TV Show Review: ‘House of the Dragon’ is return to form for ‘Game of Thrones’

Yes, that means the good and the bad



Dragons, Civil War, Intrigue, oh my!

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

Not only will this review of the first episode of “The House of the Dragon” not be spoiler free, it will also touch upon the old “Game of Thrones” show. If you have not finished it up or have not started the new show this is your spoiler warning

(I am frozen in time until you return to this page.)

I see you peeking over that spoiler warning! In all seriousness, go watch the first episode and come back. You will thank me later.  

Before I get into the actual review, I am going to preempt it that I love the Song of Ice and Fire universe, the world that both “Game of Thrones” and “The House of the Dragon” are in. Most of it is gritty low fantasy and George R.R. Martin writes the brutalist reality well with some absolutely intriguing characters. 

Not that it does not have its own problems, but we will get to that. 

Having read all the books, (and yes there are more than just the main series), I was excited when “Game of Thrones” was the show everyone was watching. I could finally talk about it with my roommate and co-workers in-depth without them having knowledge of the often dense books Martin writes. 

The early seasons of the show were great, following the plots of the books almost exactly. This was paired with wonderful acting and drama, but this all fell off towards the last seasons. 

Just as “Game of Thrones” had become a cultural phenomenon, it lost that status after it finished and returned to awkward side chatter obscurity. 

“House of the Dragon” is a return to form when “Game of Thrones” occupied that cultural niche, an amazing start to what I hope to be an even better show. 

The events of the show take place near 300 years before the main story of “Game of Thrones,” largely following House Targaryen (the dragon house, for those who forgot). 

After a messy succession, court intrigue and lots and lots of dragons, the story will eventually lead to one of the bloodiest civil wars in the universe called, sending House Targaryen on a spiral downward. 

Oh, and it has Matt Smith in it. 

The “Dance of Dragons,” as the civil war is later known as, feels more “Game of Thrones”-esque than the original series, much more so than the last seasons. And best of all, the first episode did not disappoint, whether from the amazing set design to the gratuitous violence it delivered. 

Yet “House of the Dragon” is as much a return to the good as it is a return to the … uhh graphic. “Game of Thrones” is never a show you wanted to watch as a family, but I was not expecting to see a childbirth scene, Matt Smith’s butt and a violent tournament all in the same episode. 

Certainly, these types of scenes are part of what makes “Game of Thrones” so talked about, but I would not recommend watching it with the faint of heart.  

For those who did not obsess over Martin’s universe growing up and do not know about the Dance of Dragons and its wonderful cast of characters, I will not completely spoil it. That being said, I want you to watch out for the following people – Criston Cole, Otto Hightower, Corlys Velaryon and, of course, Rhaenyra Targaryen. 

I am one of the most excited for the Game of Thrones universe to return from its sabbatical and coming back into the mainstream, especially with an aspect of the universe that is not well-known by the general public. The showrunners have a lot of leeway with how they do the show after the debacle of the last few seasons. 

“House of the Dragon” will yank audiences away from the other hip and trendy shows like “Stranger Things” or whatever season of “The Bachelor” is on these days. Watchers have an attention span of sugar-high gerbil, and it is difficult for anything to hold our attention for long.

Yet I believe that if “House of the Dragon” continues on the path they are it will have the staying power to keep the collective attention of audiences. Whether it is the brutal fights, scenes that make you raise an eyebrow or the dragons who act more like cats than lizards I think the show will go the distance.

For those who skipped to the bottom or ignored my wonderfully placed spoiler warning – watch “House of the Dragon” to be ahead of that cultural wave, you will probably not regret it.