It’s been four years since Game of Thrones ended. In that time, the series has more or less faded into memory. People still look to any potential news of the books returning, but otherwise, discussion around the series has pretty much ended. Understandably so; the finale was so bad that it practically killed the careers of the series’ head writers.
But now, things are different. The GoT prequel series, House of the Dragon, recently started airing. And defying all expectations: it’s actually been pretty good. Good enough, in fact, to get fans of the series excited again! After the disaster that was season eight, that’s pretty damn impressive!
My question is this: will House of the Dragon ultimately be a fun prequel and nothing more? Will it simply give us a taste of how good GoT used to be, then fade away? Or does it have the potential to be something more?
This is all theory crafting, of course. I’m not an executive at HBO or Warner Bros (though if I were, I’d be panicking pretty hard right now). I’m just some guy with a blog and way too much free time on his hands, speculating about fantasy TV shows I like based off of fantasy books that I like.
Whether or not HotD will, quote, ‘redeem’ GoT is ultimately down to the individual viewer. As good as it might be, it simply cannot erase the utter cinematic disaster that was the eighth season. You can think whatever you will on this new show, but that simple fact will never change.
However, I would argue that this prequel has the potential to open up new possibilities in the future. Maybe, if the stars and planets of the entire universe were to align, even a reboot of the original series.
Studios gauge a lot more than viewership when deciding the fate of a TV series. It isn’t just how many people are watching, nor is it whether or not people actually like the show. Audience interest plays a large part of it. Often times, the key to a property’s success is simply how passionate its audience is about it.
One of the biggest key factors to the original success of Game of Thrones was this audience engagement. The show didn’t just get more viewers than basically anything else on TV at the time, it got people talking about it. Subreddits, Discord servers, and entire YouTube channels were devoted to the series, and each of them had countless followers and active participants. So HBO poured more resources into the show for future seasons, which helped fuel the discussion and thus increased viewership.
After season eight, that engagement and interest reached a brief all-time high. You could not go anywhere on the internet without seeing people either defending the finale or tearing it to pieces. The discourse was completely insane. Then it, and the show, just… died.
Up until House of the Dragon came around. Since the prequel show began, interest in this series started rising again. At this point, it still isn’t anywhere near what the show reached at its peak back in season four. But if it continues to deliver as it has been, it’s wholly possible that it might. And if it reaches high enough, HBO might just start exploring the possibility of remaking the original series.
Chances of that are still low, though. Since the sixth and seventh books of the series still suffer from the mild issue of ‘not existing.’
Once again: this is all nothing more than optimistic speculation. Will House of the Dragon reach the same levels of popularity Game of Thrones did? Who knows? Will it result in a revival of the original show? Probably not. But it’s fun to think about.
And even if none of it becomes true, at least we had a prequel show good enough to give us hope.