Miguel Sapochnik’s Real Reason for Leaving ‘House of the Dragon’

Queen Alicent’s maid Talya — or, at least, the woman who portrayed her — turns out to be a more important House of the Dragon figure than we might have realized.

Dragon co-showrunner and director Miguel Sapochnik left HBO’s Game of Thrones spinoff ahead of Season 2 “after a protracted standoff over his wife and her involvement in the show,” Puck reports. Sapochnik’s wife? Alexis Raben, who played the queen’s lady-in-waiting in several Season 1 episodes and who also was one of the show’s producers.

Per the report, Thrones vet Sapochnik wanted Raben to join his and co-showrunner Ryan Condal’s producing team for Dragon‘s second season. HBO thought she did not have enough experience. The negotiations got so heated that HBO had a mediator attempt to cool things down, but Sapochnik eventually walked away from the prequel spinoff he helped launch.

HBO declined to comment for both the original report and to TVLine.

When Sapochnik’s departure was announced in August, he said via statement: “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.”

Condal will serve as sole showrunner in Season 2, which won’t be back until 2024 at the earliest. Alan Taylor, who directed several Game of Thrones episodes, including Season 7’s “Beyond the Wall,” will join the prequel as an executive producer and director for Season 2.

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