House of the Dragon is facing an uphill battle. Even if HBO’s new Game of Thrones prequel/spin-off arrived on the heels of a superlative finale from its predecessor, the burden of expectation is significant. Considering the mixed reaction (to put it mildly for some) to Thrones’ conclusion, House of the Dragon arrives to an audience that may be slightly less likely to commit to another Westerosian epic. But like the wine and bloodshed made so commonplace in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epics, the content must flow.