There’s a New Ruler on the Iron Throne of Television

Published 2 months ago -

How does House of the Dragon compare to Game of Thrones? 

Teresa Prytko

Arts & Entertainment and Opinion Editor 

HBO’s “House of the Dragon”, based on the books by George R.R Martin is the prequel to “Game of Thrones”, which is often considered one of the greatest television shows ever. It takes place nearly 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones”, specifically 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen, one of the main characters of that series. 

“House of the Dragon” has a narrower focus than the series prior, focusing more on the Targaryen family as compared to the Seven Kingdoms as a whole as they plot and fight for the Iron Throne. 

According to Insider, Martin has shared that he had more influence with “House of the Dragon” than he did with “Game of Thrones”. 

“I had no contribution to the later seasons except, you know, inventing the world, the story, and all the characters,” Martin said. “I believe I have more influence now than I did on the original show.”

This might be part of the reason, why many are beginning to admit that they enjoy this series more. 

Both series have some similarities in their plot. They both begin with the death of the king, Viserys Targaryen in “House of the Dragon” and Robert Baratheon in “Game of Thrones”. These deaths raise questions about the legitimacy and parentage of the heirs to the throne. Therefore, the first couple of episodes of each show serves as a set-up which results in a slower pace for the overall story. “Game of Thrones” introduces a wider cast of characters as compared to the smaller cast and plot of “House of the Dragon”. This difference is crucial and contributes greatly to the viewer’s experience and who they end up becoming more invested in. They can focus on one of the many characters in “Game of Thrones” and follow their story as they progress through the season or they can pick their favorite Targaryen and follow all the family drama in “House of the Dragon”. 

In terms of worldbuilding, “Game of Thrones” does an excellent job with visuals while “House of Dragon” focuses more on history and traditions. 

The intro of “Game of Thrones” carries viewers across all of Westeros and Essos, setting up the geography. This way viewers get an idea of how long travel would be expected to take, and how far apart certain characters are from one another. 

“House of the Dragon” does not add to the worldbuilding in terms of geography, but does extremely into depth on the Targaryen family, focusing on the importance of their dragons as well as exploring more into High Valyrian, their native language. Since “Game of Thrones” only had one main Targaryen, Danaerys, it was more difficult to go into her familial roots. 

Speaking of dragons, they were in every episode of “House of the Dragon” and were not seen until the final episode of “Game of Thrones” and they were only babies. “House of the Dragon” had a considerably larger budget for its first season, $20 million for each episode according to Screenrant, as compared to the first season of “Game of Thrones”, which only had a budget of about $6 million for each episode. The increased presence of the dragons helps dive deeper into the traditions of the Targaryen family and makes for more visually pleasing action-packed episodes. “Game of Thrones” had a larger cast and thus focused more on political conflicts than action, although as the show gained popularity the action increased rapidly. 

Personally, I enjoyed both shows greatly. Unfortunately, “Game of Thrones” suffers in its last few seasons, since Geroge R.R Martin has not yet finished the series so the creators had nothing to work on and went down a path that was not appealing to viewers (for any anime fans out there, this is basically the Full Metal Alchemist of life-action television). I greatly enjoyed the world and character-building of the first season, but I had only started to watch it after it had produced a few seasons and a wide fan base. The CGI and action in “House of the Dragon” are cool, but I am also very invested in the story. However, I do appreciate “Game of Thrones” for taking its time because there were many parts that had to be flushed out fully. “House of the Dragon” felt very rushed at points. Longer episodes or pushing some plot points into future seasons would have easily solved this issue. However, “Game of Thrones” has eight seasons compared to one, so it is unfair to judge the stories based on how they develop. I think “House of the Dragon” has the potential to come out on top as more seasons come out. 

What did you think of the series?

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