Splendor and Decline of the Targaryen Clan

The eighth and final season of Iron Throne (VF Game Of Thrones) disappointed many of the most ardent admirers of George RR Martin’s medieval fantasy universe; some may shun the new HBO production, The Dragon House (VF House of the Dragon). What a pity it would be, because this adaptation declined in ten episodes of the novel Fire and Bloodwhich takes us to the time of King Viserys 1er Targaryen (Paddy Considine), some 200 years before the time of the Iron Throneis just as captivating, sumptuous and spectacular.

From the first episode, Miguel Sapochnik, one of the four directors of the series, sets the tone with his ample staging which takes advantage of the majestic landscapes and sumptuous sets, where we happily recognize the impressive throne of iron and the bleeding-eyed heart-tree. If certain hairstyles make you tick, including the Targaryen wigs, the costumes are a splendor.

In a few scenes, the spectator, lulled by the imperial music of Ramin Djawadi, finds himself on familiar ground: vertiginous rides on the back of a dragon, tense councils where alliances and betrayals are fomented, sword fights where blood spurts profusion, equestrian contests that turn into butchery, orgies and drinking at will. Like what mores change little from one century to another.

Violent and decadent universe dominated by men for generations, The Dragon House does not give gifts to its female characters. Thus we witness the disappointment of Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best), wife of the powerful Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), who sees the Iron Throne slip away from her in favor of her good-natured cousin Viserys. However, the new king, who enjoys the favor of the people in this prosperous era, has no male heir. A civil war will ensue which will mark the end of the golden age of House Targaryen.

The heiress

When you don’t force women to chain babies in the hope of fathering future kings to death—as this cruel childbirth scene illustrates—you Barely pubescent sends him to the bed of the grieving king in order to satisfy his own ambitions. This will be the case of Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) and the innocent Alicent (Emily Carey), daughter of Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), hand of the king, and close friend of Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), daughter eldest of the king.

Fine strategist, valiant and ambitious like Daenerys Targaryen, mother of the dragons whom she precedes by nine generations, Rhaenyra Targaryen has everything it takes to be a queen. Even though her father made her his heiress, her place on the throne is threatened by the birth of boys from the second bed. Having reached adulthood (in the sixth episode), Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), once confidants of each other, will be ruthless rivals.

enemy brother

If one sides with Rhaenyra, one passionately hates—perhaps not as much as the dreadful King Joffrey Baratheon in the previous series—the other pretender to the throne: Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith, who dominates the cast with his psychopathic look), younger brother of Viserys, ready to do anything to supplant the king. Until courting… his niece.

Yes, it’s not just in House Lannister, as we saw in The iron Throne (and in history!), that incest is encouraged to preserve the purity of the blood. Between Rhaenyra and Daemon a fascinating pas de deux takes shape, between attraction and seduction, the outcome of which will have consequences for the future of House Targaryen.

Besides, we smile when we hear that the Lannisters are allies of the Targaryens, we hold our breath when a Stark makes a brief appearance at court and we listen attentively to Viserys talking about the coming winter. . If the dense family intrigues of The Dragon House shed new light on the characters of the Iron Throne, the uninitiated do not need to know everything about the high deeds of Jon Snow to be delighted by this pre-episode. No doubt they will want to discover the sequel without delay.

House of the Dragon (VF House of the Dragon)

On Crave in original version and dubbed in French. From August 21, then every Sunday at 9 p.m.

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Splendor and Decline of the Targaryen Clan