How House of the Dragon saved Game of Thrones’ legacy

May 19, 2019 is a date inscribed in the lexicon of pop culture. The final at game of thronesthe television phenomenon that single-handedly revitalized the fantasy genre and redefined what “event television” meant, airing at collective disappointment of millions of fans. The show’s decline in quality had begun in season 7, with questionable choices as early as season 5, but the sinking of season 8 was beyond words. Consistency disappeared in favor of spectacle, resulting in a rushed season that reduced the world’s greatest television show to a sad shadow of its former self.

The controversial finale put a seemingly permanent stain on game of thrones. In the years leading up to its conclusion, HBO expressed interest in creating a franchise based on George RR Martin’s World of Ice and Fire. However, the episode’s terrible reception cast doubt on the network’s plan, with many wondering if the game of thrones the brand was in a healthy enough place to sustain a franchise. Things got worse when the first spin-off, starring Naomi Watts, was rudely dismissed even after filming a $30 million pilot, spelling the death knell for the future franchise. Alas, all was not lost; Obtained still had an ace up its sleeve, and it was called House Targaryen.

mother of dragons

Daenerys rising from her ashes with baby Drogon on her shoulder.

Let’s start with the obvious: Daenerys Targaryen was Game of thronesundeniable star. The perfect combination of relational and inspirational, Daenerys was the perfect hero for audiences to root for, the easiest character to love and support. Dany had the traditional hero journey, rising above her starting position and becoming a quasi-messianic figure.

Danny was thrones‘ultimate champion; unlike Tyrion, she had real power; unlike Jon, she wasn’t afraid to use it. Daenerys represented the best of game of thrones; she was strong, strong-willed, flawed and captivating, an inspiring but ruthless character who had everything needed to take the Iron Throne.

Above all, Daenerys had dragons. I can’t stress how important dragons were to game of thrones‘ Hit. These mighty beasts are crucial to any fantasy story – all the best ones have at least one memorable dragon, from Smaug to Saphira. Dragons epitomize the fantasy genre, representing the power and enchanting nature of their fascinating, reality-defying worlds. Political intrigue made game of thronesbut the dragons elevated him to the pinnacle of pop culture.

Daenerys Victory and Tyrant Speech – Game of Thrones Season 8 E6

The outrage for ObtainedDaenerys’ ending was mostly focused on Daenerys’ fate, which many fans considered a character assassination. Dany has always been a fierce and ruthless young woman, but she has never been cruel or stupid; his actions during the series’ penultimate episode, “The Bells”, were both. And while no one can deny that she had signs of the infamous Targaryen madness, Daenerys was never the mad queen in the making.

Obtained needed more time and patience to bring about his descent into tyranny; instead, he settled for cheap shortcuts, bordering on Missandei and turning Tyrion into a failure. However, the series’ most egregious crime was nerfing dragons, turning them from powerful weapons into flying plot devices. By undermining the dragons, the show eventually undermined itself.

be a dragon

The young princess Rhaenyra with her dragon Syrax looming behind her.

If dragons built game of thrones, the dragons would save him too. HBO knew the show had messed up Targaryen’s story, ruining Daenerys’ legacy and casting a shadow over her reputation. So if D&D killed the Targaryens, HBO would resurrect them. A Targaryen-centric spinoff should be a no-brainer. The Dragon House has a rich history in the source material, with Martin having spent a lot of time expanding it in recent years. But choosing the Dance of the Dragons as the main focus of the spin-off was a clear and glaring indication that HBO got it. Obtainedand had no intention of repeating them.

More than a political conflict, which it has, and fascinating characters, which it also has, the Dance of the Dragons has precisely that: dragons. A ton of them. The dance has dragons in the wazoo, to the point that many fans doubted it would ever receive an adaptation due to its price tag. We’re talking epic, large-scale dragon battles that will make the loot train attack seem like child’s play.

game of thrones waited years before Dany rode a dragon and even more before using her children in battle. Dragon House wastes no time introducing his dragons, but his antidote to ObtainedThe restraint is not excessive. Season 1 serves as a prelude to the dance, setting the stage and the main cast but saving the best for later. Still, the show provided enough hints of what was to come for fans to believe it might pull off the dance’s most important battles.

The Last Seconds Of The Season Finale, “The Black Queen,” Was All We Needed To Believe Dragon Housethe power. The four minute scene was a genre-blending triumph, a masterclass in execution. And if the show could do so much with a relatively simple scene, the possibilities for the most fearsome dragon battles were endless. The Battle of Rook’s Rest, the assault on the Dragon’s Pit and especially the Battle above the Eye of God are all promises that Dragon House made; judging by what they have already delivered, there is no reason to doubt them.

The dragon queen

Alicent and Rhaenyra look at each other in House of the Dragon.

In his heart, the Dance of the Dragons is a story of female rage. Sure, there’s an abundance of men – this is Westeros, after all – but the source of the conflict, the power behind it, is two women. And after the Daenerys debacle, HBO needed a powerful female character to lead the future of the franchise. In the Dance of the Dragons, he found two.

Rhaenyra and Alicent are intriguing, if somewhat one-dimensional, characters on the page. Martin remains as compelling a storyteller as ever, but the scope of Fire & Blood prevents him from fully exploring the complex inner workings of any of his characters; the book is about the game, not the players. Thus, Rhaenyra and Alicent exist as ideas rather than characters in their own right, which is the angle of the “story told” that Fire & Blood adopted. Yet this approach prevents them from being as fascinating as Daenerys was.

Dragon House changed that. By putting Rhaenyra and Alicent front and center, the show turned them into developed characters full of agency and layers. While the book casts them as bitter enemies arguing over small things – literally, the source of their conflict is often reduced to each wanting to be “the first lady of the kingdom” – the series portrays them as friends turned rivals with conflicting feelings. one for the other. Dragon House makes several changes to their core storylines, mostly turning them into more likable characters than their book counterparts. But how could it not when its predecessor mistreated its female characters so much?

Alicent and Rhaenyra hook up in House of the Dragon.

Obtained had a problem with his wives. The show used excessive sexual violence to prove its point, putting the women through hell before “allowing” them to win. But Dragon House actively rejects this approach. Rhaenyra is free to pursue her sexual desires and make her own choices, enjoying a freedom that previous female characters in the franchise did not share. And while she spends most of the season dealing with the repercussions of those choices, with that comes the freedom to make them. More importantly, the show never condemns her and instead shows a remarkable and constant empathy towards her, allowing us to see and appreciate her strengths and flaws.

For her part, Alicent is given a genuine and compelling motive for her actions beyond jealousy and lust for power. Obtained has never shied away from portraying likable antagonists, creating some of modern television’s most engaging villains, and Alicent lives up to that legacy. Even though the show encourages us to stand against her, her journey, coupled with Olivia Cooke’s vulnerable performance, makes Alicent one of the best characters in Dragon House. Television needs more complex anti-heroines who dismantle the generic trope of the “strong female character”; Alicent and Rhaenyra are up to the task, picking up where Daenerys left off and carrying her spiritual legacy. In many ways, they avenge the Mother of Dragons.

reign of the dragon

Rhaenyra Targaryen looks into the House of the Dragon.

At the end, Dragon HouseThe greatest triumph of was his ability to give fans something they no longer had: hope. While we used to despise the idea of Obtained spin-offs – why want more of something that’s already spit in our faces – we’re now excited about the idea of ​​more Westerosi content. Before, it was a full-fledged situation, but things are different now; we have faith again. Dragon House celebrated the world of ice and fire and Daenerys Targaryen. It represents all the best parts of the franchise without any of the ugliness of Obtained season 8.

Above all, Dragon House opened a door that game of thrones accidentally closed, prompting us to demand more stories, Targaryen or otherwise. A Sea Snake spin-off? Sure! A show about Princess Nymeria? Why the hell not? A sequel to Jon Snow? Sure, I guess. And what about the Dunk and Egg stories? It’s supposed to happen eventually; bring it on! Hell, raise him up Moon of blood spin off; there is a demand for that.

Dragon House made Westeros attractive again. It reminded us of the power and complexity of Martin’s world and cemented HBO as the network for prestige television. More importantly, he restored game of thronesThe fractured legacy. “The Iron Throne” is no longer the hated finale to one of the greatest television shows of all time, but a bad chapter in an ongoing story. Not a period, but a semicolon. And frankly, television is all the better for it.

You can stream everything game of thrones and the first season of Dragon House on HBO Max.

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