Season 2 of House of the Dragon Rumored to be Chopped Down to 8 Episodes

King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room, Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), Baela Velaryon (Bethany Antonia), Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), 1x08 (1)

In case you yearned for the days of shorter seasons of Game of Thrones, Deadline has just announced that season 2 of House of the Dragon will reportedly run only 8 episodes, rather than the standard 10. This comes as a shock to many, given George R. R. Martin himself had indicated that it would take four 10 episode seasons to do HOTD justice. So what happened, exactly? Dive in as I muse…

The rumors are that 10 episodes were planned, but with the full scope of the series outlined, plot points got shuffled around, resulting in a season arc that will take only 8 episodes to tell. It was even noted that an intended season 2 battle was pushed to the as-yet-unordered season 3. Going further, the rumor mill suggests that HBO is seriously considering ordering scripts and casting for season 3 just to get the ball rolling. Of additional note is that GRRM and Ryan Condal (showrunner) have seesawed with each other on whether 3 or 4 seasons are necessary to tell the complete story.

Keep in mind that TV moves both more quickly and more slowly than it used to. I say it moves more quickly because these days, greater budgets are poured into more TV shows than they ever historically have been, leading to longer delays between seasons as bigger and more expensive shows such as HOTD, The Mandalorian, The Boys, The Crown, etc. have far longer and more complicated post-production periods, meaning more people are constantly working for longer. It moves more slowly, however, in that the downtime between filming, from an actor’s experience, can sometimes stretch to over a year between literally being on set from one season to another. What used to be the September to May calendar year for TV is hardly a thing at all anymore.

Bringing this back to House of the Dragon, let’s be real, in an era of expensive TV, it’s STILL among the most expensive shows. Therefore, by scaling back from 10 episodes to 8, it can shorten (possibly) the filming time, cut back (ever so slightly) on the post-production time, (theoretically) allow the writers and producers more time to craft the next season ahead of time, and even get the actors back to work on the next season sooner than it otherwise would, keeping younger actors from aging out of their characters too quickly.

But all of this is rampant speculation; I’m just some guy. What do I even know about TV? I mean, all I do is watch it all the time. But hey, don’t you?

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  1. Sounds like HBO may want to shoot season 3 before season 2 drops. The worry would be that in doing so, they may be eyeing only 3 seasons for The Dance which means potentially shortcutting character development. Granted, I think HOTD did a fairly good job of delivering character development even in an accelerated timeline. So… it could work.

  2. It never made much sense in my mind to have 40 episodes for Dance.

    30 felt like not enough so I did expect something like this eventually.

    If they make 4 seasons that would mean 34 episodes which is perfectly fine.

    My biggest problem are gaps.

    With this schedule S3 will air in 2026 and S4 will air in 2028.

  3. It’s hard to understand what actually happened because there were statements that plans for S2 were already made before S1 even aired. Then Miguel left and then start of production was delayed.

    I do think the main creative difference is number of seasons. I think they wrote S1 with the intention to do 3 seasons and this is why Daeron was cut and then S1 did really well so they expanded to 4 and Miguel left because of it, but then it became hard to do 4 because they already covered too much in S1 so the compromise was to do shorter seasons

    This is my theory so far.

  4. I could understand a shortened season when Covid was dictating everything. Outlander basically had half a season. It was annoying, but I understood it.

    I really do not understand what’s going on with the constant changes with The House of the Dragon though. It doesn’t make much sense. There doesn’t appear to be any stability. I’m kind of barely hanging on by a thread with HotD as it is, so I’m not really sure what to make of this.

    I just hope they’re not being douches and deciding to make the seasons shorter so they can extend this thing longer than it should.

  5. I could choose to feel cheated.

    But it is possible that they will instead have a couple of very long episodes and that this is more about how the episodes break down into coherent stories – not stopping mid-battle for example.

  6. This doesn’t seem like a case of them wanting to rush things, like with some other shows (I think we all know the obvious one). In this case, it really seems to be for the good of the story/pacing. So, while maybe SLIGHTLY disappointed, I have no real problems.

  7. Mr Derp,

    I think that’s exactly what they are doing. It also gives them more time to finish the CGI. Even Marvel is struggling to get things done these days. Their fault, the artists are treated badly and overworked.

    I don’t know, maybe this is all normal, but we don’t usually know about it. It doesn’t inspire much confidence though. And if they are having trouble, I have to wonder why, they knew exactly what they had to work with and they still put out a pretty mediocre S1

  8. Jenny:
    Mr Derp,

    I don’t know, maybe this is all normal, but we don’t usually know about it. It doesn’t inspire much confidence though. And if they are having trouble, I have to wonder why, they knew exactly what they had to work with and they still put out a pretty mediocre S1

    Because HBO and GRRM forced Condal to make 4 seasons.

    I have a feeling that Condal and Miguel wanted 3 ( I think they wrote S1 with the intention to do 3 seasons and this is why Daeron was cut), but HBO and GRRM want more, just like it happened with GoT where D&D wanted 7, but HBO forced them to do 8.

    And instead of doing one more they split season and a half into 2 seasons.

    Just like now Condal will probably split 2 and a half seasons into 3.

    Miguel probably didn’t want to do that and this is why he left.

  9. mau,

    I haven’t seen anything to suggest that he was forced into it. I only read that Condal took a step back from S2 to map out the whole show. They always said 3 or 4 seasons, so it was on the table from the beginning. They couldn’t have predicted the popularity of S1, so that probably decided things. Why do 3 when you can stretch it to 4? Making that decision would alter things, like you say.

    I also read that Miguel left because HBO wouldn’t let him promote his wife to Executive Producer, she had no previous experience but was credited as a Producer on S1. No idea if that’s true either.

    The structure of S1 baffles me to this day, so I don’t know what they planned and why. If they wanted to do 3, wouldn’t they cram Daeron into S1? Because they would have to finish the story quicker? Or do you think that they intended to cut him completely? I haven’t read F&B so I don’t know if he is important. People are assuming that he is going to be in S2, but has that ever been confirmed?

  10. Jenny,

    I think removing Daeron and that whole storyline was their way of reducing the story to 3 seasons.

    Also GRRM publicly asked for 40 episodes for HOTD, something that Condal always refused to comment on when asked. And Miguel left afterwards. Also Miguel said before S1 that this is 3 act story so I do think that their idea was always 3 seasons for this storyline and then moving to other timelines in Fire and Blood.

  11. Jenny,

    I believe Daeron is confirmed for season 2 yes, and I think he is fairly important. It is odd he was never mentioned in season 1, but scripts packed in a lot and maybe mentioning him never made sense in the context of any of the necessary scenes. They could not show him, as he was way down South in Oldtown where no scenes took place, so it would have just been exposition.

  12. awol,

    Thanks, I do vaguely remember discussing him on here, but I don’t remember why. They must have announced his inclusion at some point during or after S1. I remember people talking about him and his absence on podcasts. They could have name dropped him when Daemon was accounting for the Dragons in the Finale, maybe they thought we’d get confused, or that we’d forget before S2. It’s really strange that he was just glossed over, that scene will look a bit odd in retrospect. Who is this loser that Daemon didn’t bother to mention? lol

  13. Only just catching up with this news, regardless of the why, I do wonder what impact this will have on the storyline. S1 was breakneck speed and most people seemed to complain about a lack of character development despite liking it overall. If they reduce S2 to 8 episodes I do fear that could again reduce the character development. The only solace is we shouldn’t have such big time jumps again like we did in the first season so pacing might still work.

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