House of the Dragon: Is the Game of Thrones prequel worth watching?

Amazing wigs and dragons, seems like House of the Dragon has it all.  

The hit HBO series, set 200 years before the downfall of Daenerys’ character, gives insight into the pivotal events called the Dance of the Dragons.  

With its serious tone, subtle humour and the so-expected Game of Thrones style violence, House of the Dragon might be the exact thing the fans need after that dreadful season 8 finale back in May 2019.  

The series follows Rhaenyra Targaryen as she is chosen as an heir to the Iron Throne by her father, King Viserys I Targaryen. A civil war within House Targaryen follows as the king’s second wife and Rhaenyra’s childhood friend, Alicent Hightower and her father, Otto, crown Alicent’s son, Aegon as king of the Seven Kingdoms.  

It all comes crumbling down around Rhaenyra, as she hears of her father’s passing and has her crown stolen. As if this is not enough, she suffers a miscarriage right after. Another traumatic birthing scene in the first season of the show, a detail in which Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon differ.  

The war of succession between Rhaenyra and her half-brother Aegon lasts for about two years, but the price is almost as wrecking as the war itself – dragons are almost extinct in Westeros. Thereafter, House Targaryen never truly recovers from the war. 

However, a week after its final episode, fans are still reminiscing about some of the show’s unique moments and soundtracks, kindly provided by Ramin Djawadi.  

For example, Paddy Considine’s portrayal of King Viserys and particularly the throne room scene will forever bring tears to viewers’ eyes. Even G.R.R. Martin admitted it himself – Considine’s Viserys was better than his own. Viserys was the glue that held the Targaryen House together and without it, all hell breaks loose. 

And the showrunners changed small details, like Leanor’s escape from Kings Landing and Rhenys’s intervention during Aegon’s coronation. 

While Game of Thrones focuses more on projecting the fantasy world built by G.R.R. Martin, House of the Dragon relies more on complex characters with questionable morals. How can you pick a favourite when they’ve all had their fair share of madness? 

Admittedly, House of the Dragon had it easy – the fanbase was already there and starving for more. Season one laid all the foundations and at times felt like a prequel to the real war we were all expecting to erupt. The tension could have been cut with a knife. 

The culmination of last week’s final episode was undeniably Lucerys’ death. Although, most of the episode couldn’t be seen, the clash between Vhagar and Arrax was on full display, as was Aemond’s reaction after it.  

The look we see on Rhaenyra’s face after she finds out about her son’s murder promises war. A war that shall end in fire and blood.  

Let’s just hope David Benioff and D.B.Weiss have nothing to do with this show.  

Words: Elitsa Maymareva | Subbing: Summer Rogers | Featured image credit of: Radio Times via HBO

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