Looking Back at Early Barbie Movies after the Live-Action Barbie Trailer Release

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on May 29, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

“I’m just like you!” “You’re just like me!” from Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper is ringing through all of our minds after watching the new Barbie trailer and witnessing the massive amount of love this film is getting even before its release. There could not be a more perfect casting for the main characters Barbie and Ken,  played by Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The plot has not been entirely revealed to the public in the trailer or through any leaks, as many of the cast are alluding to a Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 plot twist. However, what is known is that Barbie and Ken will journey from the Barbie world to the real world and face the consequences that come with it. Even without the plot revealed, opening weekend will definitely be flooding with tickets from eager Gen-Z and Millennial fans hoping to relive their childhood love for Barbie movies. 

But before you go see Barbie, why not brush up on some of my favorite nostalgic Barbie movies? There is so much to love about the Barbie movies from the 2000s: the pastel colors, the classical music, and their take on classic fairy tales. To build up your Barbie cinematic universe resume, start with Barbie Fairytopia. Barbie Fairytopia has a strong protagonist with Elina, the only fairy without wings, and a very memorable fuzzy friend Bibble. Of the three movies, Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia worked hand in hand with H20: Just Add Water to give our generation the mermaid phase we definitely deserved. Skipping the third movie of the trilogy, shift to Barbie and Magic of the Pegasus. I beg you: go watch this movie now and compare it to how you viewed it as a child because this is the creepiest Barbie villain of any of the BCU, not to mention that the love interest has a very wild backstory for a children’s movie. Princess Anika must go on a quest to piece together a magic wand to defeat the villain, and to break the spell over her sister and her kingdom. Next, watch either Barbie of Swan Lake or Barbie as Rapunzel. Each of these Barbie movies will give you great visuals, amazing classical music, and magical dresses that are to die for. To decide on what to watch, just ask what mood you are in—a dragon and a magic paintbrush or Janice from Friends as a Barbie villain! 

Finish your marathon with two of the best pieces of cinema we have seen come out of the BCU so far with Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses or the instant classic Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper. I would honestly classify this as a crime to film if you have yet to see these before Robbie takes stage as the classic Barbie. These retellings are exactly what has made the BCU beloved by generations and give Hollywood the fanbase to create a live-action Barbie

A Review of the Book Series A Court of Thorns and Roses

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on April 8, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Come one, come all, back to your childhood love for reading! Whether you were a Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or Percy Jackson kid,  I have the fantasy series for you! This five-book series debuted in 2015, but fully blew-up on TikTok’s “BookTok” from 2020 to 2021–and rightfully so. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is a romantic fantasy novel with an epic twist on a classic Beauty and the Beast retelling. 

The first novel in the series introduces the 19-year old protagonist Feyre and her enemies-to-lovers counterpart, Tamlin. Feyre, the youngest in her family, braves the cold to find food for her family after they   lose their riches and her father is beaten for their debts. Her oldest sister Nesta refuses to adjust to the life they now live, followed by her other sister Elain who is deemed too innocent to follow Feyre in her hunt for survival. After killing a wolf in the forest on the border of the faerie world of Prythian, Feyre is abducted from her home to pay for the blood she spilled. The meeting between Feyre and Tamlin is bathed in classic fairytale murder, abduction, and abandoning of family for the hot love interest. Throughout her journey, Feyre encounters new foes, mythical beasts, and the perilous, but darling Rhysand (if you read the books, you will get this pun). Maas builds a revolutionary fantasy world that will deeply immerse you into Prythian, a faerie world littered with magic, danger, and betrayal. Prythian is home to seven courts: the Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Day, Dawn, and Night Courts. Yet, the magic is dampened in the faerie realm from the work of an unspoken villain which Feyre is destined to face. To be fully introduced to these characters and follow this epic world building, I recommend you look up the pronunciation of the names so you don’t get to book three– and believe me, if you finish book one you will get to book three– and realize you have been reading Feyre incorrectly. I will warn anyone who picks up this series that the first novel is a bit slow, but you will most definitely finish the last 200 pages in one sitting so plan ahead! 

In addition, the move from A Court of Thorns and Roses to A Court of Mist and Fury is an abrupt change from a young adult series to new adult, so keep that in mind if there are certain things you are uncomfortable reading. Still, as you transition to the next books in the series, the world of Prythian continues to grow larger along with the threats it carries and the political games that are at play. However, I must apologize in advance, because there is not another book series I have read since reading A Court of Thorns and Roses that has been comparable, so be ready to be hooked and hurt! Although I cannot spoil it, I leave you with some words of wisdom: when a spooky, grim reaper-esque creature says “stay with the high lord,” definitely read into it. 

Top Five Rom Coms You Need to See

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on March 5, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but now it’s time to break out those discounted chocolates you bought days after the holiday and marathon some of my favorite romantic comedies! Being a hopeless romantic with a slight chocolate addiction myself, I decided it was high time to share my top five all-time favorite romantic comedies for all my other die-hard rom com fans. Let’s get into it!

At number five I have 27 Dresses. This was a close call with While You Were Sleeping, but the overall bubbly and infectious nature of 27 Dresses quite literally took the cake. Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl) is a chronic bridesmaid who can’t say no to helping those she loves, and Kevin Doyle (James Marsden) is a cynical wedding column writer who refuses to believe the fluffy romance stories he writes. When Jane’s sister Tess gets engaged to her long-time crush, Kevin reports on the wedding while secretly writing a column on Jane’s 27 instances as a bridesmaid. What could go wrong? 

Next on my list is Ever After. I understand that there have been enough Cinderella remakes to last a lifetime – even Cinderella is technically a remake – but the 1998 Drew Barrymore rendition of this fairytale should always be on your watch list. Ever After’s Cinderella, or Danielle de Barbarac in this case, is the fantasy heroine we always needed growing up but possibly didn’t have. This movie at the cusp of our generation was a true hidden gem. 

At number three, to hopefully no one’s surprise, is Crazy Rich Asians. I first saw this movie by accident after running late to the premier of Bohemian Rhapsody in Boston where some of the cast would have been present – sad. But! With such great luck I stumbled onto Crazy Rich Asians. This rom com is reminiscent of the classics that get you hooked on the genre, but puts past movies to shame with its music, decadence, and amazing humor. The cast is stacked with A-list actors, led by Constance Wu as NYU professor Rachel Chu and Henry Golding as the most coveted billionaire bachelor in Singapore, Nick Young. The final wedding scene in this rom com will push your hypothetical wedding budget to $40 million; who doesn’t want to walk down the aisle in a small river?

At number two, we have the rom com that stayed in U.S. theaters for a whole year (longer than  Titanic) after its release: My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This is the self-love movie we all need to remind us that you don’t need to have a rom com movie make-over to impress the love interest, but can have one just for yourself (an absolutely wild concept for 2002). Toula Portokalos, played by the movie’s director Nia Vardalos, begins to date Ian Miller, portrayed by John Corbett. This is a forbidden romance as her Greek family bases themselves on three key principles for a Greek woman: “marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone.” There are so many great quotes in this movie that you will be repeating for years to come. If you are to watch any movie on this list, please let it be this one. 

Cue the drumroll please… At number one on my list I have Pride & Prejudice! Hopefully this is not a let down, but I swear this movie (the 2005 Keira Knightley version, of course) will destroy your relationship standards. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) is superior in the enemies-to-lovers category as a dark and brooding male love interest. There is so much to love in this movie – not only the storyline, but the cinematography, the acting, the costumes, the hair; Pride & Prejudice is timeless. I know period pieces aren’t for everyone, but Elizabeth Bennet as an unspoken heroine that refuses to conform to social norms is what rightfully keeps Jane Austen relevant in the romance world, year after year. 

As my list comes to a close, I shall roll the credits of my honorable mentions (in no particular order)! She’s the Man, 50 First Dates, Legally Blonde, The Proposal, The Wedding Singer, 10 Things I Hate About You, Pretty Woman, The Wedding Date, While You Were Sleeping, The Wedding Planner, Stardust, The Princess Bride, Letters to Juliet, and Moonstruck. 

A Review of Teen Wolf’s Spin-off Series, Wolf Pack

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on February 22, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

“He’s back! Voldemort’s back!” Oops, wrong franchise! But after six long years, devoid of wolfish beasts of burden, Teen Wolf is finally back along with a brand new spinoff series Wolf Pack! Unfortunately I will not be reviewing the new Teen Wolf movie just yet, as I have sworn an unbreakable oath to my sister to wait for her to watch it. C’est la vie! However, Jeff Davis delivers once again with the series premiere of Wolf Pack and the most notable star rejoining the supernatural world, Sarah Michelle Gellar. For those of you who are uncultured, that is the one and only Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but in her new appearance, she is hunting down an arsonist responsible for one of the largest California wildfires the characters of the show have seen in more than a decade. 

he Teen Wolf and Criminal Minds creator begins the series in an almost apocalyptic world. Wildfires rage throughout the state of California forcing animals onto a gridlocked highway with unsuspecting humans attempting to flee the natural disaster. However, something else is pushed out of the ominous burning woods as well, picking off the students and commuters trapped on the highway one by one. Unlikely friends Blake and Everett, played by Bella Shepard and Armani Jackson, must now navigate their recent developments of lycanthropy after being bitten by whatever mauled many of their fellow classmates on the fiery highway. But did they truly escape the beast’s deadly jaws? And as much as pre-teen Nina (me) found very little fault with the CGI of Teen Wolf’s original werewolf Peter Hale and then the later Beast of Gévaudan, I am very much enjoying the upgrade that briefly darkened the new Paramount Plus show. However, I will warn any viewers when watching Teen Wolf and Wolf Pack: this is not Euphoria or another Emmy award winning show, this is pure guilty pleasure watching at its finest. So, take your annoying critical analysis elsewhere. Some of the best movies and shows have the worst ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Do not let them keep you from great cinema! Thus, we allow absolutely horrendous CGI in this house, but so far most of Wolf Pack’s special effects have been much more developed than Teen Wolf’s smoke and mirrors. Still, it’s best to avoid the little things as Teen Wolf will always be one of my favorite shows of all time, even with the cringe worthy scenes and effects that sometimes flash onto the screen. That being said, you do not need to watch Teen Wolf prior to Wolf Pack to understand what is going on in the new spin-off series. However, you will not regret binging it if you do *wink, wink.* Although there are some beginning faults with the show, I will say if you are a fan of the Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, True Blood, or any other guilty pleasure 2010s supernatural show that would have been canceled after one season without the world’s unhealthy obsession starting with Twilight, you will most definitely enjoy Wolf Pack and it’s dramatic end-of-episode cliffhanger under an almost full moon. 

Wakanda Forever

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on November 17, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

First Impressions of the Black Panther’s Second Movie 

Attending opening night of Wakanda Forever, a mix of emotions swells throughout the first act and many, many sniffles can be heard in the crowd. (I’m fine; I swear). The entirety of the film creates a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman without being insensitive or disrespectful of his passing. Regarding the frontlining characters, Angela Bassett was an absolute powerhouse in her role as Ramonda, Queen of Wakanda, alongside Letitia Wright, who stepped up her role as Shuri, and Princess of Wakanda, and put forward a commemorable performance. New characters were introduced in the film as well, with Riri Williams, or Ironheart in the comics, played by Dominique Thorne, and one of the first superheroes ever created by Marvel Comics, Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta. 

Each character played integral parts to the storyline, but the overall premise of the almost three-hour movie felt like it bit off more than it could chew. Like many Marvel fans, I fall into the trap of saying what I would do differently throughout the film, but some plot features definitely could have been cut to add to the profoundness of the desired storyline. Too many elements are introduced in the first half of the film that draw away from the intended climactic second act, which shockingly featured too lengthy action scenes. However, the leading plot at the onset of Wakanda Forever was more than what I expected from the movie based on the time and effort that went into making it. 

Namor’s introduction to the MCU was alluring and unexpected with his character being known to his people of Talokan as the Mayan feathered serpent god, Kukulkan. It was an excellent choice for his character to be adapted to a new backstory and underrepresented acting minority. Let me tell you, it is difficult to make a character’s costume from the 1930s be even relatively comic-accurate and still look phenomenal in a modern lens. If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews, you’ll know I am such a sucker for costume design and will be asking for all of the ensemble creators to be given a raise, because whatever they’re getting paid is not enough. The once Atlanteans in the comics, and now citizens of Talokan, are visually imposing and beautiful with their headdresses and appearances. 

Despite Namor always holding the title of anti-hero, the movie teeters on portraying him as a villain. I wouldn’t be opposed to this, as we all know I love a good morally gray character, but more was needed within the film to support Namor’s motivations, possibly even a whole other movie. Yet, I’m sure all of us X-Men fans can agree it’s exciting to have another mutant in the MCU. Now all we need is for Magneto and Namor to team up. Ultimately, the film offered decent introductions to characters that will be significant to the next phases in the MCU, but couldn’t meet the artistic vision of the first Black Panther film. Though, until I can fill the hole in my heart that was wrenched open by this movie, I will be searching the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of another glimpse of Namor. 

Man-Thing, Elsa, and Werewolves! Oh My!

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on November 4, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

A Review of Marvel’s First “Special Presentation,” Werewolf by Night

’Tis the season to be spooky (even if this is published after Halloween). Marvel has truly put out a visual masterpiece with Werewolf by Night, which eloquently meets the demands of monster movie mayhem. Werewolf by Night is a black and white special presentation film that presents some of the characters of Marvel’s Dark Universe with Man-Thing, Elsa Bloodstone, and the very loveable cursed soul, Jack Russell. The film pays homage to the ominous suspense of 20th century monster films with an elegant touch of modern PG-13 gore. The beauty of the special presentation is perfected by Michael Giacchino, a well-seasoned composer, but Werewolf by Night is his directorial debut—a monumental success for the first-time director of a well-known feature film. Giacchino is an optical artist when displaying the thriller and highly anticipated creatures of the film. It took until the third cut for the long-time composer to finally convince Marvel to put the film in black and white, with subtle hints of red. However, Giacchino was not the only artist on the special presentation to make Werewolf by Night one of my favorite works Marvel has put out so far in the MCU. 

This Monsterverse is brought to life by Ellen Arden, makeup department head, who worked to create the subtle Day of the Dead makeup with Jack Russell’s daytime makeup and Verusa’s grieving widow look with a hint of madness. Despite this, the credit for the creation of Man-Thing and the timeless werewolf makeup goes to the artists at KNB EFX Group. When Marvel says they “spared no expense,” it finally shows. Man-Thing was a life-size practical effect, thrusted into existence by Giacchino, for the actors to work with on set (of course most shots were still CGI, but still a Jurassic Park approach). Fans have reiterated countless times that Marvel relies too heavily on CGI, and Giacchino clearly felt the same. Not only is Man-Thing a fully functioning practical element with animatronic movement, but also the makeup done for the werewolf look for Jack Russell. I feel like a kid at the candy store, once again critiquing artists on the SyFy show FaceOff for their makeup looks (none of which I could do myself), yet I find no fault with Russell’s character design. The look is nothing less than spectacular with its ability to take an old school monster makeup and transform it to realistic standards, making it feel hypnotically daunting. I have seen so many werewolf looks from the lycans of Underworld, Van Helsing, and of course to the Twilight saga, but Werewolf by Night stands out completely with its capacity to connect generations of monsters through the character’s makeup while still emulating a unique design. 

Maybe I am biased as a lover of monster films, but I cannot recommend this special presentation enough; the directing, the make-up design, and the acting brings it to my top five MCU releases of all time. Gael García Bernal and Laura Donnelly bring their characters to life in an art form that I hope will carry into future works in the MCU. Until then, I will be rewatching the film for a third time and asking people if they’ve seen it yet, so beware of not just the Werewolf by Night, but the annoying Marvel Fan by Day! 

Are You Green With Envy?

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on October 9, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Reviewing She-Hulk Without the Review-Bombing

Extreme battle lines have been drawn between those who love the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 releases and those who, to put it lightly, don’t. However controversial this may be, Phase 4 has some of the best projects the MCU has released to date and one of them is 100 percent She-Hulk. She-Hulk follows Jennifer Walters as she figures out the “highs and lows of high school football”—wait, wrong show. The show offers a new perspective on She-Hulk’s origin story and has Jennifer come to terms with the new change being green, mean, and unfortunately, a bit leaner than fans were expecting. 

She-Hulk has been controversial since its first teaser trailer release revealed pretty underdeveloped CGI, but the biggest issue: a super petite version of the newest Hulk family member to the MCU. You would think that after the endearing success of Luisa Madrigal in Encanto, that Disney would have taken the hint that visibly strong women were well-liked by viewers and a great representation for girls and women everywhere. But no. According to visual effects artists working on the show, orders came directly from the top to make her less muscular and less “Hulk-like” overall. If you have seen the comic issues before the 2022 release, you will understand fans’ anger. Still, I would not be as inclined to add to the 36 percent of one-star reviews released on IMDb leaving the show with a 4.9 out of 10 rating on the site. In recent episodes, many fans are baffled on the site about the fact that She-Hulk “also apparently twerks?” Because Thor decapitating Thanos is totally fine, but She-Hulk twerking with a major celebrity is just too much to handle.

I digress—despite my initial negative reaction towards her appearance on the show, particularly after realizing I had bigger calves and thighs than an actual Hulk, I have to say, I am loving the show. Each episode is packed full of great female representation and the perfect balance between being an “attorney at law” and a positively entertaining comedy. And WONG! And, of course, the long-awaited cameo and possible love interest coming in the next few episodes. 

Overall, She-Hulk is a show written primarily by women, for women. The episodes more than accurately depict the struggles women go through while simply living their lives, from the shame of attending a family member’s wedding alone to having your success measured only by your relationship status. Even a future Avenger is subjected to bad dates and not getting a text back from a weekly crush—we are not alone! Moreover, it is incredibly refreshing to have supportive (and alive) parents in the MCU for essentially the first time with She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, especially after the soul-wrenching family dynamic in Moon Knight. Finally having relatable content in the MCU after growing up with the male-dominated Avengers sphere and overly sexualized Black Widow is interesting to see. I guarantee you will find yourself hitting “Next Episode.”

The Angel of Music Sings No More

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on October 9, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Phantom of the Opera Leaves Broadway After its 35-year Run 

“Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”, will truly be more than a tearful moving ballad in the coming months as The Phantom of the Opera leaves Broadway after its 35-year run. Arguably, few productions barely come close to the divine nature of The Phantom of the Opera or can claim they have shaped the atmosphere of Broadway and New York City since the 1980s. Unfortunately, the Broadway production revealed the date for its closing act to be February 18th, 2023, after disclosing to the public that audience numbers have not been matching the seats they expected to fill after reopening with the rest of Broadway after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, The Phantom of the Opera is not the only large-scale show leaving Broadway this coming 2023 winter with, Beetlejuice, Dear Evan Hansen, and Into the Woods all following Phantom’s lead. 

The opera has beguiled fans with its opulent orchestra numbers and stunning stage designs. It is impossible to forget the first time you witness the overture’s crescendo transforming the decrepit chandelier back in time to the golden age of the French opera. Additionally, there remains to be a three-decade-old tradition of many viewers of the drama, overlooking the murderous tendencies of the Phantom and ultimately rooting for him to woo Christine Daaé, rather than Raoul, who despite being a well-balanced match for the elegant singer, is usually seen as a duller character. I guess toxic tendencies for relationship choices do not skip generations. 

Needless to say, I am unwell with the arrival of this news. It’s odd for an eight-year-old to fall so deeply in love with a Broadway show, it’s even weirder that this eight-year-old saw this in Las Vegas. Alas, I was past the “Point of No Return.” However, I have some good news for those who were not mentally prepared for this announcement. Although it does not exhibit the same exuberance, The Phantom of the Opera movie starring Gerald Butler and Shameless lead Emmy Rossum the movie satisfies the musical lover with its extravagant costume design and unique portrayal of the Phantom portrayed by Butler. The movie dives further into the world of the French theater and builds new set designs that simply cannot be displayed on Broadway’s stage. Though it may not have the transformative directing newer productions have exhibited over the world, the 2004 film will forever be one of the most unique Broadway production adaptations.  

Be that as it may, there is no doubt in my mind that this is not the last we have seen of the infamous Phantom! Although the North America tour dates have yet to be revealed, I would imagine they will not be long after the Broadway production’s closing. And if that is not enough to lift your spirits, Cats, another Andrew Lloyd Webber show, left Broadway in the year 2000, only to return to the New York City stage in 2016. If Cats can return to Broadway, any show can. During this intermission, we must “Learn to be lonely. Life can be lived, life can be loved alone.”

You Thought There Was Only One Murder in the Building?

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on September 18, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Only Murders in the Building‘s Thrilling Second Season

How well do you think you know your floormates? How about everyone in your building? What would you do if one of them died under mysterious circumstances? Any rational person’s first thought would clearly be to start a podcast. Only Murders in the Building explores this reality after Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin) discover a member of their building, Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) dead. The police quickly determine Kono’s death to be an “open and shut case,” but the girl shadowed by death, failed artist of the theater, and cop-show has-been are set to prove otherwise.

Nothing can prepare viewers for the emotional rollercoaster offered by Hulu’s newest trio. Not only will you sound like a psychopath laughing to yourself in the middle of night while watching each plot unfold, but find yourself trying to beat Mabel, Oliver, and Charles to the murderous punchline as well. Each episode is carefully executed as a masterpiece with the perfect balance of drama, suspense, and comedy. It is impossible to ignore the artistry in the directing and overall show writing of Only Murders in the Building. The unseen brilliance behind the sound and music department of the show, as well as one of the most underrepresented communities, is beautifully portrayed in Episode Seven of Season One, “The Boy From 6B.” The episode is from the perspective of Theo Dimas (James Caverly), a deaf character and actor on the show, whose, for lack of a better word, unique history, will leave you with more questions than answers. And for those of you who are diehard fans of genius directing, director Cherien Dabis, closely assisted by Caverly, positioned each “hearing” character in the frame so that Theo could always read their lips in this entirely silent episode. The workmanship and finesse that went into this episode alone is incredible. 

But wait, there’s more! If season one isn’t enough for you, the season two finale aired at the end of August, and it is just as wild of a ride! The stakes are raised in the second season after viewers are left with Season One’s extreme cliffhanger. Season two proves that we have barely met Mabel, Oliver, and Charles in the first season. Being meticulously set up for murder reveals a lot about a person. Each character is elegantly thrust through new personal developments and secrets they probably wished stayed dead. The showrunners explore the deep, disturbing fascination we as a society have created with missing person cases, murder, and even Crime podcasts. The show calls out that we have developed a culture of trauma vulturing that dehumanizes our fellow human beings into sellable stories that are more than high in demand. Despite this unfortunate taste for blood, we so desire in the human condition, you will be dying for more. 

No Dungeons, But Plenty of Dragons

by Nina Miscioscia '24 on September 8, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

A Review of House of the Dragon‘s First Episode

Like times of ole (2019 to be exact), here there be dragons! For those who tuned into the House of the Dragon premiere, the Game of Thrones world once again drew fans in with its invigorating spirit and astounding costume design. The costume designer, Jany Temime who has previously worked on the Harry Potter and Skyfall sets, acknowledges the almost two-hundred-year difference between HOTD and GOT, by dressing the Targaryen family in noble regalia that mimics a weathered medieval fashion with tattered scaled riding wear and aged fabrics compared to the crisp and, dare I say, almost modern looks we see in the later GOT. But the venerated royal jewel is to be seen at the end of the first episode. Moreover, the Gold Cloaks undoubtedly strike dread and repulsion within the minds of the viewers, but the impressive ornate armory display and adorned gold embellishment, is nothing to be feared. The wig department has reasonably been debated on it falling into the unavoidable wheel of Targaryen madness, although I would beg to differ. One “Queen Who Never Was,” in particular, is gilded with a platinum braided crown that would make Marie Antoinette green with envy. 

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, portrayed by Milly Alcock for the time being, acts as the fantasy heroine we so desperately are waiting for, after the displeasing and disastrous fall of Daenerys Targaryen as the leading noble queen of fantasy and the unfortunate namesake leader of over 700 newborns in 2019 alone. Syrax and Caraxes, the first dragons of 17 confirmed colorful flying showrunners, offer reflective personalities of their riders Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by well-known actor, Matt Smith (if you are looking for another morally gray character named Daemon, look no further!). Daemon, “The Rogue Prince,” both in episode title and character, is undeniably a fascinating Game of Thrones male protagonist that is vast with complexities and will have your condemnation and admiration all in the first two episodes. 

However common new dragon sightings might be in the Game of Thrones universe, nothing is more common than extremely questionable relationship choices and brutally backstabbing consorts. Despite these consistent tropes in George R.R. Martin’s adaptations, nothing can quite prepare you for how fast things go downhill for the royal family. If you find yourself asking the question “did they just *insert questionable action here*?” The answer is always yes. Do not let the almost natural family dynamic and court life fool you, this is still most definitely Game of Thrones. Nonetheless, there is an overwhelming feeling that cannot be shaken. For almost all fans, we know what it is. It is the knowing that House of the Dragon is a prequel, and the ultimate ending is the universally controversial and blacklisted Season 8 of Game of Thrones. This knowledge shadows any hope for the House of Targaryen to truly be restored to its former glory. In spite of this, no one can deny House of the Dragon fills the fantasy lover’s heart with the warmth of dragon fire and the impending battle roar of Dracarys.