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(Since we have a thread for The Other Fantasy Show.)


(Warning for spoilers.)

Anybody else been watching this? I've been catching it since the first episode and I'm really enjoying it. It hits the ground running.

The actors are fantastic, even given that the time skips require them to keep changing. I had initial doubts about Matt Smith but it turns out that when you get him to calm down he's actually really fantastic. Paddy Considine especially has been a revelation—don't be surprised if there's an Emmy nom. for him later in the year.

You can really feel the budget differences between it and Thrones, given that HotD is starting with multi-million budgets and GoT had to work its way there across seasons. Throne's aesthetic peak, for my money, was between seasons three and five—after that point the costuming declined pretty noticeably (the endless series of triangle dresses, for example)—but HotD is better even than that, from the costuming (the colors are so very rich—consider the way color is used to distinguish between characters [Alicent's greens, Rhaenyra's reds and blacks]—and the designs, with their variety of headpieces, layers, decorative filigree is leagues beyond GoT) to the sets (the expansive Red Keep with its monstrous take on the Iron Throne). The recurring motif of rats crawling about, everywhere, is unsubtle but effective.

The directors are more willing to use the artifice of cinema, and the result means that it's a more visceral show than Thrones, too low-budget early on and too epic later, ever was. I'd point to the intercutting between the scenes of the forced surgical removal of Aemma's son from her womb and Sir Criston's duel with Daemon Targaryen as an example. It's not just, of course, these huge climactic scenes that demonstrate this; Sapochnik's careful use of angles to capture the glances and chance encounters at the beginning of "Driftmark" (alongside Djawadi's disquieting music) is another example of this (and what a loss it is that Sapochnik has departed the show!). I daresay the directors have a confidence with the camera that Thrones generally did not—given that it was their first tv project and a massive project besides, I imagine that Benioff & Weiss were a bit self-conscious, and they enforced a very naturalistic style with only a few exceptions.

Having read Fire & Blood, HotD is a fantastic adaptation. F&B is a faux-history book from within the ASoIaF world, itself drawing upon multiple 'sources,' and the show is doing a great job of both threading the needle between the different "versions" present in F&B and making necessary changes and expansions. Transforming what's happening into the result of frustrated teenage crushes—whether it's Rhaenyra's and Alicent's on each other, or Rhaenyra's on Criston Cole—is one of those instantly genius moves that uplifts the whole drama. (Of course, the showrunners are fortunate in that the source material is complete—which was not the case, and wouldn't be the case were there to be a fresh adaptation announced this morning—with ASoIaF.)

My biggest criticism thus far is the reuse of the original GoT title theme—not merely reusing the music but the same damn recording! Yes, yes, I understand all the intellectual reasons for it, but it's not fitting for this show. The original tune, with its relentless ostinato, was perfect for the vast sweep of numerous characters pursuing interdependent storylines across multiple continents; it works less well for what is, in the end, the Dance of the Dragons: a family affair, a tightly focused story that keeps to just a small handful of locations.
I've enjoyed it quite a bit so far! Definitely more than RoP which felt went off the rails after a few episodes. I totally agree about Paddy Considine (whom I've seen in other stuff but never really considered to be more than a passable actor) and his portrayal of king Viserys. Poor, poor man! Not only is he plagued by a horrific disease, through all these years he just wants everyone to get along, but his family is a bunch of selfish, antagonistic c***s Sad

What bothered me at first -- but eventually made me like the show more -- is that it's more of a costume drama than a big fantasy spectacle like Game of Thrones. The same elements are there, sure, because it's set in the same world. But the focus is different and the pacing is slower, which actually speaks in the show's favor.

+1 on using the GoT opening theme though. I mean, come on!
I've never seen Paddy Considine in anything else, tho after HotD I certainly want to. His Viserys is an infinitely superior and more interesting character than the book version, and I think even George RR Martin has said that Considine's Viserys is better than the original. In the books he's fat and jolly and weak-willed, but this Viserys doesn't seem weak—or at least not in the same way—so much as somebody who wants to please everybody, but, when he picks something to stand on, he will never, ever back down on it: having made Rhaenyra heir, it is something he is consistent on, never changes his mind on, even as his desire for everybody to get along, and to please those around him, means that he's completely blinded to the brewing civil war around him.

Haven't seen RoP, and nothing I've heard about it makes me want to.

I have an inkling that the folks behind House of the Dragon have been inspired by the 2005 Les rois maudits, a TV adaptation of Maurice Druon's The Accursed Kings, a series of historical novels that Martin has cited as inspirations for A Song of Ice and Fire. I've seen a couple screenshots of Les rois maudits and in terms of the costuming, the way the colors really pop and the way that they separate characters narratively, reminds me a lot of HotD.

The opening theme reuse irritated me so much I threw together a 30-second "demo" of what an original theme for it might sound like. Whenever I have some free time I'll finish it.