‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: “The Black Queen”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: “The Black Queen”

The Season 1 finale of House of the Dragon gives a look at the “blacks” side in the aftermath of King Viserys’ death and sets up the Dance of Dragons for Season 2.

 

Episode: “The Black Queen”

Runtime: 59 minutes

Original Air Date: October 23, 2022

Director: Greg Yaitanes

 

Plot (via HBO)

While mourning a tragic loss, Rhaenyra tries to hold the realm together, and Daemon prepares for war.

 

Best Moment: Rhaenyra Targaryen is crowned

The beginning of “The Black Queen” was difficult, with Rhaenys Targaryen arriving at Dragonstone and breaking the news to Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen that King Viserys has died and that the Hightowers usurped the Iron Throne by making Aegon Targaryen king. Daemon was seething, while Rhaenyra was incredibly distraught and lost her unborn baby Visenya shortly thereafter. At the funeral for Visenya, Erryk Cargyll arrived at Dragonstone and presented King Viserys’ crown to Rhaenyra, which was taken by Daemon and placed on his wife’s head by him. Daemon became the first person to bend the knee and call Rhaenyra “my queen”, which is a full circle moment for someone that was brooding at not being named heir in the first episode of the series. Everyone in attendance (aside from Rhaenys) also bent the knee, and Rhaenyra went from a terrible moment to perhaps the high of her life to this point; after years of thinking about her eventual succession and hearing much talk about how she should not be heir, it was a triumphant moment for Rhaenyra. The crowning of Rhaenyra was the top moment of the season finale, and it was reminiscent of both the funeral for Baelon Targaryen at the beginning of the season—and the Season 1 finale of Game of Thrones (“Fire and Blood”) where Jorah Mormont and the others bent the knee to Daenerys Targaryen and her three baby dragons.

 

Best Quote

“Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did.” – Daemon Targaryen

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Lucerys Targaryen

-Arrax

 

MVP: Rhaenyra Targaryen

The conversation between Rhaenys and a recovering Corlys Velaryon (whose demise was in fact exaggerated) gave great insight on what made Rhaenyra the MVP of the season finale. Corlys remembered Rhaenyra causing problems while growing up (and they still believe having a hand in the death of their son Laenor), but Rhaenys said, “that girl is holding the realm together at present.” While Daemon and others were calling for all-out war—including with the rogue prince immediately wanting to use dragons (the weapons of mass destruction in this world)—Rhaenyra’s goal was to keep the good of the realm in mind. When Otto Hightower arrived at Dragonstone with terms, Rhaenyra even said she’d think about it (due in part to her former close bond with Queen Alicent). Based on her initial moves and disposition as a queen, Rhaenyra is looking like a good and just ruler.

 

Everything Else

-However, while Rhaenyra handled herself very well, it looks like that might not last after the death of her son Lucerys at the hands of Aemond Targaryen and Vhagar. The final shot of “The Black Queen”, with Rhaenyra dressed in black, was a very memorable season-ender that gives insight into her changed mindset heading into Season 2.

 

-The split between Daemon and Rhaenyra—centering on how to handle the greens stealing the Iron Throne—is interesting. Again, Daemon was the first to crown Rhaenyra and appeared to truly respect her as queen, but his wrath is clearly still there when he doesn’t get his way. And “The Song of Ice and Fire” is something that Rhaenyra (rightly) strongly believes in, while Daemon—who was never told about it by Viserys—could not care less about it.

 

-Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy starred in Episode 10 and were tremendous, but the acting from the entire cast was fantastic all season.

 

-Episode 9 focused on the “green” side of the Hightowers taking the Iron Throne, and Episode 10 was the complement to that, focusing on the “black” side led by Queen Rhaenyra. There was a definite contrast to each side, with the Hightower side playing dirty and acting stealthily—meanwhile, aside from Daemon’s tendencies showing, Rhaenyra’s side showed more of a positive “can-do” attitude with their approach. The Game of Thrones universe has a ton of gray area that leads to viewers rooting for just about anyone, but the blacks are objectively coming off as being closer to a “good” side after one season.

 

-Another interesting thing to note is how Daemon—while he didn’t listen to Jacaerys Velaryon giving commands—took his nephew/stepson under his wing in teaching in a little something about loyalty and the power of dragons.

 

-Daemon talked about the unclaimed dragons and their overall advantage even without them, but he went into the volcanic tunnels—while singing in High Valyrian—to attempt to claim Vermithor (“The Bronze Fury”). Vermithor was ridden by Jaehaerys and is the second largest dragon behind Vhagar. After locking eyes, it looks like Daemon might have successfully added Vermithor to his arsenal. HBO’s official guide and its Dragon Index help clarify the characters and connections in House of the Dragon.

 

-Borros Baratheon not only broke his father’s oath to Rhaenyra as heir, but he did it in such a manner that was disrespectful and selfish. The marriage alliance between his daughter Floris and Aemond Targaryen gives the greens a powerful ally as the Lord of Storm’s End. It was nice to hear the Starks mentioned, and it’s likely that they will not break their vow. And not only is Corlys doing OK, but it was revealed that he won the Stepstones, giving Rhaenyra a stronghold to help cut off supplies to King’s Landing.

 

-Overall, “The Black Queen” did a superb job of showing the importance of alliances, using the awesome table at Dragonstone to map out the situation. Another strong moment was when Corlys and Rhaenys pledged their loyalty to Rhaenyra.

 

-Instead of using slower ravens, Jace suggested he and Luke take their dragons to confirm the loyalty of families sworn to Rhaenyra. (The use of the classic Dany score from Game of Thrones with the three dragons flying from Dragonstone was awesome; all the connections to the original series throughout the season were enjoyable.) It was supposed to be a safe, diplomatic mission—and Rhaenyra warned them both not to fight, as they were to be messengers only. Ultimately, the presence of Vhagar and Aemond at Storm’s End made you realize something bad was going to happen. After demanding Luke’s eye under Borros’ roof, the Targaryen prince instead chased Luke and Arrax with Vhagar. The unintended consequences (as you could see by the look on Aemond’s face) led to the deaths of Luke and Arrax—and the unofficial start of the Dance of Dragons.

 

-I am trying to avoid spoilers from the source material for the most part (though Joffrey Baratheon made that a challenge), but I assume this is from George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood and is a great line:

 

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: “The Green Council”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: “The Green Council”

The penultimate episode of the first season of House of the Dragon delivered a thriller.

 

Episode: “The Green Council”

Runtime: 57 minutes

Original Air Date: October 16, 2022

Director: Clare Kilner

 

Plot (via HBO)

While Alicent enlists Cole and Aemond to track down Aegon, Otto gathers the great houses of Westeros to affirm their allegiance.

 

Best Moment: Aegon Targaryen is crowned as king

The tense “green council” meeting was also great, but the top moment from the episode was probably Aegon Targaryen’s coronation—which was done without the named heir Rhaenyra Targaryen even knowing her father was dead. Aegon was basically a no-good drunk up to this point, and he seemingly really did not want to be king—he even looked somewhat dead inside while marching up to be crowned. But you could see a switch in his demeanor when he was crowned with Aegon the Conqueror’s crown and given his sword Blackfyre along with the catspaw dagger. However, that triumphant moment turned quickly when—in typical Game of Thrones fashion for a penultimate episode of a season—Rhaenys Targaryen arrived on her she-dragon Meleys (“The Red Queen”) to blow things up. It seemed unlikely she’d take Aegon, Alicent and Otto Hightower, and the others out (the viewer knowing that a civil war is coming), but it looked like Meleys was going to light them all on fire right then and there; it was ultimately a screech that acted as a warning and a show of strength ahead of Rhaenys going to Dragonstone to warn Rhaenyra’s party.

 

Best Quote

“Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?” – Rhaenys Targaryen to Alicent Hightower

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Lyman Beesbury

-Allun Caswell

 

MVP: Rhaenys Targaryen

Rhaenys was immediately made a prisoner upon the king dying, as the Hightowers essentially locked everything down to form a successful coup to install Aegon as king. The Queen Who Never Was played the conversation with Alicent well, and her eventually escaping to get Meleys (initially with the help of Erryk, who just wanted to get her out of King’s Landing as soon as possible—so without her dragon) is a major victory that will undermine the green’s plan to assassinate their adversaries.

 

Everything Else

-The small council meeting after King Viserys’ death—which included Criston Cole shockingly and accidentally killing Lyman Beesbury by slamming his head into the stone ball on the table—felt realistic to how a usurpation might really go. Queen Alicent was left in the dark for years about most of the council’s plan to install Aegon as king upon Viserys’ death, and then the debate came to what to do as the named heir Rhaenyra Targaryen and her family—with Alicent wanting mercy while Otto and the others in on the plot wanting an assassination. This moment showed that Otto is clearly a power-hungry force, while Alicent isn’t at that level. Alicent was obviously conflicted about the entire situation, despite her insistence that Viserys’ last wish was to have Aegon as king.

 

-Lord Commander Harold Westerling showed his honor in refusing to carry out the murders at the order of Otto. Remember, Westerling was Princess Rhaenyra’s sworn protector, so that certainly played a role. But it seemed like something Westerling refused mostly out of principle.

 

-Otto continued to show that he is totally ruthless when rounding up some of the lords of Westeros that were in King’s Landing and making them bend the knee to Aegon as the new heir (in this instance in the Great Hall, to Otto himself, which is interesting). Anyone that did not follow orders was given the King’s Justice. Otto is quickly becoming an awesome villain type of character.

 

-The centerpiece of the episode was the search for Aegon, with both Alicent (Criston Cole and Aemond) and Otto (Arryk and Erryk Cargyll) being sent to search for the prince. Cole almost seems like a robot at this point, programmed to do whatever Queen Alicent asks.

 

-The search for Aegon also gave more insight into the way he is—and it’s not good. There is obviously a cruelness to Aegon, who didn’t want the Iron Throne at first. Given Aegon’s propensity for meanness, it’s a bit scary to think about how he’ll be a ruler. Meanwhile, Aemond keeps his emotions internal, but he believes that Aegon will not be a good king and that he himself would be better suited for the crown.

 

-Mysaria, the former close associate of Daemon Targaryen, apparently had Aegon under her thumb to some extent. She presented herself as a for-the-people type of force in her negotiation with Otto, potentially shedding some light on what has been a mysterious character.

 

-Larys Strong always gave uneasy feelings, but it’s been revealed that he’s basically a complete creep. Strong is arguably the most unlikeable character at this point because we don’t even know what he tangibly wants. He can be a valuable resource politically, but I still wonder why Alicent puts up with him when she probably could’ve had him killed at any moment in the past several years.

 

-The installation of the new king very quickly after the king’s death was very similar to Season 1 of Game of Thrones, but this time it happened on a much larger scale. In a show of power and legitimacy, Otto wanted to force the people of King’s Landing to see Aegon as their king.

 

-Rhaenys arriving on Meleys was epic, but she unfortunately killed hundreds if not thousands of people in the process. That part was a big surprising, although the citizens being rounded up like cattle shows what those in power think of them. And as Rhaenyra said before, people say that “Targaryens are closer to gods than to men”. The opposing powers might not care about peasant casualties during the coming civil war.

 

-The opening score of the episode was an instant classic, and it help set the mood of the aftermath of the death of King Viserys.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: “The Lord of the Tides”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: “The Lord of the Tides”

House of the Dragon delivered another sensational episode during its first season while continuing to establish itself as perhaps the best drama currently on television.

 

Episode: “The Lord of the Tides”

Runtime: 68 minutes

Original Air Date: October 9, 2022

Director: Geeta Vasant Patel

 

Plot (via HBO)

Six years later. With the Driftmark succession suddenly critical, Rhaenyra attempts to strike a bargain with Rhaenys.

 

Best Moment: King Viserys arrives at the Red Keep

As Hand of the King, Otto Hightower was representing the crown in the throne room for the hearing of the claim over the Driftmark throne (with Corlys Velaryon suffering an injury that may lead to his death or make him unable to command). It appeared certain that Vaemond Velaryon would be granted claim over his ancestral home given that everyone knew Lucerys Velaryon was not a true-born son of Laenor Velaryon and that strength was needed with another war breaking out in the Stepstones. Earlier in the day, King Viserys Targaryen declined milk of the poppy—claiming to not want it for a dinner he called with his family—to keep his mind right despite the agonizing pain. Viserys’ surprising appearance in the throne room caught everyone by surprise, including most notably Otto and Vaemond. The king was in a very weakened state while near death, but he showed major drive and strength in working his way up to the Iron Throne—with the help of his brother Daemon near the top—to preside over the debate.

 

Best Quote

“Set aside your grievances, if not for the sake of the crown, then for the sake of this old man who loves you all so dearly.” – King Viserys

 

Notable Character Deaths

-King Viserys Targaryen

-Vaemond Velaryon

 

MVP: Viserys Targaryen

As Viserys said previously, he was no hero in battle and was somewhat of an uneventful king; but he showed major kingly status one last time in his arrival at the Great Hall. Then he truly appeared to bring his family together during the dinner he called in the Red Keep, giving a tremendous speech that got Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower to come together and speak nicely of one another after years of coldness and hostility. Though he was not emphatic enough about it, King Viserys continued to defend his daughter and heir Rhaenyra and her claim to the Iron Throne in his final days. He did his best to keep the family together in the end, and it looks like he would have done so if not for an uncontrollable lapse when he believed he was speaking to Rhaenyra and not Alicent on his deathbed, leading Alicent to believe Aegon is to be king. Ultimately, Viserys kept the song of ice and fire prophesy going, and we know that from Game of Thrones it works out in that regard. The seeds of civil war were blooming during his reign, but Viserys oversaw a mostly peaceful time in the realm and was a good king if not a perfect or legendary one.

 

Everything Else

-The six-year time jump led to more big changes. Most notably, the crown is basically run by the Hightowers at this point given King Viserys’ health. The changes include a more muted King’s Landing, with the Faith of the Seven religion taking a more prominent place—including in the architecture—instead of the fire and blood of the Targaryens.

 

-Queen Alicent is giving off some Cersei Lannister vibes, and the costuming was pretty direct with that in this week’s episode, with Alicent’s attire looking very similar to Cersei’s when she became queen. Alicent has a coldness to her, but she did show mercy to Dyana, who was apparently taken advantage of by Aegon, when she easily could have had her killed for the trouble.

 

-Daemon Targaryen was a little too quiet through “The Lord of the Tides”, so his sudden top-half-of-the-head-beheading of Vaemond Velaryon (after his challenge of “say it”) was even more shocking. Then in typical Daemon fashion, he gave a witty response stating that Vaemond could keep his tongue.

 

-When Rhaenys Targaryen was called by her cousin to speak on her husband Corlys’ will, she told the truth while bettering the status of her house and family name by accepting Rhaenyra’s marriage proposal for her children—which is exactly what Corlys would have wanted. Rhaenys displayed earlier in the episode that she did not want to work with Rhaenyra (believing she and Daemon had her son Laenor killed), but the princess spoke truly about her husband’s will. I wonder what Rhaenys was thinking while watching Vaemond’s body get cleansed—perhaps that it would be different if she spoke the truth on the other end of the spectrum, knowing that Jace and Luke are not really her grandchildren by blood.

 

-Aemond Targaryen has quickly become a fantastic villain—and he’s quite powerful, too. Criston Cole is a great fighter that already beat Daemon in one-on-one combat, but he was not match for Aemond, who he has been training for years. When Vaemond resumed the hostilities between the grandchildren after King Viserys left the room, I thought there might be a duel when Daemon stepped up to end the scuffle—perhaps that’s something to come in the civil war. Meanwhile, Aegon is obviously still not living up to his namesake as a careless drunk—so that makes it even more concerning that Alicent is now apparently going to push for him to be king.

 

-The mysterious Mysaria figures to be a major wild-card moving forward after it was revealed that Queen Alicent’s lady-in-waiting Talya is working for her, especially because Mysaria is a former associate/lover of Daemon.

 

-The makeup and prosthetics, as you would expect, did an amazing job with the look for King Viserys, who looked halfway to death because of his illness. The golden mask was a regal appearance for the Targaryen, but the loss of his eye and the serious damage to the right side of his face was eerie and hard-hitting. Throughout “The Lord of the Tides” there was a bit of a spooky and dark feeling to it, and it was fitting that this episode aired in October.

 

-The rumor is that the Sea Snake might have lost his mind due to an injury in the resurgence of the war in the Stepstones—leading to many of the events in this episode. But it wouldn’t be shocking if the great explorer and richest man in Westeros defied the rumors and turns out to be OK.

 

-Regarding those dragon eggs from Syrax, are they eventually the petrified dragon eggs gifted from Illyrio Mopatis to Daenerys Targaryen: Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal?

 

-Paddy Considine was extraordinary as King Viserys during his eight-episode run. George R.R. Martin even texted Considine: “Your Viserys is better than my Viserys.” Pretty cool, and an Emmy should be headed Considine’s way for his role.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: “Driftmark”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: “Driftmark”

The seventh episode of House of the Dragon might have been the best yet, with an eventful hour further lining up the sides in the coming Targaryen civil war.

 

Episode: “Driftmark”

Runtime: 58 minutes

Original Air Date: October 2, 2022

Director: Miguel Sapochnik

 

Plot (via HBO)

As the families gather on Driftmark for a funeral, Viserys calls for an end to infighting and Alicent demands justice.

 

Best Moment: Laenor Velaryon’s “death”

“Driftmark” was an awesome and memorable episode from start to finish, so a few moments could have been the choice here. But the final scene of the episode—with Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen getting married while staging the death of Laenor Velaryon, who ultimately is revealed to have escaped with his paramour Qarl Correy—is the choice for best moment. The death of the only remaining child of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen appeared to be another highly tragic moment in the Game of Thrones story, so the final reveal of Laenor alive and well with a shaved head was the type of chills-delivering twist that Thrones has become so known for over the years.

 

Best Quote

“History does not remember blood. It remembers names.” – Corlys Velaryon

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Man at Driftmark (passed off as Laenor Velaryon)

 

MVP: Rhaenyra Targaryen

This certainly could have gone to Aemond Targaryen, who was daringly able to claim Vhagar to give himself a dragon (and power) after the funeral of Laena Velaryon—admitting that his loss of an eye was well worth it to obtain a dragon. Daemon is also a strong MVP choice, as he has had his eye on his niece for quite a while. However, the Targaryen marriage was the biggest win for Rhaenyra, as it strengthens her claim to the Iron Throne when King Viserys dies. It felt like only a matter of time before Daemon and Rhaenyra got together somehow, and now they are both squarely allied together. Also, Rhaenyra stood strong in the face of (true) accusations about her children, and she made Queen Alicent look bad during the tense situation following the aftermath of the violent scuffle between the kids.

 

Everything Else:

-Aemond claiming Vhagar could have been the top moment from the episode, and the use of the Targaryen score from composer Ramin Djawadi was excellent as usual. And then it was quite the twist to have Aemond quickly turn into a bit of a villain in arrogantly confronting his four relatives about it; it speaks to how much grey area there is with all these characters in this world.

 

-In the aftermath of Aemond losing his eye and Queen Alicent demanding justice, it was finally spoken plainly and publicly in front of everyone that Princess Rhaenyra’s children are bastards. King Viserys was still hearing none of it and will come down hard on anyone that speaks of it again. The entire confrontation with the climax of Alicent charging Rhaenyra with the catspaw dagger was typical Game of Thrones, with some similarity to the Season 1 scene from the opening season where Ned Stark, Cersei Lannister, and the others were arguing over what to do about Arya’s direwolf Nymeria attacking Prince Joffrey.

 

-The opening funeral scene was also tremendous in capturing the uneasiness everyone felt toward each other—for various reasons. Daemon’s sudden laugh was interesting and speaks to his unpredictability.

 

-It was heart wrenching to see Rhaenys react to her son’s supposed death just days after losing her daughter. Pretty unfortunate and messed up that Laenor couldn’t tell his parents before he left, though perhaps he thought they would not let him leave—and maybe he’ll get word to them when he arrives to his destination (though the only way the marriage between Daemon and Rhaenyra works is if Laenor is “dead”).

 

-Otto Hightower is back as Hand of the King, and it looks like he has a major role to play based on the preview for next week’s episode. Otto takes strong involvement with his grandchildren, reprimanding Aegon Targaryen for behaving like a drunk—and he’s quite proud of Aemond’s mindset on losing his eye but getting a dragon.

 

-Corlys is no doubt ambitious, as his talk with Rhaenys unveiled, but overall has behaved like one of the good guys through seven episodes. It’s obvious that Laenor’s supposed children are not really his own, but Corlys still treats them as if they were his own blood.

 

-Episode 7 of House of the Dragon also had some parallels to Episode 7 of Game of Thrones. The catspaw dagger was featured prominently in both episodes, and there was a twist ending in the final seconds (Littlefinger turning on Ned; Laenor turning out to be alive).

 

-We’ll see how the Velaryons figure into things (likely going to the side of former son-in-law Daemon and their grandchildren), but the sides appear pretty clear ahead of a “hot” war stemming from this current “cold” war. The “greens” are Queen Alicent and her allies, while the “blacks” are led by Rhaenyra and Daemon.

 

-The scenes in middle of the night were extremely dark—I’d imagine many people had trouble seeing them (fortunately I have an LG OLED—which was still difficult to see these night scenes on—to watch on and highly recommend them). I liked it, as things really are difficult to see at night, and it made the light brought by Vhagar’s fire breath more impactful. The great Miguel Sapochnik (“The Long Night”) directed this episode, and clearly he’s in the camp that wants to film what looks truest and best for the show and did not listen to the critics during Game of Thrones.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: “The Princess and the Queen”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: “The Princess and the Queen”

Episode 6 of House of the Dragon picked up with a ten-year time jump that gave the feel of another pilot episode for the second half of Season 1.

 

Episode: “The Princess and the Queen”

Runtime: 67 minutes

Original Air Date: September 25, 2022

Director: Miguel Sapochnik

 

Plot (via HBO)

Ten years later. Rhaenyra navigates Alicent’s continued speculation about her children, while Daemon and Laena weigh an offer in Pentos.

 

Best Moment: Courtyard scene

The ending of the episode has a case for best moment of “The Princess and the Queen”, but the tense courtyard scene—with Ser Criston Cole training the grandsons of King Viserys, who was watching from above—did a great job of showing where things stood for Cole ten years after the banquet outburst. After having his heart broken, Cole has become incredibly cold, at least toward Rhaenyra Targaryen’s children—then he baits Ser Harwin “Breakbones” Strong into an outburst of his own that makes it difficult for people to deny rumors that he’s the father of Rhaenyra’s children. This also put in motion the rest of the episode and the deaths of Lyonel and Harwin Strong at Harrenhal.

 

Best Quote

“Truth has many flavors.” – Larys Strong

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Laena Velaryon

-Lyonel Strong

-Ser Harwin “Breakbones” Strong

 

MVP: Rhaenyra Targaryen

The episode begins with Rhaenyra in childbirth, and Queen Alicent immediately called to see the new baby—named Joffrey by Laenor Velaryon—a call that is answered by Rhaenyra showing her strength by personally bringing the baby to the Queen. Alicent makes it known that she is aware of the parentage of Rhaenyra’s children, which is a dangerous situation for the princess, Harwin Strong, and the realm. Despite Alicent basically wanting to destroy or at least cut Rhaenyra off, the Targaryen princess proposed a marriage between her son Jacaerys and Alicent’s daughter Helaena. Finally, sensing the brewing storm, Rhaenyra decides to leave King’s Landing and take her family to Dragonstone. At this point, Rhaenyra clearly looks to be on the “good” side, and she’s the MVP of the episode by showing that she was strong yet open to compromise while Alicent seems only interested in winning the power struggle.

 

Everything Else:

-It was obvious that Larys Strong was a schemer in the mold of those we saw in Game of Thrones, but he really emerged as a definite villain in “The Princess and the Queen”. Larys decided to hire trash from King’s Landing to pull off an assassination, and he had the tongues cut out of the men, presumably so that they cannot speak of the deed—though he also appeared to take pleasure in watching it happen. Someone that would have his own father and brother assassinated to help his own future standing can do just about anything. Larys appears ruthless and power hungry.

 

-The events in Pentos with Daemon Targaryen and his wife Laena Velaryon and two children (it appears he can have children, after all) gave insight on what the rogue prince has been doing over the years, seemingly giving up politics yet reading about the exploits of legendary Targaryens of the past. Unfortunately, Laena fell victim to childbirth, which was very dangerous in this period—but she went out like a warrior, with a Dracarys call to Vhagar, the biggest known living dragon. It remains difficult to get into Daemon’s head, but he’s now freed up to some extent—he’s perhaps also headed to Dragonstone, and a potential pairing with Rhaenyra, who lost Harwin and still has a mutual understanding of free reign with her husband, feels like a possibility.

 

-As for Daemon’s two daughters Baela and Rhaena, they do not appear to have a natural connection with their father—nor do they have a natural connection to their homeland after being raised away from home. Rhaena’s dragon egg has not hatched, which apparently causes her not to be as close to Daemon, so her lack of a dragon is something to watch—maybe Vhagar will become hers.

 

-The insight to the training of dragons and the dragon pit was interesting, as is the fact that Aemond also currently does not have a dragon—and was teased about it by Aegon, Jacaerys, and Lucerys.

 

-Aegon (the son of Viserys and Alicent) appears to be becoming a skilled fighter, but he seems a bit aloof and cruel—we’ll see if he can grow out of that and live up to his namesake.

 

-The princess and the Queen are obviously not friends anymore after being so close growing up. Otto Hightower being let go as Hand of the King along with Rhaenyra’s behavior that was looked down on by Alicent seemingly led to the cold relationship, with the turning point from the previous episode when Alicent entered the wedding banquet wearing a green dress and calling her former best friend “stepdaughter”, making it clear where she stands.

 

-I thought the black-haired children of Rhaenyra would be from a continued relationship with Criston Cole. I’m looking forward to the conversation if and when Criston and Rhaenyra ever discuss the past in future episodes. And we’ll see how Rhaenyra and her sons handle the sudden death of Harwin.

 

-It’s notable that people didn’t want to actually speak it plainly that Rhaenyra’s sons are bastard sons of Harwin—and that helps Viserys willfully ignore it. And Lyonel Strong would not speak the truth and was kept on as Hand, while Otto Hightower previously did try to tell the King the hard truth and was let go as Hand.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: “We Light the Way”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: “We Light the Way”

Season 1, Episode 5 of House of the Dragon, “We Light The Way”, included another unsurprisingly eventful wedding in the Game of Thrones world.

 

Episode: “We Light the Way”

Runtime: 59 minutes

Original Air Date: September 18, 2022

Director: Clare Kilner

 

Plot (via HBO)

Daemon visits his wife in the Vale. Viserys and Rhaenyra broker agreements with the Velaryons. Alicent seeks the truth about the princess.

 

Best Moment: The royal wedding

We knew something big and game-changing had to happen in Episode 5, with the ten-year time jump coming next week. A wedding was the perfect setting to make that clear for viewers familiar with how they often go in Game of Thrones. The climax of the first-day festivities were the highlight of the episode and set up the big time jump that occurs between now and Episode 6. From the entrances of guests (and Queen Alicent) to King Viserys Targaryen getting sicker to key characters giving uneasy looks around the Great Hall, the tension was built throughout the evening—with Ser Criston Cole ultimately exploding and savagely beating Joffrey Lonmouth to death. Thanks to the horrible situation, King Viserys decided to forego the several days of planned celebration and to quietly wed his daughter Rhaneyra and Laenor Velaryon to forge the important political alliance—while at the same time the Queen stopped Criston Cole from killing himself. “We Light the Way” ends with a weakened King Viserys fainting right after the marriage.

 

Best Quote

 “The time is coming, Alicent. Either you prepare Aegon to rule, or you cleave to Rhaenyra and pray for her mercy.” – Otto Hightower to Alicent Hightower

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Rhea Royce

-Ser Joffrey Lonmouth

 

MVP: Alicent Hightower

It’s difficult to pick an MVP from “We Light the Way” because no one really won, but Queen Alicent might have quietly laid the foundation to help herself down the road. By showing mercy to Criston Cole after he confessed his sin of breaking his vow, she should have his loyalty to some extent. And then after she apparently stopped him from killing himself in shame at the end of the episode, he should be further in her debt—and a potential person to manipulate in the game of thrones. Also, the Queen showed her strength more than she previously had in her entrance to the Great Hall, wearing a green (the color the beacon on the Hightower glows when Oldtown calls its banners to war) dress that subtly voices her thoughts on the dismissal of her father and the marriage between the current heir and Laenor.

 

Everything Else:

-Daemon Targaryen gets more interesting by the episode. Episode 5 started with him meeting with his estranged wife Rhea Royce, who suffers an “accident” that ends with Daemon finishing her off with a brick. Then Daemon’s arrival and actions left the viewer wondering what he was thinking; while most others around him were uneasy throughout the banquet, he looked carefree and in complete control. He even again tried to woo his niece Princess Rhaenyra before her marriage, making his case in High Valyrian. Some weren’t happy with the Matt Smith casting, but he’s putting in the type of performance that makes it difficult to envision anyone else playing the role—of which there were so many of in the original Game of Thrones series.

 

-The Velaryons have essentially been in quiet rebellion against the Crown, but their reception of King Viserys was pretty ridiculous and surprising. Normally, the King would have the red carpet rolled out for him. Viserys later asked his Hand Lyonel Strong what type of king he would be remembered as; clearly, he is not one that commands unquestioned respect.

 

-When Criston Cole basically spilled his heart to Rhaenyra on the ride back from Driftmark, the cold side of Rhaenyra was on display. Given how Targaryens can be, it’s something to note.

 

-Sticking with Ser Criston, his sense of honor—despite his lapse in judgement one night with Rhaenyra—was a bit reminiscent of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. That made it more shocking that he snapped and was the one to cause the chaos. Presumably, Cole thought that Ser Joffrey could put Rhaenyra in danger by knowing the secret and talking so openly about it to him. Cole’s suppressed anger came out and cut off a loose end in the process.

 

-Laenor did not at all look like he wanted to get married after Joffrey Lonmouth was killed. It will be interesting to see how this marriage will work between Rhaenyra and Laenor—and whether Laenor’s secret of being gay comes into play, as his mother Rhaenys fears.

 

-The banquet scene was very well done in tracking key characters and their perspectives, making the entrances impactful, and displaying the chaos of the climax when it was unclear what was going on. Game of Thrones had a similar scene with the Purple Wedding in terms of tracking many important characters in one place and seeing how they would react.

 

-The ending score by composer Ramin Djawadi was again great. House of the Dragon is fortunate that he is helping keep the same mood and feeling via music.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: “King of the Narrow Sea”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: “King of the Narrow Sea”

The latest House of the Dragon episode includes Daemon Targaryen exerting heavy influence on his niece Rhaenyra Targaryen.

 

Episode: “King of the Narrow Sea”

Runtime: 63 minutes

Original Air Date: September 11, 2022

Director: Clare Kilner

 

Plot (via HBO)

After Rhaenyra cuts short her tour of Westeros, Daemon introduces the princess to the Street of Silk after dark.

 

Best Moment: Daemon returns to King’s Landing

Following Rhaenyra Targaryen ending her tour in search of a husband two months early, “King of the Narrow Sea” focused on the aftermath of her decision—with her uncle Daemon returning to King’s Landing at the same time, arriving on Caraxes. King Viserys’ accepting of his brother’s arrival in the Great Hall could have gone in just about any direction, as it started with Daemon wearing a crown as King of the Narrow Sea and getting the sword of Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Ser Harrold Westerling pointed at him. However, it became a calm affair, with Daemon giving up his crown and telling his brother to throw the Crabfeeder’s hammer in with the other swords of the Iron Throne. Viserys and Daemon then embraced, but the rogue prince had other plans that impacted the rest of the episode and future events in the soon-to-come civil war.

 

Best Quote

“You are my political headache.” – King Viserys to Rhaenyra Targaryen

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Bracken trash talker

 

MVP: Viserys Targaryen

We saw the “dragon” in Viserys come out when he confronted Daemon in the throne room for his actions with Rhaenyra, and the Targaryen king has shown he can be competent and strong when necessary. Another potential best moment from the episode was when Viserys fired his Hand of the King Otto Hightower after Rhaenyra made him do so as a condition for marrying Laenor Velaryon. Otto was clearly operating as a power-hungry schemer, and Rhaenyra helped her father see that after the Hand reported her activities with Daemon that were not fully true (saved by Daemon’s impotence). In the end, Viserys was able to get Rhaenyra to agree to the marriage to a needed ally, which is something he’d been lacking for a few years after turning down the marriage to Laena Velaryon. Now the question becomes whether Viserys is left unprotected after letting his Hand go, as Otto—who really might have the good of the realm in mind—appeared to do a solid job under multiple kings despite his recent selfish faults.

 

Everything Else:

-While Daemon played nice with Viserys publicly, he quickly flipped the switch and tried to get to the King by getting to Rhaenyra—romantically, politically (even proposing a marriage between he and his niece to Viserys), and in terms of control. A big part of the episode and the journey Daemon took his niece on throughout the Street of Silk was basically the indoctrination of the young princess—and it appears Daemon was successful in doing so, as evident with Ser Criston Cole later that night. The possibility of marriage between Daemon and Rhaenyra looks like a realistic scenario and the potential best path for them if the Iron Throne is their primary concern and objective—and remember, Targaryens marrying each other is common. But it is noteworthy that Daemon does not and potentially cannot have any children—especially when talking to Rhaenyra about her duties as heir.

 

-There was another time jump from the end of the War for the Stepstones to the beginning of this episode, and it appears Rhaenyra has forgiven her best friend Alicent Hightower for marrying her father. This allowed Alicent to warn Rhaenyra that King Viserys was told about her and Daemon. When Queen Alicent questioned her friend, it was interesting that she made clear her disgust for the “queer customs” of her family when it comes to relationships.

 

-The sores on Viserys are getting much bigger, and they could eventually spell the end of him.

 

-Daemon’s new haircut helped make the time jump clearer, and we’ll see if there is any explanation or reasoning for him cutting his trademark Targaryen hair short.

 

-It was again nice to hear about the “Song of Ice and Fire” discussed while Viserys and Rhaenyra were looking at the Valyrian steel catspaw dagger. Viserys revealed that before the dagger belonged to Aegon the Conqueror, it belonged to Aenar Targaryen—but that it is “difficult to know” the owner of the dagger before then. Also, the way Viserys has been talking about The Prince That Was Promised (despite the potential gender-neutral translation as discussed with Daenerys in Game of Thrones) again makes it seem as though Jon Snow is The Prince That Was Promised; they might have had a better understanding of the prophecy around 200 years earlier.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: “Second of His Name”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: “Second of His Name”

An even bigger time jump of three years took place between the second and third episodes of House of the Dragon, with the War for the Stepstones coming to its conclusion.

 

Episode: “Second of His Name”

Runtime: 58 minutes

Original Air Date: September 4, 2022

Director: Greg Yaitanes

 

Plot (via HBO)

Daemon and the Sea Snake battle the Crabfeeder. The realm celebrates Aegon’s second nameday. Rhaenyra faces the prospect of marriage.

 

Best Moment: War for the Stepstones

The prologue-feeling first scene of the episode included Daemon Targaryen on his dragon Caraxes assaulting the Stepstones before ultimately having to flee. The setup that the Crabfeeder and the Triarchy had allowed them to hide in the caves and avoid dragonfire, leading to a prolonged war that’s lasted a few years. With the men—mostly from House Velaryon—questioning Daemon’s leadership and King Viserys sending a royal letter to his brother promising aid of ten ships and 2,000 men, the rogue prince snapped, beating the messenger and deciding he would go on a daring mission to create an opening for his army to attack.

 

It felt unlikely that Daemon would actually surrender, and his use of the white flag as a ploy to draw out his enemies before cutting them down on the beach was a dirty trick showing that honor might not be that important to him—though it’s hard to follow honorable conventions when the enemy is feeding its captives alive to the crabs. The skill of Daemon was on full display, with his speed and strength helping buy enough time for his allies to join the battle while the opponent was drawn out of the caves. With dragonfire from above, the Velaryon forces were easily able to win the battle, which ended with Daemon chasing the Crabfeeer into a cave and coming out with half his body. The episode-ending shot of the bloodied Targaryen showed that he’s not the person to mess with.

 

Best Quote

“The road ahead is uncertain, but the end is clear.” – Otto Hightower

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Crabfeeder

 

MVP: Daemon Targaryen

This one is a no doubter. Daemon needed a win—not just by winning the war but by showing that he can be a leader in Westeros. His fearless and dangerous attack on the Stepstones, ending with him killing the Crabfeeder himself, earns the second son a ton of credibility.

 

Everything Else:

-The “Inside the Episode” discussed Episode 3 being about characters growing up and Viserys, Daemon, and Rhaenyra Targaryen in particular having more set perspectives after the events of the episode. Viserys admitted that he wavered, but he seems squarely behind his named heir Rhaenyra continuing as such and eventually sitting on the Iron Throne—at least for now.

 

-The episode gave a good look at what a king might have to deal with politically, which can certainly get tiring and annoying. Viserys drank a ton during the royal hunt, which was like King Robert Baratheon doing that (with the help of Lancel Lannister) before his death nearly 300 years later. I thought for a bit that a similar tragedy might strike Viserys.

 

-The scope of the royal hunt was on display in House of the Dragon, which George R.R. Martin was disappointed was unable to happen (because of budget constraints) during Season 1 of Game of Thrones. Aegon’s second nameday party and the royal hunt was a massive event with key houses like House Lannister showing up.

 

-It was a nice moment when Rhaenyra decided to let the white stag go. Killing the white stag probably would have been pretty legendary for the princess, but she decided to have mercy on the majestic creature—perhaps a sign of her good heart and her landing on the good side of the Targaryen coin flip.

 

-The dragonrider during the battle looked like Laenor Velaryon. While Targaryens are the ones with dragons, others from Valyria can also ride them.

 

-Daemon emerging from the battle with his face covered in blood was reminiscent of Jon Snow doing the same in the Battle of the Bastards. The insane fighting ability was also similar.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: “The Rogue Prince”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: “The Rogue Prince”

The second episode of House of the Dragon picks up six months after the events of Episode 1.

 

Episode: “The Rogue Prince”

Runtime: 54 minutes

Original Air Date: August 28, 2022

Director: Greg Yaitanes

 

Plot (via HBO)

Rhaenyra oversteps at the Small Council. Viserys is urged to secure the succession through marriage. Daemon announces his intentions.

 

Best Moment: The Dragonstone showdown

The Small Council meeting where the members decided what to do about Daemon Targaryen, who had taken over Dragonstone with the City Watch, was an intense meeting that is among the moments that deserve mention—as was the later Small Council meeting where King Viserys announced that he would be marrying Alicent Hightower, angering both Rhaenyra and Corlys Velaryon. But it’s aftermath, with Otto Hightower declaring that he would go to Dragonstone because it is too dangerous for Viserys, was probably the top moment of “The Rogue Prince”.

 

Hightower obviously holds a feeling of disdain for Daemon, the rogue prince that stole Dreamfyre’s egg (which was to be placed in the cradle of Baelon, per Targaryen tradition) while shamelessly lying about why he wanted it, and he made his feelings known during the showdown on the steps to the castle. Otto’s side, which included new Kinsguard member Criston Cole, arguably had the advantage on the ground—but Daemon had Caraxes at his back. Rhaenyra really saved the day by arriving on her own dragon Syrax to step up and talk to her uncle, eventually getting the valuable dragon egg back. It was cool to again see a Targaryen use a dragon in a key moment like we saw in Game of Thrones, and the princess’ actions helped avoid bloodshed and the potential first skirmish of a civil war.

 

Best Quote

“Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne.” – Rhaenys Targaryen to Rhaenyra Targaryen

 

Notable Character Deaths

-None

 

MVP: Otto Hightower

Rhaenyra could have been MVP for her actions on Dragonstone, but she took a major hit at the end of the episode when it was announced that her father would be marrying her best friend. Instead, Otto Hightower played the game of thrones extraordinarily well, with his daughter now set to become Queen and continue the royal line of succession. Otto was already very powerful as Hand of the King, but he is now virtually indispensable after out-playing Lord Corlys, who wanted the King to marry his even younger daughter Laena Velaryon.

 

Everything Else:

-After the prologue in the first episode, it was expected that opening credits would enter the picture in Episode 2. There was anticipation about the direction they would take considering Game of Thrones’iconic opening credits. It was great to see House of the Dragon use the same song (just slightly shorter to accommodate the shorter length of the credits) as its predecessor. I thought a new score might have been created, but sticking with the legendary GoT opening tune makes too much sense—and it’s something that should continue for all other potential successor shows.

 

-It was nice to see a lot of Dragonstone again, and some of the shots used gave a different perspective and angle than we saw in Game of Thrones. Unsurprisingly, the cinematography has been superb in House of the Dragon.

 

-The twist of Corlys Velaryon talking to Daemon Targaryen about an alliance was intriguing, and director Greg Yaitanes did a nice job with the reveal. At first, I thought it might have been some new character that was being introduced before it turned out to be the rebellious prince. While Daemon is not happy with his brother, it’s worth noting that he defended King Viserys when Corlys spoke poorly of him. Perhaps there’s room to come to peace at some point. And the alternating shot of Daemon and Corlys with the look at Craghas the Crabfeeder gave an eerie feeling of what’s to come and the outside threat of the Triarchy on the Stepstones.

 

-Based on the preview for next week, it appears that Episode 3 will make another jump forward of at least several months. This accelerated pace might go until at least the midway point in the season when the two female leads (Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower) jump in age.

 

-During his walk and talk with Laena Velaryon, King Viserys discussed the status of the missing dragon Vhagar. We’ll see if Vhagar comes into play down the line.

 

-The use of older English has been surprising (most notably the use of “mine” instead of “my”). I’m assuming it wasn’t a stylistic choice and instead shows the progression of language from the House of the Dragon period to 200 years later for Game of Thrones—reflecting the progression of English in real life.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: “The Heirs of the Dragon”

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: “The Heirs of the Dragon”

Is appointment television viewing back? HBO’s House of the Dragon is off to a solid start, heightened by its willingness to stand on the shoulders of the giant that was Game of Thrones.

 

Episode: “The Heirs of the Dragon”

Runtime: 66 minutes

Original Air Date: August 21, 2022

Director: Miguel Sapochnik

 

Plot (via HBO)

Viserys hosts a tournament to celebrate the birth of his second child. Rhaenyra welcomes her uncle Daemon back to the Red Keep.

 

Best Moment: The Targaryen secret

“The Heirs of the Dragon” was a strong pilot throughout, introducing interesting characters including Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Prince Daemon Targaryen, and King Viserys Targaryen and laying the groundwork for how the rest of the season and series will unfold with a Targaryen civil war. It felt very connected to Game of Thrones throughout, but the connections were taken up a notch for the final scene, with King Viserys telling his daughter Rhaenyra that she would be his heir (almost out of necessity at this point given that he had no son and his wife tragically died during childbirth, and that his brother Daemon could not be trusted to become King) and then revealing the Targaryen secret that’s been passed down from king to heir for generations. The secret came from a dream of Aegon the Conqueror, who foresaw a dark threat from the North that the people of Westeros must band together to fight:

 

When the Great Winter comes, Rhaenyra, all of Westeros must stand against it. And if the world of men is to survive, a Targaryen must be seated on the Iron Throne. A king or queen strong enough to unite the realm against the cold and the dark. Aegon called his dream “The Song of Ice and Fire.” This secret, it’s been passed from king to heir since Aegon’s time. Now you must promise to carry it and protect it.

 

It appears Viserys and Rhaenyra are the only two people aware of this secret, so that ups the stakes moving forward ahead of the civil war. Aegon’s dream also is a hint that might confirm that Jon Snow was “The Prince That Was Promised”, as he was a Targaryen that rallied together the houses of Westeros to stop the Night King in the Battle of Winterfell 200 years later—though an argument can still be made for Arya Stark, who ultimately delivered the fatal blow to the Night King with the catspaw dagger; and for Daenerys Targaryen, who agreed to help Jon in the Great War as his necessary ally.

 

Best Quote

“The gods have yet to make a man who lacks the patience for absolute power, your grace.” – Otto Hightower

 

Notable Character Deaths

-Aemma Targaryen

-Baelon Targaryen

 

MVP: Rhaenyra Targaryen

King Viserys obviously had to deal with a lot throughout the episode (a bickering small council, his brother Daemon’s ruthless actions while leading the City Watch, and most of all the death of his wife and newborn son), and he finally made up for the lack of attention toward his daughter while craving a male heir for years. But Rhaenyra is the MVP of the first episode. After the prologue, the series starts with Rhaenyra riding her dragon Syrax, and the first episode ends with her officially being named heir to the Iron Throne while learning about Aegon’s dream and the Targaryen secret. The princess also seems to have a firm grasp on the status of things and a good head on her shoulders even at a young age, and she delivered the first “Dracarys” of House of the Dragon to light the funeral pyres of her mother and brother.

 

Everything Else:

-The prologue was excellent, and it was smart to have a nod to the future by making it clear to the audience that this current story took place 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen, who is one of the most beloved television characters of all-time.

 

-The credits listed Ryan Condal and George R.R. Martin as the series creators; but Miguel Sapochnik, who directed some of the most epic Game of Thrones episodes and directed this pilot, is also a showrunner. It’s great that Sapochnik has the connection to Game of Thrones, and he helps deliver that same feeling to this successor prequel series. And having Martin, who started this entire thing by publishing A Game of Thrones in 1996, heavily involved is a major positive.

 

-It is also fantastic to have composer Ramin Djawadi overseeing the music in House of the Dragon, just as he did for Game of Thrones. The amazing use of the track “A Song of Ice and Fire” for the end credits was probably intentional—it was the same end credits song used for the final episode of Game of Thrones, which many believe was unfairly criticized by a vocal faction of critics online. Sapochnik—who, again, directed this HOTD debut—is notably among those that have defended Season 8.

 

-The Game of Thrones world has mostly gray-area characters, which is reflective of how things are in real life. After “The Heirs of the Dragon”, it looks like we’ll see a lot of politics throughout this series. Daemon Targaryen (played by Matt Smith) really stood out in Episode 1, displaying his deplorable tendencies—while also stepping up and showing a bit of a softer side during the funeral scene. Also, Hand of the King Otto Hightower is more ambitious than expected, and he’s already using his daughter Alicent as a pawn for power.

 

-The tough-to-watch birth scene will no doubt bring a lot of controversy, just as Game of Thrones had controversial moments that brought heat on co-creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

 

-The Valyrian steel catspaw dagger eventually used to kill the Night King is another direct connection to Game of Thrones. You just have to wonder how it eventually falls from House Targaryen into the hands of Littlefinger, and we’ll see if that question is eventually answered in House of the Dragon.

 

-There were no opening credits, but one would think that there will be moving forward considering the first episode kicked things off with a prologue, perhaps instead—and considering that the Game of Thrones theme is the most iconic in television history.

‘Game of Thrones’ Is Now Officially Streaming In 4K Ultra HD On HBO Max

‘Game of Thrones’ Is Now Officially Streaming In 4K Ultra HD On HBO Max

Streaming the world of ice and fire just got clearer. WarnerMedia announced that the groundbreaking HBO series Game of Thrones is officially available to stream in 4K Ultra HD on HBO Max. The press release reads in part:

 

Rally the realm and watch Daenerys’ dragons take flight in new dimensions – HBO Max has released all eight seasons of “Game of Thrones” in 4K Ultra HD, HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos globally, on select devices (users in the U.S. must be subscribed to the ad-free plan).

 

From epic battles like Blackwater and The Battle of the Bastards, to emotional scenes like Hold the Door, and the shocking twists of The Red Wedding and The Great Sept Explosion, fans will be immersed in the world of Westeros in ways they haven’t seen before. Whether subscribers are watching the series for the first time or in anticipation of the premiere of “House of the Dragon,” these formats make the episodes look sharper and showcase deeper, richer colors, while boasting atmospheric audio.

 

It’s been nearly two years since Game of Thrones has been available in 4K UHD, and it is a sensational upgrade from what you saw on cable. You can read our full review of Game of Thrones in 4K here. You can also check out our Top Ten Tuesday highlighting some of the best Game of Thrones episodes to watch in 4K, but it’s probably worth re-watching the entire series in UHD if you haven’t already. The detail provided in 4K UHD is extremely realistic, and you can get a finer appreciation for things like the costumes and sets.

 

You’ll need the ad-free HBO Max plan ($14.99/month vs. $9.99/month for the plan with ads) to watch Thrones in Ultra HD. But it will work globally on many devices, including Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Apple TV 4K, Xfinity 4K boxes, and 4K LG smart televisions.

 

Not only does the Dolby Vision and HDR10 help deliver a better picture in the 4K format, but Dolby Atmos makes noticeable improvements to the sound quality of the show.

 

The Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon will also be available in 4K UHD on HBO Max. House of the Dragon premieres on Sunday, August 21 at 9:00 PM ET on HBO and HBO Max.

The Official Trailer For ‘House of the Dragon’ Has Been Released

The Official Trailer For ‘House of the Dragon’ Has Been Released

Just over one month from its debut on HBO, the official trailer for the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon has arrived.

 

 

We already had good previews of the series with character posters and images as well as a teaser trailer, but this official trailer gives more insight on the type of story we’ll be following. House of the Dragon focuses on the Targaryen civil war, and much of it appears set to take place in the Red Keep. The political intrigue will certainly be a focus of Season 1, just as it was for Thrones.

 

There also looks like there’ll be plenty of action, which will include 17 different dragons. James Hibbard of The Hollywood Reporter gives great insight on the approach from series creators Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik (and A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin) in a two-part series. Basically, this story will feature a couple of different timelines, jumping ten years forward with four actors—a younger version and a slightly older version—playing two of the main characters (Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower). Judging by the trailer, it looks like much of the season will be tied around the relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent.

 

House of the Dragon is obviously looking to build off of what Game of Thrones did in creating the most highly acclaimed and most awarded television series in history. Condal and Sapochnik (who directed some of Thrones’ best episodes like “Hardhome”, “Battle of the Bastards”, “The Winds of Winter”, and “The Long Night”) are doing their own thing, but they won’t shy away from all that worked with GoT. To note, Ramin Djawadi is composing the score like he did for Game of Thrones, so that’ll be huge in helping set a similar tone for the series.

 

House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 at 9:00 PM ET on HBO and HBO Max.

Potential Storylines For ‘Game of Thrones’ Sequel Centered Around Jon Snow

Potential Storylines For ‘Game of Thrones’ Sequel Centered Around Jon Snow

Late last week, it was reported that a Game of Thrones sequel starring Kit Harrington (who played Jon Snow for eight seasons) is in early development. It was met with some skepticism, but Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) seemed to confirm the report in a recent interview with BBC—saying “it’s happening” and has “been created by Kit.” So, it wouldn’t be a surprise if an official announcement is made soon, and now is a good time to predict the potential storyline for the series if it moves forward.

 

King Bran calls Jon Snow to King’s Landing

Similar to King Robert Baratheon needing the help of Ned Stark to begin Game of Thrones, we could see Jon reluctantly head south with King Bran calling him to the capital. The hope at the end of Game of Thrones was that the Three-Eyed Raven being king would bring peace to Westeros, but an individual or group could easily want power for themselves—forcing Jon back into the fold to protect his “brother.” This storyline would obviously bring many of the original cast back, including Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), and Jerome Flynn (Bronn) as the new small council from the final episode.

 

Westeros faces threat from unknown continent

Game of Thrones’ 73-episode run covered a vast world with Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen essentially coming from opposite sides of it before being brought together over the final two seasons—but there is still plenty that’s yet to be explored. If a massive, unknown enemy were to attack Westeros, who better to lead an army of the six kingdoms (plus the North and wildlings) than Jon Snow?

 

Bringing the wildling clans together

The wildling tribes feuding for thousands of years makes it difficult to imagine there would suddenly be 100% peace among them just because Jon Snow is there, so a sequel series could follow Jon’s path to becoming the full-fledged King Beyond the Wall and accomplishing that goal. Surely, the former King in the North would need to pick up Longclaw at least once or twice to fight an unruly wildling, and he’d be backed by Tormund and Ghost.

 

Arya Stark gets into trouble

Many have mentioned that a story centered around Arya (rather than Jon) would make sense because she’s clearly separated from those still in Westeros, but maybe she can still be a significant part of a sequel series. One idea would be running into some sort of trouble against whatever is west of Westeros that forces Jon—being perhaps the only one brave enough to go—into action (it’s easy to picture a conversation he has with Sansa Stark where the Queen in the North says she can’t help because ruling has her attention). A bolder idea? Arya has become some sort of disillusioned warlord that Jon must save/redeem.

 

Exploring the Land of Always Winter

The Night King and the White Walkers were defeated at the Battle of Winterfell to end the Great War in Game of Thrones, so expecting more of the Army of the Dead might not happen. However, you never know what kind of magic is lurking in the Land of Always Winter—shown once in GOT when the Night King first appeared—and it’d be great to see Jon fighting them again after the White Walkers were featured in some of the best episodes/moments in the original series.

 

Daenerys Targaryen is resurrected

The storyline most people want is the return of Daenerys, and there is certainly an opening for it to happen with Drogon carrying her body away—perhaps to be resurrected—following her death in the Game of Thrones finale. All the stories could have Drogon find his way back to Jon somehow, but this scenario would really allow the Targaryen side of him to be explored. And while Emilia Clark has said “I think I’m done” about a potential return, maybe even a small role is possible (via flashbacks/visions) as the former Lord Commander battles some of the guilt he likely feels about killing his queen. Also, Dany’s return could even lead to a final peace of mind for Jon Snow after such tragic endings for those he loved in Game of Thrones—but would the Mother of Dragons be resurrected as a remorseful friend or vengeful foe?

Report: ‘Game of Thrones’ Sequel Starring Kit Harington Is In Development

Report: ‘Game of Thrones’ Sequel Starring Kit Harington Is In Development

Winter is… returning?

 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has entered early development on a Game of Thrones sequel centered around Jon Snow—played by Kit Harington for eight seasons on the all-time great fantasy series.

 

The report’s wording says “should a series move forward” and has no official comment from HBO or Harington’s representatives, but the fact the news dropped could mean it will happen. Of course, this could lead to many or all characters from Game of Thrones—from the remaining Starks to Tyrion Lannister to even potentially Daenerys Targaryen—also returning to bring Westeros back to life.

 

This rumor coming to light might result in some sort of official announcement if HBO intends to move forward, but there are plenty of moving parts that need to come together. Also, it will be interesting to see who the potential showrunner(s) would be after David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did such a fantastic job with Game of Thrones. 

 

House of the Dragon premieres this August as one of several prequels in development, and now the first sequel could be coming with Jon Snow’s possible return.

First Full Official Trailer For ‘House of the Dragon’ Is Here

First Full Official Trailer For ‘House of the Dragon’ Is Here

Winter is coming, and with it… fire and blood.

 

After teasing more content with promotional character posters this morning, the first official trailer for House of the Dragon has been released:

 

 

Expectations are rightfully sky high for the Game of Thrones prequel, and hype will only continue to build for perhaps the most anticipated television series of all-time.

 

‘House of the Dragon’ will premiere on August 21 at 9 PM ET on HBO and HBO Max.

HBO Releases New ‘House of the Dragon’ Image And Posters

HBO Releases New ‘House of the Dragon’ Image And Posters

“The reign of House Targaryen begins…”

 

HBO has revealed a new image from upcoming Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, showing Rhaenyra Targaryen presumably contemplating battle strategy:

 

 

The image was followed up with a promotional poster of Rhaenyra, and other character posters are also being released:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The return of House Targaryen is near, and a full length trailer was also released today.

 

‘House of the Dragon’ will premiere on August 21 at 9 PM ET on HBO and HBO Max.

‘House of the Dragon’ Release Date Has Been Revealed

‘House of the Dragon’ Release Date Has Been Revealed

Fire and Blood.

 

Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon has released a new poster that reveals the debut date of HBO’s highly anticipated series as August 21:

 

 

Aside from some clips in HBO advertisements, there hasn’t really been any information about House of the Dragon since last October’s teaser trailer, but now we have confirmation that it will release late summer and air into the fall.

 

This news could mean a full trailer for the series is coming soon, and there is also additional information about House of the Dragon via HBO PR, including new images from the first season.

 

‘House of the Dragon’ will premiere on August 21 on HBO and HBO Max.

HBO Releases First Official Teaser Trailer For ‘House of the Dragon’ Prequel Series

HBO Releases First Official Teaser Trailer For ‘House of the Dragon’ Prequel Series

Fire and Blood are coming. HBO just released the first official teaser trailer for the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon:

 

 

It was a surprise to get this teaser so early in the morning (Eastern time in the United States). The video was released via the HBO Max accounts as WarnerMedia looks to draw more interest to its streaming platform, where House of the Dragon will be released.

 

House of the Dragon follows the events 200 years before Game of Thrones and the fall of the Iron Throne, focusing on the dynasty of House Targaryen, their dragons, and the family’s civil war. A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin recently said on The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of podcast that there will be “like 17 dragons” in the series, each with their own colors and personality.

 

The 2022 release year for House of the Dragon as been known, and getting a teaser at this point could indicate it will be in the spring or summer window instead of debuting next fall. With the exception of Season 7, which ran entirely in the summer, and Season 3 (premiere on March 31), all Game of Thrones seasons began in April and ended in May (the final season) or June (all other seasons aside from Season 7). We’d expect a similar schedule for the first season of House of the Dragon.

 

House of the Dragon is obviously a hugely anticipated series with millions of built-in followers coming off the heels of the most successful series in history in Game of Thrones. Even with the show still in production, fans are thrilled with an early look at it.

 

House of the Dragon will air on HBO and stream on HBO Max beginning in 2022.

Top Ten Tuesday: ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes To Watch In 4K UHD

Top Ten Tuesday: ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes To Watch In 4K UHD

It took four months, but my re-watch of Game of Thrones in 4K is ended. I still don’t understand the extreme hate that Season 8 gets, but this article isn’t about that. This Top Ten Tuesday picks the best Game of Thrones episodes to watch in 4K UHD. The criteria goes by looks only in the stunning 4K format—so it’s not ranking the best episodes in general. (For example, “The Rains of Castemere”, which has a case for the top ten given the details of The Red Wedding and the darkness of the scene in and outside of hall, is probably the best overall episode of the series but does not make the list. I would recommend it as No. 1 to watch still, but not in terms of taking advantage of 4K quality only.)

 

Game of Thrones got bigger and bigger as time went on, so naturally the list consists of the later seasons. But another dozen episodes and standout scenes could have made the top ten. These in particular get an honorable mention:

 

“The Door” (Season 6, Episode 5)

“And Now His Watch Is Ended” (Season 3, Episode 4)

“Blackwater” (Season 2, Episode 9)

“The Rains of Castamere” (Season 3, Episode 9)

“The Watchers on the Wall” (Season 4, Episode 9)

“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” (Season 5, Episode 6)

“Winter Is Coming” (Season 1, Episode 1)

“The Mother’s Mercy” (Season 5, Episode 10)

“The Children” (Season 4, Episode 10)

“Fire and Blood” (Season 1, Episode 10)

“Mhysa” (Season 3, Episode 10)

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (Season 8, Episode 2)

 

[Also, I highly recommend watching Game of Thrones in 4K at some point. The immense detail put into the show stands out even more than it did when it aired on HBO in full HD.]

 

Now to the top ten:

 

10. “The Dance of Dragons” (Season 5, Episode 9)

One of the top episodes of the series, “The Dance of Dragons” is headlined by the final scene in the Great Pit of Daznak. After Jorah Mormont won the gladiator battle, we the viewers were placed directly in the action of Daenarys Targaryen and her closest advisors attempting to escape the pit with their lives—the intense scene is eased when Drogon screeches and flies in to save his mother and wreak havoc on her attackers, which is when the 4K UHD format really shines. Daenerys makes a triumphant exit by riding her dragon for the first time, leaving Tyrion Lannister and the others stunned at the situation. “The Dance of Dragons” also includes the despairing situation for Stannis Baratheon and his forces in the North, and Melisandre leading the burning of Princess Shireen at the stake.

 

9. “The Winds of Winter” (Season 6, Episode 10)

Again, these rankings are by appearance in 4K, not by overall quality—and the order could vary quite a bit, as each has its share of stunning moments in UHD. “The Winds of Winter” gives “The Rains a Castamere” a push for Game of Thrones’ best episode, and it begins with the exceptional and lengthy scene—with the awesome “Light of the Seven” score by composer Ramin Djawadi—capped by Cersei Lannister using wildfire to eliminate her enemies. Among the other moments in the momentous episode are Arya Stark getting revenge on Walder Frey in a dark scene, Samwell Tarly getting access to the massive and spectacular Citadel library, the Tower of Joy scene in Bran’s vision, Jon being named King in the North at a reclaimed Winterfell, Jamie Lannister returning to see Cersei being crowned in the gloomy Red Keep, and Daenerys finally setting sail to Westeros—all the events look tremendous in 4K.

 

8. “The Dragon and the Wolf” (Season 7, Episode 7)

“The Dragon and the Wolf” might go somewhat under the radar, but it’s similar to “The Winds of Winter” in that a ton of stuff happens throughout the episode—the first meeting between Daenaerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister (the daytime dragon pit meeting looked great, especially when Dany arrived on Drogon), the death of Littlefinger, and the reveal of Jon Snow as Aegeon Targaryen and true heir to the Iron Throne among them. They all look amazing, but the biggest picture-quality standouts to note are 1) Jaime Lannister leaving King’s Landing just as the snow majestically begins to fall on the capital, and 2) the Night King bringing down the Wall at Eastwatch on an ice dragon Viserion. The fall of the Wall is obviously a critical moment, and the boost in sound quality from the Dolby Atmos on the 4K UHD discs—also a big reason to watch Thrones in 4K—is as evident as ever when the massive structure comes down via dragon fire.

 

7. “The Spoils of War” (Season 7, Episode 4)

“The Spoils of War” is the shortest Game of Thrones episode, but it’s clearly one of the best—and one of the best-looking. The candlelit crypts of Winterfell—where Arya and Sansa Stark have their reunion—always look really good in 4K, and Arya’s return to Winterfell was framed so nicely. But the masterpiece episode is probably at its best in 4K for the Battle of the Goldroad—also known as the loot train attack. Jaime Lannister stayed with his army despite Bronn telling him to retreat, but the Lannister forces were no match for Daenerys Targaryen, Drogon, and the Dothraki. The battle scene was a complete slaughter, and the soldiers being lit on fire with ashes flying all around—while tracking the movements of Bronn, who worked his way to the scorpion to target Drogon, and Jaime—is one of the most intense scenes in the show. The final dozen or show seconds of Jaime trying to end the war before Drogon stepped in front and then Bronn came out of nowhere looked sick.

 

6. “The Bells” (Season 8, Episode 5)

There are a few examples throughout the series where Drogon is in darkness and you can see his mouth open and the fire build up before he burns someone alive, and “The Bells” represents one of those moments here on the list, with Varys meeting his end after turning on Daenerys Targaryen and attempting to have her poisoned to install Jon Snow as King. The nighttime scenes—Varys’ death, Tyrion Lannister freeing his brother Jaime, and Daenerys’ scenes within the Dragonstone castle—really pop. And then when Daenerys and Drogon lay waste to King’s Landing—first to opposing soldiers and then to the entire city—the destruction is a sight to behold. Included in the apocalyptic setting was the long-awaited Cleganebowl, the death of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, and the final scene where Arya Stark survives and rides off on a lone white horse.

 

5. “Beyond the Wall” (Season 7, Episode 6)

There were good scenes at Winterfell and at Dragonstone, but the journey beyond the Wall is what gets this episode a clear spot on the list. Firstly, the landscape is stunning as Jon Snow and company make their way through the snowy terrain—the 4K helps show how beautiful Iceland and Belfast (where the scenes were filmed and presented on-screen) are. The good guys also encountered a zombie polar bear on their way to capturing a wight—and once they were found out by the Army of the Dead, things really picked up. The transition from day to night and dawn was outstanding, with the details looking lifelike as usual in 4K even for the dark and dull shots. Daenerys Targaryen’s arrival—starting with a bang when Drogon flies overhead a near-hopeless Jon—and the first battle between her dragons and the Night King’s army gives a magnificent look at the blending of the fire with the icy territory. The Night King takes out Viserion, Uncle Benjen saves his nephew, and Jon declares Daenerys his Queen to help cap off the grand episode. And the final shot of the Night King turning Viserion into an ice dragon and weapon for the Army of the Dead is one of the most memorable moments in Game of Thrones.

 

4. “Battle of the Bastards” (Season 6, Episode 9)

An incredible amount of detail went into “Battle of the Bastards”, which tracked Jon Snow as he did battle with Ramsay Bolton’s forces in the open field outside of Winterfell. The shot of Jon facing down Ramsay’s charging forces after attempting to save Rickon Stark might be the most iconic of the entire series—and from there, it’s utter chaos. The strategy Jon planned (a pincer movement) was actually used against his army of northerners and wildlings, leading to them getting trapped and the recently resurrected hero nearly suffocating beneath the pile. Finally, the Knights of the Vale arrived while Sansa Stark and Littlefinger looked on, ultimately delivering a victory. As Game of Thrones tends to accomplish, it feels like you are in middle of the scene—and it truly looks like it too in Ultra HD. The battle portion gets most of the recognition, and deservedly so; but the 4K format is a major plus, as usual, for the night before the battle and the night after the battle when Sansa finally gets her revenge on Ramsay.

 

3. “The Iron Throne” (Season 8, Episode 6)

I know a vocal group despises Season 8, but, again, I liked it. And regardless of where you stand, its picture quality is as good as it gets for 4K content. “The Iron Throne” begins with a dystopian setting in the aftermath of Daenerys Targaryen’s demolition of King’s Landing. When Daenerys gets dropped off by Drogon and the dragon’s wings spread behind his mother, it’s another one of the most iconic shots in all of Game of Thrones. The speech the Targaryen ruler gives to her army is chilling, and the performance by Emilia Clarke deserves major props—as should go without saying for everyone in the series, including Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington in this episode. The nuances of their emotional performances in Game of Thrones’ final episode were more evident in 4K to me. After Daenerys’ tragic death at the hands of Jon Snow, Drogon destroyed the Iron Throne in the scene I’d say might most rival the bringing down of the Wall in terms of taking advantage of Dolby Atmos—and Drogon flying away with a deceased Daenerys was a fitting end for the dragon. After their farewells, I loved the series-ending montage featuring Jon, Sansa Stark, and Arya Stark—beginning with Jon picking up Longclaw, and showing strong detail with Sansa’s crowning as Queen in the North, Arya setting sail with a massive and glorious Stark banner on her ship, and Jon getting set to make a new home north of the Wall. Everyone should try to re-watch the finale in 4K.

 

2. “Hardhome” (Season 5, Episode 8)

When HBO first sent me a copy of Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection in 4K UHD late last year, the first scene I wanted to watch was the massacre at Hardhome. It does not disappoint. When riding up to Hardhome, Jon Snow’s fur cloak stands out—the detail is amazing, as it feels like you can get a sense of how the costumes in the show feel just by looking at the details in 4K. Then the dark and gloomy discussion in the tent—Jon and Tormund trying to convince more wildlings to join their cause and avoid becoming members of the Army of the Dead—is another example of Thrones delivering with its darker scenes, particularly in 4K. Again, “Hardhome” benefits from the Dolby Atmos, with the calming waters sounding realistic. But things quickly turn the opposite of calm, and it looked like the massacre was happening right in my living room. Jon’s one-on-one with a White Walker—with the Night King looking on—is among the best tracking shots of the series, as is the Night King walking to the edge of the deck and raising the newest members of Army of the Dead while staring down Jon, who comes to realize the serious threat he’s up against is even worse than he imagined.

 

1. “The Long Night” (Season 8, Episode 3)

When “The Long Night”—the final battle between the living and the dead and perhaps the most anticipated episode of the series—first aired on HBO a couple of years ago, I was stunned to find out that many people had issues of seeing what was going on. There were common complaints of things being too dark. Thankfully, I had no such problems, but I know people that said they used “good” televisions and had issues. Those issues should be solved in 4K UHD (and as I did not yet mention, with Dolby Vision and HDR) if you are watching on a quality 4K television (I have an LG OLED, which is about as good as it gets for picture quality, but I’d say sets around $1,000 or more should suffice). The build-up of the episode, which takes place during the night only, is tense, and the episode is very, very dark—but it’s all perfectly viewable and looks as epic as anything you’ll be able to watch in 4K. The fire brought by the dragons and by Melisandre brings a balance to the darkness, and the aforementioned candle-lit crypts of Winterfell make it look and feel like you’re hiding with Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, and the others. The dragon battle and the moon shot when Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are trying to take out the Night King is yet another super memorable and picturesque moment. You can see everything clearly and you’re left holding your breath when Arya Stark is navigating her way through the library surrounded by wights. And—before meeting his shocking demise at the hands of Arya—the confident Night King, after brushing off dragon fire with a smirk, gliding through Winterfell and to the godswood surrounded by his White Walker lieutenants (and quickly disposing of Theon Greyjoy before triumphantly walking to the Three-Eyed Raven) gives the show’s best look at the villains from beyond the Wall, while accompanied by the unforgettable score “The Night King”. All the while, characters like Jorah Mormont (R.I.P.), Jaime Lannister, and Brienne of Tarth were fighting for their lives. If you were not a fan the first time, I recommend giving “The Long Night” another shot in 4K. In terms of how it looks in 4K UHD, “The Long Night” is at the top of the list.

‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Series ‘House of the Dragon’ Is Officially In Production

‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Series ‘House of the Dragon’ Is Officially In Production

The spring and summer television schedule had a long run of being dominated by HBO’s Game of Thrones. It’s been nearly two years since Game of Thrones concluded in May of 2019, and production is now officially underway for the prequel series, House of the Dragon.

 

 

The official Game of Thrones Twitter account got the hype started earlier today, cryptically tweeting a single fire emoji before working their way up to many fire emojis:

 

https://twitter.com/GameOfThrones/status/1386719268742569985?s=20

 

House of the Dragon now has social media accounts of their own, and they’ve been sharing some insight on the start of production:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House of the Dragon is based on A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, taking place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones and following the Targaryen family.

 

Included in the known cast are Paddy Considine (King Viserys Targaryen), Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower), Emma D’Arcy (Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen), Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen), Steve Toussaint (“The Sea Snake”), Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Velaryon), Rhys Ifans (Otto Hightower), Sonoyo Mizuno (Mysaria), and Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole).

 

HBO and the House of the Dragon team—with Martin and Ryan Condal (Colony) as the series co-creators, and Thrones vet Miguel Sapochnick (“Battle of the Bastards”, “The Long Night”) as showrunners—can now only do their best and hope this is the start of another epic global phenomenon like Game of Thrones.

 

House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO and HBO Max in 2022.

‘Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection’ In 4K UHD Review

‘Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection’ In 4K UHD Review

Winter is finally here in 4K Ultra HD. Tomorrow, Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection will be released in 4K UHD. Warner Bros. and HBO sent us an early review copy, which arrived last Friday, to give our thoughts in a review. I tested multiple scenes—from epic battles to intriguing dialogue scenes—all on a premium LG OLED television. So, is Game of Thrones in 4K worth it?

 

Yes.

 

First, let’s get one negative out of the way. As of now, it appears the digital copy does not redeem in 4K on Vudu. It says right on the front box, “4K Ultra HD + Digital Code”, so the safe assumption would be that the digital code should be in the 4K format. I couldn’t get an answer before this was published, but I know Seasons 1 and 8 (which were already available in 4K) also did not redeem in 4K—though perhaps they are waiting until the official release date tomorrow to make all 73 episodes available. At some point, they almost have to make it available in 4K digitally (it is likely coming on HBO Max at some point, so), but it’s something to keep in mind, especially if you do not have a 4K Blu-ray player.

 

Also, I know some were frustrated that a 4K set of Thrones was not released last year. I was too, especially because I was told it would not be coming in 4K. But for those people, making a repeat purchase to get Game of Thrones in 4K is totally worth it in my opinion.

 

First of all, the actual physical look of the box, with a screeching Drogon on the front and gold text and accents, looks awesome. It has a prestigious appearance and is worthy of a final box set for an all-time great show like Game of Thrones.

 

Photo courtesy: Warner Bros.

 

[UPDATE: The SteelBook (Best Buy exclusive, pictured below) arrived today 11/3, and it is very high quality. It is hefty and well-built. Also, it says on the box that there are just 7,600 of them (which was not mentioned anywhere from what I saw from Warner Bros. and the product page on Best Buy), so be sure to act fast if you see a SteelBook available and want it! It is worth the extra cost in my opinion.]

 

Photo courtesy: Warner Bros.

 

When I watched The Dark Knight in 4K UHD for the first time a couple of years ago, it was almost like watching it again for the first time in theaters. The same is the case for Game of Thrones. The higher resolution and detail captured in the 4K format (with HDR) is very clearly on another level to what we watched for eight seasons (sometimes compressed via cable, decreasing the quality for people at home). 4K HDR totally makes a major difference in the viewing experience, and we’ll dive into a few scenes and takeaways for the review.

 

For the dialogue type of scenes, the picture quality is so good that it looks like you are there with the cast and crew watching actors like Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke in person—more specifically, with their top-notch acting ability, it looks like Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen are in your living room. The crisper picture leads to the appearance of more realistic colors, depth, and shadows, and every inch of the screen stands out.

 

The first thing I watched was Hardhome, and the scene where Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his men ride up to the Free Folk fishing village on a rowboat was a major standout. The material of Jon’s black clothing was impeccable. Back to the depth/shadows, the fur on the cloak had serious detail, like you could see each individual hair and reach out to touch it; and the leather torso and gloves looked legit, because they were. Game of Thrones in 4K helps you appreciate all the time and detail the show put into everything, including realistic and worn clothing that actors basically had to wear throughout filming the same way their characters would have on their journeys.

 

I then watched the Great Pit of Daznak scene in The Dance of Dragons (skipping the heartbreaking scene when Shireen is burned at the stake; I’ll get to that on a full rewatch) when the Sons of the Harpy close in on Daenerys. The fighting and the defense of the Targaryen queen looked like it was taking place right in front of you, and the arrival of Drogon to save the day was insane. The effort put into creating a realistic look for the dragons can be further appreciated by seeing the detail in 4K UHD, and the fire looks extremely real (because it was, as they used real fire and actually lit stunt people on fire).

 

As for The Long Night, I did not have an issue with lighting as some people did when it aired last year, so I cannot really speak to that. But as you’d expect, the ultra-ambitious battle episode is stunning. The darkness throughout can be nerve-racking, and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) lighting the trenches on fire blows up the scene with light. If you have a 4K television with HDR, I would think you will get a much-improved picture if you had trouble with The Long Night when it aired on HBO in regular HD (again, probably compressed).

 

In summation, Game of Thrones in 4K gets you more than your money’s worth if you are a big fan of the show. I know some fans were not happy with the way the final season went (I was not one of them, as I thought it was a masterpiece as usual), but Thrones in 4K is still a fantastic purchase—just try to go into it with an open mind and at least enjoy the scenes and episodes you loved.

 

Black Friday and the holiday season are around the corner, and Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection in 4K UHD—also maybe along with a new OLED television to get the most out of it—should without a doubt be on your purchase list or wish list.

 

Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection in 4K UHD is available Tuesday, November 3 at retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and the Warner Bros. official shop.

‘House of the Dragon’ Makes Its First Official Casting

‘House of the Dragon’ Makes Its First Official Casting

Not a ton of information has been revealed about HBO’s Game of Thrones spinoff prequel series, House of the Dragon, and the COVID-19 pandemic is likely having some impact on the series’ inception. However, the first casting has been announced. Paddy Considine has been cast in a lead actor role as King Viserys Targaryen in House of the Dragon.

 

 

The official announcement on HBO’s website states of the first casting:

 

Paddy Considine (HBO’s The Third Day and The Outsider) will be playing King Viserys Targaryen. Viserys was chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy, but as we’ve learned from Game of Thrones, good men do not necessarily make for great kings.

 

The acting background from previous HBO series is interesting, but Considine has also appeared in Netflix hit series Peaky Blinders, and he was nominated for a Tony award (for The Ferryman) last year.

 

HBO’s character description for King Viserys Targaryen is also intriguing, and it paints the Targaryen king as a better man than the Viserys—Daenerys’ controlling older brother played by Harry Lloyd—most fans know from Game of Thrones.

 

Expect more castings to be announced in the coming weeks and months as House of the Dragon prepares for a 2022 premiere on HBO and HBO Max.