HBO’s highly anticipated prequel to “Game of Thrones,” the new “House of the Dragon” series, is almost here, three years after the original show’s final season aired. The prequel series is heavily promoted as an extension of the “Game of Thrones” world, but can you watch “House of the Dragon” even if you’re not a “GOT” aficionado?
The most likely answer is twofold: yes, you can definitely listen to “House of the Dragon” without watching “Game of Thrones,” but you’ll probably get more out of it if you’ve watched “Game of Thrones” first. ‘House of the Dragon’ is set in the same universe as ‘Game of Thrones’, but it’s set centuries earlier. It is not based on a novel from George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire original series, but rather “Fire and Blood”, a companion book chronicling the rise and fall of House Targaryen. Since this is a prequel (and relatively distant), not a sequel, it’s not like there are any plot threads or characters from “Game of Thrones” that you need to be aware before tuning in to the new show.
Much like Marvel TV shows on Disney+, for example, many franchise add-ons are designed to stand on their own, despite being part of a larger, interconnected universe. Right now, there’s arguably no more intertwined universe of pop culture than the MCU. Despite this tightly-knit storytelling, every Marvel show is also watchable solo. Sure, you might miss a few references or clues, but in general, you can enjoy each one as an individual episode that tells its own full story.
It will be the same with “House of the Dragon”. Yes, it gives us the backstory of House Targaryen, the main power players who are all but gone by the time “Game of Thrones” picks up but whose “right” to the throne forms a major part of the story. Knowing what the eventual fate of this family (and the kingdom as a whole) will be will certainly add some emotional weight to the events of “House of the Dragon.” For viewers just tuning in for the first time, the new show truly unfolds like an original epic fantasy about a royal family of dragon riders and the civil war their power struggles create.