Why Is House of the Dragon So Dark? (& What TV Setting to Use to Make It Brighter)

If you’ve been watching House of the Dragon through its first seven episodes, one of the things that you might have noticed is that it can get quite dark. No, we’re not talking about the fact that the series is dark in terms of its themes, but we are talking about how there seems to be a lack of lighting, especially during the night scenes. So, why is House of the Dragon so dark, and how do you make it brighter?

House of the Dragon is dark due to its cinematography choice. There are also other culprits, which include the fact that the video and audio are mostly compressed when the series is broadcasted through the airways. And there are numerous ways for you to make it look brighter than it is.

HBO has long been at the end of the backlash from fans due to the fact that both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are quite dark in terms of their lightning. This was clear in The Long Night on Game of Thrones and in Driftmark on House of the Dragon. We can’t do a lot in the cinematography at this point, but there are some things that we can do to make the pictures brighter.

Why Is House Of The Dragon So Dark?

We all know that House of the Dragon is an exceptional TV series that has followed the success of Game of Thrones to provide the same kind of dark and gloomy atmosphere that we witnessed in the parent series. But while we all know that both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon have dark themes that dwell on death, war, betrayal, and political drama, we also know that the episodes can be dark in a literal sense.

This was one of the main problems that people had about Game of Thrones when certain episodes were literally too dark for anyone to see anything that was going on. For example, in The Long Night, which was the battle for Winterfell in the final season of Game of Thrones, everything was literally dark, as the only light source was the fires coming from the battle itself. Game of Thrones cinematographer explained this as an artistic choice that would allow everyone to feel the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the episode.

The Long Night Is Literally Too Dark

But the fact is that there are also some scenes in House of the Dragon that are literally too dark as well. Those who saw episode 7, entitled Driftmark, would be able to attest to this fact, as some scenes were too dark for anyone to see what was going on. This included the scenes that included Rhaenyra and Daemon at night when they were walking and subsequently making love along the shores of Driftmark. The scenes had improved a bit by the time we saw Aemond claiming Vhagar, but the fact is that the episode was still too dark.

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Of course, we can say that the dark lighting in this episode could have also been another artistic choice for the cinematography of the series, considering that they were attending a funeral and that the atmosphere should be dark and gloomy. But this wasn’t the first time that anyone has complained about how dark the scenes of House of the Dragon can be. So, why is it that House of the Dragon is quite dark?

The major culprit back in the time of Game of Thrones was compression. This was the problem for most televisions at that time due to the fact that the episodes needed to be compressed for them to make it through the airwaves during the time when the episodes were simultaneously released at the same time all over the world. As such, the video and audio quality were affected due to the compression.

However, for those who stream the episodes after they were aired, there is a huge difference in quality because of the fact that the video and audio no longer need to be compressed, as streaming on-demand tends to have a higher quality than a simultaneously telecast on cable TV. There is also the fact that the choice of platform can somewhat change the quality of the series, depending on where you’re watching.

For example, episodes that were streamed on HBO Go through phones or mobile devices tend to have better lighting compared to when you watch the episodes on the HBO channel on your TV at the time that the episodes were released. 

In short, there are a lot of different reasons why the episodes of House of the Dragon can have poor lighting to the point that it makes it incredibly difficult to see anything. This became a problem in episode 7 of House of the Dragon. The Independent even noticed this and asked for comments from HBO but is yet to receive a reply. In that regard, it is clear that this isn’t something that’s isolated, as everyone has noticed it already.

How To Make House Of The Dragon Brighter?

At this point, we really have no exact answer as to why House of the Dragon can get quite dark during certain periods of certain episodes. But what we do know is that there are some things that you can do on your TV and in your home to make the scenes brighter.

Turn off all of the lights

The first thing you should do is to watch House of the Dragon in a dark room with the lights turned off. When the lights are on and the curtains are open, a problem regarding glare might happen, and this will make it more difficult for you to see anything in House of the Dragon. Of course, the fewer light sources there are, the more that your eyes will be able to see the only light source, which is your television screen.

Choose movie or cinema mode on your TV

If the screen still looks dark, go to the settings of your television so that you’ll be able to toggle between different settings, depending on the type of content you’re watching. Most of the time, movie or cinema mode can actually make your TV brighter when the content is dark, as the TV will try to mimic the same kind of effect of a dark cinema. This allows you to see darker scenes better.

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Some of us here tend to use standard or vivid settings to make everything pop out. On the other hand, the movie or cinema mode can get quite dull. But that is exactly the reason why this mode is best for House of the Dragon, as this mode allows us to see the most realistic colors whenever you’re watching in darker rooms and whenever there are darker scenes.

Try toggling HDR off

While high dynamic range or HDR is a great concept for movies and video games, it isn’t always the best option. That’s because not all content is calibrated for HDR. Some content are calibrated for SDR, and that means that your TV tends to ruin the picture quality and the brightness when it tries to interpret SDR content to HDR.

There are also instances when, even if the content is calibrated in HDR, it looks dull and uninteresting in HDR because the range between the different elements on your screen tend to widen. As such, the details of a dark series such as House of the Dragon won’t pop out anymore, and that leaves you with an uninteresting grey screen.

In that regard, try toggling HDR off to see if your viewing experience improves. There are also instances, depending on the TV that you have, that HDR actually improves the viewing experience. Simply toggle HDR on and off to see which of the two is best for you.

  • Ysmael is a self-professed geek that loves anything related to fantasy, sci-fi, video gaming, and anime. Spends his free time watching movies, TV shows and gaming, a lot.