What to Watch First: Game of Thrones or House of The Dragon?

Bethan Beddow

The hit TV show Game of Thrones has garnered a loyal fanbase since it first hit our screens in 2011. With the recent release of the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, Bethan Beddow discusses which programme audiences unfamiliar to this universe should watch first.  

There is no objective answer to this question. House of the Dragon is viewed as a prequel, since it takes place 172 years before the beginning of Game of Thrones. However, it contains multiple spoilers. Such spoilers can ruin Game of Thrones if you were to watch that afterwards, because HOTD highlights the scheming civil war between Targaryens, who are Daenerys’ ancestors. Therefore, if your prime interest is the dragon descended Targaryens, it may be more suitable to watch Daenerys’ storyline first – or vice versa! If you would rather learn the historical background of her family, then House of the Dragon is more important to see. 

Both series are tinged with backstabbing, violent plots, brutal wars, and a battle to win the Iron Throne. They elicit similar energies: the energy of bloodshed and misery. Yet there is also a magnificent beauty present in the two. We can watch how characters develop, how their relationships shift and alternate between enmity and love, how they regress back to their imperfect selves. Each character is unique, yet most possess a downfall or an ascension to greatness.  The storylines are dense in detail and so it is difficult to be bored – there is always an amusing event occurring in both. Plus, the fantasy element in both can put us in awe; we watch as dragons swoop over armies, blowing scorching fires over helpless men. The two series are similar in many ways, yet there is the history which divides them.

It is unlikely that you need to possess knowledge of either storylines when reading or watching the other series

As someone who has read Fire & Blood, the rather encyclopaedic book that HOTD is based on, and the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, I can agree that it is not necessary to read either first. Fire and Blood is told from a scholarly view rather than a novel like one. It is narrated by Archmaester Gyldayn, who provides the history of the Targaryen dynasty. It includes both Aegon’s Conquest, which commenced the beginning of Targaryen rule over Westeros, and the Dance of the Dragons, the era that HOTD is in. The only relation to A Song of Ice and Fire is the tie to Daenerys and other ancestors. There are multiple noble families that feature in these stories, however as time has passed they are evidently different people. Consequently, it is unlikely that you need to possess knowledge of either storylines when reading or watching the other series.

Game of Thrones is crucially different to HOTD insofar that it has a focus upon characters from all around the fictional world. Wars and betrayal happen not just in Westeros. Yet HOTD is just as exciting to watch, as ultimately the plots for the two are just as detailed and entertaining. Watching either one first or second does not matter. 

Bethan Beddow

Featured image courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr under Creative Commons license. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In article trailer courtesy of HBO Max via YouTube. No changes were made to this video. 

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