“Dragon House”: Return to Westeros

The rushed final season of “Game of Thrones” has disappointed many fans. With the spin-off “House of the Dragon,” the US pay channel HBO hopes to satisfy them once again, so that revenue can stream around the world.

At nearly €20 million per episode, the war series “The Pacific” remains the most expensive television production on HBO. But the changer for the American pay channel is the fantasy series “Game of Thrones”, which cost 14.8 million euros per episode in the eighth and final season.

Until 2011, HBO was the unparalleled home of high-quality television, with leading dramas such as The Wire and The Sopranos. As the competition didn’t stop, HBO wasn’t satisfied with increasing its product budgets. The station also launched into a literary genre that rarely appears on television, and even less so, had major hits: fiction. The success of “Game of Thrones” is well known. At any given time, the whole world has been addicted to the complex story of hunger for power, passion, ambition, envy, betrayal, revenge, loyalty and all the other known human traits.

By focusing on a few locations and characters, “House of the Dragon” avoids the often tangled tangle of “Game of Thrones.”

The series was called Shakespeare. George RR Martin, author of the original A Song of Ice and Fire book series, was passionately inspired by medieval European history. The audience didn’t care that he sometimes added dragons, frozen zombies, and telepathic teens. “Game of Thrones” has grown into a groundbreaking and often award-winning phenomenon. The series represents a breakthrough in epic storytelling on the small screen.

The software makers had one problem: A Song of Ice and Fire didn’t finish when they started the TV release. By season seven, they had absorbed the book series and had to figure out how it had continued. This is where the error occurred. Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff decided to end the series as soon as possible, resulting in a quick and unsatisfactory finale that disappointed many fans.

HBO watched her with dismay, but at that time she was already busy with the future after “Game of Thrones”. The big question was what other work of George R. R. Martin was best suited for a screen translation. The first round yielded about 15 suggestions. Two of them came from Martin himself: “Dunk and Egg,” The Adventures of a Wandering Knight, and “Dance of Dragons,” about the civil war that once destroyed the home of the great Targaryen.

One thought HBO was too tepid, while the other thought Game of Thrones was too much. She witnessed further in “Blood Moon,” the genesis of fearsome white walkers. The channel spent 30-34 million euros on the pilot episode, and then pushed aside the series to go to the series The Dance of the Dragons.

Learning from mistakes

“House of the Dragon”, as the series is now called, is a huge undertaking. Showrunners Miguel Saposhnik and Ryan Kondal have to balance something that stands on its own with something that pleases fans. “It’s important to differentiate our series from the rest,” says Sapochnik, who directed award-winning Game of Thrones episodes such as “Battle of the Bastards.” Can we learn from mistakes? naturally. But honestly, the “Game of Thrones” legacy is not our problem. We have to create a series that attracts the audience with captivating characters.

© hbo

One big feature is that Fire and Blood, the book that forms the basis of House of the Dragon, is a finished product. The series doesn’t have to figure this out on its own at some point. “We all know the structure and the events, and that’s convenient,” says Saposhnik. “It’s like Titanic, you know it’s going to sink. The question is what happens before that. That meant we could pretty much do whatever we wanted as long as we stayed within the book.”

“House of the Dragon” is set 170 years before “Game of Thrones”. House Targaryen is the non-threatening ruler of Westeros, thanks mainly to his fearsome dragons. There are 17 people this time, each with their own personality. Nothing seems to be able to touch them, but the danger comes from within. Herein lies the fundamental difference with Game of Thrones. Where the series clashed between clans and dynasties, “House of the Dragon” is a much more intimate epic. The action focuses on a few locations and characters, helping the series avoid the often crowded tangle of ‘Game of Thrones’.

Basically, it’s about a duo: the well-meaning but misfit King Viserys and his illustrious brother Daemon on one side, and the wayward Princess Rhaenyra and her best friend Alicent on the other. Driven by their own ambitions and frustrations, they will cause House Targaryen to fall, manipulated or not to be manipulated by figures of the royal family. As with any good tragedy, you can feel the agony coming, but it speaks to Martin’s talent as a writer that he constantly surprises her.

woman on the throne

The impeccable actors, dialogues, settings and visual effects are in line with expectations. Remarkably, the “Dragon House” deals with the sexual charge differently. ‘Game of Thrones’ quickly came under fire ten years ago for its abundance of nudity – especially females – and sexual violence. These aspects are treated with greater caution, although much still revolves around sex and sexuality. Or, as one of the characters said in Episode Two: “Men would rather burn the kingdom than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne.”

“Westeros is a patriarchal system,” says Emma Darcy, who plays the adult Princess Rainera. To be a woman in this world means motherhood, obedience, passivity and duty. So the women in the House of the Dragon who desire power face the crucial question: How do you prove to your constituents, to your male subjects, that you are not “different?” This question makes the story relevant and relevant.

“House of the Dragon” has the quality and ability to record. Anyway, HBO is hoping for that, especially now that streaming platform HBO Max is struggling to take off internationally. It remains to be seen if the new series can make a difference. She has exactly two weeks to impress the audience. Next, Apple introduces the very ambitious “Lord of the Rings” series.

“House of the Dragon” can be watched on Streamz starting August 22nd.


‘Game of thrones’
8 seasons
3 dragons
5.9 million euros budget per episode (season 1)
€14.8 million budget per episode (season 8)
132 Emmy Award nominations, 47 wins (a record for a drama series)

“Dragon House”
3 or 4 seasons planned
17 dragons
€19 million budget per episode (season 1)
2500 crew members at peak production

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