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We’ve Seen House Of The Dragon. Here’s 10 Reasons For Game Of Thrones Fans To Get Excited

Three years after one of the most divisive finales in TV history aired, Game Of Thrones fans are making a return voyage to Westeros thanks to the arrival of the much-anticipated prequel series House Of The Dragon.

Set centuries before the events of the original show, this new series explores the dynamic between the Targaryen family as they find themselves at the centre of a new battle for the Iron Throne.

Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy and Steve Toussaint all feature in the main cast.

In the lead-up to House Of The Dragon’s release on Sky and Now, the show has been previewed around the world, and HuffPost UK was lucky enough to be among the few to enjoy episode one before its release, along with the star-studded cast at its London premiere.

So, the question is: is it time for Game Of Thrones fans to start getting excited? We’d say so. Here are nine reasons why…

More dragons!

Prince Daemon makes a discovery in House Of The Dragon

Well, obviously. The name was a bit of a give-away, wasn’t it? But anyone who enjoyed scenes of Daenerys and her beloved dragons in the original series has got a treat in store, as the creatures still play a pivotal role in the Targaryen action in the prequel.

In fact, the story kicks off with a stunning action sequence of Rhaenyra Targaryen riding in on one of her dragons, with more introduced over the course of the episode.

During the series we’ll be introduced to 17 different dragons in total, with each apparently displaying their own unique personality traits, often mirroring those of their keepers.

More sex and violence!

A jousting match ends in bloodshed in the first episode of House Of The Dragon
A jousting match ends in bloodshed in the first episode of House Of The Dragon

Come on, we all know this is how Game Of Thrones drew so many of us in back in the day – and the prequel packs in the graphic content right from the first episode.

Although there’s considerably less nudity than Thrones fans might be used to, Matt Smith’s character, Daemon, is the first to be featured in one of the show’s more explicit sexual scenes.

We’ll spare you any spoilers, but right around then, Daemon is also involved in a grisly slaughtering, while a jousting match later in the episode also takes a bloody turn.

If you’re of a nervous disposition, be warned, too, that the episode contains a very graphic birth scene that we found ourselves having to stare at the floor for the duration.

More family drama!

The reign of House Targaryen begins
The reign of House Targaryen begins

Oh, right! We should probably talk about the plot…

So, as you’re probably aware by now, House Of The Dragon takes us back in time to meet Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors 200 years before the events of the Game Of Thrones – and they’re still scrapping over the Iron Throne.

This time around, though, rather than defending the Throne from outsiders, the tension is among themselves as King Viserys struggles to pick a rightful heir, with basically everyone and their granny claiming they’ve got a right to it.

Cast member Olivia Cooke recently told Radio Times she thinks this makes House Of The Dragon “more insulated and claustrophobic” than the original Game Of Thrones series.

“It surrounds just one family,” she explained. “It’s all about the succession to the throne and the lengths these people will go to to get what they want.”

It’s kind of giving us Succession, just with more dragons and platinum wigs.

More diversity!

The new series debuts on Sky and Now later this month
The new series debuts on Sky and Now later this month

While Game Of Thrones was repeatedly criticised for its predominantly white cast, producers on this prequel took steps to ensure the new show was more inclusive.

In the original George R R Martin books, the Velaryon family are described as having “white skin, ghostly pale hair and purple eyes”.

However, for this new adaptation producers made the decision for patriarch Corlys Velaryon to be Black, in what was described by Radio Times as an “acknowledgement of the cultural shift that has taken place since Game Of Thrones first emerged in 2011”.

“I want us to make something that addresses what I feel is really important, which is representation and gender equality,” showrunner Miguel Sapochnik told the outlet. “Because if we can do it in this show, it means that it should be possible in other shows as well.”

Steve Toussant – who plays Corlys – recently shut down racist trolls who sent him abuse after it was announced he’d been cast in the show.

He said of his character: “He’s a rich man and he’s a warrior but he’s also a family man. One of Corlys’s flaws is ambition – he takes the slight that his wife was not chosen to be monarch more personally than she does. It’s all about legacy, a place in history and the [family] name living on.”

More bad-ass women!

There is no doubt about who steals the first episode of House Of The Dragon
There is no doubt about who steals the first episode of House Of The Dragon

Obviously the first episode of any series is all about introducing each of the characters in turn, explaining their relationships, wants and motivations and building a world.

Game Of Thrones by its nature was always political to some degree, with the royal squabbles at the heart of House Of The Dragon cranking this up even further. But we probably could have done with less footage of all of the men of the counsel sitting around talking, when the scenes involving the show’s strong female characters were our favourites by far.

Particular mention has to go to Milly Alcock, whose performance as the ambitious, defiant and confident young dragon-keeper Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy picks up the character later in the series) undoubtedly steals the first episode.

Unfortunately, it has to be said that some of the female characters are relegated to disappointingly passive roles (including one with tragic consequences), but we’ll still be intrigued to see how House Of The Dragon’s female characters come into their own as the season unfolds – particularly as gender played such a key role in the early decisions about selecting an heir to the Iron Throne.

More Game Of Thrones nods!

Daemon secretly steals a seat on the Iron Throne
Daemon secretly steals a seat on the Iron Throne

House Of The Dragon obviously wants to stand on its own two feet, but as a Game Of Thrones prequel, it wouldn’t be right for there not to be a few throwbacks included for good measure.

From the incorporation of the original Game Of Thrones music to that first shot of the Iron Throne, there’s plenty to inspire nostalgia for those early years of the original show for fans who’ve followed along since it all began a decade ago.

If that includes you, then listen out for a speech King Viserys gives to his daughter towards the end of the episode, and try not to get excited for what’s to come…

More wigs!

Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith in character on House Of The Dragon
Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith in character on House Of The Dragon

We know this might seem like a bit of a flippant point to make, but for those of us who appreciate a good TV wig… go on, give House Of The Dragon a try.

On a more serious note, seeing the Targaryen family all sporting Daenerys’ iconic platinum tresses definitely adds to that early Game Of Thrones nostalgia we mentioned above. Plus, who knew Matt Smith could rock platinum blond so well?

More laughs!

Although it's largely centred around drama and action, there were a few laughs thrown in too
Although it’s largely centred around drama and action, there were a few laughs thrown in too

Yeah, alright, it wasn’t exactly a rip-roaring knee-slapper of an episode, but there were a few moments of light relief that fans of the original series are going to appreciate.

We won’t spoil the big reveal, but at one point Matt Smith’s character drops a C-bomb from pretty much out of nowhere, which got a big chuckle in the room at the premiere.

More quality (particularly after that final season)!

Paddy Considine plays King Viserys
Paddy Considine plays King Viserys

Let’s not dwell on the negative when there’s so much about House Of The Dragon to celebrate, but it’s impossible to have a conversation about Game Of Thrones in 2022 and not mention the fact that, to many fans, the final season proved to be a huge letdown.

For that reason, many might feel some trepidation about going into this new series, but it becomes clear early on in the first episode that these worries are needless.

Instead, House Of The Dragon builds on what made the original show so popular, while updating it for a fresher audience and sprinkling in something new (and, for some, something more relatable) with all of the Targaryen in-fighting.

More excitement ahead!

We predict House Of The Dragon is going to go down well with Game Of Thrones fans
We predict House Of The Dragon is going to go down well with Game Of Thrones fans

When the episode ended, it was followed immediately by a sizzle teaser for what’s to come over the course of the next nine instalments. While it might have been light on specific plot details, what we could decipher was that there was a lot more of the previous eight points to come – and the action was definitely not confined to just the first episode.

For anyone holding back on the excitement after season eight of Game Of Thrones – we’d say it’s safe to set your expectations high. Enjoy!

House Of The Dragon will be available to watch on Sky and Now from Monday 22 August.

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