Opinion: ‘Home of the Dragon’ may heal my ‘Recreation of Thrones’ heartbreak


And lots of — particularly this fan — are questioning if their hearts, shattered by the nonsensical storytelling in lots of “Recreation of Thrones” final episodes, could be mended.
It is value asking if this new present, which focuses on one thread of the complicated tapestry of the “Recreation of Thrones” universe, issues regardless of its smaller scale, and what it may need to say about our present second in tradition, over a decade after the unique sequence first aired. I have never answered these questions for myself but, however as a fan of the unique sequence who stays viscerally indignant at its ending — notably the way in which the writers betrayed their characters in addition to guidelines of time and house — I am left questioning what it means to be a fan of the franchise in any case these years and why I am watching “Home of the Dragon” in any respect.

There’s lots we have been requested to forgive, and I am embarking on the “Home of the Dragon” journey questioning if that forgiveness is feasible.

After two and a half years of dwelling amid a worldwide pandemic, with the isolation of lockdowns, the heartbreak of optimistic assessments derailing household gatherings, and the frustration of canceled holidays, maybe there’s consolation in returning to acquainted plotlines and characters, even when what followers at the moment are seeing are their ancestors. The “Home of the Dragon” writers keenly faucet into this nostalgia, together with within the premiere episode a throne room scene during which the heads of great Westerosi homes swear fealty to the King, Viserys Targaryen, and his named inheritor, Princess Rhaenyra.

There is a thrill of pleasure in seeing a Stark ancestor of Jon, Sansa and Arya bend the knee to Home Targaryen (although bending the knee did not work out so nicely for Jon) and a Baratheon patriarch vow to assist a brand new (feminine) Targaryen inheritor, whilst followers know his descendant Robert later makes an attempt to assassinate Daenerys Targaryen.

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And the Easter eggs do not cease there — the premiere concludes with King Viserys disclosing a secret to his daughter, a prediction he says has been handed down from monarch to inheritor for the reason that Targaryans first conquered Westeros: that “a horrible winter gusting out of the distant north” would sometime threaten to “destroy the world of the dwelling,” and “all of Westeros should stand in opposition to it.”

In case viewers aren’t clear that Viserys is referencing your entire plotline of “Recreation of Thrones,” he concludes his speech by calling this imaginative and prescient “The Tune of Ice and Fireplace,” the overarching title creator George R. R. Martin offers to books the unique sequence relies on.

These nods of recognition really feel like rewards for loyal viewers who’ve devoted years to Martin’s labyrinthine world. Additionally they create a way of group throughout the fandom, with associates separated by geography or the pandemic reaching out to commerce reactions and draw connections.

In fact, it is not clear how lengthy followers and even the community will stick to the sequence, with critics elevating questions on a fantasy head-to-head between HBO’s “Home of the Dragon” and Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Energy.” However the viewership numbers for the premiere — HBO, which shares a dad or mum firm with CNN, has mentioned it was the most-watched premiere in HBO and HBO Max historical past — show no less than an preliminary urge for food to return to Westeros and its typically incestual and at all times bloody intrigue.

Spin-off reveals that successfully deploy nostalgia dominate the streaming panorama lately, with Disney+ capitalizing on each the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars franchise through sequence narrowly targeted on the event of characters followers have already grown to like. The success of reveals like “WandaVision,” “The Mandalorian,” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” have proved followers will tune in for screentime zeroed in on a small slice of a beloved epic panorama, which primarily describes the connection between “Home of the Dragon” and “Recreation of Thrones.”

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However the uneven reception of reveals such because the Intercourse and the Metropolis continuation, “And Simply Like That,” and “The E-book of Boba Fett” show {that a} spin-off’s success is just not a foregone conclusion. It requires a cautious mix of reinforcing the franchise’s model whereas adapting to new up to date contexts, and throwing in one thing revolutionary and new for spice.

Followers tune in search the consolation of the themes and aesthetics they know whereas additionally trying to find the brand new. To this impact, the premiere of “Home of the Dragon” self-consciously addresses the misogyny and sexual violence all too typically obvious in “Recreation of Thrones,” and on condition that the narrative begins with the King asking Westeros to just accept a future feminine monarch, there’s hope that illustration of feminine characters could be an enchancment over the unique sequence.

However as with all prequel, we already type of know the way this one ends: patriarchy, White supremacy and misogyny will win out, and final within the Westerosi world for no less than 200 extra years. The primary episode of “Home of the Dragon” maintains the funding “Recreation of Thrones” made in portraying medieval brutality, together with mutilation and dismemberment, nudity and surprising violations of feminine bodily autonomy. The present’s producers dance across the post-MeToo context they have to work in now, relocating violence in opposition to ladies from sexual coercion to, horrifyingly, childbirth, which has profoundly uncomfortable resonances in a post-Roe United States.

So why are we watching? To catch a glimpse of a well-recognized fort, a Dornish prince or a prophecy we have watched play out centuries later? To see incest break an ideal dynasty? To see the look on the face of King Viserys’s cousin, The Queen Who By no means Was, when she’s handed over as monarch due to her gender and suppose, “I do know that look?”

Or possibly, after all the pieces we have been by way of the previous few years, we simply wish to watch dragons mild issues on hearth.


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