‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 1 Review: The Prequel Series Seems as ‘Game of Thrones’ as It Gets, in a Good Way

House of the Dragon Review

House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are two shows that guarantee a very exciting time for the fans of the fantasy genre in the coming weeks. We have had the privilege to watch the premiere episode of the first series set in the world of Game of Thrones since the original series concluded in 2019. The original Game of Thrones series didn’t part ways with its fans very well, and now House of the Dragon has the task to return this legendary franchise back to its former glory. How achievable is that?

If you follow the world of Game of Thrones, then you know what this series is essentially about. House of the Dragon is set two hundred years before the events of the original series, and we follow the turbulent period of House Targaryen, and the current head of the family is King Viserys I. As in the original series, the Targaryens themselves are not difficult to recognize, they still all have their signature silver hair here, as it was described in the book and as we have previously seen in the original series. We mentioned that the series is following a turbulent period, but we won’t give any details about it because one itsy-bitsy detail could be a spoiler, so you’ll need to find that out for yourself. But we’ll that the first episode was used well enough to draw the audience into the plot, but still managed not to give us too much to wake up the excitement for the coming episodes. We are expecting more episodes and according to what the series has set up in the plot so far, we are expecting one hell of a show.

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As in the original, we have a large cast here. Although here we don’t have Jon Snow, Daenerys, Ned Stark, Tyrion, and other characters whose charisma literally screamed out on the screen, here we still have very good actors who do their job very well. Our biggest shout-out goes to Matt Smith who plays Prince Daemon Targaryen. Smith has always been an outstanding actor, we have seen that when he played The Eleventh Doctor and Prince Phillip in The Crown, which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. We wouldn’t be surprised at all if House of the Dragon would announce his new campaign to finally get this prestige award. The character of Prince Daemon Targaryen impressed us the most so far because we have a feeling that he hides a lot more under his hood and that we haven’t really seen everything from Daemon yet.

The next character we need to highlight is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, whose young incarnation is portrayed by the Australian actress Milly Alcock, while Emma D’Arcy plays the adult Rhaenyra. What makes this character interesting is that the first episode basically hints at how we will follow the relationship and development of Rhaenyra and her uncle Daemon for a large part of the series. The seeds have been sown for the great things that are always expected from series like Game of Thrones, and we hope that this series manages to deliver in the right way, especially now when Martin himself is directly involved in the development.

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House of the Dragon is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced, with a budget of $20 million per episode. And no worry, that money wasn’t wasted from what we have seen in the series’ visual and technical design. Game of Thrones has always been a symbol of how TV productions have come far in the money they’re willing to invest. And make no mistake, House of the Dragon looks like an epic fantasy adventure that should be experienced on the biggest screen possible, or as big as you can get considering we won’t be able to follow this journey on the silver screen. Just please, do yourself a favor and avoid tablets, or even worse, smartphones, House of the Dragon is just too epic to be consumed on something so small. CGI is flawless, which isn’t hard to see once you get the first glimpse at the dragons, which are also kind of main characters in this series.

The next great thing is music! Ramin Djawadi is back and his work is once again terrific. Just like we used to it from the original series, the music manages to help in building the atmosphere and just makes it easier for the show to suck you into its own world and keeps you there until the closing credits. Speaking of which, this might be nitpicking, but we’re not saying it’s a flaw, only we aren’t used to seeing this from Game of Thrones; House of the Dragon has no intro, only a title sequence, similar to The Witcher. The music in the closing credits is absolutely fantastic, a mix of the old-school Game of Thrones theme and something new to make that legendary theme fresh again. When we look at it, it’s too bad they used it only for the closing credits, and not for some terrific one-minute intro like they used to.

House of the Dragon has found itself in a thankless position of trying to bring back the Game of Thrones fans who gave up on George R. R. Martin’s world after the conclusion of the original series. From what we have seen so far, if those fans are willing to give the world of Game of Thrones another chance, House of the Dragon might be just what they need. Kudos to George R. R. Martin for his involvement in this series, because if the series keeps going the right way, this might’ve easily become the show of the year.

SCORE: 9/10

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