House of the Dragon Season 1 Ep 1 is the debut instalment of an American fantasy TV drama series based on the Fire and Blood novel written by George RR Martin and is a prequel to the highly successful Game of Thrones TV series. House of the Dragon will focus on the war of succession within House Targaryen, the ruling House of Westeros, almost 200 years before the events depicted in Game of Thrones.
S P O I L E R S
Entitled “The Heirs of the Dragon”, House of the Dragon Season 1 Ep 1 introduces us to House Targaryen in all its pomp and power, a dynasty that had fallen by the time of Game of Thrones. The opening sequence takes us to year 101, where a previous disputed succession was settled in favour of Viserys I (Paddy Considine). Almost a decade later, Viserys I is still waiting for his male heir as Aemma his queen is with child and the question of succession looms large once more.
The main character of House of the Dragon Season 1 Ep 1 appears to be Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) the firstborn of Viserys I. However, as she is female, the presumptive heir is Daemon (Matt Smith), the brother of Viserys I. Amongst these characters lie the seeds of civil war. The High Council despise Daemon as he is vain, ambitious and brutally violent and Lord Hightower (Rhys Ifans), the Hand of the King, schemes to keep him as far away from King’s Landing as possible.
Viserys I places all his hopes for peace upon the birth of a male heir but instead tragedy strikes. In a viscerally disturbing scene, Aemma’s abdomen is cut open to save the breeched infant, but at the cost of her life. Aemma’s sacrifice is of no avail, as the baby soon dies, after birth. This horrific sequence is juxtaposed with the violence displayed in the King’s tourney, as knights in armour batter each other senselessly. A foreshadow of the war that is to come.
House of the Dragon Season 1 Ep 1 is a powerful return to the world of Game of Thrones – finally giving us the mighty Targaryens, whom we have always wanted to see. But of course, the Targaryens are only humans, and are subject to the usual very human vices – greed, jealousy and evil desire. Very promising start! Highly recommended.
Now streaming on HBO Max.
… still there’s more …