The new prequel series House of the Dragon compares rather favourably to the original – Game of Thrones. Here’s why…
It’s safe to assume that fans of Game of Thrones still feel jilted over the controversial ending that was widely panned upon its release in 2019. So jilted that many may feel reluctant to watch Game of Thrones’ new prequel series, House of the Dragon.
To be perfectly honest, I was. And I began watching House of the Dragon begrudgingly. Boy, was I wrong. The first episode of House of the Dragon is actually good. In fact, it’s really good. From the opening scene, House of Dragons feels epic because it’s clearly leaning into the fantasy elements that only came in later Game of Thrones episodes; there’s no slow burn for the magic and mystical to arise.
For example, House of the Dragon shows dragons roaming free whereas dragons didn’t come to play in Game of Thrones until the final episode of Season 1 – and even then they were just babies.
But dragons aren’t all that make House of the Dragon great. In just one hour, the first episode makes viewers feel like they’re watching peak Game of Thrones. Wonderful dialogue, intriguing characters, an unwavering focus on who will sit on the Iron Throne, sly manipulation, brutal violence – the childbirth scene!!! – and graphic sex scenes; the things that made Game of Thrones so damn good are all present in the opening House of the Dragon episode.
Matt Smith’s flawless performance must also be acknowledged. Because Emilia Clarke did such an incredible job as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, prior to watching House of the Dragon I felt like it’d be impossible for another actor to turn in an equally good Targaryen performance. And yet, Smith’s Daemon Targaryen is extremely compelling and enjoyable to watch – even if it looks like he’ll be the series’ villain. Milly Alcock also does an admirable job as a young Rhaenyra Targaryen.
Plus, while casual viewers may not appreciate the small nods to Game of Thrones, diehards will feel extremely nostalgic and grateful for the few moments that honour the original show; when King Viserys revealed the “song of ice and fire” dream… chills!
So far, The House of the Dragon has the potential to be great; it could become the Better Call Saul to Game of Thrones’ Breaking Bad… AKA a worthy prequel that improves rather than destroys the original shows’ legacy.
All in all, House of the Dragon is definitely worth watching; even if you’re still nursing the wounds the Game of Thrones finale gave you. Although, let’s all hope the rest of the season is just as good and that House of the Dragon’s inevitable end isn’t as rushed or unsatisfying as its predecessor’s… You can watch the first episode of House of the Dragon on Binge.