House of the Dragon – First Episode Review

When Game of Thrones ended its record-breaking marathon with its eighth season in 2019, most of the audience claimed that the series ended badly. The flood of criticism on social media did not end for almost a year. The real problem was that after the show’s sixth season, producers went out of George R. R. Martin’s books and wrote their own story. When George Martin couldn’t write the books he promised, the producers had to continue with their own path. Personally, I have never been among the criticizers. I can say with peace of mind that the series started out wonderfully and ended in a legendary way. Game of Thrones is one of the 3-5 series that comes to mind when discussing storytelling and television production design today. HBO has signed a masterpiece that will set an example for the whole world in the 10-year marathon. In fact, I think it completely changed the date of production on TV. I was thrilled to see that these exemplary attitudes still continue in their new series. House of Dragon will once again show us how these things are done, while many TV series covered with populism and sacrifice their characters to today’s politics are showered with criticism.

Return to King’s Landing

The series will mainly take place in King’s Landing and Dragonstone. We will not be traveling from house to house as we will watch the inner conflicts of the Targaryens. The series begins with heir-choice moments in Harrenhal, then returns through the clouds to Syrax and Rhaenyra flying over King’s Landing. King’s Landing is as we know it. It stood out magnificent as always, with all the beauty of the orange tone reflected in the city with the sunset. Rhaenyra flew past Red Keep, and we can see that there is still construction going on over Red Keep. Red Keep, designed by Aegon, continues to be renewed after years. Rhaenyra lands in the Dragon Pit, which we saw in ruins in the original series. It was also nice to see this place, which we will witness being destroyed totally in the finale of House of Dragon. In fact, nothing has changed in King’s Landing. Crime, sex, trade, fighting, and chaos are the main themes of the city. Nothing much has gonna changed in 172 years. When millions of people gather in one place, it is impossible not to create chaos. But there is someone who does not want this chaos: Daemon Targaryen.

House of the Dragon

An Ambitious Man

Daemon Targaryen, played by Matt Smith, and I think he suits the character very well, gave us a pretty good impression of his character even in just one episode. Ambitious, unlike his older brother, he is savage and knows where to stand even though he wants the throne. Knowing where to stand is very important. We understood this feature better when he gave up when he lost to Criston Cole. He knows what the council and his brother think of him. But he also knows that he has to wait to get his due.

For this reason, he left the city, following the words of his brother, King Viserys. But the fact that he took Mysaria with him is a harbinger of things to come. Mysaria gave the impression that she would do justice to her sneakiness from the first episode. She will probably cause a lot of confusion in the future by pushing the Daemon.

House of the Dragon

Being Good Doesn’t Always Bring Success

King Viserys is a peaceful man who approaches his kingdom with equanimity. He does not like fights and noise. He is solution-oriented and seeks to please his lords by organizing tournaments. For this reason, he is known as a good king. But being a good person does not guarantee success. In fact, being a good person in the middle of a cauldron of intrigue can, unfortunately, lead to catastrophic results. His brother Daemon doesn’t hesitate to point it out either. He warned about what would happen in the future by openly saying that his good intentions were used. And yes. Viserys is the founder of all the chaos that will occur in the future without realizing it. Although this was not his intention, he did not prevent any of the conflicts in the palace and caused the beginning of the bloody civil war. The most beautiful detail in the episode is that he cut his hand with the swords on the throne in the scene where he exiled his brother Deamon. The legend says that sitting on the throne takes talent. If you cut yourself, it means you are cursed.

House of the Dragon

Daenerys and Sansa 172 Years Ago

The series will progress through several characters. One of our main characters is Rhaenyra Targaryen, who was declared heir at the end of the episode. The motivation that drives Rhaenyra, who doesn’t actually have much of an interest in the throne, is that her father never gave her the attention she wanted. Rhaenyra, who defines herself as a warrior and is fond of her freedom, sees the throne as her right because of her father’s love for the boy he never had and gets what she wants at the end of the first episode. And my ears didn’t miss the Khaleesi’s song that played in the episode where she was in the heir ceremony.

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Rhaenyra, who gave us a milder impression in the first episode, will change into her true form in 15 years. Her transition from a libertarian to an iron fist over time will make her similar to Arya or Daenerys. In fact, in the first episode of the series, which caught my attention, the Targaryens come across as much more naive and constructive. The Targaryens, who do not feel any danger due to the confidence in the dragons’ presence, are much more distant from the characters in the castle we saw in the original series. In the original series, everyone in the castle was feeling the need to look back, even when taking a step.

Although we got a detailed impression of Rhaenyra, we haven’t seen anything about Alicent’s character yet. Instead, we will see who she is in the following episodes. While Rhaenyra looks like her relative, who will be born 1572 years later and conquer the 7 kingdoms, Alicent will become more of a mix of Sansa and Cersei. Alicent is currently the Sansa of the castle right now, but she will turn into a full Cersei 15 years later. I must say that Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, who portray both characters, fit their roles very well. Especially Milly Alcock looks fantastic. The scene where she orders her dragon to set fire to corpses is pretty amazing.

House of the Dragon

Politics is Everything

Otto Hightower, played by Rhys Ifans, appears as the hand of the king. Visually and in the tone of voice, he is very similar to Tywin Lannister. He is a man who is not very good with his child and is ready to use his daughter for a specific purpose. After Robert’s Rebellion, Tywin married his daughter Cersei to Robert, even though she did not want it. Otto has already started to prepare his daughter Alicent for the king Viserys, whose wife recently died in the very first episode.

It has also become clear that the most essential parts of the 10-episode first season will be the council parts. Everyone at the table acts on particular interests, but they struggle to find common ground. The fact that Viserys is also not an enforcing king will cause lots of conflict in the future, especially because of Otto and the others.

House of the Dragon

Some Beautiful Details

Visually, the series is not much different from the original, which is guarantees that we will not have any technical problems during the 10 episodes. The dragons, the city, and the interior designs are also magnificent. I remember the words of Emma D’Arcy, who will portray Rhaenyra as an adult:

The first time I walked on set, where King’s Landing’s been built… I mean, I feel like no one told them that isn’t how film are made now, that you don’t have to build the whole castle. But no, it’s all there, and it’s all in the right place.

Another detail that caught my attention in the first episode was that they used the Valyrian language very well. There was an artifice in the language used in the original series, but Matt Smith and Milly Alcock speak the language so well that it is impossible not to be amazed.

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Criston Cole, whom we met in the tournament and managed to overthrow Daemon, will turn into one of the series’ most important characters. We will see him as a part of the castle in the future. The fact that he showed his interest in Rhaenyra from the very first episode is also a harbinger of what will happen in the future.

In House of Dragon, which George R. R. Martin calls Hot D, there should normally be 17 dragons. The producers say we will see 9 of them in the first season. If I’m not mistaken, we’ve already seen 2 of them, Syrax and Caraxes. The design of Caraxes the Blood Wyrm, the dragon of Daemon, is magnificent. With his long neck and crimson skin, he’s visually terrifying.

House of the Dragon

The essence of the word

House of Dragon is as much as good as praised. After a long time, I was pleased to come across such neat work regarding the story and design craftsmanship. Apart from a few skin and hair color changes, we seem to have guaranteed they will stay true to the story. They also opened the intrigue flood from the very first episode. The first 5 episodes of the original series were actually very dull. In the first episode, there was a darkness that fell on the viewer. But House of Dragon made the opening colorful and powerful. It gave us hope and even a guarantee about the continuation.


Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

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