This review contains spoilers for House of the Dragon, to read last week’s review please click here.
The last time we left House Targaryen, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alock) was announced to be the heir to King Viserys’ throne. Leaving the entire realm in shock as they do not want a woman to be on the Iron Throne. We’ve seen this as the Lords of the realm had previously chosen Viserys over Rhaenys Velaryon. It’s interesting because in a way it foreshadows the events that occur during Game of Thrones. This episode of House of the Dragon continues the foreshadowing of things we know to come and things we suspect may happen.
House of the Dragon episode two opens with Prince Craghas ‘Crabfeeder’ Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith) and his troops taking down an army of Valyrian soldiers. Viserys’ small council wants him to show power, but he wants to be diplomatic. Rhaenyra suggests using the Dragonriders, and subsequently gets dismissed by the council to pick knights for the King’s Guard. Even then she gets criticized for choosing Ser Criston Cole based on his actual battle experience instead one of the others who are from powerful houses.
The small council also suggests and tries to sway the King to take up a new wife six months after the death of the Queen. It has driven a wedge between him and Rhaenyra. He knows it has and continues to try to work on their relationship during this episode. Lord Corlys Velaryon puts his daughter Laena Velaryon (Nova Foueillis-Mose) as a prospect to marry the King. She’s about 11 years old and King Viserys is almost immediately in objection. He’s had his eyes on the Hand’s daughter Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey), and he announces his intent to marry her at the end of the episode.
Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) continues his disobedience against the throne, as he has taken over Dragonstone. King Viserys has been trying to de-escalate the situation, but Daemon steals a dragon egg in this episode as he prepares for the birth of his child from Lady Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno). The King sends his Hand Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) to handle Daemon and retrieve the egg. Rhaenyra asks what egg was stolen and learns it was the one she had chosen for her dead baby brother, As Otto and an army of soldiers show up at Dragonstone, Daemon meets them at the entrance. The two sides argue and Daemon threatens Otto with death. Rhaenyra arrives on Dragon’s back and de-escalates what could’ve been a bloodbath. She tells her uncle to kill her or stand down, and she ends the dispute.
Viserys is very upset with Rhaenyra as she did not have permission to leave King’s Landing. Even though Daemon is occupying her castle as he claims to want to preserve their tradition. Daemon also meets with Lord Corlys as they seem to be scheming on Viserys’ throne. What Daemon has not disposed of is that Mysaria is neither pregnant nor engaged to him. They are indeed all keyed in on the Crabfeeder as he continues to move towards trying to take Westeros to war.
Ryan J. Condal wrote the teleplay for this episode of House of Dragon. He delivers an intense but moderate script with great dialogue and story building. He’s also building the world we are in thus far. Character building and world-building are essential in stories like this. We will spend the majority of this season learning about the characters and all of their motives. Greg Yaitanes is the director for this episode, he takes Condal’s teleplay and flips it into a very interesting episode. He got a great performance out of his cast and stays the course for building within the show.
My only complaint would be the pacing in this episode. In the first episode, there was a ton of violence and action. This episode was a lot more tame and easygoing. Given, that the Laena and Viserys dynamic made a lot of people uncomfortable, the only actual violence was in the Crabfeeder scenes and even then it was minimal. Does it take away from the show? No, not at all. However, it would have brought more excitement to the episode. All in all, it was still a great episode that helped carry the story.
The cinematography from Pepe Avila del Pino is immaculate. Dragonstone and the Crabfeeder scenes on the shores of Westeros are amazing. Rhaenyra showing up on her Dragon and Caraxes’ entrance may be two of the best shots in the GOT universe. House of the Dragon also continues to have a great score that’s easily memorable. This episode in particular uses the Game of Thrones theme in its intro and outro. It’s a great way to continue the legend of this franchise.
House of the Dragon is a ton of fun. It is deeply rooted in the universe of Game of Thrones. The show continues with callbacks and introduces us to characters we only knew by name years ago. This is a great way to build the world 172 years before the one we knew. We are on the verge of seeing the fall of Valyria and many others. Long gone are the days of House Lannister and Daenerys fighting over Westeros, now are the days of House Targaryen fighting within. – Rascal F Kennedy
Rating – 9/10