'House of the Dragon' : Back to the World of Westeros and the Battle for the Crown

House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO

house of the dragon
Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

This 10-episode prequel to HBO's Game of Thrones makes sure to keep — clone — all the elements that made the original show such a hit: the fire-breathing dragons (why is it never chinchillas in these epics?); the eye-gouging violence; the spectacular production design; the poisonous political maneuvering; the uniformly stellar acting; and, unavoidably, the stilted dialogue ("Rest now, your grace. I will bring the leeches"). What's different, at least in the first six episodes, is the smaller scale and sweep of the narrative. This is basically Game of Thrones' Mini-Me.

Set roughly 200 years before Game, House of the Dragon is yet another tale about the endless struggle to determine who gets to occupy the Iron Throne.

This time, though, we focus on the squabbles within the house of Targaryen, the dynasty that will ultimately produce Game's Daenerys Targaryen. Like her, the Targaryens have long white-blond hair and look like a medieval line of Barbies. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) wants a male heir, but a son perished, forcing him (reluctantly) to consider his young daughter Rhaenyra as successor.

House of the Dragon

As played in the first five episodes by the sensational Milly Alcock, she's astute, cynical and clear-eyed, smiling politely while sizing up her chances. Rhaenyra should be handed the keys to every castle, dungeon and pantry in the kingdom. Plus the throne.

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Viserys can retire to a waterfront condo in King's Landing.

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House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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