Valar morghulis, dear reader.
Now that HBO’s House of the Dragon has us giddy with excitement, we’re remembering all the good times we had with Game of Thrones. The amazement of Dany emerging from Drogo’s funeral pyre with her dragons. The schadenfreude of watching Joffrey choke on his own hubris. And, of course, the shock and awe of The Red Wedding.
With these memories in mind, we can’t help but get unreasonably hyped for what appears to be another must-watch blockbuster. And for the jilted lovers who may need a little more convincing, here are the top 7 reasons you’ll want to return to Westeros with an open mind and heart. To watch House of the Dragon with DISH or on HBO Max, add HBO to your package today.
- You already speak the lingo
- You know Valyrian steel has magical properties. You know King’s Landing is the capitol, but the island of Dragonstone is the ancestral seat of House Targaryen. And, most importantly, you know Khaleesi is a title, not a name. If you’re new to the franchise, welcome(!) and fear not — you won’t need a Ph.D. in Westerosi lore to follow the plot. But for seasoned travelers, if there’s a wink and a nod to Game of Thrones, you’ll be there to catch it.
- A Question of Succession …
- The King is dead. (*audible gasp!*) But who will sit the Iron Throne? The King’s daughter from his first marriage, or his son from his second? Precedent would suggest the son, but the daughter had previously been promised the Iron Throne. Thus, we have the backdrop for House of the Dragon, and it is a JUICY family drama. Before the King’s blood runs cold, two parties of schemers and combatants – the “Blacks” who back Princess Rhaenyra, and the “Greens” led by Queen Alicent Hightower – will be jockeying for the loyalty of every sword in The Seven Kingdoms.
- … And the War to Answer it
- House of the Dragon will chronicle arguably the bloodiest era in Westeros’ history, “The Dance of the Dragons,” aka the Targaryen civil war. However, viewers should not come to expect the sprawling set pieces we saw during GOT episodes like the Battle of the Bastards or the Battle of Blackwater. Instead, this conflict is largely a war of subterfuge — of espionage and deception. Cloaked daggers and poisoned promises, where a sharp tongue can overcome the sharpest steel. Indeed, House of the Dragon should resemble the political drama that defined early-season Game of Thrones, when court figures like Varys and Littlefinger turned the tides of battles with a timely raven, or a well-placed bribe.
- Still, House of the Dragon will not be without bloodshed. The aforementioned “Dance of the Dragons” is popularly referred to as “The Dying of the Dragons” by the surviving members of House Targaryen. When the fighting does break out, expect to see the skies ablaze with dragonfyre. The full-grown beasts Vhagar, Caraxes, Arrax, Seasmoke, Syrax, Sunfyre, Dreamfyre, Tessarion and more are every bit as important to the plot as Daenerys’ triplets from Game of Thrones. And, oh, they will be spectacular.
- If the show isn’t to your liking, you can always read the book
- Fire & Blood, George R.R. Martin’s anthological history of the Targaryen lineage, already exists in print (and in paperback, no less). If the show deviates too far from the source material, or if an outcome isn’t to your liking, you may find solace in its pages … a luxury not afforded to the book-reading die-hards still waiting with bated breath for Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. In the mood for 800 pages of high fantasy worldbuilding? Fire & Blood is your glass of Dornish red. As for the rest of us who prefer TV’s storytelling medium, House of the Dragon will be more like a sickly sweet Arbor gold.
- 50 Shades of Morality
- Thematically, there will be very little in the way of the honorable Starks vs. the treacherous Boltons. Noble paragons need not apply: every player is flawed; every ambition is understandable. Prince Daemon Targaryen (played by Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame) exemplifies this principle perfectly. A scorned, spoiled princeling for whom the ends always justify the means … yet you’ll be hard-pressed to call the charismatic megalomaniac evil, per se. Foul times, foul choices. If you love anti-heroes with dysfunctional family baggage, House of the Dragon will not disappoint.
- Ramin Djawadi Returns
- The master composer responsible for Game of Thrones’ Emmy-winning soundtrack will be scoring House of the Dragon. Cello lovers rejoice!
So here’s your formal invitation to join us Aug. 21 for the premiere of House of the Dragon on HBO and HBO Max. And remember: What is hype may never die. Valar Dohaeris.