How House of The Dragon and Rings Of Power’s flaws mirror each other

Editor’s Note: The following article contains minor spoilers for House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power. When HBO Max and First video announced the release dates of Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the big question on everyone’s mind in August was how these two fantastic mega IP franchise offerings would stack up against each other. The haze of the head-to-head open-field streaming battle begins to rise as we turn the corner on the home stretch of Season 1 of both series, and the answer becomes overwhelmingly clear. Neither show was successful in its quest to become the flagship property their streamer wanted it to be – each series lacking in inverse and opposite ways. It turns out, most interestingly, the flaws that undermine Dragon House and power rings are mirror images of each other – two disparate pieces of a potentially great spectacle.

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House of the Dragon suffers with limited range

Dragon HouseThe main problem that’s how limited its scope is. For a fantasy series about seven vast kingdoms dueling for power, we spent an awful lot of time watching a small cast of characters hold conversations in the same rooms of the same castle. This constraint could simply be the narrative box the writers put themselves in (after all, this is a show about the Targaryens, and they live in King’s Landing), or even more simply could be HBOtries to rule over budgets. A fact that should not change under the current leadership. No matter the reason, Dragon House suffered from it. Absent that global build, it often feels like a thin slice of the top of its extensive range. game of thrones predecessor.

There may be a clear narrative direction – no doubt we’re headed for a civil war within the Targaryens – but the series is made all the more stale by the dense exposition required to get us there. Home viewing sometimes feels like watching a bunch of overqualified actors in a live-action recreation of a Westerosi Wikipedia article. Dragon House can enjoy the advantage of having its original author (George RR Martin) creatively on board, but this steady hand’s dedication to its source material can inadvertently drag out the show.

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Rings of power struggles with a strong narrative

rings of power has all these problems, but in reverse. Rather than a tight narrative, the show seems primarily concerned with its visuals, seemingly determined to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a dorm Magic Eye poster. It’s easy to see where Bezos’ billions have gone, and there’s no doubt that massive investment produces awe-inspiring visuals as the show sweeps you across vast vistas and into glittering cities (repeatedly recreating that moment of The Fellowship of the Ring). The problem is rings of power is all show and no substance. He can stretch to the far reaches of Middle-earth, happily tossing you around the map from one group of characters to another, but only because he’s desperate for a story (to paraphrase Bilbo Baggins, he seems in somehow stretched – like butter scraped off too much bread).

This lack of narrative foundation is no doubt due to the fact that Amazon Studios’ intellectual property rights cripple rings of power. Whereas Dragon House has a source text entirely realized in Fire & Blood form the basis of its history, rings of power not – his intellectual property rights granted through a bizarre loophole with Middle-Earth Enterprises, which owns the publishing rights to The Lord of the Rings. As a result, the series explores new ground with original characters, but they operate in a story derived from the literal appendices of The Lord of the Rings. If the narrative doesn’t seem clear in its ambition, it’s because its source text is literal backstory.

Both shows should learn from each other’s flaws to improve

The list is lengthened increasingly. Whereas Dragon House attempts to invest time in King’s Landing’s messy interpersonal relationships, rings of power don’t even bother (can someone explain what anyone on the show wants besides not dying?). rings of power somehow knows how to smile (no more Durin and Disa, please!), but Dragon House doesn’t have his ancestor’s sense of humor. Dragon House has the edge in viewership (it’s definitely the water cooler show), but it delivers a B version of what fans are nostalgic for; rings of power probably provides the exact type of high-fantasy diehard Tolkien fans, but that group alone isn’t big enough to propel the series. in hit blockbuster Prime Video wants it. If they could be merged, Dragon House and rings of power could create a fully realized show, each filling in what the other lacks. On their own, they find themselves with clipped wings as they pursue the previous heights of their source material.