House of the Dragon season 1, episode 1 recap  – the premere explained

August 22, 2022
Jordan Russell Lyon 0
HBO Max, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
4

Summary

House of the Dragon returns to the standard we were used to in the early seasons of Game of Thrones. Compared to the first episode of GoT, House of the Dragon wins for its cunning plots and downright horrifying and tragic death. 

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4

Summary

House of the Dragon returns to the standard we were used to in the early seasons of Game of Thrones. Compared to the first episode of GoT, House of the Dragon wins for its cunning plots and downright horrifying and tragic death. 

This recap of the HBO series House of the Dragon season 1, episode 1, “The Heirs of the Dragon”, contains spoilers.

Access the archive of recaps, news, and reviews for House of the Dragon.

Set 200 years before the events of the most popular series of all time, House of the Dragon — adapted from portions of George R. R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood — aims to be a return to the glory days of HBO’s all-time epic. Can it return to those lofty standards? According to “The Heirs of the Dragon”, the answer might very well be yes.

House of the Dragon season 1, episode 1 recap 

In the year 101, the King called a great council to choose a new heir, and 14 claims were heard. But only two were considered; Princess Rhaenys Velaryon and Prince Viserys Targaryen. Ultimately Viserys Targaryen got chosen as the successor. House of the Dragon informs the viewer that it is the ninth year of King Viserys I Targaryen’s reign, which makes it 172 before the death of the Mad King and the birth of his daughter, Daenerys Targaryen. Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Lady Alicent Hightower visit Queen Emma.

House of the Dragon next cuts to Princess Rhaenyra arriving late to a meeting, where King Viserys I makes it clear that he believes his wife, Queen Emma, will give birth to a son rather than a daughter. Prince Daemon Targaryen sits on the throne when his niece Princess Rhaenyra warns such behavior could count as treason. As the bell rings, King Viserys has his people inspect a heavy cut on his back that refuses to heal. 

Later, Prince Daemon tells his men that the city has fallen. And tonight he wants King’s Landing to fear the color gold. With that, they begin to violently attack the citizens, either by mutilating or beheading them. News of the attacks reaches The Kingdom and Prince Daemon purposely insults the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower. When the games begin, King Viserys I reveal that Queen Emma has gone into labor. During the games, Prince Daemon picks his partner, who just so happens to be the eldest son of Ser Otto Hightower. As Lady Alison wishes Prince Daemon good luck, Queen Emma struggles to give birth. King Viserys I has a choice: save the child by cutting Queen Emma open or “leave it with the gods”.

King Viserys I tells Queen Emma that they’re going to bring the baby out now. As he holds her hand, Queen Emma screams for her life. As House of the Dragon cuts between Criston Cole beating Prince Daemon at the games, Queen Emma dies after giving birth to a male heir. But during her funeral, it becomes clear that the male heir only survived for a few hours. Princess Rhaenyra wonders if her father felt happiness in the short time that he had a son.

Otto comes to King Viserys I with an important issue, the lack of an apparent heir. The council claim that if Prince Daemon remains the undisputed King, it could damage the kingdom. Some even speculate whether Prince Daemon would kill King Viserys I for the throne.  Then, as they discuss whether Princess Rhaenyra would have a claim, they’re unaware that Prince Daemon listens.

The ending

But they’re not the only two with a claim, so it looks like the game of thrones begins once again! Afterward, Otto coaxes his daughter, Lady Alicent, into visiting the King at his chambers. Despite not knowing what she would talk about to King Viserys I, Lady Alicent does as her father tells her. The following morning, Otto tells King Viserys I that Prince Daemon was overheard/seen celebrating the recent deaths. When King Viserys I questions Prince Daemon whether he said “heir for the day”, a dramatic speech between the two brothers occurs. King Viserys I tells Prince Daemon that he will not be heir and that he must return to his “Lady Queen”. As Prince Daemon has no option but to leave, King Viserys I cuts his hand on the throne. 

In the closing section of the first episode of House of the Dragon, King Viserys I tells Princess Rhaenyra that he now intends for her to be the next Queen. But that’s not it; he tells her of a secret: the end of the world will begin with a terrible winter, or what some call A Song of Ice and Fire. Now, King Viserys I tells Princess Rhaenyra she must carry this secret. 

What did you think of the HBO series House of the Dragon season 1, episode 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to HBO Max.

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