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House of the Dragon: sometimes you can be too close to your family

Rating: 4.5/5

It has been three years since the finale of the insanely popular television show “Game of Thrones.” On Aug. 21, 2022, HBO released its first episode of their new show “House of the Dragon,” the sequel to the fan favorite show. Much like the “Star Wars” series, this sequel is actually a prequel. It focuses on the house of Targaryen, 130 years before Daenareys Targeryan and the events of “Game of Thrones.” take place. As of now the show is halfway through its first season and it has already been a rollercoaster of emotions. Ask anyone about the first episode and they will tell you that it is just as good as “Game of Thrones” but with toned down scenes of sex and violence. However, after four exceptional episodes that have been satisfying to fans alike, viewers were surprised with the most recent episode, even though it was something we knew was coming for a long time.

“House of the Dragon” takes the viewer back to the time when the Targeryan’s ruled over Westeros. The show itself is an interesting form of dramatic irony. Fans of “Game of Thrones” know what is to come: the reign of the Targeryan house is coming to an end. Yet we still are shocked by the events that occur in the show. The first half of the season acts as a prelude to the “Dance of the Dragons,” the war of succession within the house and the eventual extinction of the dragons.

As of now the death of King Viserys’ wife and infant son has left the house scrambling to solidify an heir to the throne. It means that the king’s brother, Daemon Targeryan, is next in line for the throne. However, Viserys is determined to keep his power hungry brother off of the Iron Throne. Much to the dismay of the realm, he names his daughter Rhaeynra as heir. The show gets messy when Viserys marries again and sires a son. There is also a war going on and court members fighting for their chance to sit on the Iron Throne. This all happens in the first four episodes. Welcome to the world of dragons. 

The casting of the show is remarkable. Each of the actors’ performances is strong and effective. Milly Alcock does a stunning job with her performance as the sly but loveable Rhaenyra. You can see her mind work as she studies the ways of the royal court, preparing herself for her time on the throne. Her relationships with the other actors bring each scene together and create an intensity that is palpable. Paddy Considine portrays the current king of the realm, Viserys. Matt Smith plays Daemon Targaryen. After the events of last week’s episode, his actions can be seen as questionable at best. However, it’s clear that it’s all Alcock’s show. We want to see her succeed. 

Other actors in the show are Rhys Ifans, playing the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower and Emily Carey playing his daughter and friend to Rhaenyra. However, their father-daughter dynamic is lacking.They of course are juxtaposed by Rhaeyera and Visarys, another father-daughter relationship, and it’s interesting to see their differences and similarities. 

There is most certainly more to come from this show. What is interesting is that the show has the potential to go on for five seasons or just cap off at two. The real hope of fans is that the show remains strong for the rest of the season, leading to more than just a two season run of the events that will lead us to the plot of “Game of Thrones.” Hopefully, the show won’t fall into the trap of sacrificing plot for the sake of explicit content. There is so much that can be done and all we have to do is wait for it. 

Episodes are released on Sundays at 9 p.m.on HBO Max’s streaming service.


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