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.