The mighty Ian McShane once famously and cheekily dismissed the hugely popular fantasy series Game of Thrones as “…just tits and dragons”, which is a heck of a soundbite coming from a member of the cast. Let’s hope he’s on a live mic when someone asks him what he thinks of the prequel series, House of the Dragon—his take on a series which, based on the first episode, has many of its predecessors weaknesses and few of its strengths, should be worth a listen.

Set a couple of centuries prior to the events of Game of ThronesHouse of the Dragon follows the dynastic struggles of the House Targaryen, rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, who fans know will be overthrown and reduced to just two descendants down the track. When we meet them here, though, they’re at the height of their power, with kindly king Viserys I (Paddy Considine) kept in power by his family’s fleet of dragons—the medieval setting’s equivalent of a nuclear arsenal.

But all is not well in King’s Landing (it is fun to revisit GoT settings, it must be said). The question at hand is one of succession, and whether the Iron Throne will go to Viserys’ younger brother Daemon (Matt Smith in oily bastard mode) or his daughter Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy).

Other potential claimants prowl the periphery. Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), Hand of the King (if you’re not at least passingly familiar with GoT’s schtick, you’re out of luck) looks keen to set his daughter, Alicent (Olivia Cooke) on the throne, while Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) is maneuvering his wife, Princess Rhaenys (Eva Best) for a shot at the top job.

Read more at Flicks.

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