Why ‘House of the Dragon’ Will Be Better Than ‘Game of Thrones’
If you saw the finale you’ll know it won’t exactly be hard.
Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon will kick off Binge and Foxtel Go from next week — on Monday, August 22.
Starring Matt Smith and Aussie Milly Alcock, the series will follow the history of house Targaryen, the ancestors of Daenerys Targaryen from the original series. Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will look at the reign of King Viserys I, leading to the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.
Although yet to premiere to the masses, a lot has been said about the House of the Dragon already, including feedback about the costumes and gross calls to boycott the series over the race of certain characters.
Man-boy whinging aside, fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series (the novels on which Game of Thrones was based) are used to disappointment by now. Creator of the series and occasional Game of Thrones screenwriter, George R. R. Martin, has not added to his magnum opus series since the first Obama administration, leaving fans a little haywire.
Fans of the World of Ice and Fire need not hang their head in pre-emptive dismay. I, a fan of the book series and first four seasons of GoT, have good reason to believe House of the Dragon will exceed its predecessor.
— Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones ahead! Although seriously, it’s been years. —
House of The Dragon Already Has An Ending
Unlike Game of Thrones, which was based on five novels of a planned seven novel series, House of the Dragon will be drawing on the rich lore of the World of Ice and Fire including the stand-alone prequel novel, Fire & Blood. If you wanted to, you could read Fire & Blood right now and spoil a good deal of what will happen on the show. Not only that, you’ll get to annoy your viewing partners by saying things like “that didn’t happen in the book!”
Basically, like any good TV series, House of the Dragon is being made with an end in mind. Currently, it is planned to run for three to four seasons, depending on viewing numbers. Planning like this will hopefully ensure pacing remains consistent and character arcs are thought out.
This was not a luxury Game of Thrones had. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had notes from Martin on how GoT would end, but no path to get there. As a result, once the showrunners were out of books to adapt, what we ended up watching felt very rushed, forced, and overall bafflingly bad.
This leads me to my next point…
The Ending Can’t Be Worse, Surely
Let’s get this out of the way; I’m one of those losers who is still not over the ending of Game of Thrones. I won’t deny it, and if you’re reading this, neither should you.
This could be its own article so I’ll make it quick. To rush the ending, the dialogue became an expository hodge-podge that was just trying to get characters from A to B. As a result, too few of our main characters had a satisfying arc that made sense logically or literarily. The harsh consequences and intrigue from the first four series was absent and it was more like a classic fantasy show than one that subverts the genre.
1.8 million people signing a petition to ‘remake the show with competent writers‘ might be a sign you fucked up.
Those Responsible Are Not Involved In House of the Dragon
The aforementioned showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (AKA D&D) shouldered the bulk of the blame for the GoT ending. I’ll give the shame bell another shake here and say ‘fair enough’.
Although George R. R. Martin stated he had enough material for 12 to 13 seasons, D&D reportedly rushed the ending after being signed on to a deal with Lucasfilm to produce a new Star Wars trilogy. Allegedly, this combined with a lack of source material is why the ending to GoT was so rushed and clunky.
Initially adored by fans, D&D eventually became material for countless memes. Many of the memes came off the back of the ‘behind the scenes’ shows that were released after each episode during the final season. Some accused these segments as being a way for D&D to excuse the lower quality of the writing.
Despite the deal with Lucasfilm falling through, D&D will have nothing to do with House of the Dragon so there is no need to worry about them popping up after each episode to explain how a main character “kind of forgot” about an important plot point.
The Good Eggs Have Stayed
With so much to criticise about how GoT ended, not much is said about what it got right, even until the end. The visuals still popped and the soundtrack might have even convinced us the ending wasn’t that bad.
The good news is, the good (dragon) eggs behind those creative choices are back for House of the Dragon. Writer of the iconic GoT theme song and double Emmy-winning composer Ramin Djawadi is reprising his role as composer. Director of the spectacular ‘Battle of the Bastards’ and ‘Hardhome’ episodes, Miguel Sapochnik, is returning as both showrunner and executive producer.
And of course, George R. R. Martin is back as an executive producer, even if I’d much prefer he spent his time writing the bloody sixth book before I waste years of my life writing it myself.
Overall, the first four seasons of Game of Thrones are very, very good and will be hard to beat in terms of quality. However, one cannot overlook the shortcomings of the later season which seriously affected the rewatchability of the show. If they play this right, House of the Dragon has a chance to exceed where the original fantasy series failed and build on what made it great.
We’ll just have to tune in on Monday to find out.
Photo Credit: HBO