Desired and expected by millions of viewers around the world, The House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones, carried great expectations: to live up to its predecessor in terms of criticism from specialists and, also, interest generated in the public. With only one episode broadcast, the series based on the story created by George R. R. Martin managed to more than fulfill both items.
As reported by HBO on Monday, the series – which premiered on Sunday – “broke records” and became the most successful debut in the company’s history. In the United States alone, the first chapter was seen by almost 10 million viewers through the HBO cable channel and the HBO Max platform.
In addition, it was the series that generated the highest audience for any premium cable channel or streaming platform so far this year, surpassing the number of views of the first chapter of the fourth season of the Netflix tank, Stranger Things, according to information. of Samba TV, a company specializing in television information and technology.
The series was also in demand 23 times higher than the average among US consumers the day before it was released, according to Parrot Analytics, a content analytics company.
The House of the Dragon premiered three years after Game of Thrones ended, but its debut also served as a way for many viewers to give its predecessor a chance, which had its best week on HBO Max in the seven days before the last Sunday .
The series, set almost 200 years before the beginning of Game of Thrones, was well received by critics, although in some cases, the trap of comparing a first chapter with the eight seasons of the original ended up playing against it. Some columnists for the British newspaper The Guardian pointed out that it will be “a great success”, and even predict that it will become “as big as its predecessor in its heyday”. Others were more lukewarm. The English newspaper The Telegraph said it falls “a little short”, while the US media The Wrap indicated that it “pales in comparison”.
The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, noted that “House of the Dragon recaptures the power, the grandeur of the original (series)” and that it “immediately thrusts viewers into the familiar sights and sounds of the Game of Thrones universe.”
Lucy Mangan, television critic at The Guardian newspaper, indicated that “everything is like in the heyday of GOT. Fun, looks great and sounds acceptable.” In its five-star review, The Times described the new series as “visually sumptuous, well-acted (for the most part), sharply written and intelligent in tone.” It will be “accessible to anyone who hasn’t seen a second Game of Thrones, but reassuringly familiar to those who have seen it all,” according to critic Ben Dowell.
Based on the book Fire and Blood by Martin, the story takes place in the glory period of the Targaryen house. The season centers on the regency of King Viserys (Paddy Considine), a seemingly benevolent monarch with a problem: He only has one daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock as a teenager; Emma D’Arcy as an adult) to succeed him. With the queen pregnant and everyone convinced that the heir to the throne will finally arrive, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), impulsive and violent brother of the king with aspirations to succeed him, begins to worry.
Sitting on the Iron Throne while the council discusses his latest daring as head of the king’s guard, from his first on-screen appearance Daemon presents himself as the catalyst for all the tragedy to come, the war between brothers that will eventually bring him to his knees. to the powerful Targaryens, famous for their dragons, their platinum hair and their tendency to incest.