Sunday night, HBO invites us to return to Kings Landing with the debut of their Game of Thrones prequel, House of Dragon. While I have only seen the first episode, it’s obvious what the objective was of this pilot. Series Creator Ryan J. Condal, George R.R. Marti, and showrunner Miguel Sapochnik sought to recapture the spark that electrified fans during the height of Game of Thrones. Remember, this story takes place 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen. However, if you have felt that void since Game of Thrones, it should begin to be filled tonight. Does the first episode have violence? Oh, yes! There’s one particularly over-the-top moment that will send Twitter into a frenzy. Nudity? Of course! Does House of Dragon have that same intrigue that made its predecessor so fascinating to watch? Well, so far, it does.
The series was created using parts of Martin’s Fire and Blood, House of the Dragon. We begin by learning of Viserys I (Paddy Considine) and his lust for a male heir. His wife, the queen, has gone through 5 pregnancies, with one only being successful. Their daughter’s name is Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), who will remind fans of a certain queen that died at Jon Snow’s hands (Kit Harrington). Alcock’s character is going to be what drives fans to the show. She’s feisty and has a fierce love for dragons. The dynamic between her and Alicent (Emily Carey) is the most compelling aspect of the show. These two are best friends but go about tackling the male-dominated world; they live in different ways. One questions the other is more subservient, and each feels that’s how they will survive. Fans will also buzz about Daemon (Matt Smith), who is set up to be some kind of antagonist in the series. You’d be upset, too, if your brother, the king, refused to acknowledge your claim to the Iron Throne.
To make matters worse, he then gives away your right to his daughter. Smith’s character takes things to the extreme, and we see an example in the first 30 minutes of episode 1. What will he do after being ripped of his right?
Jim Clay’s production design and Jany Termine’s costumes are fantastic. Ramin Djawadi’s score is epic in scale, as are the effects. While some might take issue with the little things in episode 1, the show managed at least to meet my lofty expectations in the first episode and left me wondering where the show goes next.