One term is particularly common in the fantasy series House of the Dragon. He seems to be the connecting element of the first season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel: the heir. The future of the ruling house of the Targaryens stands or falls with the basic dynastic principle. There may be so many living dragons – there are a few more than in “Game of Thrones” – without living descendants or another regulation of succession, there is a risk of destruction and war.
The latter should be there anyway, without any suspicion of spoilers, if this Monday, at the same time as the start of broadcasting in the USA, fantasy fans in Germany will set their alarms again. If you want to be among the first, you can satisfy your curiosity from as early as three in the morning.
Who inherits the Iron Throne? This theme is the linchpin of the series, which is based on the novel “Fire and Blood: The Rise and Fall of the House of Targaryen of Westeros” by George R.R. Martin is based. In order not to risk any overlap with the characters of “Game of Thrones”, Martin has set the action two centuries in the past, long before Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow defeated the Lannisters. Nevertheless, the subtitle of the book already gives the direction: Because the fans of “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the TV series based on it know exactly how the Targaryen dynasty ended with the mad King Aerys.
One feels a little transported back to the court of the English King Henry VIII, who, as is well known, walked over the corpses of some of his wives if they did not bear him children. Being king is tough business and sometimes involves ugly decisions. The otherwise rather mild King Viserys (Paddy Considine) will also experience this.
But first the question is: will the queen give him a son, just as the ruler of the seven kingdoms saw in a dream that seemed as real to him as a memory? If not, then who shall continue the Targaryen lineage? Is Daemon (Matt Smith), the violent and unpredictable brother of the king, who spreads fear and terror among the population with his guard without need or qualms, a suitable ruler? Or should one jettison all traditions and put Visery’s firstborn daughter Rhaenyra on the throne.
Some roles were cast twice, which gives an impression of the time span of the story: Milly Alcock plays the young princess, Emma D’Arcy the older one. Rhaenyra’s best friend Alicent, who also plays a major role, is also portrayed by two actresses (Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke). There are also some bizarre characters such as Lord “Sea Serpent” (Steve Toussaint) and Ser Harwin, called “The Bone Crusher”. Game of Thrones” to continue. Millions of genre fans around the world are eagerly awaiting the continuation of the fantasy saga, even if it’s set in the past. Especially since on September 2 Amazon will start the “Lord of the Rings” series “Rings of Power”. Other attempts to follow in the footsteps of “Game of Thrones” with fantasy material have also found their audience, such as “The Witcher” on Netflix and “The Wheel of Time” from Amazon, but do not come to the Westeros saga approach.
The showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, who also directed as an old “Game of Thrones” fighter, take it easy, at least in the first few minutes. The royal city of King’s Landing, which perished in the flames of the dragon fire at the end of “Game of Thrones”, is shown in all its glory. Buildings resembling gothic cathedrals and oversized halls of the people are designed to overwhelm viewers. In the brothels it seems to be even wilder than usual from the previous series. The fan quickly feels at home in the throne room or in the small council. On the other hand, one would have expected something else in a film about Arthur and his Round Table.
Bare skin and bloody battles are just as much a part of a series from the “Game of Thrones” universe as some soap opera dialogues and plenty of intrigues. The sex scenes and depictions of violence, however, reach a new, frightening level. The warnings that are already circulating, they should be taken seriously because they are not a marketing idea.
Daemon actor Matt Smith even admitted in an interview with Rolling Stone that there are a little too many sex scenes for his liking. Nevertheless, he has an active part in some of them.
But is that enough for continued success? Are there enough battles to be fought, who will replace Peter Dinklage, who are the men and women born heroes and martyrs? And how are you supposed to see Doctor Who and Prince Philip actor Matt Smith as the perfect villain Charles Dance portrayed? And isn’t it obvious that Rhaenyra will eventually take Viserys’ throne?
Only one thing is certain: The expectations of the fans are at least as great as the risk for HBO/Warner.