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New Escapist Column! On How “The Heirs of the Dragon” Places House of the Dragon in Daenerys’ Shadow…

I am doing weekly reviews of House of the Dragon at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the Game of Thrones prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

Part of what is so interesting about the first episode, The Heirs of the Dragon, is the way in which the show immediately positions itself in the shadow of Daenerys Targaryen, perhaps the biggest breakout character from Game of Thrones. The first three scenes of The Heirs of the Dragon place the show firmly in the context of Daenerys, fixating upon the idea of what it means to be a Targaryen Queen of Westeros. It is a bold move from the show, and a strong statement of purpose, one that immediately establishes House of the Dragon as a series in conversation with Game of Thrones.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

 

New Escapist Column! On What We Talk About When We Talk About Looking for “the next Game of Thrones”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Wheel of Time this week, there’s been a lot of publicity describing the show as potentially “the next Game of Thrones.”

It’s interesting to ponder what people actually mean when they talk about “the next Game of Thrones.” After all, Game of Thrones existed in a category unto itself. If anything, it answered the question of what “the next Lostor “the next Sopranosmight look like, with those perhaps answering the question of “what the next E.R.or “the next Twin Peaksmight look like, and so on. Game of Thrones was a smashing success that nobody saw coming, and which looked utterly unlike anything on television. That means that “the next Game of Thrones” probably won’t look anything like Game of Thrones.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a staggeringly beautiful piece of work. Every frame of the movie is elegantly crafted and beautifully composited. It’s a wonderful example of how computer-generated animation is every bit as artistically valid as the classic hand-drawn style. The vistas are breathtaking, the choreography is stunning, the design work is elegant. It’s a wonderful piece of animation that is never anything less than visually amazing.

Structurally, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is well-constructed – perhaps a little too well-constructed. It’s a wonderful demonstration of just how fantastic the sequel structure established by The Empire Strikes Back can be when applied well. The sequel is meticulously put together, carefully and precisely calibrated to strike the right notes at the right time with the right intensity. As far as constructing a sequel goes, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is following some impressive blueprints.

There are moments when it feels like How To Train Your Dragon 2 adheres a little too rigidly to formula, but given how well it pays off, it’s easy enough to forgive.

Sky hopes...

Sky hopes…

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Non-Review Review: How To Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon is, at its core, the story of a boy and his dog. Except his dog happens to be a dragon. It is a well-cast, well-made and well-written little film that actually manages to have a lot more emotional depth than the majority of Dreamworks films, even if it doesn’t quite approach the wonderful sophistication that Pixar manage to produce about once a year. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s fun – a wonderfully crafted piece of family entertainment.

An all-time high for Dreamworks?

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