How House of the Dragon fixed one of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones regrets

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

Game of Thrones is as beloved a TV show as they come, but it wasn’t without flaws. Even A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin George R.R. Martin had some bones to pick over the years; in particular, there were a few scenes in the first season he took issue with, mainly because the show didn’t then have the budget to execute on its vision.

With a larger budget to play with, the prequel series House of the Dragon is able to pull off similar scenes in the grandiose style that Martin describes in his books. For instance, remember

George R.R. Martin names his “least favorite scene…in all eight seasons” of Game of Thrones

In the middle of Game of Thrones season 1, King Robert Baratheon decides to go hunting in the woods with his brother Renly, his cupbearer Lancel, and a member of the Kingsguard. This scene apparently ground Martin’s gears when he saw it 10 years ago, as he explained to James Hibberd for the behind-the-scenes Game of Thrones book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon:

"Where we really fell down in terms of budget was my least favorite scene in the entire show, in all eight seasons: King Robert goes hunting. Four guys walking on foot through the woods carrying spears and Robert is giving Renly s**t."

This scene was never in Martin’s first book as none of the characters present have POV chapters. However, Martin is a history buff and had a good idea of what it would have looked like in reality:

"There would have been a hundred guys. There would have been pavilions. There would have been huntsmen. There would have been dogs. There would have been horns blowing, That’s how a king goes hunting. He wouldn’t have just been walking around through the woods with three of his friends holding spears hoping to meet a boar."

This is exactly how King Viserys’ hunting party is portrayed in the third episode of House of the Dragon, “Second of His Name”: a large-scale festival of people celebrating while huntsmen do all the work for the king in the woods.

Game of Thrones vs House of the Dragon: Royal tourneys

Martin also wanted more from the tourney that Robert Baratheon held for Ned Stark in season 1. “A tournament in the Middle Ages sponsored by the king and the Capital was a huge thing,” the author said. “There were dozens of knights, you saw eight different jousts, you got a sense of pageantry and competitors rising and falling and the commoners betting.”

The tourney from Game of Thrones season 1, but the one in the House of the Dragon series premiere had all the pageantry Martin could hope for. In this way at least, House of the Dragon is raising the bar on what came before.

Next. Take the Black: We fall over ourselves praising “Second of His Name”. dark

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