“Game of Thrones” fans, it’s time to put your season 8 trust issues aside and return to Westeros for another emotionally taxing adventure! HBO’s new spinoff “House of the Dragon” promises to have all of the rich lore of the original series, plus an extended CGI dragon budget.
As it is with any good high fantasy tale, your “House of the Dragon” experience will likely benefit from a little nerd homework. Here is everything you need to know before you watch so you can avoid common confusions like “Why are all of these blonde people so sad?” or “Wait, they’re related?!”
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House of the dragon first episode date
House of the Dragon’s debut episode airs on HBO this Sunday, August 21, at 9 p.m. EST. The first season will run for 10 episodes, premiering weekly throughout September and October. You’ll be able to find House of the Dragon on HBO, as well as streaming on HBO Max. The episodes will run around an hour long, with the finale set to air on October 23. If there wasn’t enough feuding going on in House of the Dragon alone, the fantasy series will also compete for attention with Amazon’s The Rings of Power, which premieres on September 2.
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What Is House of the Dragon About?
The prequel series will focus on Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors and detail the bloody civil war at the height of the age of dragons. Though house Stark, Lannister, and Baratheon dominated Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will primarily be a Targaryen family affair. HBO spent roughly $20 million an episode to produce the first season, so here’s hoping that these dragon battles are a spectacle that’ll rival the heights of the original series.
Is House of the Dragon Worth Watching
Fantasy series about the medieval ages always have a tightrope to walk. Genuinely, which aspects of this awful and brutal time in history are actually worth repeating? Bloody and testosterone-fueled, the era yielded fantastical stories of kings and conquests, sure. But it was also a nasty place where death occurred a little too frequently, and aged lords would take 16-year-old brides.
For the royal Targaryen family at the center of House of the Dragon, the long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel series, those girls may also be your cousin or sister. I’m sorry to report that the amount of incest that made Thrones fans gag every time Jon Snow and Daenerys kissed (or Jaime and Cersei) has certainly not ceased. Neither has the violence or bloodshed. It doesn’t make for the easiest watch. It’s almost comical that the prequel series, which debuts its first episode on HBO this Sunday, was intended to be a jumping-on point even if you hadn’t watched Thrones. I wouldn’t know where to find an audience for content like this anywhere outside of Thrones fans.
Yet, even with George R.R. Martin’s insistence on including every ugly aspect of this time in history down to the most disgusting detail, he’s still one of the greatest world-builders the fantasy genre has ever seen. He hasn’t even finished the damn books and Westeros is still up there with Middle-earth and Hogwarts.
House of the Dragon‘s characters are as layered and politically cunning as their predecessors, but this time, there’s a fully realized story to back them up. The ailing King Viserys is without a male heir, presenting the realm with a fantastic opportunity to head into a civil war. The scope of the tale is also a little more nuanced, dealing with the schism of one royal family, rather than a danger to the entire realm, like an army of the dead.
Some of House of the Dragon’s role players may feel like analogues of popular characters from before, but if it works, it works. The Daenerys stand-in, Milly Alcock’s Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, is full of defiant facial expressions, scoffing at the fancy men in power—easily becoming the most entertaining character on screen. She’s the obvious heir to her father’s throne, but self-interested parties surrounding the King’s council are working their political magic to try and place themselves in the seat of power instead.
Over the six episodes granted to the press by HBO thus far, the series has moved with excellent pacing. Rest assured, the pieces are falling into place for a massive clash in Westeros. George R.R. Martin’s chessboard feels as fresh as the War of the Five Kings from A Song of Ice and Fire, too. Sure, House of the Dragon is absolutely just more Game of Thrones, but it’ll have you feeling like you’re back in Season One of the last decade’s biggest TV event. Aren’t you excited to dive back into this world and share theories with friends and family every week again? Sure, the Game of Thrones finalemay have left a bad taste in our mouths, but I, for one, am ready for my next meal.
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