game of thrones‘ Westeros wasn’t a great place to live for the show’s eight seasons, and the plethora of badass female characters didn’t mean the kingdoms embraced women as leaders or warriors, with a few exceptions. Dragon House will take viewers back to Westeros in a completely different time, but some things remain the same. A song of ice and fire and Fire & Blood Author George RR Martin explained why the realms of his fictional world of Westeros weren’t too keen on women moving forward.
Dragon House will face the issue of women having (or not having) power, as it is rooted in a chaotic time for the Targaryen family in which King Viserys I intends to hand over the throne to his daughter Princess Rhaenyra. Others believe that Viserys’ brother Daemon should rule, as a woman had never sat on the Iron Throne until this point. George RR Martin spoke about this during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and noted that his books aren’t any meaner to women than the actual story:
Unfortunately, female characters that are disproportionately overlooked or punished compared to males are pretty true to the story, according to George RR Martin. This does not bode well for the women of Dragon House, but then, as the author says, it is inspired “by history”. Maybe the fictional kingdoms will be a little kinder – or at least less oppressive – to characters like Rhaenyra and Rhaenys, because they have dragons.
Of course, the powerful women of game of thrones certainly haven’t all had happy endings in positions of power despite all their struggles, even though they made it to the final season. For all that they were both arguably evil in the end, Cersei and Daenerys both died horribly. Sansa went through at least seven hells before she was finally crowned Queen in the North. Arya left her family after spending most of the series trying to get back to them.
When it comes to Dragon House, it looks like Rhaenyra Targaryen will have to face her own trials in order to protect her place as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. The new series won’t depict sexual violence, which may not be what viewers and HBO Max subscribers might have expected after game of thrones. Yet, given that George RR Martin based Fire & Blood over a period known as “The Anarchy”, viewers should probably expect a lot of suffering.
How well the new show compares to game of thrones that remains to be seen. The original series had a divisive ending that many criticized, but it’s still a safe bet that Dragon House will be a big hit for HBO. George RR Martin got a rave review for the first episode after seeing a rough cut in 2021, although he admitted he wasn’t an objective party to talk about it.
Dragon House premieres on HBO Sunday, August 21 at 9 p.m. ET. It’s one of many new shows hitting TV in the coming weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out for what to expect when the most anticipated shows premiere.