House of the Dragon season 2: A return to the brutal world of dragons and politics

House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

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When it comes to the Crème de la crème in television entertainment, Game of Thrones sits up there as one of the greats. As expected with any successful Hollywood show or movie, it spawned a spin-off after its conclusion: House of the Dragon. While House of the Dragon season 1 wasn't perfect, it was still able to deliver the politics, drama, and violence that true Game of Thrones fans craved.

With season 2 premiering on June 16, should we expect an improvement over season 1? Does it scratch that Game of Thrones itch? Let’s talk about it, spoiler-free of course.

House of the Dragon

Co-produced by George R.R. Martin and based on his book Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and tells the story of House Targaryen. Following King Aegon II's coronation, Alicent and Rhaenyra cling to fading memories of their old friendship as their opposing factions gear up for civil war.

For season 2, Matt Smith returns as Daemon Targaryen, Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, among others.

New cast members this season include BAFTA nominee Abubakar Salim as Alyn of Hull and Gayle Rankin as Alys Rivers.

What Works

Season 2 for Games of Thrones fans opens with an interesting title sequence that sets the tone for all the episodes.

This is the Game of Thrones universe, so you can expect the “moments”— the kind of scene that stay with you long after the show is over. Yes, the season has politics, family drama, and dragons, but it also reminds you of the brutal world it’s set in, with scenes people will talk about for a while.

This season feels more focused, picking up right after the events of season 1. There are fewer sporadic time jumps, and the pacing has been improved. Character arcs take beloved or hated characters in interesting directions, thanks to a story that leans heavily on political coalitions and alliances, building towards a conclusion that has been simmering since the previous season.

Visually, this season looks even more cinematic than the last. The cinematography is more deliberate, with wide shots that linger longer, showcasing the confidence the cinematographers and directors have in the set designers, costume designers, and special effects department. The score is familiar but well-executed, and the sound design effectively enhances storytelling, especially in one particular moment in the earlier episodes.

The performances, as expected, are remarkable. In fact, I found this season of House of the Dragon to be tonally balanced between season 1 and Game of Thrones.


Like Game of Thrones, you can't just jump into this season without watching season 1. While there are enough epic, shocking and good moments to punctuate each episode, some viewers might find the pacing challenging.


The best way to summarise season 2 (without spoilers) is that this is the second round of a chess game that, while thrilling, demands your patience. Some of the players are licking their wounds after a loss, others just don't want to play, others, as expected in this universe, are just manipulators and will stop at nothing to get what they want and still in the same game innocent lives find themselves in the middle of the chaos with some ending up paying for it. At the end of it all like any other game what everyone wants is to just a win, it is all about power.

The show premieres on June 16, 2024, on HBO. Locally, it will be available on Showmax.

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