Two of the biggest shows out right now are HBO’s House of the Dragon and Amazon Studios’ The Rings of Power. Both shows have put up big numbers but one of them is much superior and it isn’t close.
House of the Dragon is the prequel to A Game of Thrones which had seven successful seasons. On the other side, this is the first season of the original show the Rings of Power and it takes place hundreds of years before the events of the Lord of the Rings. While they both are spin-offs, only one of them has the edge.
George R. R. Martin’s book Fire and Blood is used as the source material for the HBO show. Previously, only small writing had hinted at the events before A Game of Thrones but Martin wrote a book that covered the dynasty of the Targaryen’s. That has led to a solid plot for the show and has a lot to work with.
The same cannot be said for The Rings of Power. Most of the show is based off of a few paragraphs so far and even then, the show has had to create a lot of the history for the show. That would be fine if The Lord of the Rings wasn’t one of the most revered stories ever written. The writers and producers have to work with a lot of restrictions which hinders the writing process. At HBO, Martin is working closely with them to ensure they create the best show possible.
Character Point Of View and Pacing
The production set for The Rings of Power has been breathtaking but the show has had trouble offering much else. A big reason for that has been the five different stories that they are trying to tell. That has worked against the show because the pacing has been horrible as a result. Some episodes do not even show all of the different plots because they do not have the time. Episode 6 only focused on plot for most of the episode and while it combined it with another arching plot, it was still focused on one setting.
It is ironic because A Song of Ice and Fire novels have over 20 different character point of views. A Game of Thrones had multiple plots but they were able to keep it fresh with the dialogue and major events. With House of the Dragon, there have been less point of views and instead, the show goes into major events and keeps it moving. That is partly due to the show having to due time skips and keep the show moving. That is a major obstacle that the show has flawlessly mastered.
Casting and Acting
HBO is a veteran when it comes to television and just by watching this show, you can tell they are good at their job. From the production to the casting, the show does not settle for anything less than the best. While watching House of the Dragon, I was taken back by the acting and that makes each scene much better. The same cannot be said for Amazon Studios.
For the most part, the acting hasn’t been bad for The Rings of Power but it hasn’t been extraordinary. Only one scene stood out because of the acting and that made my experience much better as a result. When the actors are able to sell a scene, it makes it feel real and draws you in. That has been something this show has been lacking.
The Rings of Power have not been able to get me invested in the show for the most part. One of the big questions of the show is the identity of Sauron. Six episodes in and he has not been shown once. But he is mentioned often. The mystery is interesting but you need more than that to make the show a great experience.
This has not been a problem for House of the Dragon. It has already built an audience with A Game of Thrones and their two selling points are the dynasty of the Targaryen and having dragons in the show. We had to wait a long time to see the dragons in A Game of Thrones but this show has them featured from episode one.
It all comes down to experience and that is something HBO has a lot of. Not only have they been around for a long but they made a similar show to these for seven seasons. That experience and knowledge has translated well and has led to an amazing first season of House of the Dragon.
Amazon Studios has not been around for that long and it shows. The show needs to be refined and unfortunately they do not have the luxury to do so. This show has been the most expensive show ever made and they had to pay a lot to get exclusive rights to make the show.
While the show does need to improve in some areas, it has still drawn a big audience and that is going to be considered a win for them. As long as they didn’t flop, I believe they would have been happy no matter what. Going forward. I would like them to make this show even better.