Emma D'Arcy in

The Season 1 finale of House of the Dragon ended with a devastating, dragon-toothed crunch that shook the realm and set in motion the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. But with that epic cliffhanger came the horrifying realization that we’d have to wait for Season 2 to find out what would happen next.

This hiatus may have been dark and full of terrors, but thankfully, it’s almost over. House of the Dragon returns to us June 16, when we’ll finally see Queen Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and her half-brother King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) duke it out for the Iron Throne in earnest.

To get ready for the new season, read on for looks at the trailers, a rundown of new cast members, and predictions on what will happen next based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood. Here’s what we know so far about Season 2.

What is the release date for House of the Dragon Season 2?

A small dragon swoops down towards a castle on the edge of a stormy sea.
More dragon fights incoming! (At some point.)
Credit: Courtesy of HBO

House of the Dragon Season 2 takes flight June 16, premiering at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max. The season will be made up of eight episodes instead of the first season’s 10.

Does House of the Dragon Season 2 have a trailer?

It has several! The first teaser, which you can check out here, gives us a brief look at the bloody war for the Iron Throne. “Many will die,” Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) tells us. Knowing how things tend to play out in Westeros, that may just be the understatement of the century.

HBO stepped up its trailer game in March of 2024, releasing “dueling trailers.” The first favors Team Black, those who support Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne after the late King Viserys (Paddy Considine) named her heir. Among their numbers are Rhaenyra’s uncle-husband Daemon (Matt Smith) and House Velaryon, including Corlys (Steve Toussaint) and Rhaenys (Eve Best). Meanwhile, Rhaenyra’s eldest son Jacaerys (Harry Collett) hopes to grow those numbers with a visit to the Houses in the North — including the Starks!

Check out the Black trailer below to see how Rhaenyra and her allies are preparing for war, and how she plans to avenge the death of her son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault).

The second of the dueling trailers supports Team Green, led by Alicent as she tries to keep Aegon on the Iron Throne. In Season 1, Alicent misheard Viserys’s dying words and believes he changed his mind about Rhaenyra being his heir. Now, she and her allies — including her father Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and knight Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) — will do anything they can to uphold what they believe to be Viserys’s dying wish of instating Aegon as King. The sadistic Aegon is all too ready to go to war, as is his drama king brother Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), who relishes the challenge of facing down Daemon.

Check out the Green trailer below to see Alicent and her family brace for Team Black’s wrath.

Who are the new cast members and characters in House of the Dragon Season 2?

As House of the Dragon Season 2 explores more of Westeros, you can expect to see plenty of new faces. Among them are Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor, The Dark Tower), the Lord of Winterfell; Gwayne Hightower (Freddie Fox, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare), Alicent’s brother; and Alyn of Hull (Abubakar Salim, Raised by Wolves), a sailor in the Velaryons’ impressive fleet.

Two other new characters point towards pivotal happenings at the castle of Harrenhal, currently the seat of House Strong. Simon Russell Beale (The Death of Stalin) will play Ser Simon Strong, castellan of Harrenhal. He’s also great uncle to Larys Strong (Matthew Needham), whom you may remember for being an all-around snake. Joining Beale in Harrenhal is Gayle Rankin (GLOW) as Alys Rivers, a healer who lives in Harrenhal, and who’s powerful in more ways than one.

Here’s what happens next in Fire & Blood.

A man with silver blonde hair places a gold crown on the head of a woman with silver blonde hair.
All hail the Black Queen!
Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

If you absolutely need to know what happens after Rhaenyra dons her war face at the end of Season 1, you’ve come to the right place. House of the Dragon has been mostly faithful to its source material so far, so I’m fairly confident that it will continue to adhere to the book in the aftermath of the death of Lucerys (Elliot Grihault). I’ll be going full spoilers here, so if you don’t want to know the future of the Dance of the Dragons, turn away now.

Rhaenyra and Daemon will retaliate against Alicent and her family in a big way. Team Black will attempt to shore up their forces by finding riders for riderless dragons like Vermithor and Seasmoke. Meanwhile, Daemon will attack Harrenhal on dragonback and win it without bloodshed, striking a major blow to the Greens. In Fire & Blood, this attack happens while Jacaerys (Harry Collett) and Lucerys are on their missions. Now, with the tragedy of Luc’s death fueling Daemon, it’s highly likely the show’s version of the attack at Harrenhal will be on the more violent side.

And the violence will only continue! Because Daemon’s next move in the book is among the most horrifying events in Westerosi history. (If you’re having any doubts about spoilers, now’s definitely the time to turn back.) Using his connections to the underbelly of King’s Landing, Daemon enlists the help of two unsavory characters known only as Blood and Cheese. They attack the Red Keep and force Queen Helaena (Phia Saban) to choose which of her sons they will kill. They then proceed to murder the son she doesn’t name. The attack is Daemon’s doing in Fire & Blood, but given the rage in Rhaenyra’s eyes at the end of the finale, is there a chance she’ll get involved as well?

As chaos rages down south, Jace will travel north to the Eyrie and beyond, to Winterfell. On his trip north, he’ll secure allies from Houses like the Arryns and the Manderlys. He will also befriend Lord Cregan Stark and win him to Rhaenyra’s cause. So you can expect a mixed bag of sorts from the start of House of the Dragon Season 2. On the one hand, we get the Starks back. On the other, we get more traumatic child murder.

Brace yourselves, fellow viewers: Our wait may be long, but the coming Dance will be one heck of a jig.

Season 1 of House of the Dragon is now streaming on Max.

UPDATE: Nov. 2, 2023, 12:29 p.m. EDT This article has been updated to reflect “House of the Dragon”s summer 2024 release date.

UPDATE: May. 5, 2024, 12:12 p.m. EDT This article has been updated to reflect new information about “House of the Dragon” Season 2.