Game on … Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen & Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen. Photograph: HBO
The first trailer for the upcoming fantasy spin-off promises epic action on a vast scale, with “gods, kings, fire and blood”. Resistance is futile!
The Guardian-Stuart Heritage
The Game of Thrones finale is still fresh in the mind of the public. Why, it only seems like yesterday since the world came together to witness the culmination of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire saga, asking itself questions like “WHY IS EVERYTHING SO DARK?” and “WHY HAS MY FAVOURITE TV SHOW GOT MASSIVELY CRAP?”
But two and a half years is a long time in the world of intellectual property and, reasoning that it’s still much easier to get viewers to watch a spin-off of something they grew to hate than to make them invest in something new, GoT prequel House of the Dragon is now on the horizon.
Set two centuries before Game of Thrones, it promises to chronicle the history of the fearsome House Targaryen. Until now, very little has been revealed about the series. We were given a cast list, shown a few photos, and promised that episodes would be released next year. Sure, it was easy enough to fill in the blanks, especially given the enthusiasm that everyone on Game of Thrones had for explaining every single thing that every one of their ancestors did from birth to death, but officially that was it.
But now things have changed. A first-look trailer has just been released and, although it is only 70 seconds long, the message couldn’t be clearer. If you liked Game of Thrones, you will like House of the Dragon. And if you didn’t like Game of Thrones, you will probably still watch House of the Dragon so that you can keep up with what everyone else is talking about.
As you might expect, this new series looks big and grand and expensive. The scale is vast. The costumes are sumptuous. All of the characters appear to be holding in a bout of gastroenteritis. And so they should, because House of the Dragon is ultimately a tragedy. Like Better Call Saul, we already know where this story is headed. House Targaryen might be sitting pretty for now, but we know what a steep fall it faces. Whatever happens here, whatever awe-inspiring heights the Targaryens might face, we all know that one of their descendants will end up shagging their nephew and turning into Hitler and letting Bran Stark become king.
As for the actual content of the trailer, we don’t have an awful lot to go on. There’s jousting, which is great because who doesn’t like jousting. There’s sword fighting, which is basically horseless jousting. We get a glimpse of the Iron Throne and an enormous dragon. And, better still, we see that rarest of sights: Westeros residents who aren’t white.
For the most part, then, the trailer is all about big themes. As Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen gravely intones, this is a story about “Gods, kings, fire and blood”. He then explains that “Dreams didn’t make us kings, dragons did”, which is just about all that anyone could want from a Game of Thrones prequel, isn’t it? I mean, if you wanted to niggle, it wouldn’t have hurt him to throw ‘Uncomfortably gratuitous female nudity’ in there as well, but beggars can’t be choosers.
That said, it’s impossible to come away from the House of the Dragon trailer without realising that this is going to be big. HBO couldn’t have bigger expectations for it. When this show comes out, the whole world will be talking about it. And hopefully not because they can’t see what’s going on.
- House of the Dragon will premiere in 2022