“House of the Dragon” — Episode 1 Review

Story posted August 25, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Jack Freiser

It has been three years since “Game of Thrones”, the beloved HBO series, came to an end. Although the final season was controversial to most viewers, fans were eager to dive back into the GOT lore.

“House of the Dragon” takes place nearly 200 years before the events of the original series, and tells the story of the Targaryen clan before the rise and fall of Daenerys Targaryen.

This was an incredible pilot episode that successfully brought the audience back to the amazing settings of Westeros. The episode was filled with romance, action, engaging characters and of course — dragons.

Although this episode involved a ton of set up for the events to come, it was a wild ride. The writing is as good as ever, with impressive imagery, witty one-liners and captivating characters.

While there were many intriguing characters with the potential to shine this season, three characters truly made their mark in the first episode.

Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) was without a doubt the star of this first episode. His character is quite complex and a perfect antagonist for the series. Smith is a dynamic actor who can be menacing, yet methodical with his actions.

Daemon has the possibility to be the most intriguing character. He is vying for the throne he believes is his, and has already shown off his wit and physical strength to get what he desires. His antics in this first episode make him a volatile character.

He truly shined throughout the episode, especially during his scenes with young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), and through his fighting ability whilst fighting the other jousters.

Rhaenyra, was another standout character. She was very reminiscent of Daenerys, especially due to her strong-headed behavior and desire to gain respect from the other Targaryens. Alcock did a stellar job showing the naive yet charming antics of young Rhaenyra.

Alcock’s acting was quite impressive during her scenes with her father, Viserys (Paddy Considine), which also showcased the show’s stellar writing including the great references to Game of Thrones, which delighted many viewers. Alcock’s emotion in one specific scene was wonderful and very momentous for young Rhaenyra's journey of self discovery and her desire to become queen.

The final character worth noting is Alicent Hightower, the best friend of Rhaenyra and daughter of the Hand to the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). Young Alicent is played by Emily Carey, who is a great addition to the cast. Alicent seems to be a very intelligent character who has the potential to be incredibly ruthless.

She is very reminiscent of Cersei, being very methodical with what she does, as well as very loyal to the ones who surround her. She is confident and has many of the standout lines of the first episode. Especially her discussions with Rhaenyra, which appear to be very important for the future of the series.

Alicent has relationships with most characters and seems to be many people’s confidants, a power which she may use against others later on in this season. Alicent is an especially intriguing character that has the potential to be the best written character this show has to offer.

Overall, this was a marvelous introductory episode, which successfully brought the viewer’s back to Westeros. This episode was filled with stunning visuals, ruthless violence, and incredibly enthralling characters. House of Dragons truly has the potential to be an incredible successor to Game of Thrones.

Rating: 4.5/5

Jack Freiser is a third-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jef5614@psu.edu.