House of the Dragon season 2 first reviews: Emma D'Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith's show gets mixed response | Web Series - Hindustan Times

House of the Dragon season 2 first reviews: Emma D'Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith's show gets mixed response

By | Edited by Neeshita Nyayapati
Jun 14, 2024 09:11 PM IST

The second season of House of the Dragon sees House Targaryen fight for their place on the throne. Here’s how critics thought the web series fared.

The much-awaited second season of House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones, will be released in India soon. With the season one finale raising the stakes for a war to come, Emma D’Arcy’s Rhaenyra Targaryen and Olivia Cooke’s Alicent Hightower will face-off in a battle for the ages. (Also Read: OTT releases this week: Do Aur Do Pyaar, Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2, House of the Dragon season 2 and more)

House of the Drason season 2 will be released in India on June 16.
House of the Drason season 2 will be released in India on June 16.

The first reviews of the show, that will stream on JioCinema in India, are already in, with critics ranging from loving the show to thinking it could’ve done better. Irrespective, the series has already been renewed for a third season. Here’s how season two of HOTD fared.

‘Too many side quests, not enough stakes’

USA Today wrote that HOTD season two had more of everything – from dragons and blood to confusion and plot holes. They wrote, “Multiple scenes in which common sense and logic has flown out the window, more twists and surprises introduced without context or feeling to back them up and more gratuitous violence that borders on outright indecency. There are too many side quests and not enough stakes to make me care about the battle for the Iron Throne that is meant to be the crux of the series.”

‘Series feels satisfyingly grand’

Vogue, however, thought otherwise, noting that the web series broke the long line of ‘mid-TV’ content. They also pointed out that the dragons and castles remained the centre of the show, writing, “There are many, many scenes of dragons in these episodes. Enormous, gorgeously rendered CGI behemoths that stomp and take to the air and breathe fire and lay waste to anything they care to. It’s a bit astonishing to contemplate how many millions fed the aerial sequences; one in particular made me gasp. And the settings—castles, ruined chambers, fields and forests—have a hugeness of scale that makes the series feel satisfyingly grand.”

‘Dragon-on-dragon violence, as promised’

Variety noted that while season one was nothing more than a glorified set-up for the Dance of the Dragons in season two, they write that the show finally feels like ‘what it’s meant to be’. They wrote, “The new episodes, four of which were screened for critics in advance, contain much of what their predecessors lacked, from the development of key relationships to the dragon-on-dragon violence promised by the title. “House of the Dragon” has been elevated, sharpened, and broadened in scope — all in service of a show now as dark figuratively as it already was literally.”

‘Has a hard time escaping its own trappings’

IndieWire wrote that whatever transpires in the first few episodes of season two does little to raise curiosity. While noting that the series still serves its purpose, they wrote, “Thus far, Season 2 has a hard time escaping its own trappings. The plot lurches forward. The characters focus on what we’ve already seen. New developments on either front do little to raise our curiosity. For those who want to tune in and be rewarded with exactly what they expect (plus an extra cringe-inducing death or two), perhaps that’s enough. But “HotD’s” duty to “GoT” should only go as far its prequel status requires.”

‘Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke do the heavy lifting’

Empire noted that ‘where Season 1’s flaws have been addressed, its strengths continue to be shine.’ They also praised the lead actors’ performances, writing, “Fortunately, we have the equally impressive Cooke and D’Arcy — not to mention Ifans and Matt Smith (still brooding malevolently as Daemon) — to do the heavy lifting, while Tom Glynn-Carney, Ewan Mitchell and Fabien Frankel (as the dark-hearted Criston Cole) are able to spread their wings in juicy roles. With characters as troublesome and combustible as these, who needs dragons to blow the world to s**t?”

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