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Created By:
Ryan J. Condal
Rhys Ifans, Matt Smith, Paddy Considine
Writing Credits:

An internal succession war within House Targaryen at the height of its power, 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen.

Rated TV-MA.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English Dolby Atmos
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 615 min.
Price: $49.98
Release Date: 12/20/2022

• “Welcome to Westeros” Featurette
• “A New Reign” Featurette
• “Returning to Westeros” Featurette
• “Before the Dance” Featurettes
• “Height of an Empire” Featurette
• “Noble Houses” Featurette
• “Familiar Places” Featurette
• ‘Return to the Seven Kingdoms” Featurette
• “Introducing the Characters” Featurette


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House of the Dragon: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 2, 2023)

Over eight seasons across nearly a decade, Game of Thrones became a sensation. Rather than let it end, the property relaunched in 2022 as a “prequel” series entitled House of the Dragon.

Set roughly two centuries prior to the events of Thrones, House looks at battles within the House Targaryen. This Season One set includes all 10 episodes across four discs. The plot synopses come from the series’ official site.

The Heirs of the Dragon: “Viserys (Paddy Considine) hosts a tournament to celebrate the birth of his second child. Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) welcomes her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) back to the Red Keep.”

If you click the link at the start of this review, you’ll see that I didn’t follow much of Thrones past its first year. Due to time constraints, I sampled the rest of the series but didn’t watch full seasons. As this implies, I never invested a whole lot in the situations and characters.

Will House appeal to someone like me who didn’t become a real fan of Thrones? That remains to be seen, and I won’t judge the entire series based on “Heirs”.

I can say that the opening episode doesn’t enchant me, as it seems like pretty standard fare for this kind of tale. We get the usual violence and palace intrigue and whatnot without much to make the end result stand out as memorable.

Of course, an opening episode like this needs to act as expository more than anything else, so one might expect it to stick more with introductions than anything else. While these seem fairly perfunctory, I maintain hope the series will become more engaging as it goes.

The Rogue Prince: “Rhaenyra oversteps at the Small Council. Viserys is urged to secure the succession through marriage. Daemon announces his intentions.”

Thrones always leaned toward gender politics, and so far, House highlights that domain. The desire for Viserys to produce a male heir remains a dominant theme, and this reflects a generally low view of women via the way many disregard Rhaenyra’s obvious strengths.

We also see how willing leaders were to degrade females via the manner in which a young girl gets offered to Viserys as a bride. These topics don’t feel especially compelling so far, and “Prince” lacks a lot else to make it particularly winning.

Second of His Name: “Daemon and the Sea Snake (Steve Toussaint) battle the Crabfeeder. The realm celebrates Aegon’s second nameday. Rhaenyra faces the prospect of marriage.”

“Name” launches with some much-needed action – and dragons! It also develops some character intrigue that will resonate with Thrones viewers, as we meet a Lannister named Jason (Jefferson Hall).

Does all this redeem what I see as a lackluster series so far? Not entirely, but “Name” at least shows promise and points toward future episodes that might escalate the intrigue to a more satisfying level.

King of the Narrow Sea: “After Rhaenyra cuts short her tour of Westeros, Daemon introduces the princess to the Street of Silk after dark.”

Eventually I guess we’ll get some resolution to the issues related to a potential husband for Rhaenyra – and I hope it happens soon, as the topic grows tedious. At least she becomes more proactive here, as she seeks out love on her own terms.

Nonetheless, “Sea” feels like a fairly tedious episode. Whatever growth I saw in the prior show fizzles as this one becomes slow and dull much of the time.

We Light the Way: “Daemon visits his wife Lady Rhea (Rachel Redford) in the Vale. Viserys and Rhaenyra broker agreements with the Velaryons. Alicent (Emily Carey) seeks the truth about the princess.”

Another day, another episode focused on banal character interactions among banal characters. I don’t crave non-stop actions and could enjoy a version of House that emphasizes interpersonal drama – but halfway through Season One, I don’t find those pleasures here.

Hope remains alive since we still have five shows to go. Unfortunately, so far House just feels bland and forgettable, as none of the “palace intrigue” feels engaging or enthralling.

The Princess and the Queen: “Ten years later. Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) navigates Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) continued speculation about her children, while Daemon and Laena (Nanna Blondell) weigh an offer in Pentos.”

As noted, “Queen” sends the series ahead a decade, and in theory, that could bring needed drama to the table. Unfortunately, it instead revels in more tedious character material, a side bogged down due to the need to introduce a bunch of new roles. “Queen” does nothing to enliven a sluggish series.

Driftmark: “As the families gather on Driftmark for a funeral, Viserys calls for an end to infighting and Alicent demands justice.”

Two of Dragon’s biggest characters engage in sexual activities, which I suppose acts as an attempt to jumpstart the narrative. Instead, it feels vaguely desperate and does nothing to help make this less than scintillating series.

Some kid we barely know finally gets a dragon, at least. I guess we’re supposed to care, but I admit I don’t.

The Lord of the Tides: “Six years later. With the Driftmark succession suddenly critical, Rhaenyra attempts to strike a bargain with Rhaenys.”

Another time jump? Yikes.

Dragon feels like it flails to find a coherent narrative, so these leaps in chronology can seem like attempts to distract from the basic lack of substance. Expect the usual melodrama and not much else.

The Green Council: “While Alicent enlists Cole (Fabien Frankel) and Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) to track down Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), Otto (Rhys Ifans) gathers the great houses of Westeros to affirm their allegiance.”

A major event launches “Council”, and this sets enough plot threads into motion to make the episode better than average. That said, it feels like too little, too late to save S1, as “Council” can’t deliver something strong enough to substantially alter the tedium of the prior eight shows.

The Black Queen: “While mourning a tragic loss, Rhaenyra tries to hold the realm together, and Daemon prepares for war.”

S1 concludes with more political intrigue and some actual action. As with the penultimate show, this brings some spark to the proceedings but not enough to redeem the generally dull season. Maybe S2 will offer a more consistently involving experience.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

House of the Dragon appears in an aspect ratio of 2.00:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. Overall, Season One looked very good.

In general, sharpness seemed strong. Occasional wider shots felt a little soft, as did some low-light interiors, but delineation usually worked well.

Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to materialized, and the programs lacked edge haloes. No signs of source flaws popped up, as the series always offered clean visuals.

Unsurprisingly, the series emphasized gold/amber and teal. The shows depicted the hues as intended.

Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I felt largely pleased with the visuals of Thrones.

Dragon came with Dolby Atmos audio. For those of us without Atmos systems, the material played back as Dolby TrueHD 7.1, and the shows sounded quite good.

Whether the track went with lively action or general ambience, the mix used the various channels in a compelling manner. It created an appealing sense of place and environment, with elements that blended in a satisfying manner.

Audio seemed good. Speech was concise and distinctive, without edginess or other issues.

Music was full and dynamic, and effects came across as accurate and clear. When necessary, the tracks boasted deep, rich bass. Though the episodes didn’t always boast audio that truly excelled, they seemed well above average.

As we shift to extras, Disc One launches with Welcome to Westeros, a five-minute, 59-second reel. It offers notes from series creator Ryan J. Condal, author George RR Martin, executive producers Sara Hess and Miguel Sapochnik and co-executive producer David Hancock.

“Welcome” brings a general overview of the series’ characters and themes. It offers a decent primer if you’ve not already watched the shows but it lacks value if you have seen Season One.

A New Reign goes for three minutes, nine seconds and features Sapochnik, Condal, and Martin. They cover some challenges related to the extension of Thrones but mostly tout how big and great the series will be, so they tell us little of substance.

After this we find Returning to Westeros, a four-minute, 42-second piece that involves Sapochnik, Condal, Hess, Martin, stunt coordinator Rowley Irlam, production designer Jim Clay, costume designer Jany Temime, and actors Paddy Considine, Steve Toussaint, Emma D’Arcy, Milly Alcock, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans, and Matt Smith.

“Returning’ examines various production elements like sets and costumes. A few insights emerge, but much of this feels promotional.

Before the Dance spans five minutes, 27 seconds and bills itself as an “illustrated history with George RR Martin”. The author provides some context for the series’ events and characters in this fairly engaging piece.

Up next comes Height of an Empire. It goes for four minutes, one second and delivers notes from Condal, Martin, Sapochnik, Considine, Alcock, and Smith.

“Height” deals with characters and narrative concepts as well as some production elements. Expect a fluffy and general piece, one that also repeats quotes from other programs.

Noble Houses lasts three minutes, 49 seconds and brings comments from Martin, Ifans, D’Arcy, Ifans, Considine, Sapochnik, Clay, Toussaint, Condal, Best, and actor Emily Carey.

This piece covers more story/character domains. It gives us more promotional fodder.

Disc One ends with Familiar Places, a three-minute, 32-second reel. It features Sapochnik, Condal, Clay, Alcock, Considine, D’Arcy, set decorator Claire Nia Richards, hod prop modeler Craig Narramore and props master Lee Wiseman.

“Places” views sets and design choices. A few new insights appear, but the puffy tone ensures we still don’t learn much.

Disc Two starts with Return to the Seven Kingdoms, a 25-minute, eight-second piece that involves Condal, Considine, D’Arcy, Smith, Martin, Sapochnik, Hancock, Carey, Hess, Best, Alcock, Toussaint, Clay, Ifans, Wiseman, Richards, line producer/unit production manager Sofia Noronha, production manager Alison Aird, supervising locations manager David Pinnington, assistant hod prop modeler Peter Lee, casting director Kate Rhodes James, directors Greg Yaitanes and Clare Kilner, supervising art director Dominic Masters, special effects supervisor Mike Dawson, and director of photography Catherine Goldschmidt.

“Return” covers the development of the series, casting and characters, the depiction of dragons, sets, locations and props. Expect a mix of fluff and facts in this sporadically informative program,

Introducing the Characters lasts 15 minutes, 14 seconds and provides info from D’Arcy, Smith, Considine, Ifans, Alcock, Carey, Toussaint, Best, and actors Sonoya Mizuno and Fabian Frankel.

As implied by the title, we get basics about the series’ main participants. It offers rudimentary impressions but nothing especially insightful.

House of the Dragon seems largely loved by the fan base, and maybe it acts as catnip to the Game of Thrones diehards. For someone who merely semi-enjoyed the earlier series, though, the first season of Dragon feels sluggish and unnecessary. The Blu-rays offer pretty solid picture and audio along with a minor selection of bonus materials. Hopefully Season Two will fare better than this less than stimulating collection of shows.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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