House of the Dragon, the prequel to the critically acclaimed Game of Thrones, proved to be a sensation with its consistent writing, beautiful character development, and a nuanced approach at maintaining the brutal vibe that made Game of Thrones famous. As suggested by the title, the series follows the Targaryan family, which fans of the original series would know lost control of Westeros a few generations later.
Most recently, the filming for Season 2 of the show concluded, and it is scheduled to return sometime next year. And the land of Westeros is expected to expand as well, featuring six new characters that will movie the story closer to the era in Game of Thrones. As fans eagerly await the release of the new season, this article will present the rankings of the 10 episodes from Season 1, along with their IMDb ratings and the reasons behind their respective scores.
House of the Dragon
The reign of House Targaryen begins with this prequel to the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon is set nearly 200 years before Game of Thrones, telling the story of the Targaryen civil war with King Viserys.
- Release Date
- August 21, 2022
- Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Rhys Ifans, Matt Smith, Eve Best, Steve Toussaint, Emma D’Arcy, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey
- Main Genre
10 “The Princess and the Queen” – Season 1, Episode 6
IMDb Rating: 8/10
A decade after episode 5, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), having survived his collapse, is now the father of three children with Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke). Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) gives birth to another child, sparking speculation about parentage, with whispers suggesting Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) isn’t the father. Meanwhile, Daemon (Matt Smith) is married to the pregnant Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), living in Pentos with their two children, and facing an intriguing offer.
The shift from youthful to mature characters over a decade is seamless, leaving viewers with little confusion about identities, thanks to the exceptional efforts of the casting department. As the first 10-minute one-take scene focused on Rhaenyra, fans observe the decade-long evolution of her relationship with her stepmother and former best friend. The power dynamics are exposed, unveiling the strategic moves each has made in their intricate game. Additionally, akin to other episodes in the season, this episode attempts to cram as much information as possible to bridge the 10-year gap, and it succeeds in this endeavor. Nevertheless, it leaves many fans dissatisfied as several desired moments occur off-screen.
9 “The Rogue Prince” – Season 1, Episode 2
IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
« The Rogue Prince » resumes about six months after the first episode’s conclusion, with the eponymous rogue prince, Daemon, now illegally stationed on Dragonstone, with a pilfered dragon egg in tow. Meanwhile, Prince-Admiral Craghas Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith), leading the Triarchy launches an assault on Westerosi vessels in the Stepstones region with his pirate fleet. Viserys declines to engage, aiming to steer clear of overt conflict with Essos, and instead, heeding advice to ensure succession through strategic marriages.
Numerous parallels exist between Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon characters, like Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), or King Viserys and Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy). The episode highlights the evident Targaryen house dynamic, with Viserys frequently sidelining significant matters in favor of pursuing a spouse. It also showcases Rhaenyra’s (Milly Alcock) competence in managing her uncle and other affairs after being overlooked by the men on the council.
8 “King of the Narrow Sea” – Season 1, Episode 4
IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
Following an unsuccessful months-long journey to select a consort, Rhaenyra comes back to King’s Landing. Meanwhile, Daemon, having conquered a significant portion of the Stepstones, returns as the newly titular title. Daemon pledges allegiance to Viserys and relinquishes his crown. Daemon successfully seduces Rhaenyra, but due to physical limitations, he leaves her unfulfilled. Upon returning to the Red Keep, Rhaenyra leverages her position to manipulate Ser Criston (Fabien Frankel) into a sexual encounter.
While sex has been prominent in Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon introduces it in this episode, paying off the tension built between Daemon and Rhaenyra since the first episode. It also demonstrates the showrunner’s ability to film intimate scenes without overly sexualizing female characters yet achieve the intended impact nonetheless. While primarily centered on Rhaenyra’s sexual awakening, the episode also reveals a softer side to Otto Hightower, highlighting his genuine concern for the King despite his complexities.
7 “The Green Council” – Season 1, Episode 9
IMDb Rating: 8.7/10
Connecting the late king Viserys’s final words, « The Song of Ice and Fire, » to her son Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), Queen Alicent orchestrates a complex political maneuver in King’s Landing to secure the coronation of her eldest child. Despite facing numerous challenges, the Hand, the queen, and their allies triumphantly declare Aegon II as the next king. Meanwhile, Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best), rejecting her allegiance to Aegon, is captured. However, at the final moment, she escaped on the back of her dragon, Meleys.
« The Green Council » is a densely packed episode, centering solely on a subset of House of the Dragon characters confined within a relatively small space, grappling with a weighty decision. It highlights how the fate of the Seven Kingdoms is on the brink of being entirely consumed by what amounts to essentially a family dispute. It also reveals more than any previous episode the folly inherent in this power struggle. The episode also satirizes the power game by compelling someone who has no desire to be king, despite continuously emphasizing his incompetence throughout the episode.
6 “Second of His Name” – Season 1, Episode 3
IMDb Rating: 8.7/10
For three years, Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) and Prince Daemon have waged war against the Crabfeeder and his forces in the Stepstones without the backing of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, King Viserys orchestrates a grand hunt to commemorate the second birthday of his son Aegon, born to the pregnant Queen Alicent (Emily Carey). The ailing king insists that seventeen-year-old Rhaenyra must enter into matrimony to forge a potent alliance and safeguard their lineage.
« Second Of His Name » primarily serves to showcase Viserys’ ineptitude as a ruler, whether with the perilous situation of the war in the Stepstones, where Corlys and Daemon are faring poorly, or to choose a suitor for his daughter. The episode draws parallels between Daemon and Rhaenyra as they wage their individual battles with their house’s words, « fire and blood, » at the forefront. In the final act, Daemon steals every scene without uttering a single word, providing one of the best « show, don’t tell » examples in the series.
5 “The Heirs of the Dragon” – Season 1, Episode 1
IMDb Rating: 8.7/10
After nine years on the throne, King Viserys arranges a tournament to honor Queen Aemma Arryn’s (Sian Brooke) pregnancy, believing it to be the awaited male heir. Despite Lord Corlys Velaryon’s caution about the Triarchy’s threat to Westeros shipping lanes, the Small Council dismisses the warning. During the tournament, the ordinary-born and charismatic Ser Criston Cole outshines Daemon. Simultaneously, Viserys, in a tragic turn, sacrifices Aemma in childbirth against her pleas, opting for a C-section. Sadly, their newborn son, Baelon, passes away shortly thereafter.
“The Heir of the Dragon” brings viewers back with a visceral Game of Thrones-style scene featuring a brutal c-section, leaving fans breathless and in shock. In a short amount of time for a TV episode, the first installment already successfully establishes a solid foundation, allowing viewers to grasp the reign they are entering and gain insight into each character’s personality.
4 “We Light the Way” – Season 1, Episode 5
IMDb Rating: 8.8/10
In the Vale, Daemon perpetrates the murder of his wife, Lady Rhea Royce (Rachel Redford). Before leaving King’s Landing, Ser Otto cautions Queen Alicent that Rhaenyra’s ascent to the throne poses a threat to Alicent’s children, as they share the king’s lineage. Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon’s (Theo Nate) betrothal eases Lord Corlys’ concerns. During their betrothal celebration, Alicent disrupts Viserys’ speech, clad in a green gown, signaling House Hightower’s call to arms. In a misunderstanding, Criston, fearing blackmail, ruthlessly kills Joffrey (Solly McLeod), Laenor’s lover, devastating Laenor and shocking the guests.
“We Light the Way” illustrates the turning point in Alicent and Rhaenyra’s friendship, revealing how declaring allegiance to Alicent was a decisive choice. Moreover, it introduces another player in the power game, one reminiscent of characters like Little Finger or Varys in Game of Thrones. Moreover, as the episode concludes before a significant time jump, it feels rushed in attempting to neatly tie up all the loose ends.
3 “Driftmark” – Season 1, Episode 7
IMDb Rating: 9.1/10
King Viserys and his court gather for Lady Laena’s funeral on Driftmark. Rhaenyra and Daemon share an intimate reunion. Meanwhile, Prince Aemond (Leo Ashton) asserts his claim to Vhagar, leading to a confrontation with his relatives. Lucerys (Harvey Sadler), in the scuffle, slashes Aemond’s eye with a knife. Ser Qarl (Arty Froushan) seemingly kills Laenor, leaving Rhaenys and Corlys devastated, thinking their son is dead. Daemon and Rhaenyra privately wed in the ancient Valyrian Dragonlord tradition to continue the Targaryen bloodline. Unbeknownst to all, Laenor fakes his death and escapes Driftmark with Qarl.
The episode is a rollercoaster, commencing with a funeral and concluding with a wedding—two aspects from the Old Valyria that fans have seldom witnessed. “Driftmark” also highlights the showrunner’s adeptness in handling the source material by providing a more satisfying conclusion and explanation for the loose details from the book. Additionally, it marks Rhaenyra’s initial stride in officially asserting her power and actively engaging in the game of politics.
2 “The Black Queen” – Season 1, Episode 10
IMDb Rating: 9.2/10
Princess Rhaenys arrives at Dragonstone to declare King Viserys’s demise and Prince Aegon’s ascent to the throne which stuns Rhaenyra, leading to a premature stillbirth. Daemon urges Rhaenyra to go to war. Meanwhile, Otto Hightower outlines King Aegon II’s terms for Rhaenyra’s surrender. Princes Jacaerys (Harry Collett) and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) are dispatched as envoys to secure alliances with Houses Arryn, Stark, and Baratheon. Lucerys encounters Prince Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), and as he departs on his dragon, Arrax, Aemond pursues him on Vhagar. The rebellious dragons defy their riders, leading to Vhagar subsequently devouring both Lucerys and Arrax, leaving Aemond stunned. Rhaenyra is devastated and enraged upon receiving the news.
“The Black Queen” is filled with both remarkable and tragic events.Emma D’Arcy’s outstanding acting during childbirth stands out, underscoring the burdens faced by female rulers. The episode concludes with a poignant tragedy for young Prince Lucerys and marks the end of the peaceful era for the House of the Dragon as the Dance of the Dragons commences.
1 “The Lord of the Tides” – Season 1, Episode 8
IMDb Rating: 9.3/10
Six years after the previous episode’s events, Lord Corlys Velaryon sustains severe injuries in the Stepstones. His brother, Ser Vaemond (Wil Johnson), pleads with King’s Landing to designate him as Corlys’ heir, asserting the illegitimacy of Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys. Bedridden, disfigured, and mentally impaired, King Viserys’ reign is overseen by Queen Alicent and her father. During Vaemond’s petition at court, the ailing king enters, barely able to walk, and proclaims Lucerys as the heir to Driftmark. Daemon ruthlessly beheads Vaemond for denouncing Rhaenyra and her children as bastards.
The episode features one of the show’s best scenes, highlighting Considine’s superb acting as he portrays a father and grandfather giving support to his dearest family while appearing almost lifeless himself. “The Lord of the Tides” also includes several tender, and almost reconciling, moments between childhood best friends before the storm hits and the children are thrust into turmoil. It also serves as a reminder of why Daemon is beloved, showcasing his ruthless yet impressive defense of his wife and her children.
Watch on Max
NEXT: George R. R. Martin Admits the TV Shows Did This Better Than His Books