I have probably enjoyed House of the Dragon a touch more than I’ve enjoyed Rings of Power thus far, largely because I think that the former has a better sense of where it’s going than the latter. I think that the correct frame for thinking about House of the Dragon is to place it in the company of Wolf Hall or the Tudors rather than GoT or RoP, because it’s really a court intrigue show rather than a high fantasy show (I’ll note that like HoD, both Wolf Hall and the Tudors also demonstrate their seriousness by killing off female characters in horrible ways in the early going). On those terms, I rather like what we’ve seen so far:
In Westeros, the power of the royal house is magnified by its virtual monopoly over dragons, the most powerful military technology in the world. Such power makes a disputed succession even more dangerous. Thus far, House of the Dragon retells in broad detail Aesop’s The Frogs Who Wished for a King. Old King Log is played by Viserys of House Targaryen, First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm. King Stork seems to be his brother, Daemon Targaryen, although other claimants – including the King’s daughter Rhaenyra and son Aegon – emerge over the course of the story. Viserys is neither cruel nor incompetent. He laments that he has faced no great challenges, beyond the succession, but he is fair, judicious, and firm when necessary. None of Viserys’s decisions are wrong, exactly, but none quite solve the problem that besets the kingdom, which is that he has muddled the succession across several potential candidates, all of whom possess fire-breathing dragons.