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The House of Dragon Releases Enthralling Game Of Thrones Prequel Reviews

Critics rate the first six episodes of the prequel series, but there are some mixed reviews.

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The much-anticipated sequel to Game of Thrones on HBO, House of the Dragon, is almost here, and the reviews are in.

House of the Dragon, which premieres on HBO this Sunday, has already been reviewed, and the critics, unsurprisingly, couldn’t help but draw comparisons to the original, which was so successful. Overall, the fantasy epic has received positive reviews, but not for every facet of the show.

Before the series premieres this Sunday on HBO, find out what the critics think by reading on.

According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg, “HBO has ended up with a show that feels reverse-engineered to give devoted Game of Thrones fans a facsimile of what they liked about the original series, while casual Game of Thrones fans get… ummm… lots and lots of dragons.” House of the Dragon, which I assume replaced Game of Thrones: Oops, All Targaryens!, has the clue embedded in its name.

Reviewer Fienberg summed up the plot as follows: “House of the Dragon is primarily the story of two young women—Rhaenyra (not to be confused with Rhaenys) and Alicent—navigating paths to power in a male-dominated world, raised by fathers who have no clue how to raise them, while Matt Smith rides dragons and chews scenery.”

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While remaining faithful to the legacy and aesthetic of the original series, the spinoff wisely adopts subtle changes in tone and approach, introducing a new world of characters and stories, according to a more positive review in the Los Angeles Times.

The pilot episode was highly praised by critic Lorraine Ali. In the words of one critic, “the exchange between mother and daughter, and the artful contrast of dueling knights and dutiful midwives are powerful enough on their own to render the first episode a smashing success,” demonstrating that House of the Dragon has a depth of understanding of its female characters that Game of Thrones took years to find.

The six episodes that were made available to critics in advance of the show’s premiere did not impress The Verge, and the publication made special note of the show’s handling of race.

Most of the show’s prominent characters of color, especially the Velaryons, are background players presented like an overdue apologia for Game of Thrones’ overwhelming whiteness, as Charles Pulliam-Moore pointed out. This is in contrast to the Targaryen family, whose members House of the Dragon does a better job of fleshing out as people simply by giving them more screen time.

It’s good to see free Black people being given more importance in society. However, there are times when it seems like the creative team behind House of the Dragon didn’t think through some of the show’s iffier optics, such as its seemingly low wig budget and the way the Velaryons factor into this story.

In an unfavorable review, Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall wrote, “House of the Dragon, unfortunately, is filled with characters and conflicts that would struggle to hold the audience’s interest if they were just one small element among the many of its parent series.”

To continue, he said that Rhaenyra’s struggle is “the series’ one semi-compelling arc,” while “nearly everyone around the princess is boring, meanwhile.”

The show received a B grade from Entertainment Weekly, which described it as “the blandest possible orientation, Epic Fantasy for Dummies.”

“Dragon has more of a clear mission than its bi-continental predecessor and a much-stated central theme,” wrote critic Darren Franich. When the entire episode is devoted to rumors circulating the Red Keep about who’s boning who, Rhaenyra exclaims, “Were I born a man, I could bed whoever I wanted!” Both Rhaenyra and Alicent are shackled by social convention, having their fathers arrange for arranged marriages of aristocratic status. We haven’t even begun to approach the time when people will cheer for Khaleesi. In its place, the argument that the country will rise up against any matriarch out of sheer dickishness is often made (Since Dragon has a more diverse cast, this makes Westeros a paradoxical neverland that is openly sexist and completely un-racist.) “

House of the Dragon has an 85% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Following Sunday’s premiere, viewer ratings will begin to be recorded.

The show follows the lives of Dany’s forebears, beginning 172 years before she was born. The series will be based on George R. R. Martin’s 2018 novel Fire & Blood and will examine the bloody history of House Targaryen, including the “Dance of the Dragons” civil war within the family.

Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Paddy Considine, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Milly Alcock, and Emily Carey are among the show’s starring cast members.

The premiere will air on Sunday, and it’s titled “The Heirs of the Dragon.” Emmy-winning director Miguel Sapochnik, who directed “Battle of the Bastards” on Game of Thrones, helms this episode. Ryan J. Condal, who also created and ran House of the Dragon, wrote the pilot episode.

House of the Dragon premieres on HBO this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET, and the first of 10 episodes.