Having watched the first two episodes of the new Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, I have to say, it’s every bit the equal of its predecessor, There’s the obligatory mix of intrigue, politicking, house rivalries, gratuitous sex & nudity, blood, gore, wine drinking and of course dragons, we’ve come to expect from a George R. R. Martin novel. Where the series differs, I think (so far at least), is how it focuses on House Targaryen, and tries to humanize a grief-stricken King Viserys, who (spoiler alert) loses his beloved and cherished wife, Queen Aemma, during childbirth, only to lose their newborn son hours later, all in the very first episode. He tries to navigate this while holding the Seven Kingdom’s together, deal with his sociopathic brother and former heir to the throne, the appropriately named Prince Daemon, helping prepare his newly-named heir and daughter Rhaenyra for the throne and navigate through their shared grief, on top of a thousand other things a day brought to his attention as ruler of the civilized world. So yeah, no pressure!
It’s all in the acting!
The acting is absolutely wonderful, with Paddy Considine doing an incredible job of dealing with the complex emotions of a king that’s got a lot on his mind, a broken heart, and a lot more than 99 problems. Milly Alcock’s performance as the younger Rhaenyra really knocks it out of the park, showing in some scenes that a young girl that had to grow up way too fast, has a bigger set of cajones than an entire group of armed men, while still remaining youthful and innocent in a way. And lest we forget, Matt Smith does a wonderful turn as the charming sociopath of a brother Prince Daemon, which is a far cry from his previously best known role as The Doctor in Doctor Who.
All in all, the first few episodes of House of the Dragon have been incredible, and let’s hope that the producers learned from their mistakes in the debacle that was the last several episodes of Game of Thrones, which very nearly ruined an absolutely amazing series.