I have a high tolerance for annoyances. If a restaurant confuses my order, I’ll take what I was given. If a friend wakes me up with a phone call, I tell them I was awake. But there are people who I get annoyed with extremely easily—including when they say or do something fairly normal. My girlfriend calls it “irritation bias”: being irritated by something because it came from a person you find irritating, not because the thing itself actually irritates you.

To mitigate my biases, I made a sort of test for myself: Whenever someone who often gets on my nerves says something that I find annoying, I imagine that my best friend—someone who can generally do no wrong in my eyes—was the person who said it. If I still find what they said annoying, then I know my reaction is probably fair, or at least sincere. But if what they said wouldn’t be annoying coming from my best friend, I reconsider how to react.

I have an irritation bias against Westeros. After reading A Song of Ice and Fire (the book series on which Game of Thrones is based) and watching Game of Thrones, anything with Grand Maesters, milk of the poppy, and Valyrian steel felt almost unimaginable. But when the HBO prequel series House of the Dragon was announced, I wanted to give it a chance in hopes that it could be like Better Call Saul—the type of spin-off that’s better than it has any right to be. I wanted to beat my bias and appreciate what the new series had to offer.

Either I failed in overcoming my bias, or House of the Dragon doesn’t offer much. House of the Dragon is a bland, emotionally dull attempt to capitalize on the success of Game of Thrones.

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