TV Review

5 Threats to the Throne

Are the subjects of betrayal, family conflict, and political turmoil something that interests you? If so, stick around and see how Fire & Blood (the novel in which the show is based)filling the streets of Westeros will have you gripping your seat in a feeling of wonder, angst, and quite possibly even anger as some of your favorite characters perish without expectation.

Allow me to introduce you to the world of Game of Thrones and specifically the highly anticipated prequel, House of the Dragon. This is the perfect show to distract you from the burning stresses of your college courses. House of the Dragon is for students looking to get lost in a strange, yet familiar world to our own.

House of the Dragon was recently released on HBO/HBO Max on August 21st, 2022, so do not worry! There is plenty of time to catch up. Showrunners Ryan Condol and Miguel Sapochnik have recreated the world of Westeros that Game of Thrones fans either love or love to hate.

House of the Dragon takes place 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons; as depicted in Game of Thrones. King Viserys desperately tried to maintain the time of peace Westeros experienced for the past 55 years under King Jaehaerys. However, as even our own history has shown, seeds of war are often planted during times of peace. Thus, leading to the political tension and familial turmoil that Game of Thrones fans crave like a starved pack of hounds, and where our show begins.

Westeros is on the verge of civil war, and the king has not declared his heir leading to the instability of the realm as well as house Targaryen. Members of House Targaryen are at one another’s throats and as they fight amongst one another, other powerful families stand in the shadows waiting to stab them in the back. Many characters wish to take the throne for themselves. Fire will reign! From this, one must ask, who are the biggest threats to the crown?

1.) Daemon Targaryen- The Rogue Prince.

Violent, cruel, and ill-tempered are Daemon Targaryen’s traits. As brother of the king, his power and influence over soldiers is no surprise as he could likely wage war against his brother and try to take his throne by force. He demands that he should be the heir to the throne, by right, given his blood connection to the king and the fact that he is the next male in line. Daemon can be quoted saying, “the blood of the dragon runs thick;” But how long until it boils into a betrayal one cannot take back?

2.) Otto Hightower- Hand of King.

As hand of the king, Otto remains King Viserys advisor. A lot of the advice he gives seems to favor his position rather than the realm as a whole. Otto, an older man, is as wise as he is deceitful and uses his position to whisper into the ear of the king ideas that will only expand his influence and power of the realm. He is power hungry, ruthless, and constantly kissing up to Viserys to gain his favor. How much longer can he suppress his ego and live to serve a King whose health is on the decline?

3.) Alicent Hightower- Daughter of the hand

Alicent is no damsel in distress. Despite her innocent nature and connection to the King’s daughter she seems to desire more. She has a position where she grew up with the King’s daughter and developed a sister-like bond with her. However, in the world of Game of Thrones; it is not out of the question for brother to betray brother or sister to betray sister. It is a game of treachery, alliances, deception, and ascension. It does not matter who the crown stabs in the back.

4.) Rhaenyra Targaryen- Daughter of the King.

Rhaenyra would be the rightful heir of the throne if she were a male. However, in Westeros, there had not been a Queen over the seven kingdoms traditionally. The ambition of Rhaenyra is undeniable as she wants to prove to her father that he does not need a son to protect his claim to the throne. Rhaenyra, given the tension between Daemon and her father, is torn between two men she adores and idolizes. If Rhaenyra finds herself on the throne, how will she rule over a patriarchal society constantly trying to topple her?  She would need powerful allies, but who, if anyone would side with her?

5.) Rhaenys Targaryen – The Queen who never was.

Her title, the queen who never was, refers to the fact that King Jaehaerys chose Viserys over her because he is a male. In truth, Rhaneys had better claim to the throne. This is due to her age and her father’s age. She has a few sympathizers who are upset with the fact that she was passed over. Additionally, she is married to Corlys Velaryon, the master of ships. Therefore, if she were to declare war against her relative, King Viserys, he would lose his naval power and have his port access jeopardized should this family turn against the crown.

House of the Dragon is off to a fiery start. This series is going to be the best show on any streaming service, so your money will not be wasted. In fact, according to Rotten Tomatoes, it received a score of 85%. It is not too late to hop aboard your dragon and soar into the world of Westeros for yourself! You may be wondering where I sign up?  Below I have provided a link so you can get yourself signed up for HBO Max to begin your adventure! While the world of Westeros is expansive and full of lore, do not forget about your biggest priority, your studies. Fire will Reign!

HBO Max website sign in/sign up:

Nicholas Graff is a student at Holy Family University.