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‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 1 Lives Up to the Hype… Kind Of

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

Don’t worry, this article does not contain spoilers!

House of the Dragon is the long-anticipated prequel to HBO’s Game of Thrones. There’s a lot of hype for this new show to say the least. Since Game of Thrones ended in 2019, it has remained one of HBO’s most popular shows—despite having one of the most infamously terrible finales of all time. Now, fans are expecting a show of Game of Thrones quality that will somehow make up for that ending. And for the most part, House of the Dragon seems like it has the potential to live up to its lofty expectations.

First things first – you will be very confused if you don’t watch Game of Thrones before House of the Dragon. The main reason that Game of Thrones has such a loyal following is because of the depth of its universe. House of the Dragon weaves every detail into the larger story so that it feels less like a TV show and more like a historical reenactment. Westeros is a real place. House Targaryen is a real family. And the question of who will take the throne isn’t a plot point – it’s life or death.

In addition to the show’s historical accuracy, House of the Dragon’s acting keeps up with the incredible performances we saw in Game of Thrones. The cast has great chemistry that adds a whole extra layer of emotional investment to an already engaging plot.

The prequel isn’t exactly the same as Game of Thrones, though. While Game of Thrones had a tendency to put some fans off with its scenes of violence, House of the Dragon makes its predecessor seem soft. In the first episode alone, viewers are subject to brutal torture, casual death in a jousting tournament and possibly the goriest childbirth scene ever played on TV. If you can’t handle some blood, this show probably isn’t for you.

In tandem with the extreme gore, House of the Dragon also maintains a relentlessly tense tone throughout the pilot. Where Game of Thrones found comic relief in characters like fan-favorite Tyrion Lannister, House of the Dragon doesn’t seem to have found the balance between lightness and drama yet. If anything will take away from House of the Dragon’s greatness, it will be that the show doesn’t give viewers the space to breathe.

After an exciting premiere, it seems like House of the Dragon has a promising future ahead of it. However, it’s still unclear whether it will match the quality of Game of Thrones or get lost in its shadow.

Elizabeth is a senior at Pitt majoring in English Writing and French. When she's not writing for hc, Elizabeth likes cooking, spending time with friends, and exploring Pittsburgh's cultural side.