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Thread: House of the Dragon

  1. #1

    Default House of the Dragon

    We have the first GoT spinoff to hit home theatres, laptops, ipads and cellphones within just a few days at this point. Season 8 of Game of Thrones (and arguably several seasons leading up to it) was almost universally regarded across the internet as a catastrophic disappointment. I count myself among this number. The main issue seems to have been the showrunners running out of source material for Game of Thrones. This would appear to be a fair argument until you spend ten minutes to research fanfiction alternate endings and conclude the showrunners were wildly incompetent.

    In any event, this new series, which evidently will have the highest budget of any TV show in the history of TV, will focus on the Dance of Dragons saga which took place approximately a century before the Game of Thrones timeline.

    Judging by the trailer, my hopes for this series are lukewarm. I am jaded by how unbelievably awful the last two seasons of Game of Thrones were, but I am holding out hope. I really want to love this series. I love this ASOIF world.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Having read both ASOIAF and Fire and Blood, which this series is based on, I can maintain a little more distance from the ending of Game of Thrones. But it was so egregious it's hard not to carry some scars over to this. I've never been part of any toxic fan behaviour, or had much time for it, but Benioff and Weiss brought me closer to it than any other creators. Their final few episodes especially were a triumph of idiocy.

    But on the other hand objectively there's a lot promising about this. If the entire cast of GoT had also died in the Sept of Baelor at the end of season 6, and the final two seasons never happened, I would probably be eagerly anticipating this, rather than relying on this thread now to remind me how imminent it is. After all the plot line is fully established by GRRM, the casting and trailers look promising, and the showrunners have been upgraded.

    So my head is hopeful, but my heart remains jaded.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Couldn't agree more!

    From what I can tell in the trailer, at least the CGI looks good. Lots of series fail on this basic premise. Based on the budget, maybe we shouldn't be surprised about that but - based on the actors involved, we should expect the acting to be pretty good too. The fault lines for this show (and by that I do literally mean "fault") should rest with the writing. The Dance, as a setting, is almost flawless as written by GRRM.

  4. #4
    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Having not read the F&B or other novels (I have read the first 4 books of Song of Fire and Ice and that's it), I don't know what to expect.
    The good news are that the showrunners of the previous show that became so lame that I had to drop the series after season 6 (I never watched seasons 7 and 8 and I don't plan to) are not involved. GRRM is more involved (according to wikipedia).

    The bad news are that this smells like a cash-in. The guys that directed the hilariously, atrociously unrealistic battle of the bastards where a few thousand people made mountains of corpses that would put Boudica's demise to shame, are involved. I am not optimistic as to what that means of realism on the battlefield.

    I will watch it, but I don't have too high expectations.
    Last edited by alhoon; August 18, 2022 at 04:56 PM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post

    I will watch it, but I don't have too high expectations.
    That's how I am approaching it as well. However, what I will say is that aesthetically it does look great based on the trailers - and I don't mean just the CGI. Honestly the les CGI used the better as far as I'm concerned but obviously unavoidable with dragons. The costumes look good. Not the lame monochrome season 7 and 8 of game of thrones. The costumes look great, the sets look great. It's in direct contrast to how bad the new Lord of the Rings series looks. I have no hope for that series.

  6. #6

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Fingers crossed with this one. I'm skeptical but there's always...

  7. #7

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    What's important for me is world-building. I think in fantasy and sci-fi genres that's more important than the actual plot. I hope they get to show a lot of world-building.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Quote Originally Posted by PointOfViewGun View Post
    What's important for me is world-building. I think in fantasy and sci-fi genres that's more important than the actual plot. I hope they get to show a lot of world-building.
    There is so much potential for that with the Targaryen dynasty. Dance is a great setting, I just hope they spend a little time developing the backstory for it before launching into the intrigue. I hope the producers approached this work the way it should be approached: as a political drama.

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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    That was ing amazing.

    God damn that feels like what Game of Thrones used to feel like. I'm excited.

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  10. #10
    TurkafinwŰ's Avatar The Sick Baby Jester
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Much of the same from me that others have said previously. I'm very skeptical because how GoT ended (it left a bitter taste that never quite seems to go away). Though as others have pointed out it looks great and has the potential to be a good if not a great show. But only time will tell. I will be checking it out unlike the new Rings of Power series.

    Let's give the world of Ice and Fire another shot on the screen.

  11. #11
    HannibalExMachina's Avatar Just a sausage
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    bloody good stuff. did they have to

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    chop a guys dick off before i had breakfast tho

  12. #12
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    I figured if anyone would like that it would be our chief sausage wiggler

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  13. #13

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Comparing this pilot to the GoT pilot: leaves a lot to be desired. It wasn't bad, but it did not get me hooked. The actor for Viserys I was excellent. Rhaenys with her perpetual pouty lip was gross, and the actress doesn't have the gravitas required, especially when you compare her to Daenarys, as any Targ Queen will be compared. She just isn't good. This may be on purpose though. Daemon was great, exactly what you'd expect. Aemma was also excellent, although I doubt we will see much more of her.

    The CGI was , stop relying on it. I'd rather the dragons be heard rather than seen if you're going to do us dirty like that. That being said, Caraxes looked the best. I give the pilot a C+, mostly because the acting of Viserys I was so damn good. The duel/jousting sequences were also well done. The highlight was the duel between Daemon and Ser Criston Cole. Glad they gave him a morningstar too, the devotion to lore is there early on - so I am optimistic.

  14. #14

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Quote Originally Posted by HannibalExMachina View Post
    bloody good stuff. did they have to

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    chop a guys dick off before i had breakfast tho
    Oh, welcome to Daemon - trust me it only gets better.

    Can't wait until they introduce the un-initiated to the Blackfyes.

  15. #15
    Akar's Avatar I am not a clever man
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    That was a flail, not a morning star.

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  16. #16
    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    OK so not a huge GRRM fan and not read anything but the original series so head scratches...

    As I understand it Aegon and company basically made themselves the uninvited overloads of Westros due to dragons and well nobody left to call back at base cause they all went bye bye. And by uninvited I mean Aegon had no claim to any kingdoms, they were all independent (4 different cultures and religions none of which had any relation to Valeria). I imagined but could be wrong that there were more Valyrians at dragon stone than just the dude and his sisters... So really dragons are what got them into power and what keeps them in power - right? Why the hell are they diddling or marrying anyone who is not Valyrian? Do they really want to spread the potential for dragon mastery? Should not all the real positions of power in fact be held by Valarians and otherwise just sundry window dressing just to appease the conquered? Can they afford any inter family BS i think not.


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    That was a flail, not a morning star.
    Like flaming arrows or torches (of the amazing bright but still useless sort) in the dark - something silly Hollywood can't resist
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  17. #17
    Akar's Avatar I am not a clever man
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    As I understand it Aegon and company basically made themselves the uninvited overloads of Westros due to dragons and well nobody left to call back at base cause they all went bye bye.
    So from what I recall Aegon or his dragon Baelon foresaw the destruction of Old Valyria (massive volcanic eruption due to fire magic and such) and moved to Dragon Stone which is off the coast of Westeros, far away from the part of Essos that Old Valyria was in. So everyone but the Targaryens and the Velaryons died off in the destruction of Old Valyria.

    But yes, after that they invaded Westeros using dragons and made themselves rulers, setting themselves up in Harenhal which is basically at the center of Westeros (this is the huge castle they show off during some parts of the series that has been totally burned out and destroyed by numerous dragons fighting there.

    Why the hell are they diddling or marrying anyone who is not Valyrian?
    They aren't. The two remaining Valyrian families, Targaryens and Velaryons pretty much exclusively interbreed with one another - hence the hair and eyes and pale skin.

    Should not all the real positions of power in fact be held by Valarians and otherwise just sundry window dressing just to appease the conquered?
    The "real positions of power" are the dragon riders, and all of the dragon riders are Valyrian. The Persians learned long ago that when conquering an area it's often easiest, and even best, to force the local leadership to swear fealty to you rather than bringing in outside administrators who do not already know the locals and local customs. So while yes, the hand of the king and the master of coin and whatnot aren't Valyrian - that doesn't really matter as they don't hold the real instruments of power, the dragons. It doesn't matter if you have all of the influence in the world, if the other side has dragons you lose.

    Can they afford any inter family BS i think not.
    No, they can't. That's why it's so important to the king that he have an heir that everyone can get behind. A clear heir means no succession crisis which means no civil war which means no dragons ing everyone up which means Targaryens continue to rule.
    Last edited by Akar; August 23, 2022 at 05:19 PM.

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  18. #18
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Quote Originally Posted by Pontifex Maximus View Post
    Comparing this pilot to the GoT pilot: leaves a lot to be desired. It wasn't bad, but it did not get me hooked. The actor for Viserys I was excellent. Rhaenys with her perpetual pouty lip was gross, and the actress doesn't have the gravitas required, especially when you compare her to Daenarys, as any Targ Queen will be compared. She just isn't good. This may be on purpose though. Daemon was great, exactly what you'd expect. Aemma was also excellent, although I doubt we will see much more of her.

    The CGI was , stop relying on it. I'd rather the dragons be heard rather than seen if you're going to do us dirty like that. That being said, Caraxes looked the best. I give the pilot a C+, mostly because the acting of Viserys I was so damn good. The duel/jousting sequences were also well done. The highlight was the duel between Daemon and Ser Criston Cole. Glad they gave him a morningstar too, the devotion to lore is there early on - so I am optimistic.
    Viserys I is played by British actor Paddy Considine (of Irish descent), who I had seen playing minor roles in movies like Hot Fuzz (2007) and World's End (2013). However, I didn't care for him or notice much at all until he nailed a major role as two different characters (including a primordial beast who imitated his physical form) in the Stephen King HBO miniseries Outsider (2020). He was great alongside actor Ben Mendelsohn in that show.

    I was very pleasantly surprised to start the episode and notice right away that Considine was the Targaryen king, without looking at the cast at all. Recognized him right away. I'm glad that he's landed a huge role like this. Also, seeing actor Graham McTavish from Outlander and The Witcher was a pleasant surprise (he plays Ser Harrold Westerling).

    With that being said, I will echo some of your comments by saying that I was neither super impressed nor as underwhelmed as I thought I would be. I came in with low expectations, so I certainly wasn't greatly disappointed, and dare I say some elements of the show are quite good. They somehow managed to make it different enough from Game of Thrones and its characters while still crafting a similar medieval fantasy world of Westeros set in a previous era. So far it doesn't seem like some cheap carbon copy sloppily put together for a cash grab, like the Disney Star Wars spinoffs.

    That being said, what really saps my energy in caring for anything about the show is knowing what happens in Game of Thrones, especially with Daenerys. Why should we the audience care about the Targaryens when we know what happens later? When Viserys gave that little speech to Rhaenys about how a Targaryen must sit on the throne when the apocalypse comes from the cold wintry north, he wasn't exactly lying since Daenerys' army from Essos was pivotal in saving the North and arguably the entire continent of Westeros further south. However, it felt a bit cringe knowing how the Targaryen line ends: with an annoying wheelchair bound clairvoyant named Brandon as their detached, myopic successor. Meanwhile his adopted half brother thought to be nothing but Ed Stark's lowly bastard was in fact the heir to the throne, Aegon Targaryen, who banged his unknown aunt Daenerys before assassinating her and deciding that living beyond the northern frontier with the equivalent of Sami, Picts, or Eskimos would be neater than ruling over a continent. Meanwhile Arya Stark decides to play the role of Vasco de Gama or Dora the Explorer in the unknown far west for some inane reason, the end of a character arc that doesn't make any sense. Sansa wasn't my favorite character, but at least her being queen in the North makes sense.

    I can't exactly blame this show for all of that, but the prequel show itself is almost nothing but a constant reminder of the terrible crap that happens in the later timeline.

  19. #19

    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    With that being said, I will echo some of your comments by saying that I was neither super impressed nor as underwhelmed as I thought I would be. I came in with low expectations, so I certainly wasn't greatly disappointed, and dare I say some elements of the show are quite good. They somehow managed to make it different enough from Game of Thrones and its characters while still crafting a similar medieval fantasy world of Westeros set in a previous era. So far it doesn't seem like some cheap carbon copy sloppily put together for a cash grab, like the Disney Star Wars spinoffs.

    That being said, what really saps my energy in caring for anything about the show is knowing what happens in Game of Thrones, especially with Daenerys. Why should we the audience care about the Targaryens when we know what happens later? When Viserys gave that little speech to Rhaenys about how a Targaryen must sit on the throne when the apocalypse comes from the cold wintry north, he wasn't exactly lying since Daenerys' army from Essos was pivotal in saving the North and arguably the entire continent of Westeros further south. However, it felt a bit cringe knowing how the Targaryen line ends: with an annoying wheelchair bound clairvoyant named Brandon as their detached, myopic successor. Meanwhile his adopted half brother thought to be nothing but Ed Stark's lowly bastard was in fact the heir to the throne, Aegon Targaryen, who banged his unknown aunt Daenerys before assassinating her and deciding that living beyond the northern frontier with the equivalent of Sami, Picts, or Eskimos would be neater than ruling over a continent. Meanwhile Arya Stark decides to play the role of Vasco de Gama or Dora the Explorer in the unknown far west for some inane reason, the end of a character arc that doesn't make any sense. Sansa wasn't my favorite character, but at least her being queen in the North makes sense.

    I can't exactly blame this show for all of that, but the prequel show itself is almost nothing but a constant reminder of the terrible crap that happens in the later timeline.
    Personally, I've always believed it would have made more sense if Westeros had broken apart at the end of GoT. The capital is destroyed, all the heirs to the Iron Throne with any clout are dead (except Jon, but I've never understood why the Unsullied didn't simply kill him outright after he assassinated Daenerys) and prolonged warfare leaves the continent facing famine and social unrest. Furthermore, most of the Lords Paramount either have ancestral claims to independent rule from before the Conquest (the Starks, Arryns, Martells and Lannisters) or got their position from a house that did (the Greyjoys, Tyrells and Baratheons). The regional lords could easily decide to re-assert their ancient kingship, since there isn't anyone to stop them.

    Regarding HotD, one slightly controversial issue is that Corlys Velyron is black in the show, which is a bit hard to explain since the Velyrons are a Valyrian family with close ties to the Targaryens (the only lore-friendly explanation would be if his mother was a Summer Islander, which seems extremely unlikely given the Valyrians' endogamous tendencies).
    However, you could perhaps flip the issue around a bit; why are the Valyrians depicted as fair-skinned in the first place? On the map, Valyria is at a lower latitude than Dorne (assuming the equator runs through somewhere in Sothoryos), so you'd logically expect the Valyrians to have darker skin than the Andals or First Men. Ironically, there's a rumour that GRRM originally intended the Valyrians to have darker skin, which would have made perfect sense given the situation.

  20. #20
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Call me Ishmael
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    Default Re: House of the Dragon

    Just want to preface this post with an admission that I was totally wrong about this show, at least in its current incarnation. There have only been a few episodes and yet each one is better than the last. While it doesn't exactly surpass the greatness of the first season of Game of Thrones, it is easily its equal in terms of quality writing, casting, and production values. It's even fair to say it surpasses it in the latter category considering that it rides on the coattails of GOT and hence has a bigger budget granted by HBO. The CGI actually looks great since most of it is used properly for scenery shots and practical effects are wisely emphasized for things in the foreground.

    The haphazard mess and train wreck disasters of seasons 7 and 8 for Game of Thrones can simply be blamed on the cynical D&D no longer giving a crap about their project and wanting to move on to others (ironic, since it derailed their careers). If House of the Dragon maintains good directors and writers it will simply become better than GOT ever was and certainly end on a more satisfactory note. The fact that the GRRM source material for it is basically already finished means that the writers can't do much to butcher it without the assistance of the original author (who is very much attached to the current project and seems eager to keep it that way).

    Quote Originally Posted by Laser101 View Post
    Personally, I've always believed it would have made more sense if Westeros had broken apart at the end of GoT. The capital is destroyed, all the heirs to the Iron Throne with any clout are dead (except Jon, but I've never understood why the Unsullied didn't simply kill him outright after he assassinated Daenerys) and prolonged warfare leaves the continent facing famine and social unrest. Furthermore, most of the Lords Paramount either have ancestral claims to independent rule from before the Conquest (the Starks, Arryns, Martells and Lannisters) or got their position from a house that did (the Greyjoys, Tyrells and Baratheons). The regional lords could easily decide to re-assert their ancient kingship, since there isn't anyone to stop them.
    That would make a bit more sense, but it would also be even more nihilistic and dystopian than the senseless crappy ending we were given. One thing actually did make sense about the ending in GOT, though: the North became independent under the rule of Sansa. A lot of the noble houses in the southern part of the continent got wrecked in the war with Daenerys and the northern ones got rather decimated in the war against the Night King. The weakened and demoralized aristocratic families wouldn't really be in a great position to challenge whoever ruled from King's Landing with a majority consensus of the greatest houses.

    The only breakaway that would make any sense would be the Iron Islands, who would be rather unruly now that dragons are no longer a factor in keeping them in line (even then their rebellious activity was historically put down even without the use of dragons).

    The fact that Bran, the Westerosi king of kings ruling from King's Landing, is the sibling of Sansa, Queen of the North, means that other houses would have a hard time rebelling against such a united front. The North is theoretically independent, but it belongs to the same royal dynasty.

    Regarding HotD, one slightly controversial issue is that Corlys Velyron is black in the show, which is a bit hard to explain since the Velyrons are a Valyrian family with close ties to the Targaryens (the only lore-friendly explanation would be if his mother was a Summer Islander, which seems extremely unlikely given the Valyrians' endogamous tendencies).
    However, you could perhaps flip the issue around a bit; why are the Valyrians depicted as fair-skinned in the first place? On the map, Valyria is at a lower latitude than Dorne (assuming the equator runs through somewhere in Sothoryos), so you'd logically expect the Valyrians to have darker skin than the Andals or First Men. Ironically, there's a rumour that GRRM originally intended the Valyrians to have darker skin, which would have made perfect sense given the situation.
    I'm not terribly bothered by it, and I think actors should be chosen on the merits of their skill, but you raise a good point. If they were going for the partial Summer Islander heritage thing, then Corlys shouldn't look straight-up black Sub-Saharan African like the British actor who plays him, Steve Toussaint. In that case Corlys should look more mixed race between a Valyrian and a Summer Islander, i.e. like how his lighter skinned son Laenor Velaryon appears in the show, played by British actor Theo Nate. For me it's a trivial matter, though, considering the reasonable justification for the mixed ethnic background and the fact that most people in this show look appropriately "Westerosi" (European). For that matter even Game of Thrones had a wide range of POC characters and actors, and they didn't all live in Essos or the Summer Isles, but also in Westeros.

    Putting that aside, the most recent episode was intense at the end, with sweeping battle scenes reminiscent of the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Actor Matt Smith nails it as Daemon Targaryen, one of the best characters by far, and coincidentally the favorite Targaryen character of GRRM. The whole countryside hunting saga preceding the battle was also quite entertaining and satisfying given the sharp tongued drunken crankiness of Viserys, the exasperated rebelliousness of Rhaenyra, and the amusing cockiness of Jason Lannister who is trying to court her, thinking she's a delicate flower, but is instead disgusted when he sees that she's a badass covered in blood, a woman who can kill a wild boar (though with the help of her bodyguard). Overall a great episode, lots of action, and yet it feels only like a teaser for bigger things.

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