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House Of The Dragon Review: It’s Good To Be Back

House of the Dragon sucks viewers right back into the world of Game of Thrones with an epicly intriguing and visually stunning premiere episode.

House of the Dragon episode 1 review

Game of Thrones fans are in for a treat with House of the Dragon. We left Westeros a few years ago, and not on good terms, so it is wonderful to be back in this world with a new story to see unfold. This series very much takes what worked with GoT from the start and gives it to us. It is filled with characters vying for the throne, nudity, blood and gore, and dragons. With several Easter eggs and nods to the first series, which actually takes place 200 years after this series, fans will be delighted to be home again. 

But can someone completely new to the series come in at House of the Dragon and not be completely lost? Absolutely. They do enough world building to allow for it, plus this is technically a prequel. While you might not be clapping or giddily laughing at the drop of certain last names or locations in the seven kingdoms, the show is captivating and intriguing enough that it will have you binging all eight (or maybe stick to seven) seasons of Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon review

Milly Alcock plays young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy will be taking over at some point in the season) and Matt Smith portrays Prince Daemon Targaryen. While there are many other characters involved, these two are at the forefront of the story. At least for now. They both do an incredible job that allows viewers to connect with them almost instantly. Fans will already have their favorites, Daemon just might be it, thanks to Smith’s powerful performance. 

However, for those that love Daenerys, Rhaenyra is going to feel familiar, yet different. She seems a bit naïve, much like we saw the Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains — you know, before she earned all those titles. Yes it is easy to compare the two, but we expect she will form her own path and, hopefully, give us a much better ending to her role than we got with Dany.

Again, there are a lot of aspects about Game of Thrones that are infused in this series as well. That means they push the envelope a bit too far, but in the best way possible, when it comes to the blood and gore. There is a tournament scene that gets absolutely insane, and man is it incredible to watch play out on screen. Along with the score and the cinematography — this is when it solidifies its spot as a Game of Thrones series.

Yes, there is nudity and sex. Would it be a Game of Thrones series without it? However these scenes play out in a way that add to the story. They offer key moments, surprisingly, and don’t feel like they are there just to be there.

House of the Dragon review

As with any pilot episode of a new series, there are some flaws. While the main plot is extremely intriguing, there is a lot of (necessary) character building taking place which slows things down quite a bit. There are some times spent away from the main story that are sure to pay off later, but for now drag things down. 

However, when it comes to the world building there really isn’t too much to do here thanks to the Game Of Thrones series. This is especially helpful in allowing the episode to keep up pacing as best as it can. The events of the first episode are fairly predictable, and while all the details might not be easy to guess, the end result of where things stand as the credits role in is something that most viewers, especially Game of Thrones fans, will decipher from the first few minutes.

House of the Dragon review

House of the Dragon CR: Ollie Upton/HBO

The first episode circles heavily around the ability of women to lead, and while we all know what happens in the future, it is intriguing to see it starting here. This is the story of House Targaryen, and we are all along for a wild ride.

House of the Dragon welcomes viewers back to Westeros with everything they know and love about the Game of Thrones series. If one were to stumble on the series knowing absolutely nothing about it, it would only be minutes until they realized it is related to Game of Thrones. Still, this first episode sets up its own story with its own characters, and doesn’t feel repetitive or like an imitation. The visuals are quite stunning, for the most part. Viewers will gasp, scream, shield their eyes, and perhaps even shed a tear — all during the first episode.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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House of the Dragon season 1 poster

About House of the Dragon

The reign of House Targaryen begins. House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones, is coming to HBO and HBO Max on August 21. Based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood,” the series, which is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, tells the story of House Targaryen.

House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO & HBO Max August 21st at 9pm, with episodes following weekly.