Well, now that the title is me laying down my cards so hard they’ve tunneled straight through the table into the center of the Earth, I should elaborate.
Yesterday it was announced by HBO that Game of Thrones’s planned prequel, The Long Night, was not picked up by HBO. It was then, within 3 hours of me seeing the first bit of news, announced there was a prequel picked up, titled House of the Dragon. Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood prequel, House of the Dragon is about the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror in Westros and then him subsequently doing what his name implies he is going to do and…Conquering. Everything. With dragons.
At least the dragons will be awesome.
However, as I mentioned before, I have a complicated relationship with Game of Thones and the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. On the one hand, they’re mostly well-written and some real solid fantasy. On the other hand, I hated season eight of Game of Thrones, and the last published A Song of Ice and Fire book, A Dance with Dragons, was a meandering and plodding let-down, especially after the similarly meandering and plodding A Feast for Crows.
Oh, and also, they’re indirectly responsible for the fantasy genre becoming a swamp of grimdark murderfests full of sexual assault, incest, torture, more incest, and people being dicks to each other in the name of realism.
Now, I stand by what I said in that post: Game of Thones is good. A Song of Ice and Fire is good. Even if it fell apart at the end, that in no way diminishes the quality of everything that came before it.
But House of the Dragon? Focused entirely on the Targaryans? Urgh.
The Targaryans were written, in universe, to be a line of mad kings and queens propped up by their dragons. They were vicious, nasty, and due to a ton of inbreeding from the aforementioned incest, often insane. Putting aside that super reductive view of mental illness, that means we’re getting a TV show that’s going to be full of vicious, nasty people who are insane boffing their family members.
Seriously, Game of Thrones is the only fandom I know of whose wiki just has a page labeled “Incest”. That…is a thing I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing. But since I have to, you do too!
Now, there’s a chance I’m wrong. Fire and Blood has plenty of interesting things that don’t involve incest. Some of them also don’t involve people being horrible to each other! But there still is a lot of incest among the Targaryans, and a lot of horrible people doing horrible things to other horrible people. And, if it’s popular, the b-grade grimdark fantasy authors who wallow in the worst parts of humanity because they’re aping Martin without understanding the themes behind his work will multiple and scream about realism in their dragon fantasy stories even louder.
This…is the exact same thing that happened to Alan Moore’s Killing Joke and Watchmen being responsible for superhero comics in the 90’s being a desolate, creatively bankrupt wasteland. And I’m terrified that the continued popularity of Game of Thrones is going to the same thing to fantasy, and the fact that this series is going to – by the nature of its subject matter – dwell on the nastiest parts of Westros and its history only fills me with dread.
I’m still going to watch it. Good fantasy TV is hard to find (and I expect that House of the Dragon will be good, even if I’m worried about its tone already), writing about geek culture is a thing that I do so I can’t ignore it, and it’s going to have a ton more dragons, which is the main benefit of the story being set during this time period.
I’m just hoping it’s not what I fear it will be.
Oh well. At least dragons!
Since you’re here, why not pick up Weird Theology or its sequel, Strange Cosmology? I’m rather proud of them, and too tired to come up with a clever segue. Check the self promotion on the next post for something more witty.