It feels like Game of Thrones has returned, and we're not talking the depressingly limp final season here.
Invoking memories of some of the early iconic episodes of Game of Thrones, HBO's latest foray into Westeros exploded onto television screens worldwide in the early hours of yesterday morning like flame from a dragon's maw. House of the Dragon has well and truly arrived.
As with Thrones' debut episode Winter is Coming, there's a lot to unpack in the pilot as viewers are introduced to the players who will make up the factions on either side of the Targaryen civil war to come. House of the Dragon is an exciting new take on Westeros that still manages to embrace all of the trademark aspects that made the original such a sensation; while there are clearly a few teething issues at present, hopes are high that this take on the battle for the Iron Throne will address the mistakes of the original and provide a long overdue apology to the fans still smarting from the bitter disappointment of Benioff and Weiss' rushed ending.
As alluded to before, House of the Dragon is not perfect, but based on the first episode, all the necessary building blocks are in place for an absolutely phenomenal first season of television and a series that could ultimately upstage Game of Thrones.
Be warned, spoilers ahead.
10. Down - Rhaenyra is not Daenerys
Let's get this out of the way; Milly Alcock is superb as Rhaenyra Targaryen from start to finish. Effortlessly exuding the casual arrogance associated with royalty and demonstrating an appropriately fiery side within her, she is the consummate Targaryen princess and looks like an incredible character to carry the show forward as she is named the heir to the Iron Throne.
She's just not Daenerys Stormborn.
Rhaenyra is still missing that special something that made Daenerys such a mysterious and captivating character from the get go. Obviously, it is still early days and Milly Alcock has only had one episode to make her impression but she is already highlighting what a mammoth task picking up Emilia Clarke's mantle of the Mother of Dragons truly is. Somewhat unsurprisingly, given the court backdrop of her character arc at present, Rhaenyra currently gives off more of a Margaery Tyrell vibe.
Still, the fact that it is such early days and the accomplished level of performance turned in by Alcock in her very first episode in a strange new world means that this is by no means a foregone conclusion. Indeed, the fact that Rhaenyra produced such a wonderful first impression means that even though she may not be Daenerys, she is more than capable of carrying this exciting new show forward.