House of the Dragon currently holds the record for the biggest premiere in HBO’s history, attracting almost 10m viewers for its 21st August air date. While that’s a significant downgrade in audience size from the final days of its predecessor, Game of Thrones (GoT), it nevertheless highlights just how far the franchise has come from its original 2011 debut, which had just over 2m people glued to their sets.
The wider Game of Thrones franchise has had an interesting time lately. Graeme Blundell, of The Australian, described season eight of GoT as “causing a collective cringe around the globe”, a statement that will have resonated with fans who saw plotlines go unresolved or disappear entirely from the final few episodes. So, House of the Dragon offered something of a reprieve for the show’s writers.
Of course, as one part of a whole universe, House of the Dragon is subject to many of the same references and memes as Game of Thrones, both in book form and on TV. As a guide to these tropes, ExpressVPN has invented a House of the Dragon bingo card that can be used in drinking games and viewing parties. You don’t win any prizes for checking anything off but it’s a useful in-road into the series’ famous quirks.
Being an especially violent drama, many of the squares revolve around death. Players should take a sip of their own poison whenever somebody in the show dies from one of eight different methods, including mauling by animal, childbirth, fire, and defenestration (being thrown out of a window). That latter end may be a reference to the very first GoT episode, in which one of the cast falls from the top of a tower.
Then, we come to dragons. These beasts are no longer just a memory, according to the CBR website, although, their handler Daenerys doesn’t appear in House of the Dragons. The bingo card mentions two dragons fighting, somebody riding a dragon, and a dragon egg appearing on the screen. A “free” square in the center of the board also depicts a three-headed dragon. Players can drink whenever somebody says “fire and blood”, too.
It all might sound a bit cheesy on the surface but there are precious few fantasy or sci-fi sagas that don’t flirt with silliness just a little bit – and bingo cards tend to emphasize these elements. Let’s not forget that cards dedicated to the Lord of the Rings trilogy almost invariably had players drink whenever Sam said “Mr. Frodo” and/or Gollum referred to the One Ring as his “precious”.
Continuing with House of the Dragon, it was only a matter of time before gratuitous nudity cropped up on a bingo card, along with family members kissing, something that seems to happen an awful lot in the Targaryen and Lannister households. Having two people with platinum wigs on screen at the same time is a square that refers specifically to the Targaryen clan, part of an interesting topic that HITC has discussed in detail online.
Bingo cards are a long-running part of pop culture that can help connect fans to the worlds they love so much.