‘House of the Dragon’ is perfect ‘Game of Thrones’ predecessor

When the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” concluded in 2019, public approval of the series was at an all-time low. Critics and fans alike were disappointed with writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, feeling that the show was rushed and strayed from author George R. R. Martin’s source material in its final seasons. At this time, despite the history and vastness of the world that Martin created, it was hard to imagine a “Game of Thrones” spin-off series coming anytime soon.

However, in March 2022, almost three years after the conclusion of “Game of Thrones,” came the official announcement of HBO’s new prequel series: “House of the Dragon.” Based on Martin’s “Fire and Blood,” a historical recount of House Targaryen’s reign in Westeros, “House of the Dragon” takes place over 100 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.”

Premiering in August 2022, “House of the Dragon’s” pilot episode was a huge success for fans and HBO. It introduced new characters, a bustling Dragon Pit (in ruins by the time of “Thrones,”) and a remodeled King’s Landing, all while maintaining the charm and intense dialogue of early “Game of Thrones” seasons. Additionally, it became the most-streamed pilot episode in television history.

“House of the Dragon” at its core is about family. When King Viserys Targaryen names his daughter and only child, Rhaenyra, to be his heir to the iron throne, she is poised to become the first female ruler of Westeros. However, King Viserys eventually remarries and goes on to have more children, including a son. With Rhaenyra and her half-brother, Aegon, both having legitimate claims to the throne, as well as different powerful houses backing these claims, House Targaryen is set up for an inter-house clash for succession.

With a couple episodes remaining of season 1, the good has far outweighed the bad for “House of the Dragon.” While some scenes can be a slow burn at times, each episode has improved upon the last. The acting, sound design, action sequences, story, etc. have all been great. Not to mention that nine different dragons can be seen in the first season alone.

However, the main gripe that viewers have is the time skips and the story gaps that they can leave. After episode 5, there is a 10-year time jump. While the show runners do a good job of picking back up in episode 6 and making everything flow, there are relationship-developing moments that are glossed over with large time jumps like that that fans would love to see.

As the story and characters (some being recast after episode 5) start to establish themselves more post-time jump, the show will only get better. Anyone that is or was a fan of “Game of Thrones” should be watching this show, and this is also the perfect place for new fans to start. When “Game of Thrones” was at its peak, it felt like a weekly event that you could not miss. With “House of the Dragon” getting more intense each episode, it’s starting to feel that way, too.