And so it begins.
House of the Dragon had its HBO premiere last night, and we were just thrown right into the drama of it all.
While I think everyone was a bit apprehensive of this show, after the last season of Game of Thrones, I do think this first episode, entitled “The Heirs of the Dragon” has everyone cautiously optimistic, and a little excited even.
Now, before we dive into the review aspect of this episode, I do have a small secret to share. I was not a huge Game of Thrones fan. It was actually my now-husband who got me into it, and he sat me down, watched every episode from the start with me, explained every minor detail, and answered every question I had.
And I feel like that’s important to know because while I did enjoy up enjoying Game of Thrones, I wasn’t a superfan; so I have gone into House of The Dragon with the same energy. It piqued my interest, and I thought it’d be a nice redemption for how we left the Targaryen’s the last time we saw them.
With that said, the first episode was a lot for a viewer like me. I was very confused and googling frantically. While it was obvious what was happening on a foundational level — who would King Viserys’ successor be — there were a lot of world-building elements that I raised an eyebrow at.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s not always a great feeling when the audience feels like everything is being explained to them. It’s a nice pat on the back when the showrunners believe that the audience is smart enough to figure it out, even if they don’t know at that exact moment. And that’s what I did. I watched the episode while googling “What is the Vale?” which allowed me to fully remember the context behind it all from Game of Thrones and understand what it meant in the world of House of the Dragon.
Which was nice. Seeing the small moments sprinkled in that the showrunners knew would pull at the strings of nostalgia was good. Rhaenyra saying “Dracarys” and hearing Viserys tell Rhaenyra about the Song of Ice and Fire made me smile, but seeing the first note on screen, saying that this show will take place 172 years before Daenerys Targaryen hit me harder than I thought it would. We all invested so much in Dany, and maybe even Jon Snow, and I don’t think it paid off.
I am hoping though, that perhaps this show, which focuses entirely on Dany’s lineage, will show us just how quickly some of her ancestors went mad. Maybe they could come up with a way to show that the immediate “break” in her sanity, was something that has happened for generations before her. It’s a tall order, but one can dream.
Overall, this show has so much potential. I may not be 100% hooked just yet, but I think that may be a mixture of caution and just the fact that it’s the pilot episode. There’s nothing wrong with noting that House of the Dragon is still finding its footing. The dialogue seems… too modern almost; there’s less poetry behind it than in Game of Thrones. And the pacing of the show may need to be worked out. The tourney scene in the first episode was a bit too long for my liking.
But, on the other hand, we did get some gruesome scenes such as the c—section and the City Watch, in true Game of Thrones fashion. And the plot is what is the most promising. Sure, it was a tad hard for me to remember everyone’s name and who was related to whom and how — but a show about the politics of a successor? It’s like Game of Thrones meets Succession. That could only be riveting.
For now, we will have to tune in next week- which promises more dragons, fire, and war, and just hope that this show continues on its upward trend.
House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 pm EST on HBO, and is available to stream on HBO Max.