REVIEW: House of the Dragon – Episode 1

Last Updated on August 20, 2022

It’s been over three years since the final season of the monumental Game of Thrones aired on TV. Three years for the audience to discuss the great points that soared higher than a fully-grown dragon, and the low points, which most would argue put a dampener on the final season or two. Finally, Game of Thrones is back on TV with a prequel, House of the Dragon, which travels back almost 200 years before the time of Daenerys Targaryen and finds the Targaryens and their dragons at the height of their power in Westeros. To those fans who are slightly nervous about the return to George RR Martin’s world, relax. House of the Dragon E1 reminds you of everything you loved about Game of Thrones and more. Bloody, brutal, sexy, and powerful – this is the perfect way to start the tale of Fire and Blood.

King Viserys I sits on the Iron Throne. He adores his wife, Aemma, and daughter Rhaenyra. But he craves a son to secure the line of succession. Viserys’ brother, Prince Daemon (played by a perfectly cast Matt Smith) considers himself to be heir to the throne but his love of brothels, drinking, and fighting means that he isn’t a popular choice of those on the small council, especially the ambitious Otto Hightower, Hand of the King. Despite all his flaws, Daemon is loved by his brother and his niece, even when he seems to overstep the mark in his role as Commander of the City Watch. In House of the Dragon E1, King Viserys invites warriors from across Westeros, including his rogue of a brother, to compete in a tournament the week his wife is due to give birth to his son, a great celebration for the realm – but in true Game of Thrones style, things do not go to plan…

The episode brilliantly re-introduces the audience back into the stunning world of Westeros. It introduces new characters and rivalries effortlessly and the use of imagery and music throughout serves to remind viewers of what made them fall in love with Game of Thrones in the first place. House of the Dragon E1 hits the ground running with all the violence, gore, sex, and political intrigue that made Game of Thrones one of the greatest fantasy series of all time. The dialogue is just as crisp and biting with Matt Smith a particular standout in the opening episode – his delivery of one particular word in the throne room is sure to draw laughs from all watching. The meetings of the small council are full of the wit and sharp dialogue that used to come from the mouths of Tyrion and Tywin and it feels as though the showrunners know exactly what fans want to see and hear from the new series and want to give it to them. And then there are the dragons… The CGI is astounding and the adult dragons, Sunfyre and Caraxes being my personal favourites, are just incredible to watch on screen.

House of the Dragon reminds series like The Wheel of Time and The Witcher that there is a long climb left to challenge the king of fantasy series who sits on top of the Iron Throne. Great writing and a wonderful cast fill a brutal, bloody first episode that promises a show with Fire and Blood. The Dance of Dragons has begun, and I can’t wait to watch the rest unfold. Game of Thrones is back – and House of the Dragon could even fly higher than its much-loved predecessor. Must watch TV.

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Memories of Blood and Shadow, and The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of School at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Elden Ring. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.