This review of the first episode of House of the Dragon contains spoilers for, well, the first episode of House of the Dragon. Essentially, that is what a recap entails. Go ahead as necessary.
“House of the Dragon” features plenty of dragon blood.
We’re back now. HBO, the Seven Kingdoms, you, and I, the person who recapped Game of Thrones for NPR all those many years ago, are all of us. We’re all back on our dragonscat and gathered here.
Forget what you know, you won’t need it much, I’ve created a couple helpful primers to get us all in the appropriate frame of mind. About 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon opens. With 10 fully grown dragons under the control of the royal line, the 100-year-old Targaryen Dynasty is at its pinnacle.
We begin at Harrenhal, a great, deserted castle that Aegon the Conqueror, the ancestor of the Targaryen Dynasty, famously dracarysed a century prior. We are watching the Great Council of 101 AC, which will choose who will succeed to the Iron Throne.
Rhaenys Targaryen, the king’s granddaughter, is pictured in this corner standing next to her husband Corlys Velaryon, sometimes known as the Sea Snake; he will appear frequently.
Viserys Targaryen, the king’s great-grandson, is pictured there beside his wife Aemma Arryn, who is carrying their unborn daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen. (I know, I know. We haven’t even been here two minutes and already we have to deal with a Rhaenys and a Rhaenyra. Not to mention the uniform long, plantinum-blonde wigs that are worn by the majority of the characters. Hello and welcome to the Targaryen era. Edgar Winter is on the way.)
The patriarchy is nothing if not completely predictable, thus the Great Council chooses Viserys despite Rhaenys’ age.
using a dragon-drop user interface
initial credits! These specifically do not direct us to fly over a map of Westeros to see clockwork replicas of the various locations that will appear in this week’s episode. We simply focus on the House Targaryen insignia of a three-headed dragon.
Take that as an indication that the main conflict in House of the Dragon won’t take the form of a vast international conflict involving multiple distant Houses and kingdoms, as the main conflict in Game of Thrones did. The battle lines will be mostly defined within a single family and in a few well-known places in this case. No map is required.
We see King’s Landing from a dragon’s perspective, and it has recently begun to appear more accurately portrayed. Despite the fact that GoT finished 172 years ago, HBO’s VFX department’s servers have undergone modifications for the past four years, and it is evident.
What enormous dome-shaped structure commands the skyline? The Great Sept of Baelor, which won’t be constructed for many years, is not that. That is the Dragonpit, home of the dragons of the royal family.
We first meet Alicent Hightower, the friend of teenage Rhaenyra, and her father Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King. They pass through the same Red Keep courtyard where Cersei would transform into a gigantic being. board, several hundred years later. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
More of the program’s chess pieces are placed on the board: The second-time expectant Queen Aemma gives some truly awful “lay back and think of Westeros” motherly counsel to the obstinate Rhaenyra. Corlys Velaryon (spoiler alert!) says that some of the Free Cities have created the Triarchy, and their admiral — one Craghas Drahar, or Crabfeeder — is violently purging the Stepstones (a chain of islands between Westeros and Essos) of pirates. A pin will reappear if you strike that.
Enter Daemon Targaryen, the King’s younger, cheeky (or at least cheekbony) brother. He is seated on the Iron Throne, which is more rougher and more menacing than we recall. Specifically, the tetanus risk.
Rhaenyra and Daemon appear to be very comfortable around one another. We’re supposed to notice something else between them as well, so if it freaks you out, you’re watching the wrong family-related drama. He presents her with an amulet fashioned of the same extremely rare Valyrian steel that his blade, Dark Sister, is.
The blood is now flowing
On his back, the monarch has a wound that won’t mend. He claims that it comes from occupying the Iron Throne, which is something that Game of Thrones never addressed and which was clearly taken from the books: the Iron Throne is not intended to be a location where anyone may unwind. There is certainly a line item in the royal treasury for Band-Aids and hydrogen peroxide.
Were you under the impression that so far, House of the Dragon hasn’t included nearly as much bloodshed as Game of Thrones? You adorable summer youngster, oh. You should be satisfied for a while after seeing the next scene, in which Daemon commands the City Guard (also known as the Gold Cloaks) as they attack King’s Landing’s sordid underbelly by stabbing their swords into a bunch of seedy underbellies.
The following day, Ser Otto Hightower makes an effort to humiliate Daemon for his rash decision, but the prince is supported by Corlys Velaryon and, under certain conditions, the king. After all, a tournament will shortly be conducted to commemorate the forthcoming birth of the king’s child, who will undoubtedly be a male (the monarch is confident of this). several nobility in town. The king argues that Daemon’s display of power will aid in defending the populace. It’s a good thing that Daemon gives up before anyone can utter the phrase “Gold Lives Matter.”
We meet Daemon’s paramour, a sex worker named Mysaria, in a brothel scenario similar to that that George R.R. Martin depicts pre-install. We hear that he has been having difficulty, or rather, “landing the dragon.” He’s married to a lady of the Vale, but he previously revealed that he doesn’t really care for her. All of this serves as a foundation for reminding us that he is a true Targaryen, and as such, a man with very particular, plantinum-haired tastes.
The majority of the knights competing in the jousting competition have never experienced real combat. Otto’s son is defeated, and Daemon appears to be quite pleased with himself. However, he falls short in the end to the mysterious and alluring Ser Criston Cole, whom Rhaenyra favours. Keep his name in mind; he will play a significant role in what follows.
The queen goes into labour during this time, but the birth is not successful. The youngster has been exposed. Before authorising the surgical removal of her kid, the king is called to her side and they have a poignant time together. (Notably, the queen is not consulted on the issue.) If the goal of the episode is to remind us how risky childbirth can be, even in a world full of magic, mission accomplished. The show really lingers on this scenario, daring us to keep watching.
Queen passes away. Her male heir child also passes away shortly after.
As Rhaenyra gives her dragon the order to burn the bodies of her mother and brother on a pyre, we get a peek of Targaryen funeral customs. extreme metal
This meeting might have taken place over some chain mail.
The High Council of the King is divided as to who should eventually succeed him in light of the catastrophe. Corlys presents a defence for Daemon using precedent. However, some people, led by Otto, believe Daemon is unfit for the Iron Throne because he is too impulsive, ambitious, and brutal. (Daemon is attending this conference like Jay Leno, that is, he is only listening in. He’s not, like, wearing a bunch of denim and driving a classic car. For the record.)
The other Council members propose Rhaenyra as an alternative. the necessary music “A female, maybe? in the throne room? “monocle dropping, pearl grabbing, and spluttering. The king storms off without responding to the query.
Otto suggests Alicent see the king in his chambers in a conversation with his very young daughter. to lend him a sympathetic ear.
at least as a start.
Yes, that’s disgusting, but George R.R. Martin included it in his overall story. Fish must swim, birds must fly, and fathers must take advantage of their young daughters.
The Seven Kingdoms’ version of a model railroad enthusiast, the monarch is carving a massive scale model of King’s Landing out of stone when Alicent pays him a visit.
Contractually Required Brothel Scene 2. Daemon refers to the late baby son of the king as “The Heir for a Day” and toasts him. The king becomes enraged by this and immediately summons Daemon to sit on whatever carpet there is in Westeros.
The brothers yell venomous insults at one another. The king informs Daemon that he is no longer the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and commands him to leave King’s Landing and return to his wife in the Vale. The Iron Throne immediately administers the king another another painful cut as though in response.
Under the massive looming skull of Balerion, the dragon that their ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror, rode as he set about, you know, conquering, the king and Rhaenyra converse in the cellars of the Red Keep.
The king explains to his daughter that dragons are a dangerous power that is beyond human control and that their forefathers should have never dealt with them. Finally, he sort of slips in that she is the next heir apparent to the Iron Throne.
The Iron Throne appears next. One by one, the Seven Kingdoms’ lords pledge their allegiance to Princess Rhaenyra, the king’s newly named successor. The current Lord of Winterfell, Rickon Stark, is shown swearing the oath with those round Northern vowels I’ve missed so much, just as we see a flashback of the king warning Rhaenyra that the world will end with a great winter. a lovely touch
In the meantime, Daemon and Mysaria storm out of King’s Landing.
In this instance, a huff refers to the saddle that Daemon’s dragon Caraxes has. He carries Mysaria with him, which strongly suggests he is not returning to the Vale as directed.
The star of the show here is Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra. She is giving you the expected patrician coolness, yet she also manages to convey the depths of emotion bubbling just below the surface. When there is a time hop later in the season and Emma D’arcy assumes the role of adult Rhaenyra, I’ll miss her.
Is King Viserys supposed to be a wimp or just a kind guy? I don’t know what to think of Viserys yet, but Game of Thrones had a tendency to signal its inept characters. He adores his wife and daughter, but in the world of GRMM, affectionate gestures are typically a sign of impending catastrophe.
The 2018 book Fire & Blood served as the inspiration for House of the Dragon. It is comprised of a number of contradictory historical stories written in various genres and from various points of view. It makes for a fun read because a lot of the content is left up to the reader’s interpretation, but serialised television can’t be as ambiguous. It will be interesting to watch which side the programme explicitly dramatises as it will have to do so.
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