House of the Dragon S1.01 — Back & blonder than ever

Spoilers below for House of the Dragon S1.01 — The Heirs of the Dragon

I want to be honest: I wasn’t sure I was going to watch House of the Dragon and that’s why this review of the first episode is coming a bit late. In the end, we decided to watch it because if it is half as good as Thrones was at its prime…it’ll still be a pretty good show.

If you read my reviews back in the day, you’ll know that I read all of the Thrones books before watching the show and I was pretty annoying about it. And I want to start my review of the first episode of the new show by saying that I wish I had read this book, too (even though we gave it to my dad a long time ago and he didn’t even finish it).

The first episode of Dragon relies heavily on nostalgia. It opens by explaining that the events take place 172 years before Daenerys and the events in The Song of Ice and Fire. In this time, the Targaryens are at the height of their power with 10 adult dragons and a king on the Iron Throne. However, King Jaehaerys has no heir and they call a council to choose one. They are choosing between Princess Rhaenys (his closest heir but a woman) and Prince Viserys Targaryen (her younger cousin but a man). Of course, they choose Viserys and Princess Rhaenys and her husband are pissed.

The show then jumps 9 years and Viserys is the king. He has a daughter, Rhaenyra, who loves to ride dragons and wants to fight. However, her mom (the queen obviously) tells her that she needs to learn to be more of a woman and that her battle will be the battle of childbirth. WOOF. The Queen is pregnant for a seventh time after a series of miscarriages and stillbirths. They are hoping for a son so that Viserys will have an heir and avoid a situation like the one that named him king.

The other main players so far on the show are:

  • Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, who is likely going to have the same end as Ned Stark.
  • Alicent Hightower, the daughter of the Hand of the King, and Rhaenyra’s best friend.
  • Prince Daemon, Viserys’ brother and a loose cannon who has been moved around a lot and is now running the City Watch and using them to massacre peasants. He’s also a big brothel lover and gives some serious Tyrion vibes.

Viserys calls a tournament to celebrate the imminent birth of his heir. As the men joust, the show leans heavily on name dropping families that we vaguely remember from Thrones. A Baratheon wins and asks the favor of “The Queen that Never Was”, Princess Rhaenys. Prince Daemon crushes the Hand’s son and then gets the favor of Alicent, his sister (rude). But then, a mysterious Dornish knight named Cristen Cole beats Daemon and gets the favor of Rhaenyra.

The blood is not confined the the jousting field, sadly. In the Red Keep, the Queen is unable to properly give birth to her child because he is breech and it’s the olden times. The maesters tell Viserys that it is likely both the infant and his wife will die unless they cut the baby out of her. He agrees and they perform an aggressive and truly horrifying C-section. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, neither mom nor baby survive.

In the next scene, the Queen and her infant son are cremated. Immediately after, Viserys’ small council brings up the question of his heir. They warn him that his brother should not be the king because he is too power hungry and volatile. Instead, they bring up Rhaenyra, of course, and also Princess Rhaenys because of Rhaenyra is an option than Rhaenys should be, too. Weirdly, Rhaenys’ husband Lord Corlys is more on board with Daemon being named the heir than his own wife. I’m assuming we’ll learn more about why soon.

Viserys is pretty pissed that they’re all talking about a successor when he literally just burned his wife and child yesterday. But, his tune changes quickly when he hears that Daemon was out at the brothel with his Gold Coats celebrating the death of the baby. He confronts Daemon and banishes him to his wife’s home in the Vale and names his daughter the heir. Viserys tells Rhaenyra about the prophecy, which is the entire plot of Thrones (literally, they call it The Song of Ice and Fire). All of the lords swear their fealty to them both.

But, it’s not that easy, is it! Obviously, Daemon is pissed and will not go out without a fight. Plus, the Hand of the King is doing something sketchy as well. He asks Alicent to “bring comfort to the king” in one of her mother’s “nice” dresses. Seems like he’s trying to get another possible heir in the line and one that is related to him. I’m thinking Rhaenyra will be pissed if her BFF bangs her dad and ruins her chance to be the first woman on the Iron Throne.

It was actually kind of fun to return to Westeros and the dragons are really cool, so I wasn’t that mad about it. I’m interested enough to see where the season goes and I’ll plan to keep writing about it. Hope you follow along with us!

Producer who loves TV, looking for my next opportunity to be creative & pet dogs.

Originally published at on August 29, 2022.

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