House of the Dragon

Why House Of The Dragon Risks Being A Game Of Thrones Copycat

House of the Dragon will serve as a prequel to HBO's Game of Thrones, but the fantasy series should try to avoid being too much of a copycat.

House of the Dragon will serve as a prequel to HBO’s Game of Thrones, but the series should try to avoid following in its predecessor’s footsteps too much. The Targaryens come back into the spotlight in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel. The upcoming series brings back Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik to serve as co-showrunner and deliver a take on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, revealing House Targaryen’s bloody history. An initial teaser for the series already introduced several prominent cast members, including Emma D’Arcy’s Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke’s Alicent Hightower, and Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen.

Though Game of Thrones’ final season was controversial, HBO’s fantasy series was a massive hit, completely changing the TV landscape. The series made big-budgeted fantasy the hot ticket in Hollywood, being an apparent catalyst for Amazon’s massive Lord of the Rings prequel and its Wheel of Time show. And HBO wants to continue to cash in on the show’s fandom. In addition to House of the Dragon, several other Game of Thrones spinoffs and animated shows are in early development.

Though House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones prequel, it will have to make sure to differentiate itself, or it risks being a copycat. Beyond the controversy over the storylines in Game of Thrones’ final season, fans and critics lamented the series for becoming too self-referential. From its first moments with a young child mirroring how Arya (Maisie Williams) tried to see the Lannisters in the series premiere to its last moments reflecting the first Night’s Watch scenes beyond the Wall, Game of Thrones’ final season was constantly stuffing in callbacks. House of the Dragon’s initial teaser also included Game of Thrones callbacks, with Arya’s Night King-killing dagger appearing in the promo, and the series should avoid including too many.

Game of Thrones’ callbacks emphasized the wrong things. The show’s final season should’ve been about moving the story forward with callbacks explaining how the series got there. Instead, the series seemingly included the callbacks just to look back on the series’ great moments while important plot points, such as Sansa (Sophie Turner) finding out about Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) true parentage, were just brushed over. For House of the Dragon to make its own mark on pop culture, it should pay homage to its predecessor without emphasizing its Game of Thrones references.

House of the Dragon’s future looks promising. Author George R.R. Martin has already raved about his first look at the series, and the author announced (via Not A Blog) that he’s focused on keeping the many spinoff series canonical. Additionally, Sapochnik already said in an interview (via The Hollywood Reporter) that the series would be distinctly different from Game of Thrones. “This is something else,” he said. So while it’s important for House of the Dragon to pay homage to Game of Thrones in the future, it should take care not to get too caught up in the past.

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