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Buzzing on the Big Screen: House of the Dragon

Logo by Isabella Balsiero
Logo by Isabella Balsiero

House of the Dragon

Genre: Drama

Release date: August 21, 2022

Run time: 10 episodes

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% / Audience score: 82%

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Emilee’s rating: ★★★★★

House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones, tells the story of the Targaryen civil war started when King Viserys Targaryen names his daughter, Rhaenyra Targaryen, heir to the iron throne despite having two sons. The show is set about 200 years prior the events of Game of Thrones and based upon George R.R. Martin’s novel, Fire & Blood.


Spoiler warning

Personally, I found Game of Thrones to be a slow-moving and somewhat boring show in the earlier seasons. I felt the plot didn’t pick up until about the third season. But, with House of the Dragon, I didn’t feel the same boredom. It definitely moved much faster as it has many time jumps. I found this show to be very entertaining and exciting.

My favorite scene was from the very end of episode 9, “The Green Council.” In this episode Alicent Hightower, King Viserys’ second wife and Rhaenyra’s step-mother (and childhood friend), decides to crown her son, Aegon, king despite Viserys publcily naming Rhaenyra as his heir years prior. No one tells Rhaenyra, who isn’t living with the royal family at the time, that her father has died in order to ensure that she cannot be crowned queen. Untraditionally, Alicent holds Aegon’s coronation in front of thousands of people t0 make sure they see him as the “true king.” She also chooses to crown him in the room above the dragon pit, where the Targaryen’s keep their dragons. Viserys’ cousin, Rhaenys, doesn’t want Aegon crowned and escapes from the crowd during the coronation. At the end of Aegon’s coronation, the floor erupts open and Rhaenys emerges on her dragon. In that moment, Rhaenys could have burned the Hightowers but instead she simply scares them and leaves to warn Rhaenyra. Rhaenys later tells Rhaenyra that she didn’t kill them because it was “not my war to start.” Overall, I think this is a very powerful scene because Rhaenys believes that Rhaenyra killed her son. The fact that Rhaenys chose the girl she believes to have gotten her son burned alive over Alicent and Aegon shows just how hated Alicent and Aegon are. Also, the scene in general was just really cool and unexpected. I actually screamed out of happiness when it happened.

The scenes in this show in general were brilliantly done. One example would be Rhaenyra’s birthing scene in episode 10, “The Black Queen.” In this episode Rhaenyra learns that Aegon was unrightfully crowned and immediately goes into early labor. This adds to Rhaenyra’s character because she decides give birth without the help from any midwives, mourns the loss of her stillborn baby, and still decides to make plans to get back her crown. I think it could show a lot about Rhaenyra as a person and what led her to get to this point. Another powerful scene would be in the first episode, “The Heirs of the Dragon” where Rhaenyra’s mother and Viserys’ first wife, Aemma, gives birth. Viserys had a dream that the child would be a boy and ascend the iron throne and he truly believed it would come true. When Aemma faces many struggles during the birth Viserys must choose between Aemma or the child by giving Aemma medicine or cutting the baby out. Viserys chose the child over Aemma. This scene is absolutely heartbreaking and difficult to watch. But, I do think it’s a very important part of the show because in the end, both Aemma and the baby boy die and leads Viserys to name Rhaenyra as his heir. A few honorable mentions of fantastic scenes are the death of Lucerys, Rhaenyra’s wedding, the death of Viserys, Viserys getting on the iron throne after years to defend Rhaenyra, Viserys’ last dinner, Rhaenyra and Alicent’s physicaly fight, Alicent entering Rhaenyra’s wedding late, and when Rhaenyra sees a white stag in the woods (a symbol of royalty). Basically, the entire show just has incredible and meaningful scenes.

I think the general reason why I prefer this show so much more over Game of Thrones is because I love the Targaryens. Daenerys was, of course, my favorite character in Game of Thrones and I patiently waited for her dragons to become bigger and stronger. The show literally has the same plot as Game of Thrones though. Both portray fighting over who should sit the throne because someone (Cersei in Game of Thrones and Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon) had children outside of their marriage. However, Game of Thronesfocuses on the kingdom’s fighting over which house deserves the throne while House of the Dragon focuses on which Targaryen should get the throne. But, it is called the “game of thrones” for a reason. I am super excited for season 2 of House of the Dragon and hoping Rhaenyra and other characters do not meet the same fate that they do in the books.

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Emilee Gargano, Features Editor
The Features Editor for the 2022 - 2023 school year.
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