One wiener next to another wiener. (Spoilers)
Can you believe the last season of Game of Thrones aired in 2019? A full thirty six years ago, plus three months change. A final season that pretty much overwhelmingly left a bad taste in the mouths of fans, the show’s creators, and the cast who wasted no time shitting all over the quality of the season in interviews before it was even done airing. While it was a small mistake, things like the leftover Starbucks cup in Season 8 were really a testament to the senioritis the show was experiencing. The last few years of quarantine, shutdown, nihilism, death, and depression probably haven’t done a great job to spark the public’s enthusiasm in more Game of Thrones after the three year wait. Or it has, I haven’t left the house in ten years going by the new Covidian calendar.
And I have to think that part of the negativity is also fans of the books being miserable that George RR Martin is nowhere closer to finishing the next release and it’s been over eleven years since the last title. Martin is 73 years old, and at this rate the dude will be closing in on 90 by the time the A Dream of Spring is even close to finished. I think most people just want him to finish the main series before he croaks, and House of the Dragon is being seen as yet another distraction for a man who famously used to type up his manuscript on a DOS computer to not distract himself. It also doesn’t help that Game of Thrones took a notable dive in quality once the show surpassed the book’s story, and most expect that the book will fix what the show screwed up.
House of the Dragon has the privilege of hitting the reset button and taking us back to the past to hopefully see Westeros before it sucked ass. Based on the Fire & Blood novel, House of the Dragon is set 200 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones and follows the fall of the Targaryen lineage leading up to the eventual rise of Daenerys and her brother’s love for drinking molten gold. Paddy Considine plays King Viserys I Targaryen, and he seems like a guy who does theater. The first episode is centered on a big tournament to celebrate the birth of the king’s son. Of course this is Game of Thrones, so the king’s wife (Sian Brooke) and the infant die during a brutal caesarian section scene. If you’re looking for gore, well there’s plenty of it when the knights start murdering each other during the tournament.
Our big villain for the series is clearly going to be Prince Daemon Targaryen, played by the venerable Matt Smith, who is denied his rightful place as king in waiting when Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) is named as successor to spite him. I think Matt Smith is a good actor who happens to end up in a lot of complete shitass like Morbius or Terminator Genisys. He’s also really capable of being a menacing bad guy, the kind that skulks in the shadows while still being intimidating when drawn into the light. In short he’s kinda perfect for Game of Thrones even if that wig looks really stupid on him. You can really see this on display when, as his first act as commander of the watch, Daemon goes into the city and commands the guards to start butchering the criminal element. It’s brutal but as we learn the city has infamously fallen into lawlessness over the years, it’s basically exactly what is needed. Of course he screws it up and gets kicked out of the city for celebrating the death of the king’s son.
Also he bangs whores. What red-blooded person in Westeros doesn’t love whores? Steven Seagal would be at home here if only they were all Asian.
I have to feel bad for the actors who have big shoes to fill in this new series, insurmountable even. For all of its later problems, Game of Thrones had a really strong and gigantic cast of unmatched actors that the audience fell in love with from Peter Dinklage to Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emily Clarke, Kit Harrington, Conlith Hill, Alfie Allen, Iwan Rheon, I could go on for hours. As far as I can see, House of the Dragon being a much more focused show will have a smaller cast of prominent characters and that means everyone is going to have to pull their weight all the more. It’s a tough task, and for those who miss the characters we know and love from eight seasons of the show it probably will never be good enough.
But it’s the first episode of ten in the first season and I’m willing to give it a shot. It didn’t blow my mind but I didn’t hate it enough to not somewhat look forward to the next episode. Let’s see where this show goes.