WARNING: CONTAINS HOUSE OF THE DRAGON EPISODE ONE SPOILERS AND TRIGGERING CONTENT ABOUT CHILDBIRTH
House of the Dragon clearly isn’t easing us in gently, having kicked off its maiden season with a brutal first episode full of death, sex and, um, graphic castration. Sounds like we all need a stiff drink, eh?
Yep, many viewers admitted they were in tears after tuning in to watch the first instalment this evening, which took us on a real journey – evidently hell-bent the much-loved energy of Game of Thrones, the beloved HBO series from whence it spun.
First, we had Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and his men running around chopping people’s penises off – during which time the camera refused to turn away, leaving us to gawp in shock at a bloody member on a slab.
Then there was the barbaric jousting tournament that further cemented Daemon as a nasty piece of work, at one point using his lance to trip up his opponent’s horse, sending the beast and its rider crashing to the floor.
But the stadium within which the tournament was held also foreshadowed more bloodshed to come – and much more harrowing bloodshed at that – with many of us wincing as it dawned on us that Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) was not going to make it through even the first episode.
Indeed, after Aemma battled her way through the bloody labour for some time, the slightly shell-shocked doctor shuffled over to King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and solemnly told him that wife and baby would not make it through the ordeal together.
Knowing Aemma would not survive, he gave the nod for the infant to be cut from her womb while she was still alive, holding his dying wife’s hand as she writhed in pain.
But the joy of finally fathering a boy was also short-lived, as a cut to a double funeral revealed his baby had also died in childbirth.
Reacting to the first episode online, many viewers admitted they were left speechless, with one tweeting: "Holy f**king s**t house of the dragon oh my f**k i am speechless."
Someone else said: "House of the dragon first ep made me f**kin speechless. Drama at its best."
Another wrote: "That birth scene in house of the dragon was more traumatic to me than the entire game of thrones."
One other viewer added: "First ep of house of the dragon and I already feel traumatized."
Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the new 10-part series is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and charts the bloodiest civil war in the history of the Seven Kingdoms.
Along with Considine’s King Viserys, the fifth king of the Targaryen dynasty to rule the Seven Kingdoms, and Smith’s Prince Daemon, the cast also includes the likes of Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Olivia Cooke as her best friend Alicent Hightower.
The show also features the likes of Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel, Rhys Ifans, Milly Alcock, Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Emily Carey, Harry Collett, Ryan Corr, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, Wil Johnson, John Macmillan, Graham McTavish, Ewan Mitchell, Theo Nate, Matthew Needham, Bill Paterson, Phia Saban, Gavin Spokes, and Savannah Steyn.
UK viewers can catch House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic and NOW from 22 August, while the show will be available in the US on HBO and HBO Max.Featured Image Credit: HBO/Sky