You probably noticed the balls.
The premiere episode of House of the Dragon included a few scenes with King Viserys’ Small Council of advisors in the Red Keep. Unlike HBO’s Game of Thrones, each member of the royal council in the prequel series had a different colored stone in front of them on a marble dish. There’s also a larger dish in the center of the table that houses the markers when its member isn’t present.
So what, exactly, is the deal with the balls?
Set decorator Claire Nie Richards and production designer Jim Clay came up with the plates and stones as a way of setting the table. “It represented the council coming in and being part of the meeting,” Richards says.
Showrunner Ryan Condal embraced the idea and compared council members taking their stones and placing them on their dish to an employee clocking in at their job.
“Everybody shows up for work and they ‘punch in,’” Condal says. “I thought it was really cool. It’s a way of visualizing the set formality of the Small Council chamber. It’s enjoyable; we should have things that we like in this world.”
Condal added that some of his favorite scenes from Game of Thrones were the Small Council scenes, but then he discovered having a bunch of characters just sitting around a table can be among the toughest scenes to write. Based on critic and fan reactions to the premiere episode, however, he didn’t drop the ball (ahem). The first season of House of the Dragon will have many more Small Council scenes in the episodes to come.
The Hollywood Reporter also published a story with director Miguel Sapochnik breaking down that horrifying birth scene in the premiere, and a story about the reason HBO Max crashed for some users.
And for more insider behind-the-scenes details on House of the Dragon, see The Hollywood Reporter‘s recent deep-dive cover story: “Inside House of the Dragon.” The drama airs Sundays on HBO.
‘House of the Dragon’: Here’s What the Small Council’s Balls Are For