“House of the Dragon” is a spectacular chamber fantasy with a pro-feminist message and gray heroes

“House of the Dragon” did not require audience advances and several episodes to build up – immediately after the pilot, it was clear that we were facing an adult fantasy series in which good finally does not oppose evil. Subsequent episodes only strengthened the status of such a complex film novel, in which, as they say, not everything is so simple. Dozens of destinies are intertwined on the screen, absolutely convincing motives like resentment, hostility and fear intervene in what is happening every now and then, and misinterpreted phrases and random murders become key moments. It turns out a rather gloomy, but believable universe in which it is easy to find one favorite, but you still want to root for everyone. Simply put, the impressions of the “House of the Dragon” are not much different from the reaction to the first seasons of “Game of Thrones”: the viewer was shown quite quickly that the heads of the unambiguously good guys are chopped off here.

Steve Toussaint as Corlis Velaryon in House of the Dragon
Steve Toussaint as Corlis Velaryon in House of the Dragon

The difference between the two series lies in the approach to the development of the story. The Game of Thrones captivated with its scale and intrigue – the viewer was thrown to different corners of the Seven Kingdoms and constantly reminded of the impending threat, which is clearly more important than skirmishes for the throne. “House of the Dragon”, on the contrary, is a rather local and chamber family saga, which rarely goes beyond royal castles and family estates. On the one hand, fixation on the dynasty deprives the viewer of the opportunity to look at the structure of Martin’s world and the life of ordinary hard workers (remember, for example, the cook of “Hot Pie” and the adventures of Arya), on the other hand, it turns the “House of the Dragon” into a kind of analogue of “Heirs”, ” Crowns ”and other series about the life of wealthy offspring and how power corrupts. Of course, the topic was partly explored in the Game of Thrones itself, but the prequel allows you to look at the usual political intrigues and relations at court from an unusual angle – through gender stereotypes.

Beginning with the prologue, in which a male heir is chosen between Viserys and Rhaenys, a medieval argument runs throughout the season about whether a woman can ascend the throne. In the final episodes, the creators note the difference between heroes and heroines: while men are zealously eager to start a war, women act in a balanced way, thinking primarily about the consequences for the people. “I don’t want to be the Queen of Ashes,” Reynira states, emphasizing the fact that both sides have dragons, why not weapons of mass destruction? Such a representation has already caused controversy among viewers – for some it seems too progressive, for others, on the contrary, regressive and stereotypical, like an increased number of difficult births.

Perhaps the truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle, but more importantly, this situation perfectly illustrates the ambiguity of the series itself. I want to discuss the “House of the Dragon”, because of it I want to argue and swear, justifying not only the actions of the characters, but also the views of the creators. Brother against brother, Alicent’s fan against Rainier’s fan.
The first season lacked integrity, wit and epic

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon

Not without a fly in the ointment. Probably the most popular comment from viewers is the constant jumps in time, which unnaturally speed up the pace of the story and increase the density of events. It turns out a kind of recap, a retelling of the chronicle. There really is something to this, especially when you think about the relationship between Rainier and Alicent – it seems that they simply did not get enough screen time in the first episodes. That is why the collapse of friendship due to marriage and the scene of a possible reunion in the last episodes do not evoke an appropriate emotional response. Fortunately, the creators confirmed that there will be no more timeskips in the second season – finally, the authors will be able to develop the formed cast of heroes in real time. The long introduction is over, it remains to wait for the second season and the start of the main action.

Another non-critical shortcoming of the first season is the dialogues, which do not reach the level of the first seasons of the Game of Thrones. The series so far is in dire need of tongue-tied and resourceful characters who can humiliate with a word, give out a memorable vanliner or an interesting monologue. The jokes in the series (for example, about the father of Reinier’s children) seem somewhat blockheaded, and the number of slippery heroes so far is two: the foot fetishist Laris and the owner of an unsuccessful accent Misaria. Finally, the intimacy of the first season also has a downside – the lack of not only epic, but fresh air. Of course, in the “House of the Dragon” discussions and family revels are sometimes filmed more intensely and inventively than the action scenes of competitors in the genre, but because of the gloomy halls and the unnatural dark filter (the scandalous seventh episode!) I want to quickly return to some snowy Winterfell . Luckily, Season 2 will offer the opportunity not only to visit the Stark ancestral castle, but also to enjoy other regions of the Seven Kingdoms, as well as see dragons in action more often!

The series easily surpasses “Rings of Power”

It will not be possible to pass by comparisons of “House of the Dragon” and “Rings of Power” – the two most anticipated series of the year, which were lucky to start at the same time and play off fans for a long month and a half. If it was dishonest to draw conclusions from the first episodes, now we can safely say that HBO has turned out not only a more successful fantasy, but also a much more competent series.

Olivia Cooke as Alycent Hightower in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Alycent Hightower in House of the Dragon

The Lord of the Rings certainly looks better and more expensive, which is why all comparisons with an eight-hour Hollywood blockbuster are fully justified. However, this ruins the project, in which there is no sense of working with the serialization of material – it is presented as a full-length film, divided into eight parts. The action of the new episodes begins from the same point, and the feeling that the characters are experiencing the so-called “cinematic” special moment of life still does not leave, and therefore they speak accordingly – in neatly constructed and often pathos phrases.

House of the Dragon, on the other hand, gives the characters time to be themselves — to sit around, get bored, have fun, make mistakes, and doubt themselves. And even with such a measured approach, the creators maintain constant intrigue and force the viewer to guess about the further development of the conflict almost more than about where the scoundrel Sauron is hiding.
‘House of the Dragon’ is HBO’s newest hit, but it certainly won’t replace ‘Descendants’

“House of the Dragon” breaks records in terms of views – the series gave the best start to HBO projects in history and only improved performance. George Martin is already dreaming of four seasons and is demanding an Emmy award for actor Paddy Considine, who convincingly played the rotting King Viserys. With Descendants, the channel’s awards magnet, returning next spring, the question is: who will HBO promote more heavily at the upcoming TV awards?

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon

It’s hard to imagine that the management will eventually bet on the moderately accepted by the press “House of the Dragon”. In September next year, both series will compete for the “Emmy”, but a repeat of the success of “Game of Thrones” should not be expected: it seems that “House of the Dragon” will claim only technical awards. In the acting, screenplay and director’s nominations, the favorites will remain representatives of the “Heirs”. Well, we can only sympathize with Paddy Considine – he really was great.
We wrote off Game of Thrones early

Immediately after the premiere of the first episode, we noted that the creators managed the impossible – they aroused interest in the “Game of Thrones”, which literally disappeared from pop culture discourse due to the disastrous ending. After the first season of “House of the Dragon” we can confidently say that Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” is with us for a long time. The success will by no means set off a revisionist tide for the eighth season of IP, but it will certainly force us to take a closer look at the nth number of its spin-offs and sequels that are currently in development.

Let’s hope House of the Dragon ends up being to Game of Thrones what Better Call Saul is to Breaking Bad – a seemingly optional prequel that in many ways surpasses the big-name original and works brilliantly as a standalone. work.

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