What happened in the season finale of ‘House of the Dragons’?  – The Verge’s Opinion

In its earliest episodes, House of the Dragon sometimes stumbled and often felt like a project that owed its existence to HBO’s hunger for a new hit rather than an understanding of what made Game of Thrones compelling in the first place. But in its season 1 finale, House of the Dragon proved itself to be a worthy Game of Thrones successor and something kind of like a dragon egg — a surprising gift that needed time, heat, and just the right kind of intensity to become truly fantastic.

Game of Thrones had the luxuries of time, space, and novelty working in its favor when it first premiered back in 2011 and introduced a new audience to the Song of Ice and Fire that’s been playing in George R.R. Martin’s mind for the past three decades. Though it took a while for its impact to become clear, Game of Thrones focused on gradually revealing more and more of its characters’ interior selves with a measured slowness that made it easy to empathize with them — especially as the shape of Westeros’ politics became clear. By doing that, Game of Thrones cultivated its cast of incestuous, murderous, treasonous child defenestrators into a group of people audiences loved and wanted to see survive in the great war against the frozen dead, even though the series had lost much of its luster by that point.

Short of simply copying Game of Thrones’ narrative structure and teasing its story out over the course of eight seasons, there was no way House of the Dragon could have developed its heroes and villains in the exact same way. And so, instead of burning slowly, House of the Dragon came in hot and explosive by condensing its story with time jumps. It used its time to focus solely on the most pivotal moments in Westeros’ history, like the one “The Black Queen” from director Greg Yaitanes — the season 1 finale — revolves around.

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