Dragons come with the heat to HBO


Colin Barnes

House of the Dragons does what Game of Thrones did, but better. The acting and unique dialogue scenes significantly triumph over the later seasons of Game of Thrones.

Dimitri Silva, Chief of Staff

Fear dancing down the spine of those who’ve defied the king. A roar of death coming from outside their homes. Flames drowning their decaying wooden roofs. Children screaming, searching for safety. Stone rubble darkened and stained black. Horror has arrived, and so has The House of the Dragon.

Returning to the world of Westeros, seeing the fresh new fire-breathing beasts soar overhead is something we’ve craved since the hit HBO original Game of Thrones. 

Pre-dating the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon tells the story of the Targaryen family and their reign over Westeros. However, their reign is threatened when King Vereys’, king of the seven kingdoms, old age leaves them vulnerable. Without a male heir to assume the position as king, a civil war brews between the families demanding the heir title, forcing war, alliances, and betrayals.

House of the Dragons does what Game of Thrones did, but better. The acting and unique dialogue scenes significantly triumph over the later seasons of Game of Thrones. Even in the show’s first scene, HBO shows off their improved budget for the show with a flyover shot of King’s Landing while the main character, Rhaenyra, flies her dragon to its stable. Many other scenes in the show give fans a more detailed and unique CGI experience, which Game of Thrones always succeeded in.

The dragons’ CGI shows us a more detailed look at the creatures we grew to love from Game of Thrones. With their extra-long necks and immense, staggering scales, the dragon’s new look is vastly improved and is one of the main reasons fans returned to watch more. 

The dragons’ new look isn’t the only significant CGI change we explore. We also get a more extravagant look at Kings Landing, where most of House of the Dragon takes place. Director Clare Kilner’s cinematography does an outstanding job of portraying how grim Kings Landing is, with massive cracked stones for walls of the houses and intricate character and costume design to show off how poor the majority of the city is. These changes elevate the show’s appearance and give fans new perspectives we never saw in the original series. This is crucial for fans to understand what the main characters are fighting for and what people are being affected.

What made the first four seasons of Game of Thrones glue fans to their screens and what House of the Dragon has accomplished so far are the integrated and elaborate political schemes the main characters are enacting. The political presence between the small council and how all these wise characters are having such unique political discussions with one another is what fans yearned for after the disappointing, repetitive, and rushed writing seasons seven and eight of the Game of Thrones gave us. 

House of the Dragon gives us these political scenes while accomplishing a fast-paced storyline. These dialogue scenes are so beautifully written that it makes us fall in love with every character we are introduced to, even the villains.

Live humans being fed to thousands of crabs on the shore of a beach isn’t something you’d expect to see in House of the Dragon or any movie or show, for that matter. These “Crab Feeders” are one of many villains introduced in the show that are intriguing to learn about. The main villain for the show, Daemon Targaryen, intends to take the throne for himself as he believes it is his birthright. Every scene Daemon is in instantly stands out, with his polished armor, lustrous gold hair, and stern, ferocious dialogue that puts any character daring enough to challenge him in their place. Daemon doesn’t show any negative emotions that enemies could exploit and lets no one get in the way of what he truly wants. These aspects make him a menacing villain that makes you sit up in your chair every scene he’s in. 

With such enticing villains, it’s only natural that the heroes be as excellently written. With a bountiful cast to choose from, the writers give every character a unique and emotionally compelling background that makes the viewers eager to explore. A character we spend a significant portion of the show with, Otto Hightower, is always giving the king advice while plotting to get more power to his family. There are many other characters to choose from, but why Otto? Otto’s dialogue and overpowering influence over the king is excellent writing and shows his power as a character. Even his influence over his daughter, Alicent Hightower, is powerful. Otto’s elaborate plan to wed his daughter to the king is unexpected and shows how brilliant Otto is and how much he values his family’s success.

While the characters are successfully written and cast perfectly, are their any downsides to House of the Dragon? While only two things stand out, there is a clear answer to this question, plot armor. Plot armor was a crucial issue for Game of Thrones in its later seasons because the main characters were surviving impossible and crazy situations that would have been killed in earlier seasons of the show. House of the Dragon is suffering the same conflict right now, especially in the 3rd episode where Dameon defeats the crab feeders. Daemon manages to evade hundreds of arrows falling from the sky by pure movement and running. 

He only gets hit with an arrow in the final minutes of the unrealistic battle sequence. Game of Thrones had mastered the plot armor issue with memorable moments like the Red Wedding. House of the Dragon, however, seems afraid to kill off the main characters, severely affecting how viewers watch the show. Without the fear of a character dying, we don’t feel suspense when characters are in dangerous situations where their life is at stake.

Despite these issues, House of the Dragon brings excellent fan service and is well deserving of all the praise it’s getting. We get a new perspective on the world we’ve grown to love, and it’s all worthwhile to watch and enjoy the dragon’s rampage.