Game of Thrones – House of the Dragon: Season 1/ Episode 1 “The Heirs of the Dragon” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

“Game of Thrones” returns with a familiar family name, but with deepening the history comes both a familiar and fresh tale.


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Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) after being named the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms

“Game of Thrones” returns with a familiar family name, but with deepening the history comes both a familiar and fresh tale.

Aired (HBO) 8/21/2022
Created By Ryan Condal and George R.R. Martin
Director(s) Miguel Sapochnik
Writer(s) Ryan Condal
Introduced This Episode
Viserys Paddy Considine
Jaehaerys Michael Carter
Alicent Emily Carey
Rhaenyra Milly Alcock
Corlys Steve Toussaint
Daemon Matt Smith
Aemma Sian Brooke
Rhaenys Eve Best
Criston Fabien Frankel
Otto Rhys Ifans

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Recap

History Repeating – Viserys, Jaehaerys, Rhaenys

Things were peaceful at the end of the first century of the Targaryen dynasty. The Old King, Jaehaerys, had a 60-year reign of peace, and there were ten adult dragons known to be within the family. But, as we’ll see in this series multiple times, if not seen in the franchise, having a male heir is a challenge. Never mind a male heir competent enough to rule the Iron Throne. Such is the case with Jaehaerys, who lost both of his sons.

Within the Great Council at Harrenhal, he works to line up his successor, and after being presented with 14 claims, he considered two. One is Princess Rhaenys, the King’s eldest descendant, and the other is Viserys, the King’s eldest male descendant.

Sadly, as we saw in the original “Game of Thrones,” women aren’t considered leadership material so, Viserys is given the crown.

There Has To Be More To Life Than This? – Alicent, Daemon, Rhaenerya,  Aemma, Criston, Viserys, Otto

Ten years into his reign and Viserys has maintained the peace. Yes, his hand, Otto, butts heads with the assumed next in like, Daemon, who is the King’s brother and isn’t trusted to hold any position because of his spending or brutality. But nonetheless, he is the King’s brother and with Aemma, Viserys’ wife, only producing Rhaenerya, a girl, the King remains without a male heir.

Which has long been an issue for Rhaenerya. With all the focus being on a male heir, there is a reminder that her worth is dictated by her womb. Her mother reinforces this idea, as she finds herself often forced to sit and lay due to having 5 children die within the last two years.

Naturally, Rhaenerya pushes back against this, mainly because she is not like other girls. She’d rather be a knight and go into battle with her dragon Syrax than simply be a baby-making factory. However, it isn’t like she has no interest in men. One without a title, Criston, bests her uncle, despite her uncle being willing to cheat and use all his might to win a tournament.

Though you could also say, considering Rhaenerya’s close relationship with Alicent, Otto’s daughter, Criston may not be the only one she has desires to be close to.

After A Certain Point, It’s Hard To Make Excuses – Daemon, Otto, Allicent, Viserys, Rhaenerya, Corlys, Rhaenys, Aemma

But, Rhaenrya’s simple life ends abruptly when her mother, Aemma, dies due to being one of the first women to have a c-section. Then, her brother only lives for about a day, which puts Daemon right in line for succession, and with hearing about a celebration within the whore houses about it, Viserys is pissed. He is so pissed that he plans to take advantage that there is no law, only precedent, that has not put a woman on the Iron Throne.

Now that Corlys is married to Rhaenys, it is only natural he puts her name up. After all, she was the other person Jaehaerys considered before choosing Viserys. But, ultimately, Rhaenerya is called forward, and while Daemon is pissed, this is a win for Otto. Though, to be greedy, it seems he wants Alicent to get closer to the King as he grieves. Potentially to become the next queen and her best friend’s stepmom.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What led Rhaenys marrying Corlys, beyond the show needing racial diversity?
  2. How did Otto’s wife die?
  3. Is there a general issue with giving birth to Targaryen boys? Granted, I know inbreeding makes things worse, but still.

Review


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On The Fence

Waiting On Potential To Be Realized

Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) at a tournament to honor her soon to be born sibling
“Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) at a tournament to honor her soon to be born sibling,” Game of Thrones – House of the Dragon, “The Heirs of the Dragon,” directed by Miguel Sapochnik, 2022, (HBO)

The battle for the Iron Throne is not new to viewers. However, the difference in “House of the Dragon” is that we’re entering the show after a long period of peace vs. life after one of the greatest wars since Aegon made the Iron Throne. Because of this, the characters don’t have the same sense of urgency, even as Corlys mentions a potential threat to the trade network. It is very political and pushes you to remember how the original “Game of Thrones” was before the Stark family split up and had to venture throughout the Seven Kingdoms alongside Daenerys.

But, I’d submit we don’t get the level of fascination the Stark family brought when it comes to the Targaryens. Daemon comes off like a run-of-the-mill villain with an almost Loki, from the Thor franchise, sort of charm. Rhaenerya, with what could be seen as a queer-baiting relationship with Allicent, is Arya 2.0. A young lady who enjoys the frills of femininity, yet no less wants to pursue what is considered masculine in her family and those times.

Together, I wouldn’t say those two create that instant hook. I’d even say that unlike its predecessor, “House of the Dragon” doesn’t even create a must-see, “water cooler” moment. Watching this is very much about, you liked “Game of Thrones,” are willing to forgive the last season, want to see dragons, and learn about this period referenced often by Daenerys, but not seen much in flashbacks. So, at this point, the reason for your investment is mainly based on potential than what is given in “The Heirs of the Dragon.”

[ninja_tables id=”69249″]

Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) after being named the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms
Game of Thrones – House of the Dragon: Season 1/ Episode 1 “The Heirs of the Dragon” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
“Game Of Thrones - House of the Dragon” is good, but considering the precedent of “Game of Thrones,” it is hard to not expect it to be better. Most of the characters seem like forgettable supporting characters, and while you have a charismatic villain in Daemon, he shines mainly because no one else does. Then with Rhaenerya, something about her feels like it is made for an algorithm on what a modern heroine should be, especially a likable one, versus a person who is flawed and not manufactured to be a hero of a story like this.
Highlights
Disputable
Waiting On Potential To Be Realized
74

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