‘Doom, gloom and a complete load of nothing’: why is Home of the Dragon so painfully uninteresting?

‘Doom, gloom and a complete load of nothing’: why is Home of the Dragon so painfully uninteresting?

When Home of the Dragon arrived in 2022, it promised the form of epic tv we’d been lacking since Recreation of Thrones, which it’s a prequel to. Targaryens! Dragons! Matt Smith in an ice-blond wig! Occasion TV was about to make its fiery return. Practically 10 million folks tuned in to look at the primary episode within the US, making it the most-watched HBO collection premiere ever. But it surely barely managed to cough up a smoke ring, not to mention set the small display ablaze.

We had been caught between a rock (Dragonstone) and a tough place (King’s Touchdown) for many of the collection. Scenes had been so dimly lit it left you needing to e-book a watch check. And the franchise rapidly misplaced its steamy repute. In brief: it was extraordinarily uninteresting, no match for its juggernaut sister.

That stated, the gasp-out-loud season finale – wherein one-eyed Aemond’s dragon, Vaghar, gobbles up tiny dragon Arrax within the air and causes younger Lucerys to fall to his demise – steered that, after a sluggish begin of world-setting and alliance-making, a beast of a present was about to be unleashed. In spite of everything, GoT solely actually acquired going after Ned’s shock demise close to the tip of season one.

Right here we’re, then, two episodes into season two and nonetheless ready.

It had a promising begin: the Westeros equal of the Bayeux tapestry within the new opening credit was thrilling, as was arriving in Winterfell for the primary time (hurrah!) and assembly a Stark (double hurrah!) on the Wall – a taster, maybe, of extra, much-needed world-hopping to come back. However the Stark lad rapidly ruined the second with the painfully earnest line: “They’ll struggle laborious … like northeners.” Issues rapidly went downhill.

The primary hour was spent spelling out what within the seven hells was occurring, and but a few of us nonetheless needed to rewatch thrice to grasp as a result of no less than seven characters have the identical title they usually appear to be multiplying. Even when who’s who turns into clearer, the following massive downside – a a lot larger one – is that it’s laborious to care about any of them.

‘Sulky, insipid hypocrite’ … Ser Criston Cole. {Photograph}: 2024 Residence Field Workplace, Inc. All rights reserved.

The advertising and marketing crew are pushing a recreation of Greens v Blacks – however neither crew is price cheerleading. With no clear case of fine v evil, we’d like a extra intriguing lot to aspect with: no person wished the Lannisters to win, however they had been thrilling to look at. Right here, everyone seems to be as uninteresting, petty and morally ambiguous as one another. There’s quite a lot of speaking, however the place’s the intelligent scheming? There isn’t a single thrilling character – hero or villain.

Rhaenyra, whose stare in final season’s climax swore to unleash hellish revenge, mopes on a dragon for many of the opening episode. New king of the iron throne Aemond is a brat – nothing extra, nothing much less. Alicent is having tepid intercourse in between rolling her eyes on the males round her (essentially the most notable factor in regards to the oral intercourse scene was that she wears little wedged heels). Even Daemon has misplaced his dastardly, problematic swagger.

Essentially the most pathetic character to stroll Westeros, although: Ser Criston Cole, a sulky, insipid hypocrite who can’t deal with rejection and is simply too weak to cease breaking his knight’s oath by romping queens whereas always accusing others of failing their duties to the crown. I simply need to flick him away like a fly so another person can use the display time. It’s enjoyable to hate characters, however this man is a tumbleweed – give me a foul egg worthy of my anger (Joffrey).

Anyway, issues picked up when Blood and Cheese – a Gold Cloak and a rat-catcher – managed to wander into the non-public royal rooms (considered one of many questionable moments: it is a paranoid palace protected by dragons) and decapitate Aaemond’s inheritor Jaehaerys (to not be confused with Jaehaera or Jacaerys) in entrance of his mom, Helaena. It was ghastly. It was breath-stopping. It … led to one more hour of individuals grieving over one other brutally murdered little one who we barely knew.

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What adopted was extra doom, gloom and a complete load of nothing. After saying she wished Aegon useless (actually her solely line till now), Rhaenyra is inexplicably appalled when she learns that Daemon ordered “a son for a son” killing. And the deadly sword struggle between the divided twin brothers Erryk and Arryk when considered one of them (I actually can’t work out which) makes an attempt to homicide Rhaenyra? No person cares – particularly when a single vowel is the one factor of observe about them.

Cringe-inducing writing (the scene wherein Helaena forewarns rats within the palace was so dangerous), the dearth of a single likable character (GoT was truly humorous – who has laughed at a single HotD line?) and a always oppressive temper (extra plot that doesn’t contain little one homicide, please) have left me chilly. When will the dragon hearth deliver the warmth?

Critics who’ve seen the primary 4 episodes promise that the actual motion kicks in quickly, with a CGI dragon motion payoff – however what a drag to get there. Hopefully, we’ll additionally see extra of Winterfell or wherever that’s not gray. Maybe it was by no means going to match the heights of GoT, however it’s the smaller essential issues which can be lacking: the humour, the center and the heroes. They might have turned the lighting up, however – now that we will see them correctly – it will be nice to really feel one thing for them too.

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