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First photos from ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel, ‘House of the Dragon,’ released and we’re here for it

Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in the first images from the upcoming HBO series, "House of the Dragon."
Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in the first images from the upcoming HBO series, "House of the Dragon."Ollie Upton/HBO

Many Americans feel they’ve watched everything worth watching on TV over the past 14 months, and we couldn’t agree more. But tantalizing signs of new shows and long-awaited returns are starting to emerge, including the first official photos from the upcoming “Game of Thrones” prequel, “House of the Dragon.”

The highly anticipated new HBO series, set three centuries before “Game of Thrones,” is based on the George R.R. Martin book “Fire & Blood” and will dive into the turbulent history of House Targaryen. That much is clear from one of the first photos, which shows actress Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen on a windswept beach, both boasting the iconic silvery locks that Emilia Clarke made famous on “GoT” as the Mother of Dragons.

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Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, "The Sea Snake," in the forthcoming HBO series, "House of the Dragon."
Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, "The Sea Snake," in the forthcoming HBO series, "House of the Dragon."Ollie Upton/HBO

Another set photo reveals actor Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, better known as The Sea Snake. (Is it just me or is reading those words an immediate boost to your pandemic-drained mood?) Wealthy and powerful, the patriarch of House Velaryon will no doubt pose some fascinating challenges to the Targaryens on land and sea.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in the HBO series "House of the Dragon."
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in the HBO series "House of the Dragon." Ollie Upton/HBO

A third photo captures Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, hand of King Viserys Targaryen (played by the always great Paddy Considine), flanked by his daughter, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke).

As exciting as the first images from the show might be for fans, production on the prequel has only just begun. According to Variety, HBO put in a 10-episode order for the show, but it probably won’t hit screens until 2022. Still, it’s something to anticipate.

The release of the “House of the Dragon” photos wasn’t the only TV-related news that had fans in a tizzy. This week, news also broke that Oscar winner Adrian Brody and “Big Little Lies” baddy Alexander Skarsgård will both join the cast of “Succession” for season 3, which is now (blessedly) in production.

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Obsessive fans of the Emmy-winning HBO drama have noted that the last episode of season 2 aired in October 2019 — way back in the before times — and that they can no longer bear the excruciating wait to find out what Kendall has in store for Waystar Royco and dear old dad.

The show could be back by late 2021, HBO’s Casey Bloys told Deadline in February, if pandemic numbers keep improving.

“But that would mean we don’t get hit with any COVID delays,” Bloys said. “A lot of that will depend on how the vaccine rolls out, how much a factor COVID is. It’s still very much a real thing in production at the moment, hopefully it gets easier to deal with. It’s hard to predict right now.”

Think of it as just another reason to get your vaccine.


Hayley Kaufman can be reached at hayley.kaufman@globe.com.