Game of Thrones on HBO always had an eye for combat. Small-scale battles were often thrilling, like the Hound facing off against Brienne of Tarth, but the shows massive melees were almost always 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 an impasse on the third episode of House of the Dragons, 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 major fight takes on a new meaning as a Game of Thrones match. There are tens of thousands of extras joining the fray, blood and mud as well as the slow focus on the main characters that dominates most of Thrones battles.
Corlys and Daemon may lead the Stepstones' final battle, but Laenor Velaryon wins the battle against his dragon, Seasmoke, as it is the first indication of how much larger the House of the Dragons' scale is.
One of the most significant and most important moments in the Game of Thrones eight-season run would have been a dragon soaring onto the battlefield and the scorching waves of Targaryen foes. In House of the Dragon, everyone is expected, except the poor Crabfeeder, may he rest in peace. The battle itself is also a hint as to how huge House of the Dragon might be.
The majority of Game of Thrones' most important battles were separated into separate episodes. Things like the Wildling assault on Castle Black, Hardhome, the defense of Kings Landing, and the Battle of the Bastards all received the majority of the episode devoted 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 attempt at open warfare.
Although those conflicts often felt half-baked and like they were eventually reduced (possibly due to the cost of the dragon visual effects that were often included in them), the Stepstones conflict seems to be the perfect length to both demonstrate Daemons' ill-advised bravery and the dominance of dragons on the battlefield.
Because of the show's extensive budget, huge battles are readily available at any time in House of the Dragon. Each episode receives a bit more spontaneity and unpredictability, and, as you might imagine, the ability to execute some spectacular battles will develop later on.