Our First Impressions Of ‘House Of The Dragon’ — The Mega Prelude To Game Of Thrones
Our First Impressions Of ‘House Of The Dragon’ — The Mega Prelude To Game Of Thrones

Every bit fantastic and fantastical, it has political intrigue, love, lust, jealousy, and the GoT brand of incest and ultra-violence (replete with disturbing depictions of childbirth)

It is 172 years before the time of Daenerys ‘Mother of Dragons’ Targaryen. It is king Viserys I (Paddy Considine) sitting on the Iron Throne. He is the fifth Targaryen king to be ruling the Seven Kingdoms. His queen dies without giving him a living male child. His brother, the menacing but gorgeous Daemon (Matt Smith), the probable heir to the throne, is a tyrant. To secure his line, Viserys names his daughter princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) his successor; and thus the first seeds of a civil war are sown. There are tell-tale signs that the king might find a second wife in Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), and their offspring(s) might complicate the situation further. 

 

 

This is again another decades-spanning saga of the battle for the Iron Throne and the games have begun. But, this time it stays within one family, the Targaryens, the House of the Dragon. It is a story of war over succession. Every bit fantastic and fantastical, it has political intrigue, love, lust, jealousy, and the GoT brand of incest and ultra-violence (replete with disturbing depictions of childbirth), an evocative score by Ramin Djawadi, and a woman’s struggle to reach the seat of power in a brutally patriarchal world, where women are treated like objects to be used for material and political gain, as the raison d’être.

 

 

Set on the volcanic island of Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of House Targaryen, the first episode introduces the core characters and lays out the core central conflict of the series that Targaryens are their own worst enemies, which essentially also means that there are too many Targaryens (and those many peroxide wigs) in this series. The other houses—the Starks, the Lannisters, the Baratheons, the Greyjoys, etc, whose clash for power, powered the Game— are reduced to being minor players. Even with the inclusion of an actor of Barbadian descent (Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon ) and a flight of dragons (apparently there will be 17 of them, but the CGI has left me a tad unimpressed), the series might lack in diversity in the drama, texture, and maybe also locations. It might not have the sprawling canvas of the original but might make up for it with its depth.

 

 

Making a prequel isn’t easy as the audience is already aware of the ending. And more so if the main show happens to be Game of Thrones, the best television series made in recent times (with the most unsatisfying ending ever) that has a whopping 59 Primetime Emmy Awards to its credit.

 

 

After what happened in the last season of Game of Thrones, fans might have trust issues when it comes to a spin-off show. What I liked about this episode is the opportunity to revisit a part of the Game of Thrones world that was yet to be spoiled by an oddly-unsatisfying finale. What I didn’t like however was the lack of the dragons and the excessive focus on women’s place in society—at times it feels like a forced attempt to get some justice for what Dany (the actor playing the young Rhaenyra even shares the same stature and built with her) suffered in the hands of David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

 

 

Based on Martin’s Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon, is helmed by showrunners Ryan J. Condal, Miguel Sapochnik, the series premieres in India on August 22 on Disney Plus Hotstar. It is to be seen if the ill-fated George R.R. Martin saga manages to redeem itself with this prequel. 

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