Joseph Collins III ‘24 Staff Writer

Fire and Blood. These are the words of House Targaryen, the silver-haired dragonlords of Westeros in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice book series. Most people know of the novels that became the television show Game of Thrones; however, House of the Dragon is based on Fire & Blood, another novel by George Martin that details the history of House Targaryen. House Targaryen ruled Westeros long before the events of Game of Thrones, which made their house mysterious compared to the other powerful houses in Westeros, covered in Game of Thrones such as House Stark, House Lannister, and House Baratheon. House of the Dragon, a prequel show to Game of Thrones, is focused on House Targaryen and their rule over Westeros. 

Set about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon tells the epic tale of House Targaryen at the height of their power as the ruling house in Westeros. The show explores the inner workings and ideology of the house, its relationship to other houses in Westeros, and how Westeros functioned under its rule. 

A quick history of House Targaryen– they are the last surviving dragonlords from Valyria, a powerful empire that ruled with their dragons in Essos, the neighboring continent to Westeros. House Targaryen left Valyria and arrived in Westeros 12 years before the Doom of Valyria, an unknown calamity in which the principal city was destroyed and the empire as a whole collapsed. House Targaryen then settled on Dragonstone Island and stayed there until Aegon the Conqueror and his wives began the Wars of Conquest to conquer Westeros. They eventually succeeded and united all of Westeros under their rule. House Targaryen then ruled over Westeros from that point on until Robert’s Rebellion and the death of Areys the Mad King, the last Targaryen king of Westeros. The show is also expected to cover the Dance of Dragons, which was a civil war within House Targaryen. 

Similar to Game of Thrones, there are many characters the show focuses on, but some of the most prominent characters so far are King Viserys played by Paddy Considine, Princess Rheneyra, played by Milly Alcock as a teenager, and later Emma D’Arcy as an adult, Prince Daemon played by Matt Smith, and Lady Alicent Hightower played by Emily Carey as a teenager, and later Olivia Cooke as an adult. 

The final season of Game of Thrones received less-than-stellar reviews compared to some of its other spectacular seasons. The final season was received so negatively in some capacities that it damaged the reputation of the show overall. Because of this, there was a significant challenge that House of the Dragon faced when it premiered, as the lackluster season 8 of Game of Thrones was still fresh in the minds of the viewers. Would House of the Dragon change the attitudes of the fans? Fortunately, that seems to be the case. So far, House of the Dragon has received very positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, House of the Dragon has an 86% on the Tomatometer and an 83% on the Audience Score, meaning both critics and casual viewers alike are enjoying the show. Compared to the 55% on the Tomatometer and the 30% on the Audience Score received by Season 8 of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon seems to be off to a good start. 

House of the Dragon premiered on HBO, and its streaming service HBOMAX, on August 21st, 2022. As of the writing of this article, eight out of the ten episodes planned for season one of the show have been released. With a confirmed season 2 already in the works, directors Clare Kilner and Geeta Vasant Patel have done good work so far. 

With an engaging story, compelling characters, and initial positive ratings, House of the Dragon might be the continuation of Game of Thrones that fans have been asking for.