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04 House of the Dragon

Will Game of Thrones fans find solace in the series House of the Dragon following the end of their favourite show?

Series

Three years after the cult series Game of Thrones ended, House of the Dragon, its prequel available on OCS since 22nd August, plunges us almost 200 years before the adventures of The Iron Throne. The series, revolving around the Targaryen clan, features bloody family feuds and spectacular dragon appearances. But will it be enough to satisfy fans of HBO's epic saga?

Trailer of the series House of the Dragon.

Even the Game of Thrones (2011-2019) diehard fans will agree. The final episodes of the HBO saga were truly disappointing, a far cry from the series' epic and exciting early instalments. Expectations were high regarding the first episode (out of a total of ten) of House of the Dragon, The Iron Throne prequel airing from 22nd August on OCS. What if, three years after the end of the GOT adventures, HBO managed to once again glue us to our couches with this show co-written by the very author of the novels, George R.R. Martin?

 

After watching the first episode of House of the Dragon, it seems unlikely. In this prequel adapted from R.R. Martin's book Fire and Blood, which takes place almost 200 years before the adventures of The Iron Throne, we are plunged once again into a dark and suffocating medieval atmosphere. We follow the tragic events and rifts in the Targaryen family, who rule the Seven Kingdoms and are known for their silver hair and majestic dragons (the real stars of the series).

Trailer of the series House of the Dragon.

We become acquainted with King Viserys, a disreputable man who rules Westeros and must choose an heir. His only direct descendant is his daughter, Rhaenyra, a princess yearning for emancipation. But another pretender to the throne interferes: the king's brother, Prince Daemon Targaryen, a terrifying and ambitious warrior. If Game of Thrones depicted several families scheming, House of the Dragon focuses on only one of them, House Targaryen. But this doesn’t justify the ambitions of the series. Indeed, from the very first episode, it is difficult to understand all the plot twists of the show.

 

Certainly, all the ingredients (fights, blood, family tragedies, a little raunchiness and lots of violence) are used to satisfy the hankerings of the fans of the cult fantasy saga. And we applaud the spectacular visuals – according to Variety, each episode is said to have cost 20 million dollars – and the place given to women at the heart of the first episode, notably in a horrendous delivery scene. But the slow pace of the action and the lacklustre cast (only the British actor Matt Smith stands out) soon make us weep with boredom. The early scenes are sorely lacking in flamboyance, emotion and a new lease of life. It remains to be seen whether, in the following episodes, the stories of betrayal, jealousy and thirst for power will be given sufficient breadth to rise to the level of the monumental Game of Thrones. For it is hard to imagine a show glorifying the fabulous mystical dragons if its creators and its protagonists don’t have the proverbial spark.

 

House of the Dragon (2022) by George R.R. Martin and Ryan J. Condal, airing in France on OCS.