Game of Thrones fans are revering over House of the Dragon episode 1 for aptly introducing the Targaryen dynasty at its height – from Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) reign on the Iron Throne, Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) riding Cyrax to Daemon Targaryen’s (Matt Smith) arrival to King’s Landing as Commander of the City Watch, the show includes subtle fan-favorite elements from GOT, including the debut of Rickon Stark (David Hounslow) of Winterfell. Praises are filling up on HBO’s social media timeline with fans discussing their favorite moments so here’s a recap of sequences that left a lasting impact.
House of the Dragon episode 1 dives into the early politics of the Targaryen dynasty. Jaehaerys’ (Michael Carter) 60-year reign sadly has no succession with both his sons dead. The Old King holds a great council to choose an heir. And that succession falls on Viserys’ lap instead of Rhaenys (Eve Best), the king’s eldest descendent. Although the choice of succession avoided a civil war, the impending conflict is clearly hinted at and grows stronger during the ninth year of King Viserys I rule.
While the fan-favorite Game of Thrones’ world map opening intro was not part of House of the Dragon, the episode still begins with a bird’s eye view of King’s Landing with Rhaenyra and her distinct-looking Dragon Cyrax roaming the capital. Graham McTavish makes his first appearance as Ser Harrold Westerling, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. During the King’s council, it’s clear Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) is irritated (understatement) by the people he’s surrounded by. In fact, his advice is ignored when he reminds them of the growing alliance among the free cities that are styling themselves as the Triarchy. But the discussion moves on to the King’s celebratory tournament for the birth of his second child, forecast by the maesters’ to be a son.
The new and improved look for the Iron Throne is revealed in all its glory forged from the swords surrendered to Aegon. Daemon and Rhaenyra banter in Valyrian as her uncle makes it clear his eyes are on the Iron Throne but Viserys’ son could change his plans for good. The first chapter pivots to Rhaenyra and Alicent Hightower’s (Emily Carey) relationship, showing their candid impressions of the events around them. Speaking of Hightower, Rhys Ifans’s Otto as Hand of the King makes his presence known and could be seen as a threat by Daemon.
The debut chapter reminds A Song of Ice and Fire fans the prequel series lies in competent care and looks to enthrone Game of Thrones’ once-held position as a peak television show. Readers can check some of the acclaimed reactions below.
me, after watching episode 1 of house of the dragon: pic.twitter.com/LVFIwq741z
— hehe (@lorendew) August 22, 2022
Me when Baratheon hesitated#HOTD pic.twitter.com/xyGX3B7UDS
— Stephen Cecil (@Ceece17) August 22, 2022
“Rickon Stark, of Winterfell…”#HouseoftheDragon pic.twitter.com/nx3NgWVMqr
— BoomSoon (@Jaben4Real) August 22, 2022
me after being disappointed by the final season of game of thrones: “i guess i’ll give house of the dragon a try”
me to HBO after watching the first episode: #HouseoftheDragon #HOTD pic.twitter.com/VPpeMHAhyb
— kathleen (@kathleen_hanley) August 22, 2022
Some Lyanna Stark posting from the episode:
-Rhaenys hands over a wreath of blue roses to Boremund Baratheon
-Aegon had a dream, he called it A Song of Ice and fire
-.. promise me Rhaenyra
-Viserys: If the world of men is to survive, a Targaryen must sit on the Iron Throne #hotd pic.twitter.com/QaHRfQcx9w
— Joe Magician 🧙♂️ HBO Legit Source (@TheJoeMagician) August 22, 2022
#HouseOfTheDragonHBO Episode 1 recap: pic.twitter.com/HMAMIy3gfx
— Alec Mendes (@TheLegendMendes) August 22, 2022
One of the best choices they made for #HOTD Episode 1 is to make the TV comeback of the word "Dracarys" emotional! Sapochnik you did it again, you mad man#HouseoftheDragon #HOTD pic.twitter.com/kjbmgI7gBn
— 🐣 (@gonlyb) August 22, 2022
House of the Dragon episode 1 pic.twitter.com/RiwykNnbkY
— jøe (@soIardo) August 22, 2022
House of the dragon episode 1 was absolutely fantastic, GOT seasons 1-6 is one of my favorite things ever and HOD absolutely captured the same feeling/quality that does seasons did. Those last minutes had me tearing up, I can not wait for this series.
It’s going to be special pic.twitter.com/4RYuAnPTzp
— Raven☀️ (@DireRavennn) August 22, 2022
Episode 1 was everything. We back. https://t.co/1YkQp9JsSF
— . (@CountOnVic) August 22, 2022
Remember that Borros Baratheon hesitated. #HouseoftheDragon #HOTD pic.twitter.com/v9Z6fxzeJp
— out of context house of the dragon (@oochotd) August 22, 2022
Just finished watching episode 1 of House of the Dragon. All I can say is these scenes gave me chills.#HouseoftheDragon #HouseOfTheDragonHBO #HOTD pic.twitter.com/vZTsESYDvF
— irwin🇬🇭🇨🇦 (@wegoagainxx) August 22, 2022
I don't care about him losing in this match. Daemon still looks cool!#HouseoftheDragon #Episode1 pic.twitter.com/YKR3YVYntT
— NeiL (@neiljsc) August 22, 2022
Daemon’s loss of trust within the King’s council quickly becomes justifiable seeing his surprise attack on the people of King’s Landing. It’s surprising to see a level-headed lord like Corlys in agreement with Daemon though it could be part of his larger plan as well.
In the King’s chambers, Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) is fighting her own battle, difficult childbirth, and perhaps the most arduous task of any Targaryen. After five failed attempts (two stillbirths, two miscarriages, and a child who died in the cradle as an infant) – her present pregnancy sadly becomes her last after a barbaric caesarian leads to her death. The son’s delivery is met with a gush of his mother’s blood but while her great sacrifice is met with silence and tears, it gets worse when the next sequence shocks viewers both Aemma and her son, Baelon dead and ready for cremation.
Her sacrifice was all for nothing and leaves King Viserys shattered, but not alone. Rhaenyra takes charge and cremates her mother and brother saying “Dracarys”, it’s hard to ignore the resemblance of Queen Daenerys Targaryen in her. Unfortunately, there’s no time for the King to delve into sadness with Otto Hightower pressuring for a succession to be named.
Aegon Targaryen forsaw the Long Winter and White Walkers
After Daemon’s insulting toast of Viserys’ dead son styling him as “Heir for a Day” and a celebration during his somber, The tempered King commands his brother to return to Runestone and names his daughter as the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Aside from her responsibility as a Queen, The King also passes on another duty to Rhaenyra, a prophetic dream of Aegon and the real reason behind his conquest, similar to Daenys foreseeing the end of Valyria. The audiences also get a look at Daemon’s dragon – Caraxes (is it foreshadowing an impending Dragon on Dragon fight?).
Aegon saw the end of men which began with a terrible winter from the distant north (winter is coming). A darkness that could swallow the world if Westeros isn’t united with a Targaryen seated on the Iron Throne. Was that foretelling of Jon Snow as Aegon Targaryen or of Queen Daenerys? Nevertheless, it seems like the White Walkers’ threat was known among Targaryen kings.
During the ceremony, several lords of Westeros arrive including Boremund Baratheon (Julian Lewis Jones), the only lord hesitant to bow his knee but in the end, all pledge fealty to Rhaenyra. Though clearly, it is just the start of more turmoil amongst Targaryens, as the Old King Jaehaerys feared.
House of the Dragon season 1 consisting of 10 episodes will air weekly throughout September and October on HBO Max.
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