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Home of the Dragon Evaluation

Milly Alcock and Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon
As a “Sport of Thrones” fan (and an eventual upset “Sport of Thrones” fan), I spent a whole lot of time within the lead as much as “Home of the Dragon” dreading it somewhat. Had been we actually going to do that once more? Did I need to do that once more? May a “Sport of Thrones” spinoff actually justify its personal existence? After watching the six episodes of “Home of the Dragon” HBO made accessible to critics, I can reply with a powerful sure. “Home of the Dragon” is nice tv.

The primary episode shortly introduces us to the 2 girls on the coronary heart of the collection: Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Girl Alicent Hightower. The 2 teenage ladies, performed in early episodes by Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, are the perfect of buddies. They’re so shut that their bond, at instances, feels romantic. They’re additionally nearly the one two younger girls within the whirlwind political maelstrom of the Pink Hold. Their bond feels doomed from the second you meet them, and Alcock and Carey do a masterful job of exploring all of the shades of emotion the 2 expertise. It is simple to match them to a number of the iconic girls of “Sport of Thrones,” however they carry one thing distinctive to their roles that lets them simply step out of their predecessors’ shadows. Platinum blond wig apart, Rhaenyra will not make you want she was Daenerys as an alternative.

The primary season of “Home of the Dragon” is closely invested within the wrestle of ladies underneath patriarchy, but it surely does not have a simplistic “woman boss” message.

Between episodes 5 and 6, there is a 10-year time leap, and we lose Alcock and Carey for Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke as Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively. I regretted it somewhat; there are some occasions that occur within the interim that I’d’ve cherished to expertise firsthand as a viewer, but it surely appears the present desires to get to some huge climaxes that come later of their lives earlier than season one’s fruits. The 2 older actors do a terrific job of drawing a line from their youthful selves to their grownup incarnations and clarify shortly their new, even messier dynamic.

Then there’s Matt Smith. When “Morbius” got here out earlier this 12 months, the film’s one shiny spot was Smith’s chaotic, enjoyable efficiency because the villain. Smith brings that very same power to “Home of the Dragon” as Daemon Targaryen, the king’s brother and Rhaenyra’s uncle. He may be evil, candy, considerate, merciless, sympathetic, and bloodthirsty at totally different instances. He is the closest factor the present has to a transparent villain and, even then, typically you suppose, “This man’s bought some extent.” Smith is magnetic, and it is nice to see him in one thing that deserves his abilities.

Sure, there’s intercourse, and sure there’s violence. However as a result of the ensemble is not fairly as huge because it was in “Sport of Thrones,” we now have an opportunity to sit down in these moments of ache — particularly within the early episodes — somewhat bit longer. We are able to really feel the characters’ grief, and season one explores how these moments of anguish can have an effect on individuals for a lifetime — typically in methods they do not even notice. And virtually each intercourse scene has heavy, heavy penalties for the solid of characters. Because the season continues, the strain and stress ratchets up with every episode as issues slowly — after which quickly — disintegrate.

The primary season of “Home of the Dragon” is closely invested within the wrestle of ladies underneath patriarchy, but it surely does not have a simplistic “woman boss” message. Each character makes main errors, and the present presents them as deeply flawed and morally advanced individuals doing their finest in an archaic system. It is not simply Smith’s presence that may make early episodes harking back to “The Crown.”

The collection is fairly devoted to George R. R. Martin’s “Fireplace and Blood,” although, because the episode goes on, it performs round with the timeline and compresses occasions right here and there. “Home of the Dragon” additionally provides some main particulars to the Targaryen backstory that give their dragon obsession and thirst for the throne greater stakes. And we have not even talked about the dragons! The dragons are stunningly stunning — and no much less thrilling regardless of there being far more than three of them.

General, “Home of the Dragon” is heavy, heart-wrenching, thrilling tv. Prepare for one more experience.

Join HBO Max now to observe “Home of the Dragon” when it premieres on Aug. 21, 2022.



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