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House of the Dragon viewers are thrilled to be back in Westeros once again

Milly Alcock in House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon. (Image credit: HBO)

At long last, House of the Dragon has taken flight; judging by the initial reactions to the new Game of Thrones prequel, it seems HBO have hit the mark once again.

*there are spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon episode one*

Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series transports us to a period of Westeros' history where House Targaryen are at the height of their power following Aegon's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. 

The Targaryen rule the lands (and the skies) with their dragon companions, though all is not right at court: there are growing concerns over King Viserys's (Paddy Considine) successor. His closest male heir is his brother, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), though some fear he's not suitable for the Iron Throne. 

The other option is Viserys' daughter, Rhaenyra (played by Milly Alcock), but there are members of Viserys' court who aren't sure that Westeros is ready for its first queen...

Given how poorly the ending of the original HBO series was received by viewers, the stakes were very high indeed for the first of many planned Game of Thrones spin-offs. Luckily, it seems that everyone is excited for more from House of the Dragon.

In our House of the Dragon episode one review, we called the season premiere "a fire-scorched return to form", and it seems the viewers at home were just as excited by what we've seen so far. 

Talking about the show online, one viewer wrote: "One episode in and I'm absolutely and completely OBSESSED with House of the Dragon".

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Another called it a "great start to the season" and said "it really feels like Game of Thrones is back" whilst praising the creative teams across the board.

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A third added: "I'm thrilled to say that I thought the #HouseOfTheDragon premiere was fantastic. The entire cast was INCREDIBLE. Shoutout to Milly Alcock, Matt Smith & Paddy Considine in particular. Loved the rich character moments. A truly devastating & moving opener".

There were plenty more fans who were full of praise for the series' opener, too.

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What happened in House of the Dragon episode one?

In episode one, we're introduced to the main faces in the Targaryen dynasty around 170 years prior to the birth of Danaerys Targaryen.

There's King Viserys, who currently occupies the Iron Throne, his brother Daemon, ruthless Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, Princess Rhaenyra, Viserys' daughter, and his cousin, the "Queen That Never Was", Rhaenys.

Whilst he has no son, Daemon is next in line for the Throne, though his behavior leads many of Viserys' Council members to believe he would not be suitable for the throne. 

Aemma, Viserys' wife, is due to give birth once again, though the couple has endured multiple failed pregnancies, and she doesn't wish to experience another if their latest child doesn't survive. 

Viserys is called away from a jousting tournament to her chambers, where he is asked to choose between the mother and baby's lives. He opts to save his would-be heir, though the baby dies shortly after the emergency operation.

Viserys is barely given time to grieve before the Council summons him to discuss his successor. Otto Hightower puts the case forward that a new heir should be named instead of Daemon, though others do not support the notion of naming Rhaenyra.

After Daemon is overheard celebrating the death of Viserys' son, Viserys reveals he intends to name Rhaenyra as his new successor, much to Daemon's anger. He reveals to Rhaenyra that Aegon foresaw the Great Winter in his dream and that there needed to be a Targaryen on the Throne to unite the realm when it arrived; then, he has her sworn in as his heir in front of the other leaders of the Houses of Westeros.

House of the Dragon continues Sunday at 9 pm on HBO and HBO Max in the US and Mondays at 9 pm on Sky TV and NOW in the UK.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.