“Smash hit” or “low-end version of ‘Game of Thrones'”? The prequel “House of the Dragon” divides

The series derived from Game Of Thronescentered on the Targaryen family, arrives in France this Monday, August 22. And the critics are divided.

The universe of Game Of Thrones comes to life from this Monday in the prequel House of the Dragon. The plot takes place several hundred years before that of Game Of Thrones, and focuses on House Targaryen. King Viserys I Targaryen must choose an heir to succeed him on the throne. While his brother Daemon is the ready-made successor, his daughter, Rhaenyra, enters the race. At the same time, the civil war called “Dance of the Dragons” is looming…

With a score of 69 out of 100 on Metacritic and a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, two sites that compile reviews from the Anglo-Saxon press, the series seems to be divisive. Justin Krollof Deadlinewas particularly enthusiastic:

“The first episode of House of the Dragon has everything that made Game of Thrones a great show with a bigger budget.”

For Lorraine Ali, in the Los Angeles TimesHouse of the Dragon recaptures the power and grandeur of the original series”: “While paying homage to the original series, the spinoff adopts subtle tonal shifts from it while introducing new characters and storylines. […] The first episode is a resounding success and shows that House of the Dragon has a better understanding of its female characters than Game Of Thrones.”

Renowned critic Peter Travers, for ABC News, believes that House of the Dragon will satisfy those who were disappointed by the last episode of Game Of Thrones:

“They’ll be happy to see this rousing prequel show women standing up against the toxicity of patriarchy. And those dragons flying over Westeros are spectacular in every way.”

“A low-end version” of “GoT”

But the many defenders of the series nevertheless insist on the impossibility of House of the Dragon at surpass Game Of Thrones. “It’s well done. The direction is brilliant. There’s tension. And I can’t wait to see what’s next […] But Game Of Thrones has set the bar very high”, comments the critic of the Telegram Michael Deacon. “It’s in line with the best of game of thrones“, estimated for his part Lucy Mangan in The Guardian. “It’s fun, it’s beautiful, and it’s passable.”

For Alan Sepinwallreview for the magazine RollingStone“the narration of House of the Dragon is much less sprawling than that of Game Of Thronesbut the series didn’t choose as heroes the most interesting characters to follow.” The journalist also regrets “the absence of the irony and energy” of the parent series: “House of the Dragonunfortunately, is filled with characters and conflicts that would struggle to engage audiences if they were in the main series.”

Many blame the staging. “The characters are hollow, crushed by the medieval fantasies of George RR Martin. And when the series ventures into the terrain of war or romance, the staging becomes repetitive, without the force of the special effects of Game Of Thrones“, believes for his part Mike Hale in the New York Times. And the escalation of violence, which had made the reputation of Game Of Thronesno longer works here, concludes Inkoo Kang from the Washington Post:

“For better or for worse, it became thanks to Game Of Thrones harder to shock us with gory and cruel scenes, gratuitous nudity and unexpected twists. The scenes where House of the Dragon attempts to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor rarely work. It’s even in these moments that this prequel feels like a low-end release. [de la série originale].”

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