Sapochnik was behind some of GOT’s biggest episodes, with hits such as ‘The Winds of Winter’ and The Long Night’ holding up years after they first aired
Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon veteran showrunner-director Miguel Sapochnik
announced a massive shake-up for the hit new series, as he will be stepping down after leading the
adaptations for several years.
The new Targaryen-centric show has already become HBO’s most-successful premiere with over 10
million viewers, with a second season contract already under way. Fans have been generally
positive about the show — which is just two episodes in — praising its visuals and politically
intriguing storyline, with some claiming it ‘redeems’ the creators for Game of Thrones’ disastrous
Season 8 wrap-up.
It’s surprising to see Sapochnik go, at least at first. While initially hesitant to return to Westeros, he
found himself inspired by a live Game of Thrones Experience concert in Los Angeles, where he was
surrounded by thousands of fans. Spending the next several months hard at work with co-
showrunner Ryan J. Condal, Sapochnik dedicated over two years of his life to House of the Dragon —
only to announce that he would shirk off the showrunner mantle before Season 1 reaches its
While some rumors of disputes rose up on Twitter, it seems that Sapochnik’s decision was an
amicable one, fostered by his desire to branch out and explore new horizons with his career.
Considering his initial resistance to returning to George R.R. Martin’s fantasy universe, and the
fact that the HotD series took nearly a year each for filming and post-production, perhaps it was
time for the Argentine-origin British director to say goodbye.
Looking at his portfolio of work, it’s clear that Sapochnik valued keeping a great deal of variety
between his film and TV projects, many of which have enjoyed massive critical and popular acclaim
over the years. Making his mark in the early 1990s, Sapochnik directed for sci-fi drama Fringe,
medical drama House, and of course, be the mind behind many of Game of Thrones’ most iconic
Some of these were subtle, fascinating character explorations, such as S5E7, The Gift. Most of
Sapochnik’s biggest triumphs are, however, big action setpieces, such as S6 E9 Battle of the Bastards,
S8 E3 The Long Night, and my personal favorite, S6 E10, The Winds of Winter (pictured above).
Naturally, fans were sad to see Sapochnik go after so many years, and shared an outpouring of
appreciation for his work on Twitter:
While he will remain an executive producer on the show, Sapochnik has left behind a vacant
director’s chair. Fortunately, it seems that the future of HotD is in good hands, given that Alan Taylor
is returning from the GoT stables.
Taylor, who has a number of executive producer and directorial duties for Season 2 of HotD, seems
like the best candidate possible. Not only has he played political intrigue extremely well with his works in
The Sopranos and Rome — Taylor has also directed seven episodes of GoT, having handled the
responsibility to direct key moments such as Ned Stark’s beheading, and the hatching of Daenerys’
In the meantime, Sapochnik is currently working through a first-look deal with HBO to develop all-
new projects, where he can flex his creative muscles. He also released a statement, sharing his
feelings and appreciation for Taylor’s follow-up season:
“Working within the Thrones universe for the past few years has been an honor and a privilege,
especially spending the last two with the amazing cast and crew of House of the Dragon. I am so
proud of what we accomplished with season 1 and overjoyed by the enthusiastic reaction of our
viewers. It was incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me,
personally and professionally. As I do so, though, I am deeply comforted to know that Alan will be joining the series. He’s someone I’ve known and respected for a long time, and I believe this precious series could not be in safer hands. I am so glad to remain a part of the HBO and House of the Dragon family and, of course, I wish Ryan and his team success and all the best with season 2 and beyond.”
House of the Dragon returns with its third episode on 5th September, 6:30 AM IST.
Lead Image: HBO