House of the Dragon's co-showrunner announces surprise exit

House of the Dragon
(Image credit: Ollie Upton / HBO)

And now his watch is ended.

Miguel Sapochnik is surprisingly stepping down as co-showrunner of the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon less than two weeks after it premiered, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement, Sapochnik said it was "incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me, personally and professionally." He didn't go further into his reasons for leaving as showrunner, but the Reporter notes he spent an "exhausting" three years working on House of the Dragon.

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Sapochnik will remain an executive producer, but it was a bit of a shocker to see the series lose one of its showrunners so soon. Sapochnik directed House of the Dragon's first episode, and HBO credited him with establishing the show's "signature look and feel." He previously directed iconic episodes of Game of Thrones, including "Battle of the Bastards," which won him an Emmy.

Still, he was reluctant to get involved in the franchise again given how exhausting working on the original series was, and co-creator Ryan Condal previously told the Reporter that Sapochnik once vowed, "I'm never doing Thrones again." Condal will now serve as sole showrunner.

House of the Dragon has also hired Alan Taylor as an executive producer for its second season, and he'll direct multiple episodes. Taylor directed numerous episodes of Thrones, as well as films like Thor: The Dark World.

Sapochnik's exit comes days after HBO renewed House of the Dragon for a second season after the first episode became the highest rated series premiere in the network's history. With over 10 million viewers, the series' second episode drew an even larger audience than the first.

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