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house of the dragon

★★★★★

starring: paddy considine, matt smith, olivia cooke, and emma d'arcy

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

The story of the House Targaryen set nearly 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones (2011).

Based on Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin, House of the Dragon tells the story of the Dance of Dragons, the civil war of succession within House Targaryen. Viserys Targaryen, the current king of Westeros, was originally chosen over his cousin, Rhaenys, to succeed their grandfather to sit on the Iron Throne. Now he needs to choose his own heir. 

 

I was a massive fan of Game of Thrones, having a watch party with a group of mates every season where the one rule was one of silence. Until the last season. I’m one of the many who felt let down by the final episodes, who felt its narrative was rushed and ultimately underwhelming. So I watched the first six episodes of House of the Dragons with a healthy dose of cynicism, wondering whether the creators would make the same mistakes of its forebear. But I couldn’t be more wrong. House of the Dragon is a triumph. 

 

While House of the Dragon contains everything within it that brought GOT notoriety, headlines, and fans aplenty - violence, sex, and a glorious and an expensive looking production, it returns to what made Game of Thrones so addictive: the story. 

 

It builds slowly, introducing the various players in and around House Targaryen, developing their characters and carefully building a tangled web of political intrigue. That’s what makes it truly addictive, trying to predict the many political moves of a character, watching the ever shifting alliances, and the shocking surprise of many a backstab. Oh, and there are way more dragons. 

 

The obvious difference here is that while the other famous families and houses of Westeros and beyond are present, House of the Dragon focuses solely on House Targaryen. The other difference is that in episode 6, key members of the cast are replaced by older actors, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower being the most prominent characters recast. 

 

The cast is phenomenal with Paddy Considine’s quiet and understated Viserys, Milly Alcock and Emily Carey’s younger Rhaenyra and Alicent respectively, and Matt Smith’s Daemon in all of his fury being particular highlights. 

 

House of the Dragon reclaims the TV throne. Spectacular. 

★★★★★