HBO’s long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon premieres this weekend. But what do critics have to say about the highly anticipated fantasy drama?
At GameSpot, we scored the first six episodes of House of the Dragon Season 1 at 5/10. Reviewer Mason Downey said the show’s sets and costumes, as well as the cast, are notable elements worthy of praise. Our reviewer went on to say, “Strong visuals and strong performances aren’t enough of a selling point for the show as a whole, though.”
House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, focusing on House Targaryen, of which Emilia Clarke’s fan favorite Daenerys is a descendant. In this timeline, the Targaryens are a powerful group that controls Westeros with their dragons. Like Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is packed with political drama, backstabbing, violence and gore.
House of the Dragon stars Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Paddy Considine, Steve Toussaint, Rhys Ifans and Graham McTavish. It was created by Ryan Condal (Hercules, Colony) and author George RR Martin.
- Created by: Ryan Condal, George RR Martin
- With: Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans
- Release date: August 21 on HBO
GameSpot — 5/10
“Solid visuals and strong performances aren’t enough to win over the show as a whole, though. House of the Dragon will likely find an audience, but from there, it’s hard to see who, exactly, that audience will be.” — Mason Downey [Full review]
“It’s great TV, fantasy drama that doesn’t require Game of Thrones fans to enjoy.” –Daniel Van Boom [Full review] CNET is GameSpot’s sister site
IGN — 8/10
“The House Of The Dragon premiere marks a solid and well-mastered debut for the Game Of Thrones spin-off. It feels very close to its predecessor in tone and content, but immediately establishes a power struggle around it. a kind and weak king. , and new living characters to fight those battles. We also have dragons, inbreeding and resentment. It’s good to be back behind the back of Westeros. — Helen O’Hara [Full review]
Skew loader — 1.5/4
“It’s as hollow and brittle as the full-scale model of the realm that Viserys prides itself on building. It’s a rotten foundation for an epic fantasy, so maybe the prophecy was correct after all: the only thing that could demolish the House of the Dragon was himself.” — Aaron Riccio [Full review]
USA Today — 2/4
“[House of the Dragon] it sometimes feels like going through a Thrones checklist so as not to miss any element of the original series and anger a single fan. Incest? Check. Crying prince? Check. Blood? Check. Sexual exploitation of women and girls? Check. Battle sequences so dark you can’t quite see what’s going on? Recheck.” — Kelly Lawler [Full review]
The Hollywood Reporter
“There’s a lot that’s awe-inspiring about the first six episodes, but it’s about as sure as a show with incest, bloody, horrifying depictions of childbirth could get. It needs to find its own voice, though if that voice remains that Targaryen-y, winter may be approaching for my once burning curiosity.” — Daniel Fienberg [Full review]
“House of the Dragon often feels like it lacks the wild curiosity needed to make a prequel like this sing. That could very well change if HBO Max continues House of the Dragon and pushes the show to be more of a tween Thoughtful reflection of the future as we know it. But for now, House of the Dragon is yet another hyper-violent tale of swords and sorcery that you’ve no doubt heard before. — Charles Pulliam Moore [Full review]
House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Shortly after, another high-profile fantasy series – Amazon’s LOTR: The Rings of Power – debuted on Prime Video.
For more on House of the Dragon, head to GameSpot’s sister site Metacritique to see more scores.
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