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House Of The Dragon Review Roundup For HBO's Game Of Thrones Prequel

Here's what the critics are saying about HBO's long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel series.


HBO's long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, premieres this weekend. But what do critics have to say about the highly anticipated fantasy drama?

Here at GameSpot, we scored House of the Dragon's first six episodes in Season 1 a 5/10. Reviewer Mason Downey said the show's sets and costumes, as well as the cast, are standout elements worthy of high praise. Our review went on to say, "Strong visuals and capable performances are hardly enough of a selling point for the show as a whole, however."

House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, focusing on House Targaryen, of which Emilia Clarke's fan-favorite Daenerys is a descendant. In this timeline, the Targaryens are a mighty group in control of Westeros with their dragons. Like Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is full of political drama, backstabbing, violence, and gore.

House of the Dragon stars Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Paddy Considine, Steve Toussaint, Rhys Ifans, and Graham McTavish. It was created by Ryan Condal (Hercules, Colony) and author George R.R. Martin.

House Of The Dragon

  • Created By: Ryan Condal, George R.R. Martin
  • Starring: Paddy Considine, Emma D'Arcy, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans
  • Release Date: August 21 on HBO

GameSpot -- 5/10

"Strong visuals and capable performances are hardly enough of a selling point for the show as a whole, however. House of the Dragon will likely find an audience but from here, it's difficult to see who, exactly, that audience will be." -- Mason Downey [Full review]


"It's excellent TV, a fantasy drama that doesn't require Game of Thrones fandom to enjoy." -- Daniel Van Boom [Full review] CNET is GameSpot's sister site

IGN -- 8/10

"House Of The Dragon’s premiere marks a strong, well-cast start to the Game Of Thrones spin-off. This feels very close to its predecessor in tone and content, but immediately establishes a struggle for power around an amiable, weak-willed king, and vivid new characters to fight those battles. We also have dragons, inbreeding, and resentment. It's good to be back in backstabbing Westeros." -- Helen O'Hara [Full review]

Slant Magazine -- 1.5/4

"It's as hollow and brittle as the massive scale model of the kingdom that Viserys takes pride in building. That’s a rotten foundation for an epic fantasy, so maybe the prophecy was correct after all: the only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon was itself." -- Aaron Riccio [Full review]

USA Today -- 2/4

"[House of the Dragon] at times feels like it's running through a Thrones checklist so as not to miss any element from the original series and anger a single fan. Incest? Check. Sniveling prince? Check. Gore? Check. Sexual exploitation of women and girls? Check. Battle sequences so dark you can't really see what's happening? Check again." -- Kelly Lawler [Full review]

The Hollywood Reporter

"There's a lot that's impressive in the first six episodes, but it's as safe as a show with incest, gore and horrifying depictions of childbirth could possibly be. It needs to find its own voice, though if that voice remains this Targaryen-y, winter may be coming for my once burning curiosity." -- Daniel Fienberg [Full review]

The Verge

"House of the Dragon often feels like it lacks the wild curiosity necessary to make a prequel like this really sing. That could very well change should HBO Max keep House of the Dragon going and push the show to be more of a thoughtful interpolation of the future we know. But for the time being, House of the Dragon's yet another hyper-violent tale of swords and sorcery that you’ve undoubtedly heard before." -- Charles Pulliam-Moore [Full review]

House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 at 6 PM PT / 9 PM ET on HBO. Not long after, another high-profile fantasy series--Amazon's LOTR: The Rings of Power--debuts on Prime Video.

For more on House of the Dragon, head to GameSpot sister site Metacritic to see more scores.

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