HBO continues their reign with “House of the Dragon”.

Sophia Prichard, Sr. Editor

This article contains possible spoilers for Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.

The prequel series of the hit HBO original Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is likely one of the most popular television series of 2022, alongside shows like Euphoria. The series is based on the Targaryen’s, an ancient royal family of the fictional continent of Westeros. In the series Game of Thrones, one of the main protagonists of the ensemble cast, Daenerys, is a descendant of the characters in House of the Dragon

Critics have sung the praises of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire for what feels like eons. And for good reason, because anyone with eyes can see just how remarkable his world is. Strong female characters- emphasis on strong rather than female- and expansive lore have made Westeros an escape for many a nerd. 

However, this critic is left with some major feelings about some of the choices writers have made on House of the Dragon. The series starts with the younger versions of the main characters Rhaenyra and Alicent, and then about half-way through the first season skip to their adult versions. The transition isn’t all that horrible, especially since the casting directors are scarily good at their jobs. However, a lot of story seems to be missing from that time jump. As a viewer, characters like Laenor and Harwin Strong lack depth and in Harwin’s case connection. It’s revealed to the audience that Rhaenyra and Harwin have an affair and a lot of affection for one another, but we don’t see this connection. It’s a well-known rule in storytelling to show, not tell. It’s all fine and dandy that these characters have a relationship, but the scenes between them aren’t all that convincing. 

Many Game of Thrones fans have drawn parallels between Rhaenyra and Daenerys, which is warranted considering the writers seemed to have done this intentionally, as the first Targaryen queen compared to the last of their dynasty. The differences between the two queens, though, is much more interesting. Daenerys’ journey in Game of Thrones is a climb to her throne, with trials and tribulations in order to be able to obtain what she sees as her birthright. Rhaenyra, on the other hand, seems to reject the very power that her descendant seeks. She views it as a trap, even saying in one scene that she wishes she could just stay with her best friend, Alicent, and ride her dragon. 

While there was trepidation behind the idea that the writing for House of the Dragon may lack the nuance that made the characters of Game of Thrones so interesting. This first season shows that this is not the case, as characters like Daemon and Alicent are just as calculated and practically cruel as characters like Cersei or Tywin. However, in the writers’ quest for morally gray, they seem to distract from solid characterization. Daemon Targaryen, for instance, is unpredictable and yet very charismatic. Viewers are left confused by some of his actions. For one moment he is cunning, the next he seems pitiful. 

These writing issues will hopefully be quelled in the 2 years until the next season, which leaves many wondering what to do in the meantime. For some suggestions, if you haven’t already watched the original Game of Thrones, you probably should. And if you have way too much free time, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series is in fact the source material for all of the Westerosi universe.