House of The Dragon: A fitting spin-off but it does drag(on)

We take a look at House of The Dragon; did it live up to the anticipation or was it a medieval mess?

George Bell
17th November 2022
After the disaster that was the Game of Thrones finale, HBO had to do something big to win back the fans to the world of Westeros. Following the announcement and cancellation of several different shows, the first spin-off we received was House of the Dragon but, did it deliver?

In short, absolutely. It may not reach the highs of Game of Thrones at its peak, but it certainly rises above the dastardly lows that we were all too accustomed to near the end. 

Set almost 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon follows a very different Westeros, a Westeros still ruled by House Targaryens and the dragons they ride. House of the Dragon follows the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons, and the ultimate beginning of the end for the legendary house. It is based on George RR Martin’s 2018 book Blood and Fire, which chronologies the reign of the Targaryens from conquering Westeros to just before Game of Thrones.

there are many characters to root for (or loathe)

Much like Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon has a large swath of characters to keep track of. But unlike Game of Thrones, all their names are very similar and they all have the same colour hair. Despite this, there were many standout characters, with fan favourites already being drawn in the sand. From Matt Smith’s Prince Daemon and Olivia Cooke’s Alicent Hightower to Emma D’Arcy’s Princess Rhaenera and Paddy Constantine’s King Viserys, there are many characters to root for (or loathe). 

Image credit: IMDB

One of the big issues of the show is the pacing. This is mostly to do with how most of the season sets up the characters and time period we will likely be in for many more seasons. But in doing this, the seasons and the characters feel very disjointed. Many main characters are recast throughout the season to help portray the passing of time and events. While this makes sense, it makes it extremely hard to connect and follow what is happening if their faces keep changing, especially when everyone’s name sounds the same. There are several awesome scenes and moments, but they are held together weakly with character moments that don’t hit as hard as one would hope, no matter how great the performances or writing might be. 

the show has been a raging success and revitalised Westeros for many fans

Despite all this, the show has been a raging success and revitalised Westeros for many fans. By taking a focus on setting up and laying the groundwork for the following seasons, the excitement and anticipation of what is to come next is palpable. The showrunners have said that we can expect pacing similar to seasons 3 to 5 of Game of Thrones for the next few seasons.

We do still have a while to wait though as production on season 2 is yet to even start. So in the meantime why not rewatch season 8? Or don’t.

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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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