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House of the Dragon: A Must-Watch Prequel

House of the Dragon, the prequel show to one of the biggest television series Game of Thrones has finally concluded its first season. Prequels are challenging to create as the audience is already aware of how things will unfold in the future. And if you’re House Of The Dragon, you have to follow up a mega-hit series like Game Of Thrones, which was simultaneously the most and least favourite television series of all time. 

Just as Better Call Saul is a prequel series to Breaking Bad, we have House of the Dragon, a prequel series to Game of Thrones. Both shows have been considered the epitome of modern-day television storytelling and just like 00Better Call Saul, we already know how the story will end.

It’s simple to forget that HBO’s lavish fantasy adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s books was, at its height, as good as TV has ever been. The show depicted richly sketched political intrigue, complex characters, historical allegory, and a big-budget fantasy spectacle. However, when the show ended in 2019, it left a bitter taste among fans who were furious with its ending. 

The House of the Dragon’s first season entered the world with a heavy burden. It had to demonstrate its ability to fly even though the penultimate season of its predecessor (Game of Thrones season 8) had disappointed the fans. In addition, it also had to compete against The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1, an Amazon series worth $1 billion. But needless to say, House of the Dragon has come out on top as a must-watch prequel series. 

House of the Dragon focuses on the Targaryen civil war, which was previously only mentioned as a dry fictitious history in  George R.R. Martin’s book Fire and Blood. With a reported budget of $150-200 million, the show manages to pull off beautiful visual aesthetics that even rival those we see on the big screen. In addition, the CGI for the dragons in this series has been top-notch.  

Warfare is played extremely differently in Westeros compared to GOT since dragons are a common sight in the sky. When you have a dozen enormous winged weapons of mass destruction on your side, the goalposts unavoidably shift. When used to their fullest potential, like in the fiery start of Episode 3, we are reminded of the dreadful power they continue to conjure: not corny fantasy filler, but actual shock and awe.

The first season of House Of The Dragon was at times slow to get going, but the emotional intensity of the conclusion demonstrates that all that setting up has given viewers established characters to care about and invest in. 

Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy, the two actresses who play the character of Rhaenyra Targaryen are simply terrific. While the former emphasises the curious and young heir, the latter showed an undeterred determination to do the right thing. Rhaenyra, like Daenerys before her, struggles with what it means to be a woman in a viciously patriarchal society.

House of the Dragon has become the biggest hit for HBO since Game of Thrones while averaging 29 million viewers for each episode. With such good reception and readily available source material, we can easily expect it to continue for at least 3 to 4 seasons. 

By the end of the finale, the first blood in the ongoing civil war will have been shed from a great height, and Rhaenyra I, the Black Queen (Emma D’Arcy), will be just as intent on going to war as her adversaries were. Get ready for Season 2 because it’s going to be war as it begins the Dance of the Dragons which will undoubtedly feature the biggest action scenes of the series.

Final Verdict: 4.2 stars (out of 5)