One House Of The Dragon Change Hints Why Game Of Thrones Failed
One significant change in the upcoming House of the Dragon may reveal how HBO’s Game of Thrones failed in its controversial final season.
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HBO’s House of the Dragon includes one significant change behind the scenes, and it may show where Game of Thrones failed in its final season. House of the Dragon takes on a story set hundreds of years before Game of Thrones, telling the bloody history of House Targaryen. The first trailer revealed several notable characters in the upcoming series, including Paddy Considine’s King Viserys Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy’s Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke’s Alicent Hightower, and Rhys Ifans’ Otto Hightower. The trailer also shines a light on Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen, a power-hungry character who teases the upcoming conflict for the Iron Throne. “Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did,” he says.
Game of Thrones’ final season didn’t go as planned for HBO. Though season 8 of the series broke its viewership records, controversy and backlash took over the narrative for the final season. Fans became angry that episodes were too dark to see on home TVs, and confusing story choices, such as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) abandoning her values to destroy an entire city, left them equally incensed. Production mistakes, such as a modern coffee cup appearing in the background of an episode, only added to the anger. And the backlash grew so prevalent that it even entered the cast’s WhatsApp chat group and caused a petition to redo the final season to go viral.
Despite the controversy over Game of Thrones’ final season, one House of the Dragon change is promising for the new series. In an interview (via The Hollywood Reporter), co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik reflected on the upcoming show, saying he enjoys reuniting with Game of Thrones crew members on the project. According to the House of the Dragon co-showrunner, he’s “never had that level of repeat business” and worked with the same people over and over. “The way I work with [GoT veterans] Fabian Wagner, my DP, and Tim Porter, my editor, we have fun and make jokes and we never used to have that,” he said. The quote is revealing, and it may explain an advantage that House of the Dragon has over its predecessor.
By joking behind the scenes, House of the Dragon promises to be a more relaxed production. Sapochnik says he “never” used to joke with his fellow Game of Thrones alumni on set, and that likely led to a more stressful work environment. And when the creators behind the show are stressed, that anxiety can carry over to the screen. However, a looser set welcomes more collaboration and more questioning. Again, it’s a big difference from Game of Thrones. House of the Dragon has the chance to translate the fun behind the scenes into a better overall product.
Sapochnik’s confession is telling. The lack of joking on Game of Thrones is in part due to the massive pressure put on the show. After the overwhelming backlash to the final season, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss dropped out of an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con at the last minute to seemingly avoid negative feedback, and the cast members stressed about the negativity in their WhatsApp group. Overall, it wasn’t a healthy situation. The jokes on the set of House of the Dragon are a good sign that the creators behind it can roll with the punches and take things in stride. It’s a major change from Game of Thrones’ final season and indicates that winter isn’t coming for the new show anytime soon.