Cast: Milly Alcock, Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans & ensemble.
Creator: Ryan Condal, Miguel Sapochnik & George R.R. Martin
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar (for India).
Language: English (with subtitles).
Runtime: Around 60 Minutes
House Of The Dragon Episode 1 Review: What’s It About:
Set exactly 172 years before Daenerys Targaryen existed, House Of The Dragon traces the rise of the House Targaryen and what they stood for. The episode one is a quick walk through the history and what led to the crowning of Rhaenyra as the heir to King Viserys.
House Of The Dragon Episode 1 Review: What Works:
Respect, adoration & the sense of giving what fans deserve, are the three things the makers of House Of Dragon shape the pilot with. Respect for the sensibilities of the people who have invested over a decade of their lives, adoration towards the source and the collective sense of making a show that only gives good things is visible and the efforts pay off. Based on George R.R. Martin’s classic work, the prequel series doesn’t try to overpower its practical predecessor but wants to write a love letter to it.
House Of The Dragon begins with the sense that the audience watching it is already in love with this landscape, so it does not invest much time in introducing you to this world. Creators kind of welcome you in and make you a member of the Harrenhal meeting where Viserys is being crowned. The instant acknowledgment that they know we are still in love does wonders. The show kicks off by directly starting the story and not indulging into the vanilla things first.
While Game Of Thrones was about the men who ruled and fought wars while a single woman made a dent, the prequel is more emphasised on the female clan that fought a war away from the war. A king is getting old, he still doesn’t have an heir and this is his last chance. The birth bed becomes a silent battleground and every decision taken there will change the course of the history. While the setup looks at women like mere tokens to use when needed, Martin, Sapochnik, and Condal make sure they empower them enough with their gaze.
They take efforts in creating a story that stands true to the time it is set in but also make sure there is enough acknowledgment of power across genders to make their own point. You cannot label the approach as misogynistic because it is set in a time where the conversation didn’t exist, but people did who defied the evil and that is shown.
They make the oppressed woman highlight to an extent where it looks brutal, but the aim is to hit you hard when the world bends the knee in front of Rhaenyra and oh my God! that moment. I am not giving spoilers. All of this is in the trailer. So much is packed in the single episode that I can go on. But we don’t need spoilers.
Should I talk about the magnificent dragons or you want to witness the cinematic creatures yourself? Choose latter actually. You won’t be disappointed. And yes, you cannot be watching this one without watching the eight seasons of Game Of Thrones. There are innumerable callbacks and you will have to have a good understanding of this world.
House Of The Dragon Episode 1 Review: Star Performance:
Matt Smith is so evil that he is so good. The actor while being a team player, manages to become the highlight and how. The actor plays a grey part and becomes every bit of the cruel madness he is supposed to be. Smith embodies Prince Daemon so well that at no point does his past character bleed into this one. Whoever doubted his casting, here’s a comeback coming at you in 3..2..1.
Milly Alcock as the young Rhaenyra Targaryen is the narrator and is as confused about the politics of her life as we are. She brings the confusion, chirp and confidence together pretty well on screen. Alcock has a huge responsibility to leave a good room for Emma D’Arcy to take over. With the looks of it, it seems she is all set to crack it well.
Paddy Considine is the Ned Stark like king and there are a lot of chances of comparison. But that does not stop the actor from giving his perspective to Viserys and play it with all the honesty. The helplessness can be seen in his demeanour and that’s a win.
Everyone else is living their best lives as they play their parts best to their abilities.
House Of The Dragon Episode 1 Review: What Doesn’t Work:
The pilot doesn’t give the dragons much space to have their characteristics. Like in Game Of Thrones since the very beginning we knew Drogon will always fly shoulder to shoulder with his mother. Through their time they developed a much deeper bond making all the three dragons humane. House Of Dragon begins with adult dragons and doesn’t take any visible effort to connect us to these mighty creatures.
House Of The Dragon Episode 1 Review: Last Words:
Miguel Sapochnik is the man who gave us Winds Of Winter and Battle Of Bastards. One only expects stars from him and he manages to deliver them too. Hope the journey is as amazing as the pilot. Fingers crossed. Valar Morghulis!
Yet to watch Chris Pratt’s web show? Read our The Terminal List Review here.