As the first Game of Thrones spinoff, House of the Dragon was both highly anticipated and somewhat dreaded. The latter was due to the disappointing final season of Game of Thrones.
Fortunately for fans, House of the Dragon premiered with great reviews, positive social buzz and boffo ratings. By every category, it’s a huge success.
House of the Dragon is based on author George R.R. Martin's works, primarily the history tome Fire and Blood, which chronicles the Targaryen family's exploits over centuries. The first season focuses on the events leading up to a particular segment of Targaryen history: the Dance of Dragons. The bloody and brutal civil war pits various Targaryen family members and their companion dragons against each other.
While House of the Dragon season 2 is currently in production, it may still be some time before it airs on HBO and Max. In the meantime, here are seven shows like House of the Dragon to watch (besides the obvious Game of Thrones) when you’re craving more dynastic schemes, political power plays, and battles of both the mental and physical type.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The other big fantasy epic that debuted late last summer should have a place on this list. House of the Dragon and Rings of Power were coupled together (much like Barbenheimer) due to their many similarities in origin, plot and production budgets. House of the Dragon is a prequel spinoff of Game of Thrones; Rings of Power is reportedly Amazon’s answer to it.
The latter’s story is set thousands of years before either of Peter Jackson’s film trilogies — before any of the havoc-causing rings were even created. The elves and men have defeated an evil lord, but a young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) has concerns that a new threat may be rising. Meanwhile, a not-a-hobbit Harfoot named Nori (Markella Kavenagh) gets involved with a mysterious stranger (Daniel Weyman) with an important role in future events.
Watch on Prime Video
The Last Kingdom
In House of the Dragon, arguments are often settled by the sword, adversaries plot against each other and a throne is the ultimate prize. So it is in The Last Kingdom, which is based on Bernard Cornwell’s historical fiction novels The Saxon Stories. It is a loosely historically accurate chronicle of the struggle between the Saxons and Danes to rule 10th century England.
The protagonist, Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), is a Saxon noble kidnapped and raised by Danes. When he returns to England, the young warrior seeks to reclaim his birthright over the kingdom of Bebbanburg. His familiarity with both sides gives Uhtred a unique position and he finds himself in the thick of the conflict.
Watch on Netflix
They may inhabit very different worlds, but the Targaryens are like the Roys in that they are a powerful family whose grip may weaken due to infighting over succession. Logan Roy (Brian Cox) rules a vast media empire, much like King Viserys I does over Westeros. Eventually, both must choose someone to take over — and it results in battles, in the boardroom and between dragons in the sky.
Logan has three adult children who crave power and prosperity. Sometimes, they form an alliance with dear old dad; other times, they scheme to take him down. Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) may have many complicated feelings towards Pop, but he is undoubtedly an oppressive influence on all of them. There’s no escaping Logan’s shadow.
Watch on Max
Set in the same time period as The Last Kingdom, Vikings takes the perspective of the conquerors — the Danes. Like the other show and House of the Dragon, it features the brutal warfare of the Middle Ages, political intrigue and dynastic shuffling.
Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) is a Norse farmer who sails west to seek riches by raiding England. His successful forays eventually make him a Viking hero, though his ascendance also leads to a power struggle with rivals like Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne), King Horik (Donal Logue) and even his own brother Rollo (Clive Standen).
The Wheel of Time
Amazon's other big new fantasy epic also shares a lot in common with House of the Dragon, including books as source material, a medieval-like setting and contentious factions largely headed by women.
The story follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the Aes Sedai, a powerful organization of women who wield magical powers. She arrives at a small village, seeking the reincarnation of the Dragon, an individual prophesied to either save the world or destroy it. As the Last Battle with the Dark One approaches, Moiraine leads five young villagers on a dangerous journey to new lands — in a bid to discover which of them is the Dragon.
Watch on Prime Video
No dominant empire that turned to dust is as famous as Rome. Their rulers might have even greater hubris than the Targaryens, who at least had dragons to deploy. Set in the 1st century BC, this historical epic also features a large (mostly British) ensemble playing characters who will scheme, maneuver and do just about anything to gain power.
At the height of its dominion, Rome undergoes a bloody transition from a republic to an empire. Ordinary soldiers Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) are witness to the rise and subsequent fall of Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) and then the bid by Mark Antony (James Purefoy) as a new emperor rises.
Watch on Max
The Duttons are a modern-day dynasty that face numerous threats against their realm, uh, ranch. Like the Targaryens, they not only scheme to hold onto their land and power, they’ll do terrible violence to any comers. The Duttons may not have dragons, but they have guns and lots of them.
John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is the seventh-generation patriarch of the biggest ranch in the western United States. He’s continually fighting to maintain control of his property, going toe to toe against greedy land developers, crafty political operators and local indigenous tribes. His three adult children help — and sometimes hurt — his efforts to maintain the family legacy.
Watch on Peacock