It has been approximately 36 months since the divisive final episode of Game of Thrones (GoT) aired, so I guess I would be lying if I said I haven’t spent the last three years waiting for the next chapter in the live-action adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s series of ‘A song of Ice and Fire’ books.
A part of me did wonder if something would happen to the GoT prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ during pre-production especially since another spin-off series based off the original show, ‘The Long Night’, was surprisingly cancelled at HBO, with the pay television network deciding not to even order the pilot to series.
Thankfully, ‘House of the Dragon’ is finally here and I must say it has a lot of potential.
I will try as much as possible not to spoil anything for you but writing a review without giving some details of the plot is next to impossible, but I promise to keep it to a minimum.
Now that you have read my not so subtle disclaimer, let’s begin.
The cold opening introduces us to King Jaehaerys Targaryen who has been ruling the Kingdom of Westeros for the better part of six decades.
As the first century of the Targaryen dynasty comes to an end, the health of the Old King starts failing and this prompts him to identify a potential successor.
Tragedy had claimed both his sons leaving the fate of his succession in limbo, so in the year 101, Jaehaerys called his Great Council to choose a heir.
Fourteen succession claims were heard but only two were truly considered; Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the King’s eldest female descendant, and Prince Viserys Targaryen, the King’s eldest male descendant.
Rhaenys, a woman, does not inherit the Iron Throne.
The sequence then cuts to Viserys’ ninth year as King of Westeros, 172 years before the death of the mad King Aerys and the birth of his daughter Princess Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons.
Viserys is in the same conundrum as his predecessor in that he doesn’t have any male heirs to succeed him.
His wife, though expectant at the start of the show, has had a number of miscarriages and the only successful delivery she has made so far is that of her daughter Rhaenyra.
As it stands, Viserys’ younger and more unpredictable brother Daemon is first in line to the throne, followed by Rhaenyra but all that can change should the King sire a male heir.
Straight out of the gate, we are showed that the matter of succession will be the major storyline and conflict of the series, something that is reminiscent of GoT and I can’t wait to see where the show goes from here.
The show’s frontrunners did a great job of immersing us in the world of GoT without making it feel like the exact show.
There is something about the whole aesthetic of the show that I really liked as well. I don’t know why but most of the scenes shot outside made me feel like I was walking around in a dream.
I also like how they set up Viserys; we immediately see that he is quite different from other kings we have seen or heard mentioned in GoT before.
He is a genuinely nice guy although he might be a little too soft for the Iron Throne. It was also interesting to see the Iron Thone injure him in the pilot episode in what is perhaps a foreshadowing that he won’t be sitting there for much longer
Sir Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, is easily one of my favourite candidates already since he is not afraid to speak his mind even when addressing his king about his very own brother (Daemon).
Sir Otto gives off those Little Finger vibes. He lets us know right away that he has his eyes set on the Iron Throne even if it means sacrificing his own family.
I also thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with Daemon, as well as how the show’s frontrunners set up their relationship and hatred for one another right away.
It should make for some interesting scenes in the coming episodes.
Also, the addition of several Targaryens speaking in High Valyrian is great as well. It further demonstrates just how different these Targaryens are from everybody else (as if their hair and dragons weren’t enough).
Speaking of the dragons, they look amazing. Having many dragons appear in the first episode lets you know that this isn’t the original show.
Overall, the show’s creators did a great job at reintroducing everyone to Westeros. As always the sets looked amazing, the costumes looked phenomenal and the overall production is what you would expect from a HBO series.
The episodes will be dropping on a weekly basis so I would recommend that you wait for all episodes to air before binge watching this entry.
Once the show’s frontrunners flesh out the plot some more, I believe this show will have the potential to be the talk of town for years to come.