House of the Dragon, the long-awaited prequel to Game of Thrones, has finally arrived on screens of fantasy fans across the world and has been met with popular and critical praise, as well as breaking HBO’s viewing record with almost 10 million people watching episode one in the US alone.
At the centre of the first episode, which featured dragons, plotting, power struggles and politics, was a magnificent performance from former Doctor Who star Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen – a violent pretender to the Iron Throne in Westeros. The younger brother of the king, Viserys Targaryen, played by Paddy Considine, Daemon is the head of the city watch and in the first episode leads a brutal charge across the city against those he believes to be criminals in King’s Landing.
But how does it feel playing a character who is involved in such brutal and violent scenes?
“How does it feel? It was like 5 in the morning in Spain. I was really tired, and I was thinking, ‘I fancy that breakfast that’s coming my way.’ But I think the mindset of it is… I think Daemon thinks he’s actually doing the right thing. There’s a strange morality to him,” Smith told Digital Spy.
He added: “He thinks, ‘Right, I’m going to go out and punish these people and show everyone that I’m being diligent about this. And yes, I’m pushing the envelope a bit.’
“I don’t think it’s just gratuitous violence from his point of view. But I do think there’s a part of him that probably enjoys it. There’s a sadism in that somewhere.”
House of the Dragon has been in the making for several years now and follows the international success of Game of Thrones, not just one of the biggest fantasy and drama series on television, but one of the most talked-about TV shows ever made. Game of Thrones, which like House of the Dragon is based on the books of George RR Martin ran between 2011 and 2019.
House of the Dragon is set several hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones and centres around the Dance of the Dragons, a period in Westeros history where civil war broke out as in-fighting brought the Targaryen dynasty to its knees.
Fantasy fans may also be looking forward to another huge budget TV show coming soon in the shape of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a new TV series from Prime Video and Amazon Studios based on the world created by Tolkien. The new Lord of the rings series, based several thousand years before The Hobbit is released on September 1st and September 2nd across the globe. In the UK it will be available from 2am on September 2nd – so time to set the alarm clock.