Reviews: House of the Dragon and Rings of Power
I debated on whether to write reviews on either House of the Dragon or Rings of Power because it is still early on. However, the fact that I cannot get through either of them tells me all I need to know at this point.
Here's my current take on both shows. It may change if more seasons are released, but as of now it pains me to say they are both pretty dull. I know a lot of people are enjoying them, so hear me out....
The problem I'm having with both shows stems from the casting.
I'll start with House of the Dragon.
When I initially heard they were going to make a Game of Thrones prequel, it gave me pause until I heard Naomi Watts had been cast. She's a good actress and I've enjoyed her work in film. Unfortunately, that particular series was scrubbed and instead they made room for House of the Dragon.
Having a show centered entirely on the Targaryen dynasty is a no-brainer. Everyone who watched Game of Thrones knows the lineage and rallied behind Daenerys up until her unfortunate ending. Here in lies the problem.
Going into HOTD, they already had massive shoes to fill. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) and Harry Lloyd (Viserys) each had a unique presence about them which set the bar for what it meant to be a Targaryen. For my take, the new cast didn't even come close to reaching it.
Now, I went into HOTD knowing they could not recreate the magic from GOT but I expected them to come pretty close. Instead, I'm finding the entire cast lacking in charisma with no solid rudder to steer the ship. When GOT first came out, no one knew half of the cast. But viewers came to love each of them because they all had an innate charisma and strong presence on screen that allowed for long scenes of nothing but exposition to play out. with interest. When you don't have that "it" factor, then sitting through long winded speeches with no "oomph" behind them tends to drag on (no pun intended).
Another problem is what initially sounded so great. The fact that the show is solely focused on the Targaryens and their immediate family means you are stuck with them. You cannot escape to another house where perhaps the Lannisters or the Starks might have more interesting characters or storylines. It is simply the plodding along of House Targaryen in all its political blandness. The time jumps aren't helping and the dragons look weird as well.
I had high hopes for HOTD but by this time on GOT, Jamie had already pushed Bran out the window and things were rolling along beautifully. I can't say the same here. If the rumors are true and Henry Cavill and Elizabeth Olsen turn up in season 2, maybe things will get better.
Rings of Power has a similar problem, yet its not quite the same. Their cast is charismatic enough but the problem is they're portraying characters from the films. When you try to have someone step into the role of Galadriel or Elrond after Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving played them in such an amazing way it feels flat.
Rings of Power is trying to condense an epic three-part film into hour long episodes and its not working. It reminds me of when a feature film does so well that they churn out a sequel and it goes straight to video (if your old school, now it goes to streaming). It's a watered down version of the original and it's not really working for me.
Listen, I give both shows an A for effort. At least they are trying to turn out some original content based in these beloved worlds. But I didn't like the Wheel of Time series either. Something is just not hitting the mark with these fantasy shows. Maybe its me, perhaps as a fantasy author I'm a little picky especially when it comes to these two properties. But honestly both shows are a let down at this point. If nothing else, they've made me want to watch the originals from which they were spawned.
Have you watched Rings of Power or House of the Dragon? Leave me your thoughts!
"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels for deviant minds including urban fantasy vigilantes and heroic adventure fantasy. Cyn is also a freelance content writer and uses the art of storytelling to help brands engage their target audience through Original Cyn Content.