Let’s go @coachjoe.paris we are sculpting my back and arms.’

Gym lover: Khloe wore a light brown crop top and leggings with her honey blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail as she stopped to take selfies in the mirror

Gym lover: Khloe wore a light brown crop top and leggings with her honey blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail as she stopped to take selfies in the mirror

Run it out: The Revenge Body star was also on the treadmill, she shared

Run it out: The Revenge Body star was also on the treadmill, she shared

Her back looked very different as in the ‘after’ photo her muscles and bones can be seen thanks to her workouts and weight loss. 

The siren linked to her French-born personal trainer Joël Bouraïma who now lives in Los Angeles.

He has often appeared on KUWTK as he trains Khloe as well as Kourtney on the grounds of their mansions.

Speaking to USA Today, Khloe recently admitted that ‘it was hard’ to learn the news of Tristan’s latest infidelity while cameras were capturing her every move.

DailyMail.com exclusively revealed details of the paternity battle in December after Maralee Nichols filed a lawsuit against the NBA player.

In February, Khloe confirmed she has lost weight. She did not say how much but it looked to be over 10lbs (pictured in

Out of this world: In February, Khloe confirmed she has lost weight. She did not say how much but it looked to be over 10lbs (pictured in 2021) 

Koko before and after: Khloe seen left, in December 2021, and right, in February 2022. She has admitted to losing weight

Betrayal: Tristan was caught cheating on Khloe in 2018  just days before she welcomed their first child together, and a paternity test revealed that he had fathered a child last year

Betrayal: Tristan was caught cheating on Khloe in 2018  just days before she welcomed their first child together, and a paternity test revealed that he had fathered a child last year 

In 2018, just days before Khloé gave birth to her and Tristan’s daughter True, DailyMail.com published video and photos of Tristan kissing a strip club worker and also taking her up to his hotel room in New York City.

The couple managed to weather the storm, but they split in 2019 after Tristan kissed Kylie Jenner’s then-BFF Jordyn Woods.

The couple patched up their issues to reunite in the summer of 2020 while spending time together in the early days of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but they split again in June of last year.

Baby mama: DailyMail.com exclusively revealed details of the paternity battle in December after Maralee Nichols filed a lawsuit against the NBA player 

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Hawks Announcer Bob Rathbun Suffers Scary Medical Emergency On Air, Hospitalized

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