After watching the entirety of the Game of Thrones spin-off’s first season, franchise creator George R.R. Martin has declared that HBO’s upcoming House of the Dragon is not only everything he “hoped it would be”, but also that its first episode features a scene that delivers an emotional impact on par with one of the original series’ most iconic events.
The prolific author first shared his thoughts on House of the Dragon’s ten-episode debut on August 12th in a post made to his personal blog.
After recounting his time dealing with and recovering from his recent San-Diego-Comic-Con-appearance-hindering case of Covid, Martin concluded his musings by briefly noting that he had “seen all ten episodes [of the spin-off] now (albeit in rough cuts), and I love what I’ve seen.”
“Ryan [Condal] and Miguel [Sapochnik] and their amazing cast and crew have done some magnificent work,” he opined. “House of the Dragon’s is all I hoped it would be; dark, powerful, visceral, disturbing, stunning to look at, peopled with complex and very human characters brought to life by some truly amazing actors.”
A further tease from Martin of the spin-off’s quality would come three days later with Vanity Fair’s publication of a joint interview given by the author and Condal in promotion of House of the Dragon’s upcoming premiere.
Asked by the outlet’s senior Hollywood correspondent Anthony Brenzican which events in the show’s first episode “got some of the bigger reactions” from audiences during its July 27th world premiere, Condal asserted, “A lot of people had things to say about the birth of Baelon, Prince Baelon.”
Speaking to this particular moment, Martin then remarked, “That scene is…you don’t want to use the word ‘enjoyable’ for a scene like that, but it’s incredibly powerful.”
“It’s visceral and it’ll rip your heart out and throw it on the floor,” he praised. “It has the kind of impact that the Red Wedding had. It’s a beautifully done scene of something horrible.”
[Warning: The following two section contains brief spoilers for House of the Dragon]
As recounted in Martin’s Fire & Blood novel, Prince Baelon’s birth was marred with tragedy.
Therein, not only did his mother, Queen Aemma, pass away from complications related to bearing him into the known world, but he himself would only live for one day before following her into the afterlife.
In light of his brother’s death, Prince Daemon Targaryen became the heir apparent to the House Targaryen.
However, this honor would be short-lived, as after learning that the young Prince was mocking the infant’s passing, King Valerys would punish his arrogance by stripping him of the title and naming Rhaenyra as his true successor.
Condal would later elaborate that this scene was given particular weight from the series’ production team because “Really, this particular story is Viserys’s story.”
“It’s kicked off by him believing that he’s going to have a new male son after trying for years and years, and stillbirths and miscarriages, and all the hell that [Queen Aeema] has been through as a mother,” the showrunner explained. “Finally the answer is going to come. He’s very confident and sure of it. Just like that, mother and son die in childbirth. Suddenly, everything changes and flips the chess table.”
Adding his thoughts, Martin asserted that House of the Dragon’s particular depiction of this scene came about because “There’s a lot of opportunity for expansion [on the events of the books]. That’s what we’ll find a lot of in the series.”
“Ryan and his team of writers have been doing great so far is to do an expansion that does not contradict the book,” he concluded. “I mean, you can add a lot of things. You can add scenes. You can even add some characters. But you can’t do anything that affects the structure—or otherwise, three or four books later, you’re going to be in trouble.”
House of the Dragon premieres on HBO on August 21st, 2022.