HOUSE OF THE DRAGON: SEASON ONE
Starring: Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Rhys Ifans, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey, Fabien Frankel, Eve Best, Steve Toussaint, Matthew Needham, and Graham McTavish
Creators: Ryan J. Condal, George R. R. Martin
Y’all remember all that talk about not being interested in returning to Westeros after the lackluster final seasons of Game of Thrones? Yea, me neither. House of the Dragon quickly re-establishes the fight for The Iron Throne as event television by building on its predecessor’s strength of storytelling and brutality. What surprised me, however, was that after only one season, and with multiple times jumps and cast changes, it may have crafted more depth of character and emotion than Thrones. Performances from Paddy Considine (Viserys) and Matt Smith (Daemon), amongst others, had me glued to HBO Max each and every week.
I don’t see House Of The Dragon working for those who weren’t into Game Of Thrones, but as a fan, it’s a wonderful return to Westeros. I admittedly didn’t love all the visuals, making me question where the budget went at times, but the show’s storytelling brings us right back to what fans loved about the original, not to mention the wicked conflicts, excellent action, and flawless cast (Paddy Considine and Milly Alcock are standouts). When the season ended, I was completely enthralled, but upset that I now have to wait until 2024 for Season Two.
Although not perfect, House of the Dragon is a worthy successor to Game of Thrones. The story is a little rushed, as it uses its ten episodes to cover a 20-year span through multiple jarring time jumps, and it often feels like a historical prologue setting the stage for future seasons. However, the acting, action, medieval intrigue, and characterizations are on par with the parent show’s early seasons. There are subtle Easter Eggs aplenty too. My only other complaint (time jumps aside) is that the dragons look a tad cartoony at times. Overall, it’s a strong start full of potential for the franchise’s second era.
House of the Dragon soars, and is one of the best shows on TV this year, hands down! This prequel about the prestigious Targaryen house is so intriguing that it honestly may be better than its predecessor’s first season. Dragon breathes new life into the world of Westeros with the help of brilliant visuals and superb storytelling, especially the time jumps that feel effortless due to the characters’ level of depth and clearly articulated motives. This show is just so compelling and breathtaking that I can’t wait for what comes next. P.S. Team Black all day!