Review: HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’

Diego J. Ortiz, Sports Reporter

HBO’s 2022 fantasy drama series “House of the Dragon” is a prequel set around 300 years before the critically-acclaimed 2011 series “Game of Thrones”. Loosely based on George R.R. Martin’s novel “Fire and Blood”, the tv series tells the story of the Targaryen dynasty before Daenerys began her journey to Westeros. It introduces a new generation of characters such as Daemon, Rhaenyra, Viserys, etc.

One of the biggest and most popular tv shows of the past decade has been HBO’s fantasy series “Game of Thrones”. According to Forbes, “Game of Thrones” saw audience growth of nine million viewers when the first season aired in 2011 to 32 million by Season 7. The show itself is an adaptation to George R.R. Martin’s mature fantasy novel series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Martin has yet to finish the story in the books and caused the writers of the show to write their own conclusion in the later half of the series. Although its final season was a bit controversial among fans, that didn’t stop them from making the first of many potential spin-offs that are currently planned, including 2022’s “House of the Dragon”. 

Although some characters have been previously mentioned, this is indeed the first time we get to see them on screen. The show features a talented cast featuring “Doctor Who” actor Matt Smith. Other big names include Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine, and Milly Alcock. Some roles see actor swaps to show aging. An example is Emma D’Arcy replacing Milly Alcock for the role of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

The writers did make some significant changes when adapting the novel. The most notable change would be to House Velaryon, which are described as “having pale skin, silver hair, and purple eyes”. In the show however, Lord Corlys Velaryon and other members of the house are Black. 

Photo Courtesy: HBO and Warner Media, LLC. “Wil Johnson, Steve Tousaint” (Ollie Upton / HBO)

According to writer Ryan Condal, they were looking for ways to add diversity to the show, but didn’t want it to feel like an “afterthought”. House Velaryon is a fan-favorite house for many reasons, this being one of them. According to Condal, George R.R. Martin had previously considered making the Velaryons a house of Black nobles who came from the other side of the ocean conquering Westeros in his novels. 


Much like it’s predecessor “Game of Thrones”, you’ll see many dragons on “House of the Dragon”, and I mean a lot. Dragons usually mean fire and blood, (see what I did there). A show like “House of the Dragon” isn’t afraid to show its violence and gore to the audience. Sex scenes with incest are not uncommon either, and viewer discretion is advised. 

According to Variety, the show’s budget is around $20 million per episode, making it a total of $200 million for the first season. That number will likely be surpassed by the recently ordered second season in order to elevate the show to new heights.


Photo Courtesy: HBO and Warner Media, LLC. “Paddy Considine, Matt Smith”. (Ollie Upton / HBO)


The series premiere finally dropped on August 21 through HBO and HBO Max. On that night, tens of thousands of customers were having trouble viewing the show. Based on data from the Nielsen Corporation and HBO, the amount of households viewing reached the 10 million mark. The views reportedly increased for the next two episodes, making it clear that fans are interested. 


It is safe to say that if you like Targaryens and dragons, you’ll very much love the show. The first episode saw endless bickering between the house members which honestly made for some good chuckles here and there. The reviews have also been fantastic, praising the strong performances of  each actor. 

While there are currently four released Season 1 episodes, the series was renewed for a second season, meaning the show won’t be going away anytime soon. New episodes of HBO’s “House of the Dragon” will be Sundays at 9 p.m. EST only on HBOMax.


Video Courtesy HBO and Warner Media, LLC.