House of the Dragon Episode 1 lacks the magic of the Game of Thrones

Omoleye Omoruyi
The first episode is a tasty treat for viewers who were left disappointed by the underwhelming ending of HBO’s most-watched series of all time…
House of the Dragon - episode 1

When you start the ‘House of the Dragon‘ series, you remember how Hollywood has held our throats on the walls to tell us that dragons used to exist. But that’s mostly fiction, and this latest addition to the ‘Game of Thrones’ franchise is another fictional story looking to level up with the eight-season wonder the world stood up for.

The highly anticipated ‘House of the Dragon’ premiered on TV on August 21, 2022, opening up expectations and reminding fans of the unanswered questions that were left out – like, how did Jon Snow just become another man and was exiled?

The first episode is a tasty treat for viewers who were left disappointed by the underwhelming ending of HBO’s most-watched series of all time.

According to Nielsen, ‘Game of Thrones’ had an average gross audience of 18.2 million per episode. It’s all thanks to the creative mind of author George RR Martin along with show writers David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

‘House of the Dragon’ is about to hit the same – or more – of that number as it has almost everything that made the initial Game of Thrones the most-watched.

The reception of ‘House of the Dragon’ in Nigeria

As with many popular blockbusters, interest in ‘Game of Thrones’ in Nigeria should be awarded, especially with how conversations happened on social media with the main series.

Fans of the TV series picked out characters individually and related them to real-life Nigerian people. There were conversations on gender roles, feminism, kingship, politics, etc.

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This time, the interest on Google Trends shows a surprising phenomenon – fans who searched for ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘House of the Dragon’ are not from the big cities.

Google Trends: Game of Thrones
Google Trends: Game of Thrones

This means that Northern Nigerians are more interested in the TV series this time, or did not see it the first time, and are trying to find out what it is about.

Google Trends: Game of Thrones

For ‘House of the Dragon’, the search data is similar – no big city is represented in the first five.

Google Trends: House of the Dragon
Google Trends: House of the Dragon

The interest in the spinoff started spiking starting August 21, and don’t be surprised to learn that the increased interest started at midnight!

On social media, especially Twitter, ‘House of the Dragon’ is off the trend table but appeared at the bottom of the table from Sunday night to early morning on Monday.

Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon is still on the trend table on Twitter but is at the bottom.

House of the Dragon
House of the Dragon: Between 5 am and 8 am on Twitter trends (data: Trends24.in)

A bit about the characters?

Real name In ‘House of the Dragon’
Paddy Considine King Viserys Targaryen
Emma D’Arcy Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
Matt Smith Prince Daemon Targaryen
Rhys Ifans Otto Hightower
Steve Toussaint Lord Corlys Velaryon 
Eve Best Princess Rhaenys Velaryon
Sonoya Mizuno Mysaria
Fabien Frankel Ser Criston Cole
Milly Alcock Young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
Emily Carey Alicent Hightower (Young) 
Graham McTavish Ser Harrold Westerling
David Horovitch Grand Maester Mellos
Bill Paterson Lord Lyman Beesbury
Gavin Spokes Lord Lyonel Strong
Olivia Cooke Alicent Hightower
Ryan Corr Ser Harwin ‘Breakbones’ Strong
Jefferson Hall Lord Jason Lannister 
Matthew Needham Larys Strong
Alexis Raben Talya
Anthony Flanagan Ser Steffon Darklyn
Alana Ramsey Lady Lynesse Hightower
Nina Barker-Francis Jayne
Haqi Ali Maester Kelvyn
Bijan Daneshmand High Priest
Michael Carter Jaehaerys Targaryen
Afolabi Alli Dragonkeeper Acolyte
Anna Sari Dragonkeeper Acolyte
The cast of ‘House of the Dragon’

Episode 1- Recap

Set 200 years before the events of ‘Game of Thrones’, the prequel series, ‘House of the Dragon’, which debuted on HBO Sunday night begins with one generation making the same mistakes as the last. 

King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, grandson of Aegon the Conqueror⁠ – the legendary dragon rider who first conquered the seven kingdoms and created the Targaryen dynasty⁠ – does not have an heir.

So, a council is formed to help choose his successor between his granddaughter Rhaenys and his grandson Viserys. The patriarchal members choose Viserys. And that’s where ‘House of the Dragon’ begins.

Viserys Targaryen - House of the Dragon
Viserys Targaryen – House of the Dragon

As with Jaehaerys, Viserys faces, years later, the same dilemma that made him the ruler of the seven kingdoms.

When a council forms to name a successor between his brother Daemon and his young daughter Rhaenyra, King Viserys tells them that he “will not be made to choose between my brother and my daughter.”

He eventually chooses his daughter after a heated argument with Daemon, who is power thirsty and will obviously be known for his scheming in the coming episodes.

Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon episode 1

Before this, Viserys, a well-meaning and good-hearted king, had to take a rather brutal decision during his wife’s gruelling labour, which proves the argument – an heir to the throne. This scene is juxtaposed against a jousting tournament, just establishing that life is a gory game. 

From the fade-in, where the show introduces its timeline, you will experience amazing visual effects, great character establishment, and a mood reminiscent of the main series.

As the aerial camera panned to the city, we are reminded of the magnificent ‘Game of Thrones,’ a show that set itself apart with its stylistic tricks. But, we can argue that ‘House of the Dragon’ lacks some of that magic.

We know the central struggle from the beginning – the choosing of an heir, so we are not confused until the end. Also, this first episode takes us through the multi-dimensional characters and ends with a war-enabling decision that would form the backbone of the storyline.

This first episode already tells of a Daenerys similar – Princess Rhaenyra – who loves riding dragons, is ambitious for her age and doesn’t want to spend her life bringing forth offspring from her womb.

Rhaenyra wants to create “a new world order.”

The dialogues are less exquisite than what we saw with Cersei Lannister and less illuminating than Tyrion Lannister. Such were the characters that powered Game of Thrones even if they were forsaken by bad writing by Season 8.

It’s just the first episode, but ‘House of the Dragon’ wants us to think that Daemon is a scheming villain. Maybe that’s why his name sounds similar to ‘demon’.

Daemon Targaryen - House of the Dragon
Daemon Targaryen – House of the Dragon

However, ‘House of the Dragon’ promised us the glorious age of dragons. Not failed pregnancies and an uncle that gives us hints that he’s romantically interested in his niece – even though we know that incest is a phenomenon with the Targaryens.

The end of the first episode is rather predictable, with no twists that could act as a hook to the upcoming episodes.

Meanwhile, House of the Dragon reminds us of disappointing season 8, the end of the prophecy of the ‘Endless Winter’, which is not exactly a bright idea.

But, this is just the beginning, and we believe the spinoff can be something incredible as the story unfolds in upcoming episodes; as in the first few minutes, the characters’ ambitions are evident, preparing you for raging battles and games that are to come.


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