House of the Dragon is HBO’s blockbuster new series starring Matt Smith, Milly Alcock, Paddy Considine and Emma D’Arcy.
The series is currently showing worldwide and is a prequel to the insanely popular Game of Thrones. CNN described the new series as less addictive than Game of Thrones, but it still pulls in strong viewing figures and critical acclaim. Much of that is purely based on its attractiveness when compared not to Game of Thrones as a whole but the awful series finale, which left fans feeling cheated.
Both shows are set in the fictional world of Westeros, which has become as much a part of pop culture as Middle-earth, Endor, and Hogwarts. Everyone knows Westeros and the characters that made it famous, which isn’t just because of the two shows. Indeed, you could play as a member of House Forrester in Telltale Games’ episodic video game release, Game of Thrones, which is just the tip of the gaming iceberg. There are a couple of online slots from Coral, namely Game of Thrones 243 Ways and Game of Thrones Powerstacks, which also feature popular Westeros imagery. Also, on mobile, you could fight for supremacy in Westeros in Game of Thrones: Conquest, making it a popular and much-loved fictional land.
However, it is on the television screens that it is truly brought to life, and House of the Dragon has picked up threads from Game of Thrones. The disappointment at the rushed ending to the series has been forgotten in new tales of dragons and political intrigue, even if it is set a hundred years before the original series. Very soon, we could see another spin-off show, working title Snow, following the adventures of the much-loved Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen, the grandson of Viserys Targaryen, played by Considine in the current show.
The popularity of the setting has already led to a second series of House of the Dragon. It was initially commissioned for a single-season run, likely a conservative choice based on the reaction to the final series of Game of Thrones. HBO perhaps wondered if they’d failed the franchise and wanted to test the water tentatively. Could new media featuring fresh characters still be a success? Was it the storytelling and setting that elevated Game of Thrones to cult status, or was it the characters and stars such as Sophie Turner, Kit Harrington and Maisie Williams?
The answer quickly became evident; fans love the lore and the land, not just the famous faces, and House of the Dragon has been given a second series. The news came just five days after the record-breaking premiere, which drew in 10 million viewers, the most HBO had ever seen for a series opener. Before episode two aired, 20 million people had watched it. “We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with season one,” Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming, said. “Our phenomenal cast and crew undertook a massive challenge and exceeded all expectations, delivering a show that has already established itself as must-see-TV.”
The presence of George R.R. Martin on the production team has certainly helped, and his Midas touch was absent from the Game of Thrones series finale. With his continued involvement and the love of all things Westeros, from the television screen to the computer games, we could see House of the Dragon continue to be a success, and who knows, perhaps one day it might join up with the original series in the same manner as Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad.
However, don’t expect a quick turnaround; the second season isn’t expected until summer 2024 at the earliest.