House of the Dragon Season 1 Review: Why Are Not the Starks in House of Dragon?

Game of Thrones will forever be remembered as one of the greatest television failures of all time. At its peak, it was unrivaled, at times nearly surpassing Breaking Bad’s brilliance.

The narrative diverged from the source material (where’s Lady Stoneheart?! ) but managed to keep things tight and, more importantly, its audience captivated.

The success of Game of Thrones was largely attributable to the fact that it defied typical fantasy conventions.

The noble, virtuous good guys weren’t necessarily secure (R.I.P. Ned Stark), and the chaotic kingdom, immersed in backstabbing powerplays, made it all the more stressful because the threat of the White Walkers loomed large over our protagonists.

How did they intend to defeat them? How in the world could everyone in Westeros work together to combat this danger?

Of course, the final two seasons absolutely disproved this with one of the worst endings of any television show.

People approached House of the Dragon with dread when it was announced that it would explore the rise and fall of the Targaryens hundreds of years before the events of Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon is one of the biggest surprises of the year, despite being a bit sluggish and having a few difficulties. A well-written, politically-charged period drama with a dash of fantasy, this show is shockingly good.


Co-created with George R.R. Martin House of the Dragon shows the bloody history of the Targaryens, 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen. (Because, honestly, George will do anything but write Winds of Winter at this point.) King Viserys I is currently on the throne, and he is yearning for a son to succeed him.

However, he did not receive one, therefore his daughter Rhaenyra has the possibility to inherit the throne. That is until Viserys marries Rhaenyra’s close friend Alicent Hightower and the couple has children.

House of the Dragon Season 1 Review
House of the Dragon Season 1 Review

Through a series of time jumps, Rhaenyra also marries, but Laenor Velaryon, the son of Lord Corlys. With strong ties between Valeria and Targaryen, the focus eventually shifts to the Iron Throne, and the seeds of war germinate alongside Alicent and Rhaenyra’s offspring.

To reveal more would be a disservice to this series, but suffice it to say that all of George R.R. Martin’s signature traits are present. There is a complex family structure at play, along with plenty of surprises and poetic and foreshadowing speech.

What’s really amazing about this show is that it doesn’t treat you like an idiot. So many shows today spoon-feed you exposition while character dialogue explains precisely what people want or need as a means of maintaining audience interest.

However, House of the Dragon does not. In fact, the series deliberately obscures the motivations of many of its characters, leaving you to determine what people want and desire, resulting in fascinating conversations among fans.

Visually, House of the Dragon is decent, and the series is also pleasantly restrained with its dragons.

The majority of this season is shot in gloomy rooms and minimalist settings, with the intention of establishing the world and political allegiances rather than simply tossing dragons into over-the-top action set pieces.

However, when dragons do appear, their presence is all the more imposing and majestic, as the sheer size and grandeur of these beasts may be awe-inspiring.

House of the Dragon is not without shortcomings, particularly in terms of the story’s conclusion and the distinct lack of tension in the background, like in Game of Thrones.

In addition, there are a few logical leaps throughout the narrative, including a problematic conclusion to episode 9 and a poorly established early antagonist in the Crabfeeder.

House of the Dragon unfolds like an extremely sophisticated fantasy period drama, so if you’re expecting a fast-paced action film, this is not it.


House of the Dragon is an excellent example of a series that exceeds expectations by focusing solely on its narrative and story beats, as opposed to striving to impress with dazzling spectacles and hollow worldbuilding (hello Rings of Power). Watching House of the Dragon is highly recommended.

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