Kind of the Dragon (2022) – review, opinion after 6 episodes of the series [HBO]. This is how the dance begins

King Viserys I Targaryen is trying to rule the Seven Kingdoms as best he can. He has everything – a loving wife and daughter, a brave brother, reliable advisers. However, what every king needs the most is a son. Who then will replace him when his time comes? Unbalanced brother, or maybe still a young daughter? The latter option would set a precedent, but could the kingdom accept it?

I completely lost hope that George R. R. Martin would ever finish his Fist of Ice and Fire. The first volume, to which the HBO series owes its name, was released in 1996. Twenty-six long years ago. Martin has since written a total of five of his planned seven books, the last in 2011, when the first season of Game of Thrones debuted on television. Had he waited another four years (which is by no means impossible), Winds of Winter would have taken as long to write as all the other books put together. However, it is difficult to count even on such a date when George does everything every day, but does not finish the “Song”. He edits other books, travels to conventions, writes scripts, creates stories set in the World of Ice and Fire (Tales of the Seven Kingdoms, about the adventures of Sir Duncan the Tall and the future King Aegon Targaryen, otherwise very beautifully written), co- creates encyclopedias of his world and, finally, the biggest slap in the face to the fans – a whole big book with a detailed description of the history of the Targary family. This is not a slap in the face, because the book is weak. It’s just that at that moment no one asked about her. People wanted to know what to do next rather than read more about what they already knew. And the author intends to write a second volume to complete the package! And it is on the basis of “Fire and Blood” that today’s series was created. Can it match the brilliant first seasons of Game of Thrones?

Dragon Line (2022) – opinion after 6 episodes of the TV series [HBO]. Many interesting characters and constant intrigue

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen

Warner Brazzers. Discovery was very good and gave us the opportunity to check out six of the ten planned episodes of the first season. It is quite difficult to single out one main character, as in “GoT”. At first glance, the young Princess Rhaenyra (Millie Alcock), the daughter of the reigning King Viserys (Paddy Considine), seems to have received the most attention. The young princess is the type of stubborn, resourceful girl with a belligerent soul who speaks her mind clearly when she doesn’t like something. But the king himself also seems like an interesting figure, forced to maneuver between honest and poisoned advice, trying to rule so that there is peace in the kingdom, and not to wage wars on his own behalf. The third important player on the board will be the king’s brother, Prince Damon (Matt Smith), a very ambitious man, but at the same time proud, cunning, but too nervous. The game is closed by Lady Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey), a close friend of Princess Rainier at the start of the series and the daughter of royal mercenary Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans).

Almost all the action of the series (at least in the first six episodes) is limited to conspiracies, conversations about what to do in a given situation, what someone feels and who sympathizes with. Of course, a dragon will fly across the screen from time to time, and there is a jousting tournament in the first series, but the era shown in the series was a time of relative peace, so there are not so many battle scenes here – although, as they are, they are filmed with fanfare . In places it seems that we are about to have a great battle, or at least an interesting skirmish, after which the writers seem to say that they were just joking and moving the plot further. Of course, it is precisely for political games, conspiracies and conspiracies that people fell in love with the Game of Thrones, so there is no need to bully that the creators give us more than what we wanted. Moreover, today’s series also has a fairly large and very solid cast, so in principle, if someone has not read the book, it will be difficult for him to immediately determine who can be trusted and who cannot, and the following turns will be very effective encouraging it to continue watching.

Dragon Line (2022) – opinion after 6 episodes of the TV series [HBO]. Great performance by the entire cast

Prince Daemon Targaryen at the Tournament

The cast of the series is excellent. Of course, the make-up and costumes were done to make everyone look right, but it is the charisma of the actors and the great chemistry between them that makes us believe what we see on the screen. The king in this regard is undoubtedly Matt Smith. His Damon is a reliable brother for the king, he perfectly balances on the verge of chivalry (maybe some kind of tenderness?) And being a complete monster. These early episodes are based on his relationship with the young Rainier. Both of them had a hard time in life, they were not prophesied a bright future, they could not count on the throne. Therefore, although the princess knows that her uncle is exaggerating or acting outright stupid, she always talks to him with a friendly grin. She doesn’t look down on him like the others. He, on the other hand, repays her with a kind of patronage. At least until then. All this can be seen already in the way both characters are played and the actors deserve applause for these performances. This is just one example. The entire cast is impressive. No one is trying to imitate the famous and beloved characters from the Game of Thrones, which is also commendable. Perhaps only Alicent Hightower seemed a little bland, not very personable, despite the fact that she was to play an important role.

In terms of audio-visual setup, this is exactly what was expected. The sets and costumes are impressive. The women’s dresses look appropriate for the show’s medieval atmosphere, the interiors are lit by sunlight and torches are scattered throughout. The CG of the dragons usually looks very good, though the Reinira reptile didn’t come close to me at the beginning, nor did King’s Landing as it flew over. But I watched the first series on the big screen of the cinema, maybe that’s why I was dissatisfied and everything will be fine on TV. In the following episodes, the effects no longer bothered me.

The sword fights, especially from the first episode, could have been shot a little more legibly. The camera moves as if burned, staggers itself, follows the blows, the frame changes several times per second. I understand that the fight to the death is chaotic, full of adrenaline and stress, but I, as a viewer, would like to see something. The battle of the third episode makes the best impression, but in places it is still unreadable. Maybe it’s because the director is sitting on a stool in this episode? The first episode was made by Miguel Sapochnik, the man responsible for hits like Hardhome and Battle of the bastards on the one hand, and the author of the “success” The Long Night and The Bells on the other.

Dragon Line had a very good start. The number of characters can be a little overwhelming at first, but the creators are very quick and lucid to introduce us to who is who and move on to the political game that the fans so wanted. The editing, especially in the first episode, is very good at creating atmosphere and tension, further enhanced by Ramin Djawadi’s soundtrack. Blood, guts, boobs and constant conspiracies. The pace of events could be faster, but if the plot of the season develops into a clear whole in the finale – and there are reasons to think so, because this is a direct adaptation – then for the first time in a long time we will receive the “Game of Thrones”, as in the heyday of the series, washing away misunderstandings that included episodes not based on George R. R. Martin’s prose.

AS WELL AS! Something else. Finish those damn books, George!

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