House of the Dragon from two perspectives

From a new fan: Who will sit upon the Iron Throne next?

Story and HBO preview screenshots by Haley Graham

“172 years before the death of the Mad King, Aerys, and the birth of his daughter, Princess Daenerys Targaryen.”

The prequel to the hit show “Game of Thrones,” “House of the Dragon” premiered on Aug. 21 and currently has four episodes available to watch on HBO. The first episode lets the audience know where “House of the Dragon” falls into the “Game of Thrones” timeline. 

House Targaryen, a noble family of dragonlords, and current rulers of the Seven Kingdoms is experiencing some inner turmoil. After 100 years of rule and 10 full-grown dragons in their keep, will they be able to hold the reins of power?

King Viserys I Targaryen is unlike any king introduced in “Game of Thrones,” he seems too nice, or maybe he has yet to go mad. The delicate bloodline of House Targaryen is causing some challenges for King Viserys and his council’s decision on who is going to succeed him and ascend the Iron Throne. Will it be his younger brother Daemon Targaryen, first born daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen or an unborn son?

The conflicts in “Game of Thrones” reached across the Seven Kingdoms, with numerous different houses and kingdoms involved. It seems as though “House of the Dragon” is going to concentrate primarily on House Targaryen and a few familiar locations. It looks as though the creators decided to budget more money toward CGI and VFX, particularly of the dragons, rather than having a more extensive and complicated cast. 

In regards to the cast, there will be some changes as time goes on. In “Game of Thrones,” the audience watched characters grow up along with their actors, but as the preview depicts this is not the case for “House of the Dragon.” Milly Alcock, who currently plays young Rhaenyra, will inevitably be substituted by Emma D’arcy, along with the actress for character Alicent Hightower. This suggests that there is going to be a significant jump in time, hopefully this will not burn the audience’s connection to the characters to the ground. 

“House of the Dragon” is undoubtedly going to be a riveting story. After all, the previous king warned “the only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon, was itself.”

HBO preview screenshots by Haley Graham

From a longtime fan: Less talking, more dragons

Story by Maxwelle Tartaglia

The final episode of “Game Of Thrones” aired on May 19, 2019 and left many fans either never wanting to pick up the show again or demanding a redo of the entire final season. HBO’s announcement of the new spinoff series, “House of the Dragon,” presents a compromise between the two.

“House of the Dragon” is a prequel to “Game of Thrones” and will cover the events leading up to the civil war that ended the Targaryen dynasty. 

“House of the Dragon” is set in the same universe created by author George R.R. Martin. 

Martin once again does a great job emulating the same medieval fantasy aesthetic that he brings into all of his projects, such as “Game of Thrones” and “Elden Ring.”

“House of the Dragon” also features a smaller cast than “Game of Thrones” as it will be focusing mainly on House Targaryen. However, this has not at all limited the show’s ability to create intricate conflicts and tension between characters. 

“House of the Dragon” has finely embodied the same melodramatic themes as the early seasons of “Game of Thrones,” with heavy discussions of politics, appaling moral choices, succession and primogeniture. 

Being set hundreds of years in the past, fans are excited to see the Targaryens in their prime and are even more excited to see more dragons!

However, so far “House of the Dragon” is underwhelming.

While only the first three episodes have aired at the time of this review, each episode just seems to be a compilation of very long conversations between people in blonde wigs about duty and responsibility. 

For a series that is supposed to focus on the infamously most mentally-unstable and violent house in the “Game of Thrones” universe, there have been very few moments that really grab your attention. 

It is still too early to tell if House of the Dragon is just a bad brand extension or not, but after three hours of listening to kings and consorts talk about who should marry who, instead of showing off cooler aspects of the Targaryen dynasty, like their massive dragons or dragon riders suited in Valyrian steel, it leaves you wanting more.

In “Game of Thrones,” there are only ever three dragons. The characters in “Game of Thrones” constantly talk about how powerful and majestic dragons once were before the fall of the Targaryens. 

“House of the Dragon” presents the opportunity to really showcase how powerful and influential dragons truly were to the “Game of Thrones” universe, however the show is constantly stuck in the soap opera that is the King’s responsibilities while it could be showing cooler stuff like dragon fights. 

Fans got their first taste of action in just the latest episode, and even then, it was nowhere near as exciting as the battles that took place in the original TV series. However, this could just be a slow start as the show is simply doing world-building and scene setting and it is not at all indicative of what could be set to come.

More positive aspects of “House of the Dragon” include the decision to cut out all of the sexual violence that plagued the original show. While the show still has sexual themes, they are no longer extremely graphic and unnecessary to the plot of the show. 

The actors are all also very convincing in their roles and make viewers feel strongly about all of the characters and the decisions they are faced with making. 

While the show is off to a slow start, it is definitely too early to tell if the series will be a disappointment. 

Any fans familiar with the history of “Game of Thrones” know there is much more action to come from the Targaryen family and it is only a matter of time before fans start seeing some real dragon action.

HBO preview screenshots by Haley Graham

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