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The consensus is that House of the Dragon has redeemed HBO’s franchise based on the work of George R.R. Martin about the fictional Planetos (the world Westeros is in, which also includes Essos, Sothoryos, numerous islands and archipelagos…and perhaps more!) Critics and fans agree that House of the Dragon (aka HotD to the fandom) brings back the joys of early Game of Thrones while bypassing some of the (redacted) aspects of later seasons. Game of Thrones was based on A Song of Ice and Fire; a series of novels. In addition to being a prequel to Game of Thrones, HotD is based on other examples of Martin’s writing, including the book Fire & Blood, and the novellas The Princess and the Queen and its own prequel The Rogue Prince. Fire & Blood is unlike Martin’s better known writing for being a fictional history as opposed to presented in first person or by a narrator.
As an aside, there’s a couple reasons he’s known as George R.R. Martin. One is to create an immediate comparison with J.R.R. Tolkien, the godfather of fantasy epic worldbuilding. The other is to distinguish him from George Martin who worked with the Beatles. In any case, this leads fans to refer to him as GRRM. (Usually pronounced like a growl- invoking dragons or wolves or lions- not a reference to how GRIM his plots can be.)
As you probably know by now, House of the Dragon is a story- but certainly not the whole story- of the Targaryens, a dynasty of inbred and egotistic royalty from across the sea. The family comes from Valyria, a now-gone culture of greatness built on the backs of slaves and with the might of dragons. The slaves are long gone, but the Targaryens still have dragons, which is why they get away with everything they get away with, such as conquering the continent of Westeros. (Even if you haven’t watched the shows or read the books, you probably know Westeros is the land this all takes place in, which is sort of an analog for Great Britain, with Essos being the world’s version of Eurasia, etc.)
GRRM’s work, and the shows based on it, work on multiple levels. He’s often noted as a fan of William Faulkner’s quote, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.” His heroes are tempted to do evil. His villains often have reasonable motivations, or at least emotional baggage. Battles are not fought between good and evil, but by individuals caught up in socio-political complexities. But there’s also zombies, magic, and dragons, so much show that Game of Thrones was nicknamed, “The Dragon Show” leading to House of the Dragon being called, “The DragonER show.”
Filming for House of the Dragon Season 2 is slated to start in 2023. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more and when we release new House of the Dragon, Game of Thrones, and our assorted lines of Superhero Jewelry!