James Delingpole

Does House of the Dragon hate its male viewers?

We’re reaching the end of the woke entertainment cycle

  • From Spectator Life
Image: HBO

Mark Millar, creator of series including Netflix’s forthcoming American Jesus, has a theory that movie and TV fashions work in 11-year cycles and that we’re just starting a new one now. If he’s right – and I think he is – then it would explain a lot about the second-most disappointing series currently on TV, House of the Dragon.

Up till now, I have been giving huge quantities of benefit-of-the-doubt to House of the Dragon. But having endured episode six, I think my patience is finally exhausted. Any TV episode that begins with a protracted and graphic childbirth scene is going to sorely challenge the interest of at least half of its potential audience: most blokes can’t even stomach the thought of watching their own children being born, let alone someone else’s. But when a TV episode throws more grisly gynaecology in at the end too, you start to wonder: does House of the Dragon have a problem with male viewers?

The answer, I fear, is yes. How else do you explain the fact that at this stage of the series – the younger actresses from the early episodes having been confusingly replaced by older, dowdier ones – there is not a single female lead left who is fanciable? Or the toecurling scene in the middle of Episode 6 where Princess Rhaenyra (now played by Emma D’Arcy) stands up to make an important point in the court’s privy council session only to be undermined by an embarrassing visibly-leaking-breasts moment.

I was gobsmacked by that scene and so was my wife – for so many and various reasons. Clearly, the scriptwriter had heard of such an incident in a corporate boardroom and thought: ‘I’ll use that. Only this time, it will be in a sword and sorcery fantasy setting.’ But taken out of its contemporary modern context it just doesn’t work.

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