House of the Dragon writers praised by George RR Martin for season 2 change

George RR Martin gave credit to the House of the Dragon writers in his latest blog post.

The famed fantasy author is responsible for the Fire & Blood novel on which the HBO series is based, as well as the books that inspired its predecessor, Game of Thrones.

“What a great way to start the season. The directing was superb,” Martin said of the second season’s first two episodes.

*Warning – Spoilers ahead for ‘House of the Dragon’ season two*

Of the cast members, Martin picked out Rhys Ifans’s performance as Hand of the King, Otto Hightower, in particular.

“His scene with King Aegon [Tom Glynn-Carney] and Criston Cole [Fabien Frankel] after the ratcatchers are hanged just crackles with wit, tension, drama, a performance that cries out for awards attention,” the author wrote.

George RR Martin (left) and Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen in HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ (Getty Images; Ollie Upton/HBO)
George RR Martin (left) and Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen in HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ (Getty Images; Ollie Upton/HBO)

Martin went on to admit that Phia Saban’s Helaena Targaryen “is a richer and more fascinating character than the one I created in Fire & Blood.

“In the book, she is a plump, pleasant, and happy young woman, cheerful and kindly, adored by the smallfolk... None of the strangeness she displays in the show was in evidence in the book, nor is her gift for prophecy. Those were born in the writers’ room… but once I met the show’s version of Helaena, I could hardly take issue.”

The writer then named the addition to the series that he wished he’d thought of himself.

“I am… ahem… not usually a fan of screenwriters adding characters to the source material when adapting a story. Especially not when the source material is mine,” Martin wrote. “But that dog was brilliant. I was prepared to hate Cheese, but I hated him even more when he kicked that dog.”

The dog in question accompanies Cheese the ratcatcher (Mark Stobbart) who is tasked with murdering Aemond in episode one. Of course, the mission is botched and Cheese ends up killing the young Prince Jaehaerys.

Martin picked out Rhys Ifans’s performance as Otto Hightower in particular (Ollie Upton/HBO)
Martin picked out Rhys Ifans’s performance as Otto Hightower in particular (Ollie Upton/HBO)

After Cheese is captured and hanged, we see his dog gazing up at his swinging body.

“That damn near broke my heart,” Martin added. “Such a little thing… such a little dog… but his presence, the few short moments he was on screen, gave the ratcatcher so much humanity. Human beings are such complex creatures. The silent presence of that dog reminded us that even the worst of men, the vile and the venal, can love and be loved.

“I wish I’d thought of that dog. I didn’t, but someone else did. I am glad of that.”

In a recent interview, House of the Dragon director Geeta Vasant Patel confirmed a major connection to Game of Thrones in the prequel spin-off’s latest episode.

Keen-eyed viewers may also have noticed a line in episode three that hinted at the death of a main character from season one.

There have already been several moments where it became clear the prequel will reward readers of George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood, as well as his A Song of Ice and Fire book series. You can find an explanation of Aegon Targaryen’s Song of Ice and Fire prophecy here.

House of the Dragon continues on HBO in the US on Sundays and on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK on Mondays.