CGI money truly well spent.
Game of Thrones had a number of impressive dragon scenes, including Dany and Drogon laying waste to a field worth of soldiers in Season 7, the Night King and undead Viserion breaking through the Wall, or the final battle against the Night King and his forces in Season 8.
While House of the Dragon is set in the time period, when dragons were relatively numerous – and also has a larger special effects budget – its first season, which until the final moments of the final episode covered only the build-up to the cataclysmic civil war, called The Dance of Dragons, was not expected to provide scenes matching or exceeding those we have seen in Game of Thrones.
Yet in the next-to-last scene of Season 1 it managed to do so. Of course, we're talking about the climactic scene of Episode 10, the confrontation between Prince Aemond and his enormous dragon Vhagar, and Prince Lucerys riding the baby dragon Arrax.
We have covered that scene and how it was filmed before here. But its impressive cinematography deserves another mention.
From the moment the gigantic silhouette of Vhagar rises over the wall of Storm's End, it is obvious that the opponents are not fairly matched.
Just like Aemond is older than Lucerys and is a better fighter, Vhagar completely dwarfs Arrax. In fact, she is by far the largest dragon to appear on screen in both series, roughly twice the size of Drogon by the end of Game of Thrones – as well as the oldest one.
So, once Aemond decides to pursue Lucerys, it is not a fight, but a desperate chase, clearly inspired by monster movies, like The Jurassic Park.
It even starts with the enormous shadow of Vhagar flying over her prey, and ends in a classic moment which could have come right out of horror movie.
Lucerys and Arrax, after evading their pursuers by flying through a canyon too narrow for Vhagar, strike back at them defiantly and get a brief hope moment, as Arrax rises into sunlight above the stormclouds. And then Vhagar emerges from below to tear both the dragon and the rider apart in a single bite.
And then you have to put this scene into the overall context of the plot, where this attack is the point of no return of the upcoming civil war. And consider that Lucerys' death means that Rhaenyra lost her father and two of her children in the span of a single episode. No dragon fight before had so much impact, which added to its visual spectacle.