With 9.996 million viewers, House of the Dragon broke the record of highest live audience for a premiere transmission ever. The explanation is simple: Game of Thrones fans all turned on their TVs at the same time. House of the Dragon is the prequel to GOT and has been awaited for years. It addresses George R. R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood” books about the infamous fall of House Targaryen, referenced in GOT many times as once having been extremely powerful due to its relation to dragons and fire. The series takes place “192 years before Daenerys Targaryen”, as the opening scene claims. A beautiful tribute to the mother of dragons.
The show follows the story of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, recently named heir to the throne. Because of her gender, she constantly deals with her claim being questioned. In the GOT universe, most characters are power hungry (one could say “all characters” if Jon Snow didn’t exist) and will do anything for the throne. This leads to House Targaryen experiencing a type of civil war, the main plot explored in the show. As Rhaenyra narrates in the first episode: “The only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon was itself”.
Queen Alicent Hightower and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
Audience satisfaction rates for HotD are at 83%, impressively high for the first season of any TV series. It successfully carries the GOT legacy: amazing costumes, beautiful CGI scenes, a well-written script and coherent casting. Said casting, as a matter of fact, was once polemic. Milly Alcock was cast as young Rhaenyra and was instantly loved by the public; this, however, did not last as a 10 year time skip in the middle of the season caused the need for an older actress. This resulted in Milly being replaced by Emma d’Arcy, which did not sell to the fans at first because all had grown attached to the young princess; however, after two episodes of amazing, energetic acting, all were convinced: the role was made for Emma.
Milly Alcock as young Princess Rhaenyra
So far only the series’ first season is available to the public - 10 episodes of about 1 hour each. Fortunately, renewal for a second season has already been confirmed and filming is scheduled to start around March 2023. George R. R. Martin recently stated the books would need at least 4 seasons to be portrayed satisfactorily. House of the Dragon has started its journey on the right path, and will hopefully not fall down the “great beginning, terrible ending” road, as Game of Thrones arguably did. It must be said, though, that besides the likely death of your favorite characters, both series are undoubtedly worth watching and will have anyone addicted within the hour.