A full eleven years after Game of Thrones became a worldwide sensation, fans are set to return once more to Westeros with the highly-awaited prequel House of the Dragon, which has already seen rave early reviews from critics. 

A private preview of the series pilot has just taken place, as fans speculate on whether they’re in for another disappointment, following the previous series’ cataclysmically poor ending. The story itself seems grand in scope — set two hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series will chronicle the ultimate downfall of House Targaryen, as referred to in The Dance of the Dragons

Fortunately, critics have begun to convince us that we’re right to keep high expectations as HBO ushers in what might be a renaissance for fans of the fantasy drama series. 

Here’s what reviewers had to say: 

Collider

IndieWire 

Black Girl Nerds 

The Wrap 

Bald Move 

To summarise, the reactions absolutely blew fans’ expectations out of the water.  

Many seem hyped as the show returns to solid writing foundations as the original novel, titled Blood and Fire, which is a fully realised and bookended story, unlike the mainline Song of Ice and Fire series.  

Fans estimate that Game of Thrones relied on author George R.R. Martin’s storylines up until Season 5, after which screenwriters David Beniof and D.B. Weiss began to make up their own material, which didn’t hold up to fan expectations. 

As a result, some seem sceptical of how excited the reviewers are, but with an 11th August release date, we won’t have to wait for long before we can decide for ourselves. 

(Featured Image Credits: HBO)