HBO releases the first poster of ‘House of the Dragon’, a ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel

HBO has finally released the first poster of much-awaited Game of Thrones prequel. As reported by The Hindu, HBO has given green signal to make a 10-episode first season of House of the Dragon.

On October 30, the official twitter handle of GoT shared the news by writing, “HouseOfTheDragon, a #GameofThrones prequel is coming to @HBO.” The tweet also gave us a first look poster of the said show.

As per the tweet, the series is co-created by writer George R R Martin and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series. The prequel is based on George R.R. Martin’s ‘Fire & Blood’. The series will be mainly focused on House Targaryen and ofcouse dragons.

“It’s my pleasure to announce today that we are ordering House of the Dragon straight to series for HBO,” said Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, at a launch event in Los Angeles for the HBO Max streaming platform.

Earlier, another prequel of GoT was announced with Naomi Watts in an important role, but Deadline recently reported that HBO might have scrapped that project after test-screening the pilot episode. Although HBO hasn’t announced any release date or when the filming will begin, this show will premier on HBO’s streaming platform, HBO Max. The cable network company is yet to announce the cast.

Game of Thrones, created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is a popular series based on the bestselling book series by George R.R. Martin.

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Unpopular Opinion: The Game of Thrones finale almost sticks its landing but misses by a few inches

For years on end we have speculated what the ending of Game of Thrones would look like. To be honest, I am fairly sure, nobody really could guess. But we knew one thing for certain; it was never going to be happy. We all knew Jon would never get to rule and neither would Daenerys and nor would they live happily ever after. After having learnt that this episode was not only written but also directed by Dan and David I entered into it with zero expectations and honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. We can all see how some version of this finale will definitely play out in George’s books because it does deliver the bittersweet ending he promised. All the endings are fairly open ended leaving endless possibilities, even staying true to character for a lot of them.

Unlike most of the previous episodes this season, this episode feels more like Game of Thrones with a near about genuine attempt at storytelling, various high points and excellent cinematography. The shot of Tyrion discovering the bodies of his siblings, though a little improbable, feels highly cathartic; the shot of Daenerys walking towards her victory with Drogon just behind her, timely spreading his wings giving us the image of the dragon queen, the angel of Death, is an excellent work of symbolism; the shot of Drogon melting the Iron Throne in blinding anger and grief is almost choking; the final transition between the suiting up of the three Stark siblings ( Jon remains a Stark in essence) is so hopeful, and the final shot of Jon riding away into The Haunted Forest brings the story to a full circle.

Even in character, we find an echo of their former selves as was created by Martin. We finally get Tyrion talking sense after all these epsiodes, giving Peter Dinklage not one but two speeches to make it to the Emmy’s. We see a true reflection of Jon’s character, a man who will unflinchingly guard the realms of men as he had vowed to do, keeping in mind what Maester Aemon had taught him. In the throne room we not only get a major pay off of Daenerys’ visions in the House of Undying but in her dialogue we hear that little girl we loved so dearly; we see that girl standing right there until she isn’t there anymore. We see in Sansa a she wolf protecting her pack, becoming the Queen in the North. We see in Arya finally a better sense of purpose that is not driven by revenge, and we see in Tyrion how he is forced to accept the power he once coveted and now hates. We also get a better Stark farewell than their reunions.

In comparison to the vastly intricate plot, politically, geographically and magically, that Martin had laid for us, the underlying message seems simple but nonetheless profound- the real enemy is the thirst for power where the only people you can trust with it are those who do not want it and the best chance we have at peace is by learning from our past and using it to create a future. The finale also heavily pays Martin’s original title for his last book which was A Time for Wolves, finally giving the Stark children each a purpose and a certain wisdom – a coming of age experience and this isn’t even surprising considering how obsessed Martin had been with their journey since the start.

Then, despite almost sticking the landing, where does it go wrong? Why does it leave a bitter aftertaste? I think it is mostly because the problem isn’t with the resolution but how Game of Thrones stumbled upon it and what is specifically unique about this episode is, most of these problems could have been easily undone just by making slight but significant changes. Every event that unfurls in this episode requires a bit of assumption on the part of the audience and even then it does not manage to tie all the loose ends. Sure the Unsullied’s make peace with Jon’s life sentence but why did the Dothraki not kill Jon Snow immediately after he stabbed Daenerys? That is what blood of my blood means in Dothraki, right? Why would they let the death of their Khaleesi go forgiven? Why would Grey Worm suddenly allow Tyrion to talk in the choosing of a new king without any real protest? We know that the Unsullied are headed to Naath, but where do the Dothrakis go anyway?

And these aren’t the only problems…

Jon Snow

One of the biggest issues with this season for me has been the butchering of Jon Snow’s character, but after this episode I am not so sure about whether his character had any significance at all. Okay sure, they slightly paid off Azor Ahai by making him kill Dany, his Nissa Nissa,( also fulfilling Daenerys’ vision where she touches the Iron Throne to never sit on it and is killed by the flower that grew on the Wall walking into the afterlife), to free the realm from a tyrant and bring forth a dawn (I will discuss this frightening idea of dawn in a few minutes), but for what? To be taken as a prisoner by the Unsullied? To be sent back to the Night’s Watch (which has no purpose really, just a penitentiary to keep the nonsense far away) to serve a life sentence for committing regicide of a queen they all wanted dead? Then why was his parentage ever important? Because as far as I am concerned, I think Jon killed Daenerys more as Ned Stark’s bastard than as Rhaegar’s son. Yes, it was poetic considering it was Aegon I who created this structure of power and it was inadvertently Aegon VI, whom Rhaegar had named after Aegon the Conqueror, whose actions lead to the melt down of this symbol of power by Drogon, a similar figure to Balerion the Dread whose fire forged the Iron Throne. But to what ends?

ALSO READ: Game of Thrones, Finale ‘The Iron Throne’ review: And now our watch has ended

Also, why was Jon’s claim not brought up even once in the Dragon Pit before the council? Why wouldn’t Samwell or Sansa even mention it? Wasn’t he supposed to be the just king Westeros needed? Wasn’t that the reason why Sansa told Tyrion in the first place? What was the point in him being a Targaryen? His parentage could have been as insignificant as Rey’s in the new Stars Wars for all we care. I have no problem with the ending. Jon was never supposed to be King. But the least they could have done is given Jon a chance to refuse that power simply because he understands what power does to people and where it takes them. He has seen not one, but two of his lovers die in his arms for the consequences that escalated from war and it was his right to choose that he has had enough of it. He was supposed to break the wheel by refusing to participate in the game altogether. He was supposed to prove wrong what Cersei had once told Ned Stark – “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die”. He was supposed to show us another way by refusing to play the game by choosing life instead. The life he had in the North with the people who loved him the most, the free folk. This wasn’t supposed to be a life sentence but a cry for life itself with no titles and honors but for living for life’s sake.

Instead the life they give him was one of punishment. One of dishonor as the Queensalyer, a name Jaime had to fight all his life to erase, and oh, a bonus but adorable reunion with Ghost (not that I am complaining). In my heart, the only way I can make peace with this is to think Jon gives up the Night’s Watch in the end and goes on to live a life with the wildlings, the only place he had found true happiness in all his life, with the only people who really respected him for he who was, a place where he truly belonged.

Which brings me to the discussion on the apparent dawn…

Bran the Broken

Okay, I am just going to go ahead and say this- this title is ableist. I know where it comes from and I understand it. I know it comes from the underlying theme of all the “cripples, bastards and broken things” in the world who should wear their statuses in pride as armors so that nobody can use it against them. But is constantly saying it necessary? Anyway, that is honestly the least of the problems we face in the narrative of Bran becoming King. Whether a sage or a prophet should be a ruler has always been a matter of debate in history and what makes Bran’s position even more debatable is his powers. Bran has the power of Greensight and is the Three-eyed-raven who can warg into animals, control humans and time travel in history as we have seen with Hodor. Bran has already been shown in the series as extremely accurate in his visions and his ominous dialogue “Why do you think I came all this way?” makes the decision of making him King even more questionable.

While there can be plenty of arguments supporting why Bran is a good choice for Westeros given his stoic nature, his inability to father children, and his detachment from all things worldly, there is one question we cannot stop but ask ourselves, if Bran knew everything why did he let this happen? He could have easily had Daenerys assassinated at Winterfell and then let Arya handle Cersei as well, but instead he chose to sacrifice the lives of thousands of innocents. One would argue that mankind learns only the hard way and not from stories, but how can they trust a King who lets this go down? How can they trust Bran’s intentions to remain unadulterated all along? Especially after we see him trying to hunt down Drogon? Why not leave Drogon alone to live out his days in grief? Did they do this to keep open a possibility of a sequel in the future where power corrupts even Bran? That is the only way this works.

I see how this could work out in the books because Bran still is a person who does not have clear access into the future and it is definitely alright to be a King with the knowledge of the past to bridge the gap between the past and present. The least the show could have done is shown Bran refusing the his position as he previously has refused to the title of Lord of Winterfell, because he isn’t even somewhat human but more like a Weirwood God, and is forced to take it as it happens in the vote of their semi parliamentary council. At least this could have saved Bran from coming out as a manipulative mastermind. My friend and I drew out a good analogy between Krishna’s role in the Battle of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata – he is also a God who knew what would happen and lets it happen any way but he later does not become King because with so much on one’s conscience one cannot. The same stands true for Bran – he is the collective consciousness of all living things past, present and future. The best he could have been is an adviser, but being a King is a liability as he cannot save humankind from their misery. So keeping all this in mind is it really a dawn after all?

Breaking the wheel or destroying structure

So much of this series has been about breaking the wheel or rupturing structure that it was only right on their part in subverting some of the existing ones with the Iron Throne coming up as the epitome of what the structure of power stands for in Westeros. We get a glorious scene of Drogon melting down the Iron Throne that caused so much chaos to begin with. However, the real structure isn’t decimated but merely the symbol. I don’t blame them because it could not be. Structures take years to deconstruct and even more to accept and that is why Samwell’s pitch for democracy is laughed away.

But what is problematic in this semi parliamentary system is in Sansa’s asking for an independent North from her little brother and having it without even a vote making the King’s decision, the decision of one person once again, supreme. There is also a sign of not only nepotism in giving his family what they ask, but also of a ruler who very impetuously makes a decision without understanding how it reflects on the rest of the kingdom. If Sansa goes free, what stops Yara from demanding the Iron Islands? Which definitely brings me to the question, why was everybody in the previous generation so stubborn? If only they were so amenable there would never have been the War of Five Kings.

ALSO READ: ‘Things we do for love’: How the ‘love laws’ do not evade even the magico-political world of Game of Thrones

The other structure that this series has repeatedly tried to subvert is that of the gender binary. While it has managed to do that to a certain extent by making Sansa the Queen in the North (which I have to admit was super empowering to watch; looking absolutely badass in her weirwood embroidered grey gown and a Direwolf crown), and Ser Brienne the commander of the Kingsguard, the death of the two most powerful and competent women characters, and the uncharacteristic acceptance of peace on the part of Yara Greyjoy, in the last two episodes definitely comes as a blow in not knowing how to fittingly end the narrative of extremely ambitious women.

Despite the repeated complaints against this season on being rushed and very carelessly executed, the finale does not fail completely. In fact it feels almost like a fitting end you would want for so many of these characters. We finally get cripples and broken things rising high in the world with Bran as King as Tyrion as his Hand, and we see Ser Davos, an illiterate man, now educated enough to correct grammar, but what falls flat is the arcs of some of the most supreme creations of Martin and that doesn’t feel right. The questions keep bothering us, because if this is going to be even the ultimate version of Bran in the books, then how is it a dream of spring? Are we just supposed to assume his goodness? But hasn’t Martin taught us better than that? What happens to this expansive world that Martin had introduced us to, what happens to the Dothrakis? And the bitterest aftertaste that remains is in the significance of R+L=J, why was Martin so obsessed with it anyway? Maybe this is all there is, until we have the books. Till then we can wait for the third season of Westworld or the prequels (if anyone is looking forward to them that is).

NOTE: This is an exclusive opinion of the author and does not in any way reflect the view of Moviemaniacs.

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