By Clay Thompson | Arts and Life Intern
Being someone who has only read the “Game of Thrones” books by famed author George R. R. Martin, I can breathe a sigh of relief when I say that I did not watch the train wreck that the original “Game of Thrones” show turned out to be. So, with great hesitation and cautious optimism, I watched the premier episode of its prequel series released Sunday night: “House of the Dragon.”
One thing I have always loved about Martin’s work, and something that I’m glad was apparent in this prequel series, is that it sets up its world and its characters wonderfully. Within the first few minutes, I was introduced to the main cast of characters, shown their strengths and their flaws, as well as was reintroduced to the world of Westeros and the city of King’s Landing.
The acting, if I can tell anything by the first episode of a series, seemed wonderfully fit for this epic medieval prequel series. All of the actors portraying the characters I had read about on the page really just seemed to fit so well as them on screen.
One qualm with a casting choice I would say is Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen. Matt Smith is a wonderful actor, and he definitely does his best for the episode, but he doesn’t give off a strong, violent and severe waves that are supposed to run off the Targaryen warrior.
The sets and cinematography of the show pair wonderful together as well. Swooping camera shots as dragons fly through the sky or painfully static shots as people are maimed and killed in the shady streets of the Landing made me as a viewer feel immersed in the world of Westeros. It could not be more rewarding.
“House of the Dragon’s” first episode felt like the first move in a game of chess. It’s the opening move so it’s too soon to tell, but it has all the makings of being another great hit for HBO MAX. With the acting, the sets, the camera work and the world-building all working in maximum overdrive, I truly hope “House of the Dragon” can checkmate viewers’ hearts, unlike “Game of Thrones,” which ended up flipping the board over before the game ended.