A while back, I wrote an article on my early predictions for the Game of Thrones spin-off “House of the Dragon” (which you can find here). In it, I gave a brief overview of some of the key moments in Targaryen history and concluded that Aegon’s Conquest, the story of how the Targaryens came to rule Westeros, was the most likely to be covered. Well, I was wrong. And I’m ecstatic about it! Thanks to the cast list, I can tell you that the series will be about “The Dance of Dragons”, a Targaryen civil war where dragon rider fought dragon rider over the Iron Throne.
Only a few days ago, these on-set shots of House of the Dragon were posted on social media. Excited, I looked at the comment section to be confronted by comments such as this;
– “Looks stupid”.
– “I’ll never give this a go after the shambles of season eight!”.
– “Those wigs are lame”.
– “They are trying to revive a dead franchise”.
I was disappointed; couldn’t these people see how much potential this show has got? So, to answer the title question, yes, I think House of the Dragon will definitely be worth watching, and here’s why.
A Spoiler-free Overview of the House of the Dragon
As I mentioned above, House of the Dragon will detail the event known as The Dance of Dragons. We are in Westeros, approximately 170 years before Game of Thrones (the official line is that it’s 300 years before GOT, but that makes no sense considering the casting, unless there is a lot that they are still not telling us), where the Targaryen family has never been stronger. There are dragons coming out of their ears, more than can be claimed for riding. The Targaryen family is bustling and have enjoyed relative peace under the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen. However, when Viserys I died, he left a succession crisis. He wanted his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, of his first marriage to be crowned Queen. However, his son by his second marriage, Prince Aegon II was instead crowned King. Neither Rhaenyra (her faction known as the “blacks”) or Prince Aegon II (his faction known as the “greens”) were going to relinquish the throne they thought was their birthright, so civil war ensued.
The Cast of House of the Dragon
We have some real talent in the cast of House of the Dragon. The main players in the Dance of Dragons that have been announced so far are Paddy Considine (who plays King Viserys I), Olivia Cooke (who plays Alicent Hightower, who is Viserys I’s wife and Aegon II’s mother) and Emma D’Arcy (who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen). We also have Matt Smith cast as Prince Daemon Targaryen, who is Viserys I’s brother and Rhaenyra’s husband (GOT loves a bit of incest). He is a loose cannon, a complete badass and also has a claim to the throne himself. This is the casting I’m most excited about. Matt Smith, the lovable actor from Doctor Who and The Crown, cast as an unhinged dragon rider who is the quintessential mad, warrior Targaryen…yes please! Can’t wait to see what he does with the character.
Other actors that are confirmed include Steve Toussaint (Lord Corlys Velaryon), Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Velaryon), Rhys Ifans (Otto Hightower), Sonoya Mizuno (Mysaria) and Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole).
Arguably one of the coolest things in the Game of Thrones show were Daenerys’s dragons. Whereas her three dragons were the first seen in the known world for 150 years, House of the Dragon will take place when there are around 20 dragons of various sizes. Can you imagine how cool this show will be if there are twenty different dragons flying around, all with the amazing CGI they used in Game of Thrones? That’s got to be worth a watch, surely? In the conflict, we’ll have some of the greatest dragons to have ever lived, including Vhagar, one of the original three dragons that invaded Westeros with Aegon I Targaryen “The Conqueror” and his two sisters, Visenya (who was the dragon’s original dragon rider) and Rhaenys. In the time of the Dance of Dragons, Vhagar was said to have grown nearly as big as Balerion (Aegon the Conqueror’s dragon), who is the biggest dragon in Game of Thrones lore. Other notable dragons include Caraxes (Prince Daemon’s dragon, my personal favourite of the bunch), Sunfyre (King Aegon’s dragon), Meleys (Princess Rhaenys’s dragon) and Syrax (Queen Rhaenyra’s dragon).
Unlike Game of Thrones, We Won’t Run Out of Books
I think the main problem with the last few seasons of Game of Thrones was the fact that they ran out of books. Up until around season six, the show was adapting released books by George R. R. Martin. Afterwards, the creators of the show were mostly flying blind without source material to go off, as Mr Martin could not keep up his writing with the show’s release. This caused the last two seasons to have none of the careful, thought-out genius George R. R. Martin brings to the table. Every single A Song of Ice and Fire (the name of the books Game of Thrones is based on) book is excellent. This includes the beautiful “The World of Ice and Fire” (which details the known world and its history with gorgeous artwork) and “Fire and Blood” (which mimics a Maester detailing the history of the Targaryen family). Both books detail the complete story of the Dance of Dragons.
That’s right, no going in without George R. R. Martin having finished the story. The Dance of Dragons is fully covered, with blow-by-blow accounts of the war, details of the dragons and the personal relations of the characters. Those in charge of House of the Dragon just have to adapt what is already written, which we know can be successful because we have seen Game of Thrones work when there is the book source material. They don’t even have to think too hard about costumes and what some of the dragons look like, as the artwork and descriptions in The World of Ice and Fire and Fire and Blood shows them. Literally, all they have to do is design some cool dragons from their descriptions and add in some dialogue to the exchanges. They had an excuse to mess up season seven and eight of Game of Thrones. They do not have the same excuse this time. So fingers crossed.
I beg you, give the House of the Dragon a try. The source material is some of my favourite lore in Game of Thrones. In fact, apart from the main A Song of Ice and Fire storyline, the Dance of Dragons is easily the top of the Game of Thrones pile, for me. You may be disappointed by a few pictures of some characters standing around in their early costume shots. You may think that the pictures look boring. You may think that they are fabricating a story from thin air to wring every last drop out of GOT fans (They are not, at least fabricating story-wise). It is early days. This show has some serious potential, please don’t write it off so soon.
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