A little over three years after the story of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen came to a (slightly unsatisfying) end in Game of Thrones, HBO is finally bringing Westeros back to our screens in House of the Dragon.
The first episode airs today at 9:00 pm ET on HBO and HBO Max, but is it worth your time? Critics were given access to the first six series of the season’s ten episodes, and the consensus is mixed, with some saying it brings Game of Thrones’ epic glory back to its prime, while others find it rather tacky.
The series scored 88% of viewers on Rotten Tomatoes. (will open in a new tab) which is quite high – that’s what the speech and the general opinion is about right from the pen of the critics.
What is the Dragon House about?
(Image credit: HBO Max via YouTube)
The first thing to know about House of the Dragon is that it’s a prequel to Game of Thrones, not a sequel. Set 200 years before events with which Westeros observers will be familiar, it deals with the brutal civil war of Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors.
If you’re worried that this HBO is going against the George R.R. Martin world, don’t worry: it’s still based on the writer’s work. In particular, this applies to the second half of his 2018 book Fire and Blood, which deals with the reign of House Targaryen from the very beginning.
The author himself, after watching the first nine episodes, says that he is a fan of the series, which certainly makes it more attractive to GoT adherents.
What do critics think of the House of the Dragon?
(Image credit: HBO)
But what about the critics who saw the first half? Well, it’s a mixed bag.
According to The Guardian, it is “a resounding success”. (will open in a new tab) four star review. “In short, everything is as it was in the heyday of GoT,” he concludes. “Fun, energetic, great looking and passable sounding. And that, after the strangely bad ending to what was a resounding success for the show, is a relief.”
Los Angeles Times (will open in a new tab) agrees, saying that it “brings back the power, the grandeur of the original”. Like The Wall Street Journal (will open in a new tab)stating that it is “a dramatic success as exciting as any season of Game of Thrones”.
The Film Yap goes even further, stating that it “captures much of the magic and glory of GoT” with “a compelling mix of dastardly schemes, bloody battles and Shakespearean plots.”
So far so good, but others are less enthusiastic, especially in terms of performance. New York Times (will open in a new tab)for example, calls the line “flat” and “stamped on Martin’s production line of medieval fantasy types”.
What does this mean in practice? empires (will open in a new tab) the review gives us a good idea. “The writing still lacks the brilliance of Thrones’ deepest moments: no equivalent to the witty drunken Tyrion, no Littlefinger-level petty intrigue, no revealing character moments, starting with Robert and Cersei finally. straight Talk”.
Or, more simply, Rolling Stone. (will open in a new tab) simply calls the characters “uniformly boring”.
But perhaps it’s unfair to judge a show that has so many characters that need to be introduced so quickly. Critics, after all, only saw 60% of the series, and there will presumably be a cliffhanger at the end of the ten-episode series.
“The good news with House of the Dragon is that the beginning is the worst part,” says EW. (will open in a new tab) describing a show that gets better as it goes along. “A dragon does not take off immediately, but no House is built in a day,” he concludes.
Should I watch Dragon House today?
(Image credit: HBO)
For Game of Thrones fans, this is a cautious decision, especially if you’re patient enough to give it a few episodes to sleep on. The general consensus is that while this may not be quite up to par with Game of Thrones at its peak, it will at least quench the thirst of fans of political intrigue and ultra-violence.
But for those who haven’t yet taken a tour of Westeros with Game of Thrones, this might be the one to go. Portrayed by Nina Metz of the Chicago Tribune (will open in a new tab) writes: “Will the show work if you show up in the cold? My guess: This might make newbies wonder what Game of Thrones is all about.
Today’s Best HBO Max Deals