5 Reasons House Of The Dragon Is As Good (If Not Better) Than Game Of Thrones
Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, House Of The Dragon tells the story of House Targaryen and is set around 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
The inevitable comparisons to its blockbuster predecessor have already flooded the internet with many calling the prequel series as good, if not better than Game Of Thrones. In some ways, the narrowed scope of House Of The Dragon makes it more like a twisted new season of Succession with its heightened family drama, deceit, backstabbing and status climbing.
But why is House Of The Dragon so good? We’ve put together a list of reasons why we think the new series has hit it out of the park from the get-go.
1. One House. More Focus. Less Confusion.
Thrones fans know the scenario all too well – You casually ask someone at a social event if they watched Game Of Thrones and the answer can often take one of these forms:
“I tried but I couldn’t get past the first few episodes”
“It was impossible to follow”
“There was too much going on, I couldn’t keep up!”
Those of us who stuck with the game-changing series – untangling the web of family drama, staying patient throughout the long scenes of exposition, and listening intently to the wickedly fine-tuned dialogue – were rewarded with one of the best TV viewing experiences of all time. Though there are still many out there who remain non-believers.
To those people, we salute you for holding firm after what must have been years of enduring boring conversations from friends and work colleagues intent on dissecting every moment of the show, and who no doubt insisted repeatedly, “You just HAVE to watch it!”
However, for all you Thrones naysayers, we also have good news. As House Of The Dragon focusses on House Targaryen solely, it is easier to hook into than Game Of Thrones ever was. Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons or Greyjoys are barely mentioned and seldom seen. In fact, while there is certainly depth and complexities in the Targaryen family tree (understatement!), the necessity to keep up with multiple storylines across the kingdoms in Westeros and beyond is not needed.
The result of which considerably lessens the viewer “tap out” rate for House Of The Dragon, making the series more digestible and one that should have you hooked (or at least, intrigued) by the end of episode 1.
2. More Dragons, Bigger Visuals.
While Game Of Thrones certainly had its share of jaw-dropping dragon moments, there’s something different about how the great beasts are depicted in House Of The Dragon. First of all, there are a lot more of them – 17 across the series to be exact (Check out HBO’s Official Dragon Index to learn more) but even more interesting is that these new dragons seem to have more…well…personality!
In several scenes, you can clearly see their detailed facial expressions as they contemplate new ideas, process situations and make their decisions.
Perceptive fans will not only notice an improvement in visual detail of the dragons, but an overall step up in the design intricacies of the entire series. It’s true that the scope of the show may be more narrow than Game Of Thrones from a story perspective, but everything from the vibrant details of the city streets to the specifics of each character’s costume has seemingly been given extra focus.
3. Powerhouse Actors
Another secret weapon attributed to House Of The Dragon is that it features established, powerhouse actors like Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans and Paddy Considine. Familiar faces to be sure, but not marquee names. Each of the three deliver rich, layered performances that provide the series with its strong backbone.
Perhaps most recognisable is Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen. Best known for being the 11th Doctor Who and for his more recent turn as Prince Phillip in The Crown, Smith’s role in the series allows him to flex his acting chops like never before and has him swinging from defiant and heroic to devious and cutthroat.
The Welsh actor Rhys Ifans has played everything from Hugh Grant’s comic relief housemate in the romcom classic Notting Hill, to the main villain, Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man. But it’s his role as the King’s hand, Otto Hightower in House Of The Dragon that may become his most memorable role.
Paddy Considine has also dipped his toe in comedy, action and drama throughout his career, appearing in everything from Hot Fuzz, Peaky Blinders and a string of acclaimed Indie films. As King Viserys Targaryen he has one of the more meaty roles in the series and is already getting plaudits for his performance.
4. Aussie Breakouts
With Game Of Thrones providing us a string of breakout stars – Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington and the great Peter Dinklage to name a few, House Of The Dragon has already delivered its own showstoppers with two of them flying the flag for Aussies.
Milly Alcock is the clear breakout of the series. The Aussie actress takes full ownership of her role as a young Rhaenyra Targaryen. Most recently seen in the local comedy drama Upright with Tim Minchin, expect to see a lot more of Alcock as she navigates a burgeoning career.
Ryan Corr is another Aussie actor whose breakout performance is turning heads. He previously starred in the popular Australian series Packed to the Rafters and the acclaimed film Holding The Man, but as Ser Harwin Strong in House Of The Dragon, Corr has a role that should see him as a genuine star on the rise.
5. Faithful to the Book
If Game Of Thrones was criticised for one thing more than any other, it was for its tendency to drift from the George R. R. Martin books that it was based. Case in point, the much maligned final season that had many die hard fans up in arms at the direction several of their beloved characters had taken. Of course, House Of The Dragon has one key advantage that Game Of Thrones did not – the source material the series is based on is already finished. Fire & Blood was published in 2018 and is a companion book to the Game of Thrones series that tells the history of House Targaryen.
Of course, as with any book adaptation, there will be liberty’s taken, dialogue added and changed, some scenes included to enhance the visual medium. But overall, the story specifics of House Of The Dragon will not deviate from Fire & Blood.