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House of the Dragon receives rave reviews from critics

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House Of The Dragon has been branded ‘bigger, better and bloodier’ than Game Of Thrones in rave early reviews. 

After hints, teasers, casting calls, an unprecedented pandemic and a somewhat disappointing end to one of the biggest shows in recent history, winter is once again upon us.

From Monday evening long awaited Game Of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon is set to unpick the fraught, fractious and undeniably incestuous lives of Daenerys Targaryen’s distant relatives.

The HBO series was created by Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and is based on his sprawling 2018 book Fire & Blood – a comprehensive history of the House Targaryen.

Set 200 years before the bloody battle for the seven kingdoms depicted in Game of Thrones, House Of The Dragon will document the events leading up to Martin’s fictionalised War of Succession – a battle for the throne that is ominously referred to as the Dance of the Dragons.

One to watch: House Of The Dragon has been branded ‘bigger, better and bloodier’ than Game Of Thrones in rave early reviews ahead of its Monday release 

The series has received high praise from TV buffs, with The Times’ Ben Dowell awarding the show’s first episode a top five star rating, summarising as ‘visually sumptuous, well-acted (for the most part), crisply written and cleverly pitched.’ 

The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan branded House Of The Dragon a ‘roaring success’, awarding it four stars and noting the show ‘looks set fair to become the game of political seven-dimensional chess that its predecessor was, designed to reward diehard fantasy fans in full measure without alienating the masses that will propel it to the top of the ratings.’ 

Another four star rating was doled out by UKTN’ Fiona Sturges, who explained her reasoning for not giving the prequel top marks. 

Get ready: After hints, teasers, casting calls, an unprecedented pandemic and a somewhat disappointing end to one of the biggest shows in recent history, winter is once again upon us

Get ready: After hints, teasers, casting calls, an unprecedented pandemic and a somewhat disappointing end to one of the biggest shows in recent history, winter is once again upon us

House Of The Dragon: What did the critics say?  

The Times

Rating: rating showbiz 5

It’s accessible to anyone who hasn’t seen a second of Game of Thrones but reassuringly familiar to those who’ve watched the whole thing.

The Guardian 

Rating: rating showbiz 4

All is as it was in GoT’s heyday. Fun, propulsive, looking great and sounding passable. And that, after the bizarrely poor finale to what had been a roaring success of a show, is a relief. 

UKTN 

Rating: rating showbiz 4

 It’s to be expected in this era of bottomless budgets and superior CGI that House of the Dragon looks magnificent, from the grand aerial shots and sumptuous feasts to the close-ups of dragons as they are coaxed from their pits.

UKTN

Rating: rating showbiz 4

It remains to be seen whether House of the Dragon can utilise those same, almost serpentine, twists and turns, and become a show that’s discussed in fevered terms at whatever the Work From Home equivalent of a water cooler is. 

Entertainment Weekly 

Rating: rating showbiz 4

Nearly every dialogue scene is about succession. An early tangent veers into naval warfare, with various forces fighting for crucial shipping lanes. The climactic skirmish is ridiculous on a strategic level — and gorgeous.

UKTN Culture 

Rating: rating showbiz 4

It’s a fascinating situation, full of understandable motives and moral quandaries, and a ticking time bomb in the form of King Viserys’s health. It’s pure Games of Thrones – just not in the way you remember.

She noted: ‘If there is one thing missing — at least from the six episodes available to reviewers — it’s levity. Game of Thrones always knew when to deliver a spicy one-liner to burst the bubble of portent and pomposity, but there’s precious little humour here.’

Nick Hilton of UKTN remarked that ‘the highest compliment I can pay House of the Dragon is to observe how much it feels like Game of Thrones’, awarding the series another four stars. 

House Of The Dragon was awarded ‘grade B’ by Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich who lamented the slow opener to show (a narration filling in the viewers on Westeros history) but reasoned ‘Dragon doesn’t soar immediately, but no House was built in a day.’

Stephen Kelly of the UKTN noted the differences between the series and its predecessor, writing: ‘House of the Dragon differs from Game of Thrones in various ways, although it is remarkable how much it initially looks and feels like a natural continuation of the show.’

Will it be a long cold winter in Westeros? With just days to go until the FIRST Game Of Thrones spin-off is unveiled, here’s everything you need to know about the ten-episode, £160million House of the Dragon

Less than a week separates Game Of Thrones fans from the  fantasy drama’s first spin-off, but will it be worth the wait? 

Starting from August 22, House Of The Dragon will document the lives of Daenerys Targaryen’s incestuous relatives some 200 years before the battle for seven kingdoms.

The HBO series was created by Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and is based on his sprawling 2018 book Fire & Blood – a comprehensive history of the House Targaryen.

Coming soon: Less than a week separates Game Of Thrones fans from the fantasy drama's first spin-off, but will it be worth the wait?

Coming soon: Less than a week separates Game Of Thrones fans from the fantasy drama’s first spin-off, but will it be worth the wait?

Helping create the series are showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, a director on GOT.

The first teaser trailer was dropped in May 2022, three years on from the finale, The Iron Throne, of GOT. 

HBO released the official trailer for House of the Dragon two months later, giving fans a proper insight into what to expect.

Here, UKTN takes another look at the forthcoming show.  

Exciting: Starting from August 22, House Of The Dragon will document the lives of Daenerys Targaryen's incestuous relatives some 200 years before the battle for seven kingdoms

Exciting: Starting from August 22, House Of The Dragon will document the lives of Daenerys Targaryen’s incestuous relatives some 200 years before the battle for seven kingdoms

When will the prequel come out? 

The $200M-budget House of Targaryen origin tale – set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones – will unveil all 10 episodes beginning August 21 on HBO.

Who’s starring in House of the Dragon? 

Paddy Considine will play King Viserys I, the head of the Targaryen family. Emmy D’Arcy will be Princess Rhaenrya, Viserys’ first child and his heir apparent, and Matt Smith will be Prince Daemon, Viserys’ younger brother.

There are also non-Targaryen cast members in the key cast including, Rhys Ifans who will portray Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King; Olivia Cooke will be Otto’s daughter, Lady Alicent Hightower (who in the book, becomes Queen when she marries Viserys); and Fabien Frankel will be Ser Criston Cole, a knight who loves Princess Rhaenrya. 

Not long to go: The ten-episode spin-off will show the bitter and brutal civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons

Not long to go: The ten-episode spin-off will show the bitter and brutal civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons

Completing the cast are Sonyo Mizuno, who will play Mysaria, Prince Daemon’s lover, and Eve Best and Steve Toussaint, who will portray married royals Princess Rhaenys Velaryon and Lord Corlys Velaryon.

The Velaryons are a notable change from the book, in the adaptation, they are wealthy Black rulers. 

Co-showrunner Ryan Condal explained to Entertainment Weekly: ‘It was very important for Miguel [Sapochnik] and I to create a show that was not another bunch of white people on the screen.

‘We wanted to find a way to put diversity in the show, but we didn’t want to do it in a way that felt like it was an afterthought or, worse, tokenism.’

What can we expect?

Thrilling: The HBO series was created by GOT author George R.R. Martin and is based on his book Fire & Blood

Thrilling: The HBO series was created by GOT author George R.R. Martin and is based on his book Fire & Blood

According to The Hollywood Reporter viewers can expect several multi-year jumps throughout House of the Dragon unlike GOT which is the story of a royal family gone mad with power and wealth. 

House of Dragons, according to Miguel, follows four different characters trying to claim the throne. 

He said: ‘There’s the king, his brother, the king’s daughter and her best friend. Then the best friend becomes the king’s wife and thereby the queen.’ 

Essentially the story is, what if your best friend hooks up with your dad?, which wouldn’t exactly raise eyebrows with the Targaryen’s  who are use to incest.

The wait is almost over: The $200M-budget House of Targaryen origin tale - set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones - will unveil all 10 episodes beginning August 21 on HBO

The wait is almost over: The $200M-budget House of Targaryen origin tale – set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones – will unveil all 10 episodes beginning August 21 on HBO

The Iron Thone-hungry characters conspire to rule after the death of people-pleasing King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine).

Viserys planned on having his first-born child – Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) – become the Seven Kingdoms’ first queen regnant.

But Viserys’ hell-raising brother Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and a slew of other men in power have other ideas in the series, which has a decade time jump halfway through.

Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best) – who was passed over as queen by her cousin Viserys – warns Rhaenyra: ‘A woman would not inherit the Iron Throne because that is the order of things.’

Rhaenyra defiantly replies in the trailer: ‘When I am queen, I will create a new order.’ 

Viserys planned on having his first-born child - Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) - become the Seven Kingdoms' first queen regnant but Viserys' brother had other plans (Paddy Considine as King Viserys I)

Viserys planned on having his first-born child – Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) – become the Seven Kingdoms’ first queen regnant but Viserys’ brother had other plans (Paddy Considine as King Viserys I)

Meanwhile, Rhaenyra’s childhood BFF Lady Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) – whose character is described as ‘a bit more sympathetic than Cersei Lannister’ – weds Viserys to become queen so she can also vy for the Iron Throne.

As for the 17 different dragons featured in the show, Viserys believes ‘They’re a power man should never have trifled with.’

During the show preview a dragon egg is ready to hatch from a coal-fueled incubator.

 Will Emilia Clarke be in House of Dragons?

No, Emilia Clarke will not be reprising her role as Daenerys Targaryen. As the show is set centuries before the events of GOT, her character doesn’t make sense to be in the plot.

House of Dragons will hit viewers screens on August 21 on HBO.  

Sad news: Emilia Clarke (pictured in the centre in 2017) will not be reprising her role as Daenerys Targaryen. As the show is set centuries before the events of GOT, her character doesn't make sense to be in the plot

Sad news: Emilia Clarke (pictured in the centre in 2017) will not be reprising her role as Daenerys Targaryen. As the show is set centuries before the events of GOT, her character doesn’t make sense to be in the plot

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