Game of Thrones on HBO had a keen eye for combat. The small-scale battles were often spectacular, while the large-scale melees were often top performers. However, in only three episodes, House of the Dragon has already given us the Game of Thrones franchises first great medium-sized battle.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for House of the Dragon.]
Daemon Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon discover that the Crabfeeder has reached a deadlock, and they devise an all-or-nothing strategy that is hidden from both the enemy and the House of the Dragon audience.
House of the Dragons' first big fight begins with a spooky beginning and is instantly recognisable as a Game of Thrones battle. There are hundreds of extras joining the fray, massive close-up kills of blood and mud, and the slow focus on the main characters that most of Thrones best battles include.
Corlys and Daemon may lead the Stepstones' final battle, but Laenor Velaryon's dragon, Seasmoke, wins the race. It's also the first indication of how much larger the House of the Dragons' scale is.
One of the most significant and vital moments in the Game of Thrones eight-season run would have been a dragon soaring onto the battlefield and fierce lines of Targaryen foes. Except for the poor Crabfeeder, it's just another part of the battle. May the poor Crabfeeder's rest be safe.
The majority of Game of Thrones' main battles were separated from their own episodes. Things like the Wildling assault on Castle Black, Hardhome, the defense of Kings Landing, and the Battle of the Bastards all got the most of an hour dedicated exclusively to them. While some fights later in the series, during seasons 7 and 8, featured shorter battles, none of them lived up to the standards of previous conflicts, and were easily eclipsed by House of the Dragons' first open warfare attempt.
While those conflicts often felt half-baked and like they were slashed (possibly due to the cost of the dragon visual effects that were often included in them), the Stepstones battle seems to be the ideal length to both demonstrate Daemons' ill-advised courage and the dominance of dragons on the battlefield.
The first battle in the show underscores the fact that, thanks to the show's massive budget, big battles can be fought at any time in House of the Dragon. Each episode has its flaws, which give each episode some unpredictability and spontaneity.