EVERY minute after the House of the Dragon prequel to Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, Monday), we’ll see a familiar sight: a ferocious dragon swooping down from the sky.
On its back rides the young princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock in the first few episodes, Emma D’Arcy as the older Rhaenyra in the rest), the daughter of King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine).
Rhaenyra wasn’t the only thing riding on this monster’s back. HBO, which is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, has invested a lot of money in the series, while ruthlessly cutting costs elsewhere, hoping it will wash away the sourness left behind by the ivy. Game of Thrones finale in 2019.
It will be a tough flight. Game of Thrones first launched in 2011, when streaming was still in its infancy and cable was king. Now streaming is the dominant force.
Since the series ended in 2019, audiences have been bombarded with fantasy mystics.
The heaviest of them all, by Amazon Lord of the Rings prequel Rings of PowerThe most expensive drama ever made, is coming out on September 2nd and will put even more pressure on.
Dragon’s Housebased on the 2018 novel by George RR Martin Fire & BloodThe film, which received fan-to-hostile reviews (critic Hugo Rifkind called it “destructive, narcissistic crap”), is set 200 years before the original series.
We can be sure we are back in Westeros, but something is different. You can hardly tell that a series that costs $20 million an episode looks like a rooster, but there seems to have been some decline.
Castles and cityscapes look smaller and less impressive. Ramin Djawadi’s thrilling opening theme music is retained, though in a new arrangement that robs much of it.
There are more dragons than numbers OKAY, but CGI is clearer. That said, I watched the five episodes available for review on a laptop, so perhaps the whole thing would look better on a 55-inch TV screen.
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There’s sex and tastefully illuminated nudity, rape, incest, and violence are often gruesome. Limbs and in one case genitals were severed with swords. The face is hit by maces. There was even carnage at a wedding.
Importantly, the film takes place also on a small scale and completely normal. The only focus, at least on what we’ve seen so far, is on the white-haired Targaryens (wigs remain the same), Dragon’s House is basically a story of family intrigue and court intrigue, crammed with scenes of people sitting around the table, arguing and conspiring in serious tones.
Viserys, who ascended the throne as the closest male relative of its former inhabitants, was considered a weak, naive king. The most recent of many attempts to father a male heir ended with both the wife and child dying in childbirth.
Traditionally, the logical thing for Viserys to do was remarry and try again. Instead, he took the bold step of naming Rhaenyra, a smart, nimble teenager who was already an adept dragon rider and had the potential to become a great ruler, the heir. his design.
If she survives, she will become the first female ruler of the Seven Kingdoms – an opportunity denied by the previous king’s daughter, Princess Rhaenys Valeryon (Eve Best), many years ago.
One person intent on making sure Rhaenyra doesn’t survive is Viserys’ murderous, power-hungry brother, named Daemon (Matt Smith), who will do anything to become ruler.
As if putting her daughter down a path of harm from the evil Daemon wasn’t bad enough, Viserys marries Rhaenyra’s friend Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey, and later Olivia Cooke), the mentor’s daughter. His closest friend Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), thus opening her up to face further threats from male children that she might bear him.
Dragon’s House competent but, so far, flat and tireless. The dialogue lacks sparkle and what it really lacks is a memorable character like OKAYby Tyrion Lannister.
It’s hard to imagine it seducing the world the way its predecessor did.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-reviews/house-of-the-dragon-review-the-drama-that-plays-out-feels-small-scale-and-distinctly-ordinary-41927724.html House of the Dragon review: ‘The movie plays out to feel small-scale and completely normal’