Monday, August 22, 2022

Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon - Season 1 Discussion

Hello and welcome back to Westeros!  It’s been a minute since the flagship show Game of Thrones was torched to the ground and wandered north of the wall.  But, we’re back nearly 200 years before to watch that dragon crazy family do their King’s Landing shenanigans.  And you know what?  It’s off to a decent start! I’ve been doing some homework ahead of this series.  I had purchased the audio book of Fire and Blood when it was first released but hadn’t really gotten through it all.  It’s more of an unreliable narrated historical text than it is a story.  I honed in closer to the Targaryen Civil War (The Dance of Dragons) portion of the book a few weeks ago and have been listening to all the podcasts to be as prepared as possible.  But I’m no expert on this period of Westerosian history.  But, I’m a thrones-head and wanted to create a safe space for us to discuss our thoughts on the show.  So without further adieu let’s get started!  I’ll keep this post here for our discussions of season 1.  See you in the comments! 


Mike V. said...

Episode 1 - The Heirs of the Dragon

Definitely did not view this with optimum settings…on a cheap Roku tv in a guest bedroom in an OBX shore house. Lol But I still could follow the story and was engaged early on. Looking forward to watching again at home on the big screen. I immediately enjoyed our new main characters of Rhaenarys Targaryan, Allicent Hightower, Daemon (Matt Smith! - Brother to king), Viserys (king) and Otto Hightower (hand). The tournament was definitely higher budget than the GoT Season 1 tourney…The Dragon Pit was more thriving than it was in the final seasons of thrones. Kings Landing in general looked thriving…before the war torn times. Lines of succession are in question…Daemon looks to be a danger to the realm. Rhaenarys is the clear heir….the Queen that Never Was was overlooked in the succession because she was a woman. And men are making child birthing decisions based on prophecies/dreams. But the clear awesome part of the ep was GRRM unveiling new knowledge to us that links to the Song of Ice and Fire. This prophecy of the prince that was promised has fueled the Targaryan Reign since Aegon’s conquest with Balerion the Dread. He only conquered the 7 kingdoms because he thought it was necessary for the preservation of mankind. What a crazy twist. He wasn’t just conquering…and every heir since has been told of this prophecy thinking they might be the one to take on this threat. We know when it’ll actually happen. (It’s Jon and Dany)….but they don’t…and it may fuel this Targaryan Civil war known as the Dance of Dragons.

We’ll have different actors playing some of these characters as we span decades in this first season (THE CROWN style). Should be a fun ride! I’m looking forward to it!

Mike V. said...

Episode 2 - The Rogue Prince

Definitely a different pacing than Game of Thrones, but the show looks spectacular. That whole showdown at Dragonstone was a spectacle. I don’t really remember it from the book, but I heard it was 2 lines in Fire and Blood. Daemon was mad and stole an egg. Viserys was angry. Daemon gave the egg back. And they turned it into that. Pretty cool how they’re able to interpret the text. I do recall that Viserys married Allicent so that wasn’t a surprise to me. I know Rhaenys and Allicent will be recast mid-season due to the spanning of time (we already have seen us move 6 months from episode 1. We’ll be spanning decades this season). Allicent will be played by Olivia Cooke (who you may remember from Bates Motel and maybe Ready Player One). This younger actress looks just like her. Pretty good casting. This actress playing Rhaenys though is really good. It’ll be tough to see her get recast, but I’m sure they know what they’re doing! Apparently in early drafts the show was just going to start later in the timeline and do “remember when such and such happened? “ conversations to cover these first few episodes.

Instead, they’re strategically taking excerpts from the dry text and expanding on them to show the pivotal points that lead to the Dance of Dragons (Targaryen Civil War). Viserys keeps getting infections….people theorize that it’s sitting on that throne cutting him….but he probably has some known skin disease that they don’t have any modern treatments for. The maggots scene was pretty rough!

Oh and this CRAB guy??? What??? Looks like they’ll be fighting him for awhile since it looks like the next episode will advance the clock a year or 2 as well.

Now when the Valerion dude (Sea Snake) said he and Daemon were the 2nd Sons….I wonder if we’re seeing the start of the Second Sons military for hire? The same one that Daario led in GoT. Guess we’ll see. I’m sure it’s already in the text somewhere lol

Anyway…ratings didn’t drop for ep 2….it’s been over 10 million both weeks. Already has a S2 renewal…so we’re getting more thrones for the foreseeable future.

It’s not the same as GoT yet…but it has a lot of potential. As for my rewatch - I’m on the finale of season 4. Watched The Battle at the Wall and the mountain vs. the Viper. Now awaiting Tyrion’s final confrontation with Tywin.

Mj said...

Hoping to start this. My friend was huge GofT fan - especially Danny. She is not thrilled. But her and I often disagree so...

Mike V. said...

No Spoilers here - It’s still iffy 2 eps in, but I think everyone is optimistic lol. It’s just nice being back in that world. Still getting used to the new characters.

Mike V. said...

Episode 3 - Second of his Name

3 year time jump! Crab feeder is just a footnote on the preamble to the dance of the dragons! Aegon II is a threat to Rhaenerys’ claim. Lots of hunting and talking while hunting. Talks of succession and marriages as always. But it was really good. Viserys tells his daughter that she still is the heir but there are lots of thoughts against it. The Hightower suggestion to marry her 2 year old half brother was hilarious but not out of the realm of discussion with this family! So apparently there were some comparisons we were meant to notice by the 3 hunts. King Viserys did strike the final blow to the captured stag but he didn’t capture it. Rhaenerys found the white stag but let it go only bringing back a boar to feast on. Daemon killed the crab feeder off screen after pretending to surrender then surprising them. Also a mysterious dragon rider showed up too. Didn’t even realize Daemon uttered not one word in the whole episode or sequence. Pretty crazy stuff. Think we have 2 more episodes before the main girls age up to different actresses.

Btw in my got rewatch I just watched the end of season 5 and before shireen is burned at the stake she spoils House of the Dragon a bit by discussion the main 2 people at the heart of the Targaryen civil war. I won’t say here. But it was cool to be watching that and these random names suddenly have more depth to it. Apparently Joffrey says a lot in the sept with Margery before their wedding too. I knew it as I was watching but didn’t place the names at the time. Good stuff. Thanks to George’s immensely deep world it’s all connected!

Mike V. said...

So apparently the dragon nor rider was not supposed to be a mystery at the end. It’s just a case of lack of time spent with these people and the fast forwarding of time. The dragon was Sea Smoke and the rider was Lanore?? Don’t know how to spell. Gotta look up. He’s the Valarian we met in this episode right before the battle I think. I didn’t even realize that they were dragon riders too. Not just Targaryens. They’re all from Vallarya or however you spell it so it makes sense.

Mike V. said...

Episode 4 - King of the Narrow Sea

Okay, they laid some groundwork and then things got really interesting in this one! The time span between 3 and 4 was much shorter than the last episodes. It was long enough for Daemon to get home from the Step Stones (closer to Dorne I think) and for Allicent to have the baby girl. And have that baby girl be almost as big as her lol. But we’re talking months vs. years. The Daemon/Rhaenera stuff (still cannot spell her name. I think i was calling her Rhaenerys above…which might be her Aunt the Queen that never was….blame GRRM on all the similar names!) was really good. Of course, it got a little too crazy and awkward in the brothel…but that set up the gossip mill for the rest of the episode. And then Rhaenera and the King’s Guard dude…keep forgetting his name too but it’s something normal like “COLTON” or something. Guess Daemon’s “marry for the kingdom but do whatever you want” mantra got to her. Looks like she will be marrying that dragon rider from last week’s episode. Lanore Valaryian…or something like that. I’m so bad with my spellings. Ask me anything about the flagship show and I’ll know how to spell every name. This one?? NOPE…I’m out! Anyway, wedding next week then we probably jump a decade or 2 and age up Rhaenera and Allicent to the other actresses.

So we learned that the Catspaw dagger that killed the night king and almost killed Bran in S1 was originally Aegon the Conqueror’s….and it does a neat little ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL trick by putting it in the fire and speaking Valaryan to you. Something about the Song of ICe and Fire. Cool stuff.

Viserys had the best line of the episode “you’re my political complication” or something like that. Good stuff. He’s banished Daemon from the Red Keep/King’s Landing….that won’t bode well for the conflicts to come.

I think that’s all I got for now. But I’ll come back with any fun tidbits I hear on the various podcasts I’ll surely listen to.

Mike V. said...

I wasn’t way off on Colton. It’s Ser Criston Cole. Lol I merged the 2 names!

MJ said...

Ep 1 and 2. I like Rhaenyra. And did not know so much time jump was coming. Not sure I ever knew Targearyns were ever at Harrenhall and the Vale? I'd have loved the irony if after sacrificing his wife for the babe it was a girl! But kid didn't survive anyway. They keep making a thing about the non-healing cuts. I had similar thoughts about Winter is Coming. But really Danny never seemed concerned about it til Jon showed her a walker. So I really don't think it was her motivation. Ewww - gonna marry his daughters friend. Better then the young kid tho. The names are killing me. Very Ringsish with the similarities

I didn't hate it but didn't love it either. We shall see

Mike V. said...

Eps 1/2 - I think Viserys has some kind of skin condition that we can probably treat with modern medicine. Don’t know what it is though. Same with infections like you mention in GoT.

Dany didn’t know the history of Aegon’s conquest. It was passed down from Targaryen king to Targaryen king until Robert’s rebellion. So she didn’t know that she was supposed to help stop the long night. Even though the prophecy ended up being about her and Jon (and I guess Arya if we go by the show lol).

Yep the time is going to span even more. I think starting episode 6 it’ll be decades later. The girl with the oxygen tank in bates motel (Olivia Cooke) will take over as Allicent. I’ll miss the girl playing Rhaenyra. She’s really good. But I’m sure the next person will be too.

I’ll say I think ep 4 was the best so far. Seems to improve each ep. So here’s hoping we’ll eventually be obsessed. The scope is so much smaller than thrones so far. But that can change with a pending civil war that we’re building towards.

Mike V. said...

Just saw your comment on harrenhall and the vale. The targs ruled Westeros for centuries so I’m sure they were all over Westeros. But Harrenhall was actually melted by dragons. Not sure when that happened though. Maybe during the civil war so maybe we’ll eventually get to see that happen.

I thought you had mentioned dragonstone which is where Dany was born (during a storm. I believe the same night the mad king was killed by Jaime) I believe that’s where Aegon first landed and the castle was always occupied by the targaryens until the end of Robert’s rebellion. Then Stannis was sent there.

Mike V. said...

In reference to episode 1 - in my got rewatch little finger just handed bran the v steel catspaw dagger. Bran made a comment “do you know who this belonged to?” When we first watched we may have not understood the full impact of that question from the 3 eyed raven who has seen all of history. Bran knew that it was Aegon I’s dagger and it was passed down the targ line and maybe he knew it contained some important prophetic information. But that’s not in ep 1 lol.

Mike V. said...

Episode 5 “We Light the Way”

Allicent enters the chat////errrrr GAME of thrones! Lol Yet another wedding that ends in bloodshed. Yikes…Cristin Cole tried to be an honorable dude but Rhaenyra is lighting a path of destruction everywhere she goes. My favorite parts of the episode is her eye rolling at Jason Lannister. That dude is hilarious in the most unintentional and intentional of ways.

Daemon most likely killed the bronze b!tc# wife of his from the Vale. But they cut away from actually showing it. He’s still just also creating havoc everywhere for the realm. He and R had a heated discussion on the dance floor before pandemonium hit. And then Allicent is just slowing making allies and gathering intelligence over the episodes…especially this one. Then she makes a statement with her late arrival and wearing the colors of war for House Hightower of Oldtown. Interesting stuff coming… This is the last episode with the younger actors so we’ll be getting a time jump next episode.

But it seems we’re on a path to a civil war where Viserys will die…and there will be a war for the throne as no one will want R as their queen even though she is the named heir. R has joined the Valarion house with the Targaryen in a rushed wedding after the massacre. Crazy stuff indeed. Is it as crazy as the original thrones? They seem like almost 2 different types of shows at this point. But I’m still glued to the screen during each episode. We’ll see what the 2nd half has in store for us!

THRONES REWATCH UPDATE - I’m in the final season. Season 7 didn’t bother me as much with the fast travel stuff going on. I know this show abruptly just comes to an end in these final 6. But I’m in the middle of the episode before the LONG NIGHT battle….and it was one of the best episodes of the whole show…so I’m still riding on a high. We’ll see if I enjoy the final eps after a couple month binge. Lol

Mike V. said...

Ep 6 - The Princess and the Queen - Hopefully this episode silences the complaints over the casting changes. This was always the plan. They cast Emmy and Olivia to play Rhaenyra and Allicent from the beginning and cast the younger ones because they looked like them. They did great. And now this Larys Strong is quite a force to be reckoned with. (It may not be a coincidence that GRRM named this guy with letters from Littlefinger and Varys lol). I mean - he’s basically manipulating Allicent, but he used her words to take out his brother and father at Harrenhal. And of course the brother is for sure the father of all of R’s kids (I still can’t spell her name right). I saw the black hair and that was a telltale sign especially when all of Daemon’s kids look like Valarions. The seed is strong! Things are definitely heating up and Viserys is losing more body parts by the year. Maybe he’ll make it to episode 9 but you gotta think once he’s gone the conflict will kick into high gear. R is off to Dragonstone with her family. From the preview it looks like what’s left of Daemon’s family will be headed there too.

Still don’t know what to make of the show. I get excited to watch every Sunday…I’m glued to the TV. But, it’s not quite getting to me the way OG Thrones did. But there’s a lot of ingredients here for it to get there.

Speaking of Thrones - finished my rewatch! The final 2 seasons didn’t seem as crazy on a rewatch and I paid attention to Dany’s impulsive tendencies. So maybe it wasn’t completely out of nowhere….but it still feels like they would’ve benefited from more air to breathe in the final seasons. It just felt rushed. I’m still fine with HOW it ended.

Mike V. said...

Episode 7 - Driftmark

Whew….intense stuff at Driftmark! Cousin infighting based on not being able to claim a dragon and bastardism! Leading to the adults fighting…… some more GoT incest…in what amounts to a “FINALLY!” From the audience with Rhaenyra and Daemon. Seriously though…i love all the memes with Viserys…he’s pissed at everyone and losing more body parts by the end of each episode. It’s hilarious. But how about that quick wedding by the end and what led to it? I wonder if D+R knew that Laenore wasn’t going to be killed but they were going to pull a Theon and kill someone else instead? I’m guessing they’re sailing to Essos to start a new life? Probably means they’ll be back. IT’s shaping up to be one crazy Dance of Dragons. D+R unite houses. Team Allicent gains the biggest dragon in Westeros. I think once we’re through the season I may re-listen to the chapters this season has covered to see if it makes any more sense to me. Lol. All in all though…each episode seems to get better than the last. I’m digging the show.

One thing I haven’t commented on - the opening credits. Love that the music is back…but I can’t make heads or tails of what they’re showing. I know it’s all sigils of everyone involved in the show…it does update after each episode. But it can’t compare to Game of Thrones where they were giving us geography lessons each episode…it was much clearer and it helped set the stage for the episode. Not so much in this case. Too cryptic.

That’s all I have for now!

Mike V. said...

Understood. It’s definitely not the same as thrones. The time jumps make you care less about characters so the stakes are different. But it’s definitely well done. Curious how far you made it but I won’t try to talk you into watching more! Lol

Mike V. said...

Episode 8 - The Lord of the Tides

This show has really built on itself every episode. This was a good one. Felt like everything we’ve seen led to this point. Nice to see an almost reconciliation between the family for one final “happy” moment with Viserys around. The man tried his best up to his almost final breaths. Of course, his final breaths are what will further fuel the fire for war….funny that the spark of civil war will be caused by what ultimately could’ve been the plot of a Three’s Company Episode! So we have Aegon the Conqueror (AEGON I who rode Balerion the Dread to Westeros and conquered it for what we learned was a prophetic dream to save mankind that we ultimately see play out in OG Game of Thrones) and now we have Aegon II, Viserys’ first-born son to Alicent whom Alicent has mistaken as the prophetic Prince that was Promised. Viserys thought he was speaking to Rhaenyra whom he believes will be the one to bring mankind through the darkness. Rewatching the episodes, his resolve is strengthened by seeing R’s strength in the hunt (I think)….he wavered when he thought he named her only in his desperate hour when Queen Aemma died and he was left with one child. Now there are many potential heirs and those kids do NOT like each other. Granted…one of them has lost an eye. But he had it coming! That dinner in this episode was fantastic….all the tension, all the apologies….Paddy Constantine deserves an Emmy for his performance. His stumbling to the throne was great too. Preventing the Driftwood throne from being swept away from R’s family.

I know no one else is watching. Maybe it’s a case where we’re all just wanting something to be good in the continued thrones lore. But, I find myself anticipating this show each week and I feel it’s paying off. Maybe someone will catch up one day and find these comments! I think after the season is done, I’m going to go back and re-listen to this section of the audiobook of Fire and Blood. It’ll make a lot more sense!

Mike V. said...

Episode 9 - The Green Council

Well that was a pretty good episode! The show starts now folks! We’re in the dance of the dragons! I guess we’re meant to think that Rhaenys wouldn’t kill her family in cold blood but she totally could’ve ended the war before it started by just dracarys’ing the greens off the map! But other than that it was a crazy episode of chess moves and accidental head slams into conference tables. And I would think rhaenys will fly to rhaenyra and daemon as well as one of the erryk/arryk twins lol.

I downloaded the kindle version of fire and blood and it’s a much easier read than trying to listen to it. Also helps that I’ve seen the episodes it’s referring to now. Definitely different than reading through a song of ice and fire with character perspectives and huge amounts of detail. This is just one dude’s perspective based on various reports handed down through generations. So the facts are ambiguous and the tv show is the actual account of events. Cool stuff.

Mike V. said...

Episode 10 - The Black Queen

So episode 9 was an Alicent featured episode and episode 10 was. Rhaenyra featured episode. Kinda a 2 part finale with a helluva cliffhanger. I’m choosing to look at season 1 as a table setter, a prologue. All essential storytelling to get invested in what caused the Targaryen Civil War - the Dance of Dragons. It’s safe to say that after many attempts to avoid it or deny it happening, everyone is all in by the end of episode 10. Apparently there were some book alterations to flesh out these characters a little more. i.e. Aemond kills Lucerys (sp) in cold blood in the books…here it looked like he was just trying to scare him or get revenge for the eye…but then the dragon took getting burned personally. Crazy how much bigger that dragon is than the others. Was a pretty cool sequence with the storm and that giant lurking in the shadows. I think I’ve seen enough births in a tv show to last me for maybe ever.

The season - overall - I enjoyed it. It kept my attention..i was on near GoT levels of anticipation every sunday. And they have a couple years now to take what worked and tweak what didn’t for an awesome season 2. But for now, I’m relieved to have one show off my plate to catch up on the others. So much nerd content hit us in September this year! All 4 majors (Thrones/Rings/SW/Marvel) not to mention Cobra Kai (still haven’t watched), Walking Dead (behind 2) and Handmaid. Time to start catching up….and….GO PHILLIES!