On August 21, 2022, HBO released the ‘Games of Thrones' (GOT) prequel ‘House of the Dragon’. The 10 episode long series was long awaited by GOT fans when it was first announced in October 2020.
The new fantasy series highlights the Targaryen household 175 years before Daenerys Targaryen in ‘Games of Thrones’. ‘House of the Dragon,’ based on the book Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin, tells the story of “The Dance of the Dragons,” a story that was mentioned frequently within the GOT TV series and the books. “The Dance of the Dragons” is the story of the fight between Rhaenyra Targaryen, the named heir and first-born child to the current King Viserys, and her half-brother, Aegon Targaryen, King Viserys second-born child but first-born son. Obviously, there is something that doesn’t add up. With Rhaenyra being her father’s named heir, before her brother was even born, and her brother being the first-born son, who has a true right to the throne?
The story begins when Rhaenyra experiences the death of her mother and brother as well as the naming of heir at just 14 years old. We get introduced to characters that influence her life as well like Alicent Hightower, her uncle, Daemon Targaryen, Ser Criston Cole, Ser Harwin Strong, and her extended family of the Velaryon household.
For GOT fans, when this prequel was announced, many were concerned over the quality of this TV show, especially after the highly disliked 8th season of Games of Thrones. But many were shocked over the true quality of the show. The first episode drew in 10 million views on release day, which makes it the largest premiere in HBO history, topping the premiere of Euphoria season 2 and doubling the premiere of Stranger Things season 4. The day after the episode was released, the views had reached up to 20 million, topping the finale of Games of Thrones.
Though the show was an undoubtable success of reaching the right audiences, was the show well-received? In a short answer, very much so. The average audience score for the show is currently at 84% with a “Fresh” tomatoes rating of 86%. For comparison, every Games of Thrones season has had a “Fresh” tomatoes rating of 90%, besides the last season.
As a Games of Thrones fan, I, too, was concerned about the quality of the show but it has since grown on me. To me, when the show started, it was timid in surprise factor. It was good, but still hadn’t topped Games of Thrones, in my opinion. Now, every Sunday, the episodes get more drama filled, more intriguing, to the point where the premieres of the episodes are all I look forward to.
HBO has really bounced back since the 8th season of Games of Thrones back in 2019. Comparing ‘House of the Dragon’ to ‘Games of Thrones,’ the writers and directors did an amazing job with capturing the same vibe as Games of Thrones while keeping true to the novel as well as capturing the author’s tone and perspective of the novel. Though, I highly recommend watching or reading the ‘Games of Thrones’ series before watching this show to help further your understanding as some things are referenced from the main TV show. It is not a requirement, though, just to help understand the plot more further and the history of the Targaryen house.
The show premieres every Sunday night at 6pm PST, the season finale airing on October 23.