I figured myself finished with Game of Thrones, and I scarcely believe I’m the one to focus on. Between the cumbersomely executed last time of the HBO series and the apparently perpetual hang tight for The Winds of Winter, I was content to leave George R.R. Martin’s dream universe – – which I had once been somewhat fixated on – – behind for good. I might try and have been subliminally pulling for House of the Dragon – – HBO’s most memorable Game of Thrones side project – – to bomb that, I probably won’t need to become reinvested in that world. I hadn’t even wrapped up watching the primary episode of House of the Dragon before I understood that was not true anymore. All it made was one effort of a winged serpent floating over King’s Landing supported by Ramin Djawadi’s score to snare me. Toward the finish of the episode, I was again enthralled with Westeros.
House of the Dragon Review
House of the Dragon takes place almost two centuries before Game of Thrones begins. The show uses Martin’s Fire & Blood, a historical overview of the Targaryen dynasty, as its basis. House of the Dragon specifically hones in on the era leading up to “The Dance With Dragons,” the Targaryen civil war of succession mentioned in Game of Thrones. King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) has struggled to bear male heirs. When any hope of having a son seems to die with his wife, Viserys must consider, in his grief, to whom his throne should pass: his brother, the ambitious and unpredictable Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), or his daughter, “The Realm’s Delight,” Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock). Viserys’ choice, and unexpected future choices, sets into motion a chain of events that will threaten to tear the realm apart.
House of the Dragon About
What’s enchanting about House of the Dragon’s first five episodes (the sixth is something else entirely, which I’ll get to) is how it differs from Game of Thrones. Viewers first visited Westeros via a sweeping, epic saga, bouncing back and forth between half a dozen subplots set in many locations. House of the Dragon presents itself as a focused drama set almost entirely within the walls of the Red Keep. Where much of Game of Thrones’ plot is motivated by the, at times, cartoonish ambitions of its cast of characters, House of the Dragon is more intimate and built on complex and conflicting relationships. It’s a story of clashing emotions, family bonds, and familiarity amidst comings of age, made infinitely more complicated by the responsibility of royalty. As a prequel, House of the Dragon cannot rely on the same level of mystery and intrigue as Game of Thrones. Instead, it tells much more personal stories fueled by the desire to define oneself in the face of societal norms and assumptions, adding personality and pathos to the comparatively dry source material.
Rating: 4 out of 5
House of the Dragon premieres on August 21st on HBO and HBO Max.