TV Review – House of the Dragon – Episode 1 – The Heirs of the Dragon (2022)

Quiet in the realm, 3.5 readers.

GOT is back, albeit in prequel form.

BQB here with a review.

Ah, Game of Thrones. What a wonderful show it was, full of Tolkien-esque fantasy, as well as murder, betrayal, deception and titties. So many titties. Honestly, 90 percent of the reason I watched was the titties.

When GOT came on the scene in 2011, it was like nothing we viewers had seen before and we were instantly hooked. For most of the past decade, I know every spring Sunday night I’d be glued to my TV at 9:00 PM sharp, woe unto whoever disturbed me and those who did really needed a good excuse, like a fully severed limb. If it was hanging by a thread, then they’d have to wait till after the show for me to drive them to the hospital. I kid, I kid. Or do I? All I know is this was the nerd superbowl.

HBO pulled off this trick in the 2000s with The Sopranos, launching what TV aficionados might call a golden age of TV where cable companies suddenly realized they could get away with airing a lot of depraved violence, sex, murder, crime, people cutting tags off mattresses, you name it, as long as it was on cable and people actually had to choose to put channels with such debauchery on their TV. Good old staples like network TV could hardly compete.

Alas, while HBO gave us one era defining show per decade, they also gave us one shitty ending to said shows per decade. Once HBO sucked as much money out of Sopranos viewers as possible, they rushed it to an absurdly fast and unsatisfying conclusion. Same with Game of Thrones.

And we dopes took it. There we were, collectively the long-suffering wife, standing at the front door in our bathrobe and curlers, begging our cheating hubby to stay, for surely we had more good years left together. Nope, off that hubby went, driving away in his mid-life crisis sports car with a bimbo on his arm.

Long story short, HBO is back, not unlike the old hubby who realizes his days of carousing are over, and he’d like to remarry us so we can cook his dinner and rub his feet and take care of him in his old age.

Sigh. And we dopes are going to do it.

At least, we’ll try. The Many Saints of Newark, the prequel movie to the Sopranos was red-hot garbage, largely fan fiction nonsense.

However, my initial assessment of the new GOT prequel, based on watching the first episode:

#1 – It’s worth watching episode 2 and likely, more.

#2 – I didn’t really see anything so far that made me say, “OMG I must binge immediately!” Rather, it’ll be an I’ll get to it when I get to it thing.

#3 – Fans are familiar with the world, the customs, the culture, and are able to dive-in. I know there was some criticism of a cast of relative unknowns but don’t forget, many of GOT’s original cast were unknown until the show made them stars (though Sean Bean did lead the first season.)

All in all, it’s good so far. I don’t know anything could meet GOT’s initial WOW factor. Sometimes, you just have to be that new, original thing that people didn’t know they wanted until you gave it to them. HBO is trying to give us more albeit with a cheaper cast. The good news is they have time to possibly WOW us again while the players aren’t household names. The bad news is given HBO’s track record, they’ll likely pull the rug out from under house and rush yet another series to a silly, unsatisfying halt when it gets too expensive as per their usual modus operandi.

The plot? What this series does best. A bunch of spoiled royals who have a lot fighting over who gets to have more, namely, ye olde Iron Throne.

Nearly 200 years before GOT, the Targaryen family, everyone’s favorite bleach blonde ultra-perfectionist dragon riders from across the sea, rule over a peaceful and prosperous Westeros. War hasn’t occurred for 70 years because all opponents to the Targaryens have a strange habit of being burned up into extra crispy dragon chow.

King Viserys (Paddy Constantine) reigns but largely serves as a rubber stamp to his council of treacherous lackeys. When Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) tragically dies giving birth to King’s long awaited male heir (who SPOILER ALERT) also dies in birth, it becomes clear that all-out war amongst these platinum blonde goofballs is on the way.

While the King appears to be in otherwise good in health, kings in this world rarely last long without getting ye olde hot sword injection, typically in the back, and yes I am talking about an actual sword, pervert. Hurt feelings abound when Viserys names his daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) as his heir, forcing all lords to bend the knee and swear their allegiance to her in the event of his passing.

Alas, as foretold in the show, the Targaryens were so strong that theirs was a house that could only crumble from within. Potential heir A unhappy at his lack of being named heir is the king’s younger brother, Prince Daemon, Commander of the Kingsguard who loves whores but hates crime, thus providing the most lurid scenes of the episode when he patronizes ladies of the evening and beheads hapless reprobates with equal parts gusto.

Potential heir B is the King’s sister, Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best.) We haven’t seen much of her yet other than an introduction where the king (and her) father, Old King Aerys, declines to name her heir to the throne due to her lack of a penis, opting to name Viserys instead, due to his lack of a vagina. She is given the nickname “The Queen Who Never Was” as a result, having come so close yet so far.

Both parties have their strengths. Daemon commands a loyal army of brutes who love him because he purchases them whores on the regular (talk about a great boss, wait, what’s that itch?). Rhaenys’ husband Corlys (Steve Toussaint) is a member of the council who has the king’s ear.

Meanwhile, Daemon is likely displeased with King’s hand Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans, he of Spiderman Lizard fame), who lives to talk trash about the prince into the king’s ear thus leading to the king’s rare move of appointing his non-penis having daughter rather than his penis having brother so some type of battle between those two is likely a-brewing.

Complications? Rhaenys is young, possibly a lesbian getting jiggy with Hightower’s daughter who I suspect Hightower wants to see married to the king for his own duplicitous power grabbing ends despite quite an age difference between the two and if this happens, Rhaenys would be getting lezzy with her stepmother. (This is a theory at this point but it looks like where the show is going to me.)

Daemon is a wildcard, a villainous reprobate who loves whores, possibly more than Tyrion ever did, who really loved whores. He’s an all-around D-bag, though formidable. Having lived in his older brother’s shadow as younger brothers tend to do, especially in royal families or families with big money, he has gone out of his weigh to prove himself in battle whereas Viserys just seems to go along with whatever the council wants. Ironically, there are signs that despite Daemon’s d-baggery, he likely would have been a lifelong loyal defender of his older brother had he not been declined as heir.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. You know, if you are one of my original fans from back when I started his blog a whole 8 years ago, you’ll know GOT was pretty much all I blogged about non-stop in the beginning so it will be nice to get back to blogging about it again, though likely not with as much gusto as the original.

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