Friday, September 30

‘The House of the Dragon’ is a compressed and simplified version of ‘Game of Thrones’. And it suits you very well

It is It is impossible to predict how the public will react to this spin-off of HBO’s last great flagship series., ‘Game of Thrones’. It is impossible because the collective disappointment of that end of season eight still weighs too much, in the same way that the impression that the original ‘Game of Thrones’ is not yet completely dead because George RR Martin has not finished the books weighs too much. . The general feeling is that HBO Max is exhuming a corpse ahead of time to look for coins in his pockets.

However, ‘The House of the Dragon’ turns out to be, finally, a very notable bet, and HBO Max has been lucky (a mixture of luck and its own strategies and those of others, as is being seen) to arrive a couple of weeks before its most direct competitor, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ from Prime Video, which will allow it to monopolize the media talk for a very valuable period of time. Much more considering that HBO has put all the meat on the grill at the start of the series, with a first episode that triggers the viewer’s interest.

We have had access to the first six chapters of ‘The House of the Dragon’, more than enough to get an idea of ​​the rhythm and plot development of this spin-off, and although obviously we are not going to go into spoilersYes We can clarify one thing: this new series is a simple and not so ambitious version of the first ‘Game of thrones’. There are fewer characters, fewer parallel plotlines, fewer endless ramifications of relationships and settings. And, in a sense, it is something that works in his favor.

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This is already clear in the first episode: we are introduced to the peaceful regent Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine), and the problems that are triggered at court by the lack of an heir to the Iron Throne. His daughter Rhaenyra and his brother (and Rhaenyra’s uncle) Daemon dispute the crown, in what will be the beginning of a series of power wars that, as readers of the original saga know, triggers the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons.

Long time, many deaths

In fact, that is the big difference between ‘The House of the Dragon’ and ‘Game of Thrones’: the jumps in time and large ellipses to which the viewer is subjected. Every few episodes there are jumps of several years, which is undoubtedly necessary to tell a story that stretches over several decades, but which gives the story a certain touch of narrative arbitrariness that ‘Game of Thrones’ did not have. ‘The House of the Dragon’ It covers in a few episodes more time in fiction than ‘Game of Thrones’ in eight seasonsand it shows: there is no time to fully develop the characters, and many times they state their motivations without giving the viewer time to assimilate them naturally.

But at the same time, ‘The House of the Dragon’ handles a much smaller scale than ‘Game of Thrones’. It’s natural because it focuses on a single House instead of being forced to portray the myriad of characters that roamed the Iron Throne in the original series. It is true that pages and pages of context had to be described in depth there to introduce the viewer to the world, a job that is done here because despite the fact that the action takes place three hundred years before, the lore it is essentially the same, and even the political and social structure is practically identical.

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This reduction in scale suits the series well, which can thus afford those jumps in time. If there were as many subplots, settings, and characters as there were in the original series, those time jumps would be unsustainable. here, how we essentially follow the descendants of the protagonists of that first chapter or themselves after a few years, the resource works. Of course, the feeling of a derivative product due to the lighter tone and the reduction of plots and characters is inevitable: ‘The House of the Dragon’ is a competent product, but the first ‘Game of Thrones’ was much more ambitious.

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For the rest, we have everything that can be expected from a ‘Game of Thrones’ series in which HBO has invested a great deal of time and money (twenty million dollars per episode). Despite the courtly atmosphere, there are a variety of settings and situations. We will have violence (although not as raw and shocking as in the original series), hanging around with terror and gore. There is much less sex than in ‘Game of Thrones’ (although frankly it is not missed, because the subtext of incest and inbreeding – another characteristic derived from the fact that much of what is narrated is court intrigue – remarkably rarefies relationships). And there is, as always, an extraordinary job of characterization and character development.

In that sense, and limiting ourselves to the initial chapters that we have seen (in the middle of the season the cast changes), the duel of wills and charisma of the young Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and her uncle Daemon (great and diabolical Matt Smith) already worth the initial trip. Called to be inevitably controversial, but with more than remarkable substance and visual values, this start of ‘The House of the Dragon’ It is decidedly below the mother series, but it is a more than worthy continuation of the original proposal.

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