Don't worry about House of the Dragon because you won't get burned by the last season of Game of Throne. Through and through, the new series is excellent, juggling unforgettable characters, high fantasy, and intense emotions with ease. You won't be able to say "Dracarys" fast enough.

The Targaryen dynasty is the focus of House of the Dragon, which is set 200 years before Game of Throne. King Viserys is in charge of a peaceful seven kingdoms. The issue of Viserys's successor is of paramount importance. Will he place a woman on the Iron Throne for the first time in the history of the show? Will he name his brother Daemon? The dilemma sets the stage for a big fight. It's a conflict that changes from episode to episode and brings in new players. What other things would you expect from a show set in the books?

House of the Dragon is a family drama on an epic scale

A group of people gather around an old man on a throne. A banner with a three headed dragon hangs behind him.

Fire and blood. Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

Game of thrones has covered the questions of succession and who gets to sit on the Iron Throne The same question is put under a microscope in House of the Dragon. The Targaryens are the only family in House of the Dragon's quest to retain power. The Targaryens' story is connected to the other families through marriage, creating one big, silvery blonde family with a lot of issues.

The House of the Dragon deals with these issues in many different ways. The Targaryens don't talk about their gripes at family dinners, but rather debate them at council meetings, argue about them in court, or even fight over them on the battlefield. They can always send in the dragons if they don't work.

Milly Alcock plays Princess Rhaenyra as a teenager and Emma D'Arcy plays her as an adult in this family. While she is her father's oldest child, she is also a woman and has never been on the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra's father and the current king were passed up for Princess Rhaenys. Should Rhaenyra be named heir?

House of the Dragon focuses on the women of House Targaryen

Two women in lavish fantasy gowns stare at each other.

This is THEIR show. Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

The House of the Dragon is better at questioning women's roles in the show than the show is at questioning men's roles. The treatment of women is not perfect. Some of the female characters, such as Mysaria, are thinly drawn, and the commentary tends to be fairly on the nose. Two women who have come to power in different ways are the central and most compelling relationship of the show.

One of these women is Rhaenyra, and the other is her childhood friend Alicent Hightower, who is played by Emily Carey. Viserys's Hand is the father of Alicent's friend Otto. The friendship between Alicent and Rhaenyra is strained when Alicent married Viserys. Their falling-out is the show's greatest tragedy and the actors who play them are all tremendous in their roles.

Rhaenys petitioned for the position of heir to the Seven Kingdoms but lost. Best is acerbic in her scenes with a young Rhaenyra, taunting her that a woman won't sit on the Iron Throne. Steve Toussaint plays Corlys Velaryon. Corlys is both a warrior and a strong supporter of his wife. Even though he and Rhaenys don't get a lot of screen time, you can count on them to deliver great scenes whenever you see them.

Does House of the Dragon learn from Game of Thrones's mistakes?

A young woman stands in a throne room, looking up at the man on the throne.

A familiar throne – now with more swords. Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

The show was not a perfect one. It used sexual violence as a plot device and its pacing was scattershot. The first six episodes of House of the Dragon were made available to critics ahead of the show's premiere on August 21, and I was excited to see the sequel avoid many of the mistakes of its predecessor.

House of the Dragon is an adaptation of parts of George R.R. Martin's House Targaryen history Fire & Blood. We never feel like we're treading water between sets because of the time jumps between episodes. The Targaryens and their inner circle are the focus of the story. There are a lot of plates that are connected.

House of the Dragon does fall into some Game ofThrones pitfalls, such as nudity and violence that seems to be more for shock value than anything else, but it doesn't come close to the levels of sexual violence seen in the show. My hope that House of the Dragon wouldn't rely on rape as a plot device has been met so far. It's a shame that those are hopes I have to have in the first place, but I'm happy that House of the Dragon seems to have learned from Game of thrones' most upsetting mistake.

It just feels great to be back in Westeros

A dragon flies over a large city.

The age of dragons is here. Credit: Courtesy of HBO

The pilot of House of the Dragon was full of tears. The image of a dragon flying over King's Landing gave me a huge amount of fantasy nostalgia. It made me want to watch the show every Sunday night until the next one came out.

Will House of the Dragon get the hype it deserves? The show is as good as its predecessor, with obsession-worthy characters, costumes, and production design bringing you back into a rich fantasy world. House of the Dragon has the same politics as Game of thrones. There are tense Small Council meetings and shouty confrontations in the throne room.

House of the Dragon is a place where you can find big fantasy set pieces. Celebratory tourneys and wedding feasts are staged with gusto. An exceptional sequence centering Prince Daemon is one of the highlights of the show's battle sequence. In this scene, Matt Smith gets to go full action hero mode, and it's great to watch.

The House of the Dragon is full of dragons. These babies are grown to full maturity. Whenever they're on screen, they're huge and beautiful. Just as it's easy to fall in love with the world of Westeros, it's also easy to fall in love with them. With mythical creatures, political backbiting, sumptuous sets, and more, House of the Dragon definitely captures the magic of Game of Throne, while adding quite a bit of its own.

House of the Dragon will premiere on August 21st.