Many critics had a major problem with the pacing of the first episode. Nothing happened for the first 20 minutes and then there was a major lag in the middle. Compare this to the pilot episode of Game of Thrones. Remember the White Walkers in the first scene?
Then Ned Stark chopped a deserter’s head off in the second while there was also an outrageous ending. This show suffers from a slow pace that doesn’t make it more enjoyable. They could have condensed it into 45 minutes and it would have been more entertaining (via Cinema Blend).
Game of Thrones received a lot of criticism for the lack of diversity within its cast. Furthermore, non-white actors often starred in subservient roles and suffered brutal fates. Steve Toussaint has a leading part as Corlys Velaryon in the new series and is receiving plaudits.
The actor has the charisma to pull off the role and cuts a distinctive figure with his blonde dreadlocks. This is a fantasy universe and a TV adaptation so there’s nothing wrong with this. It should be more believable than a swarm of dragons but some people disagree (via Elle).
The problem with the new series is that the source material doesn’t provide a lot of dialogue to draw from. This means that the screenwriters created new dialogue for the show. However, it feels stilted and at times ridiculous as though they’re attempting a medieval reenactment.
While they are attempting to maintain consistency with the rest of the GOT universe, it doesn’t come across well. Few of the characters have the chops to maintain the viewer’s interest. A scene between Daemon and Princess Rhaenyra came across as forced and awkward (via Marie Claire).
One of the most disturbing scenes in the first episode of the new series saw Daemon Targaryen crack down on the people of King’s Landing. He ordered the brutal punishment of many criminals with dismembered limbs and decapitations (via The Wrap).
Smith plays the character well and the casting department deserves credit because he fits the role. But the scene itself desperately seeks a shock factor. It feels unnecessary to watch this amount of gore and they could have been more subtle. Hopefully, the show becomes smarter with its violence.
There are so many shows out there at the moment it’s not a given that House of the Dragon will succeed. The streaming wars are in full flight now with Netflix and Amazon Prime at loggerheads. The latter are obvious competitors with the new Rings of Power series.
Meanwhile, a bunch of other streaming platforms are constantly offering new shows. The Sandman is one of the most expensive that Netflix ever made. It’s not a given that they’ll renew it because of the high costs. This is the world that HBO finds itself in now (via Manassa Web).
Surely HBO has poured too much money into its investment for it to fail. They increased the GOT budget from $15 million per episode to a cool $20 million. However, this remains less than some of their competitors for a very good reason (via Screenrant).
HBO has developed significant experience in making fantasy and sci-fi TV series. As well as GOT they’ve filmed the likes of Westworld and His Dark Materials. This gives them the edge over their rivals because there is less of a learning curve. Nonetheless, it’s still a massive investment and a risk.
Fans are adamant that they don’t want to see a remake of the original show. They want HBO to respect them by making an appropriate adaptation with a fresh story. This means they shouldn’t recycle the same character tropes or storylines that worked in Game of Thrones.
Yes, Tyrion was brilliant in GOT but this doesn’t mean there should be another wise-cracking dwarf. Showrunners face the problem that viewers will keep comparing the new series. This will be in both positive and negative aspects because GOT has a massive shadow (via CBR).
One crucial point is that there has never been a better time for the fantasy genre. Fans love shows like Stranger Things and The Witcher. Studios are constantly trying to find the next Game of Thrones but very few stick to the pace (via CNET).
But HBO has an advantage because they are dealing with the real Game of Thrones universe. They believe that fans love the world and the genre enough to watch the new series. It’s a calculated and expensive risk but one that they believe will pay off.
There are more Targaryens in this show and that also means more platinum blonde hair. Emilia Clarke carried it off in Game of Thrones but the new series takes it to the next level. Suddenly, everybody has ridiculous hair and it’s not easy to take them seriously (via Hollywood Reporter).
We know that blonde hair is a trait of the Targaryen family but it is jarring on camera. It doesn’t appear natural and this jerks people away from the show. It’s challenging to know what else they could have done because their hair is a big part of the story. But that doesn’t make it better.
Martin claimed that he didn’t like the direction that Game of Thrones went after they ran out of source material. This was partly his fault because he didn’t finish writing the books. However, the showrunners didn’t carry out his vision in the later stages because they wanted to complete the show.
Fortunately, this appears to be less of a difficulty with House of the Dragon. That’s because Martin says that he has more creative control over the new series. It’s good that the author and the producers are on the same page because it will make the fans happier too (via IGN).
A black British actor plays a member of the Targaryen’s household. We’re talking about Steve Toussaint who also starred in Judge Dredd and Prince of Persia. Ethnic diversity is the most unbelievable aspect of a show with 17 dragons (via SBS).
It’s bizarre they forget that Westeros is a fictional world and that TV is a different creative medium. Martin has no issue with these additions because it creates a sense of inclusivity. It’s not like they’re changing the entire background of the family. These horrible people should shut up and watch something else.
A massive positive is that the House of the Dragon screenwriters is dealing with a finished text. Martin completed this history up to the point. Furthermore, the historical nature of Fire and Bloods means that there is more flexibility when it comes to ending it.
They have a barebones outline and can fill in the blanks themselves. It’s fascinating that the new Lord of the Rings series will also use a similar model. The danger is that the writers move away from the heart of Westeros and leave the fans feeling out of place (via Esquire).
One of the most challenging tasks that the new series faces is the loss of beloved characters. The likes of Tyrion and Arya brought a magnetism to Game of Thrones that will be difficult to replace. Furthermore, fans may negatively compare new characters to the ones they miss.
Peter Dinklage made Tyrion into one of the most iconic TV characters ever. He combined bawdy wit with moments of powerful poignancy on his way to multiple Emmy wins. The new cast has a lot to live up to with Dinklage’s small shadow hanging over them (via Variety).
The new series may not have the old characters that we all love. But it does have a brilliant cast with some massive names. We spoke earlier about the character actors but there are also huge stars like Olivia Wilde and Steve Toussaint. These actors bring a sense of prestige to House of the Dragon.
Furthermore, there are a host of intriguing newcomers or lesser-known thespians. Milly Alcock is winning rave reviews for her role in the show. She went from washing dishes to performing in one of the biggest franchises on the planet. Kudos to her because she has changed her life (via What to Watch).
Incest was a surprising feature of the original Game of Thrones. We saw the relationship between Jaime and Cersei Lannister in the first episode of the show. Then a connection developed between Jon Snow and Dany. It’s safe to say the directors weren’t squeamish about sharing this taboo subject.
But the new show is all about the Targaryens and this means even more incest. A little bit is tolerable but it’s not something that anybody wants to normalize. It’s a touchy subject but one that fans are going to see a lot of in House of the Dragon (via The Atlantic).
House of the Dragon has a massive budget but it’s still significantly less than The Rings of Power. However, HBO is brilliant at streamlining shows and using its resources to produce beautiful products. People may complain about Game of Thrones and Westworld’s storylines, but not the visual appeal.
The new show is no exception because it appears to have stunning visual effects. Meanwhile, the costumes are magnificent even if the platinum blonde wigs are jarring. It isn’t enough for a show to be pretty in 2022 because viewers expect a brilliant and consistent storyline (via Forbes).
HBO partnered with Duolingo as they tried to find innovative ways to promote their new show. The problem is that they’re facing an uphill battle to retain subscribers. There are so many streaming services out there today that it’s difficult to keep people invested in one. Who can afford to pay for everything?
According to Screenrant, HBO’s key audience dropped by more than 50% after Game of Thrones ended. It’s clear why they’re desperate to make House of the Dragon a success. They want to bring these people back because they won’t be able to produce high-quality products without their money.
A massive reason why the show may fail is because of an immediate competitor. HBO made the fateful decision to go head-to-head with another mega-budget fantasy series. House of the Dragon has one-third of the budget for the new Amazon Prime show but HBO has more experience.
HBO decided to release their new series two weeks before The Rings of Power. This makes sense because they want invested fans before their rival kicks off. Nonetheless, if the Amazon behemoth is a hit it will make the lives of HBO’s executives more difficult (via Quartz).
It will come as a relief to Game of Thrones fans that the new show has superb showrunners. The controversial duo of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have nothing to do with House of the Dragon. They ruined the original series so nobody wants them to touch it.
This may seem harsh because they were also behind the original success. However, the dynamic Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik control the spin-off. The latterly famously directed one of the show’s greatest battle scenes in series six of Game of Thrones (via Entertainment Weekly).
Bran Stark almost made Game of Thrones unbearable by himself. We don’t blame Isaac Hempstead-Wright because he didn’t write the character. However, his dull storyline and the ridiculous ending made him one of the most hateful figures in TV history (via Den of Geek).
It’s funny that Game of Thrones had rotten villains including Prince Joffrey and Ramsey Snow. They committed horrendous crimes but fans still hate Bran more. House of the Dragon is instantly superior because it doesn’t try to make us care about this waste of oxygen.
The main reason why this show should succeed is that HBO has so much experience. They’ve made fantasy worlds including Westworld as well as Game of Thrones. Meanwhile, they made mistakes in the latter GOT series, which taught them many lessons (via Bloomberg).
They received a learning curve as they discovered what works and what fans won’t expect. This new series will have a significant influence on their credibility as a network moving forward. If they don’t succeed they may fall too far behind Amazon and Netflix to be viable in the future.
The main reason why the new show may fail is because of fan ambivalence. Game of Thrones had one of the worst endings in TV history. Fans resented everything about it because they committed to the journey and expected a great payoff. Instead, it felt as though a child wrote the final episode (via Collider).
That’s why many fans may not tune into the show. It’s difficult to invest in something that isn’t trustworthy; unfortunately, that’s how many of them feel right now. House of the Dragon has a lot to prove from the very beginning. However, it’s the ending that’s the problem and that’s what people worry about.