HBO debuts ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel: ‘House of the Dragon’


House of the Dragon | WarnerMedia Pressroom

Fahim Khan

“House of the Dragon,” the anticipated prequel to “Game of Thrones,” premiered its first episode on HBO on Aug. 21.

In “Game of Thrones,” audiences followed the journey of Daenerys Targaryen, one of the last Targaryens alive, on her quest to capture the Iron Throne, with a large army and three dragons by her side.

The new series follows the Targaryen family at the height of its power, around 200 years before the events of the original show, during which the only thing that could possibly destroy it is itself.

“The story of House of the Dragon is a story about very flawed human beings capable of doing good things, capable of doing monstrous things, capable of courage, capable of cowardice,” George R. R. Martin, the creator of Game of Thrones, said in an interview.

“Dreams didn’t make us kings,” Daemon Targaryen, played by actor Matt Smith, said in the show’s trailer. “Dragons did.”

These words from both the character and the author perfectly describe the overall feel of the show so far. With the addition of multiple full-grown dragons and the ability to see how Westeros once looked under its strongest dynasty, there is a sense of grandeur and magnificence that even the original show lacked in its beginning episodes.

Showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik made the core aspects of the story about the characters within. Fans are introduced to the violent, impulsive and charismatic Prince Daemon and the kind and compassionate King Viserys Targaryen, played by Paddy Considine and the young princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. The younger Rhaenyra is played by Milly Alcock while the older princess is portrayed by Emma D’arcy.

The show’s overall inciting incident seems to be the moment King Viserys chooses his daughter Rhaenyra as his heir instead of his brother Daemon, breaking years of tradition by creating the possibility of a woman sitting on the throne.

It seems likely from episode one that at least the first season will be about the ramifications of this controversial decision by the king. This show and the original series have one thing in common, which is that chasing power has dangerous consequences.

Although “Game of Thrones” was a major success, the controversial ending left many fans unsatisfied. While there were fans who enjoyed the ending, many argued it was rushed and poorly written. Whether that’s true or not, “House of the Dragon” now has the tough task of gaining the trust back of its once very loyal fanbase.

With the premiere episode having over 20 million viewers and HBO already renewing the show for a second season, it is evident that the popularity of this fantasy world has still not faded.

There were however, some fans who argued that some of the explicit scenes of childbirth, violence and sex were too much.

“So far, House of the Dragon is rife with barbaric, toxic masculinity and overbearing sexism, even more so than Game of Thrones, and that is thoroughly disappointing,” one reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes said.

Although some of this criticism may be valid, viewers of the original show know about the unfiltered nature of the story, as Martin himself has said multiple times that he takes inspiration from medieval history which included nudity, sexism and violence.

With that being said, the overall reaction of the show seems to be overwhelmingly positive. With an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.8/10 on IMDb, most critics seem to agree that the show is off to a great start with the ability to be a successful predecessor to its original show.