House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 8 – The Lord of the Tides

“It is ill luck to look upon the face of death.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

There’s a lot going on in this episode of House of the Dragon – and as usual, it’s all to do with succession. The redoubtable Lord Corlys Velaryon has, it seems, been injured and afflicted with an infection  that seems sure to kill him. With House Velaryon being the second most important House in the Seven Kingdoms (after the Targaryens), and with the logical heir, Ser Laenor (apparently) dead, there’s no clear inheritor. Let the squabbles begin.

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House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 7 – Driftmark

“Exhausting, wasn’t it, hiding behind the cloak of your own righteousness? But now they see you as you are!”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

It seems weddings aren’t the only royal occasions prone to disruption and drama in Westeros. As we see in this ep, funerals can be equally as difficult, as Lady Laena’s memorial on the Velaryon stronghold of Driftmark further draws the lines of alliances between factions that will (presumably) soon be openly at war.

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House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 6 – The Princess and the Queen

“What are children but a weakness?”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

And just like that… it’s ten years later.

This is a shame, as I’d grown rather attached to the actors playing the younger parts, who now must necessarily be recast; though the older characters often don’t seem to have aged at all. So, it’s out for Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra, replaced by Emma D’Arcy; while Queen Allicent, her former friend and now deadly rival, is incarnated by Olivia Cooke, replacing the perfectly decent Emily Carey. Theo Nate, meanwhile, has been replaced as husband-in-name-only Laenor Velaryon by John MacMillan, who, as of this episode at least, looks strangely about the same age.

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House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 5 – We Light the Way

“Is it not better to have lived in peace than to have songs sung about you after you are dead?”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Oh dear. There’s going to be a wedding. Keen observers of previous (well, actually, future) Westerosi royal weddings will be well aware that such things tend not to go well. This one, however, sets a new precedent – it all goes pear-shaped before we even get to the actual ceremony, with a pre-wedding feast that goes from awkward, to supremely awkward, to horrifically violent, in one of the most bloodthirsty dances in the Seven Kingdoms. “I’m not much of a dancer,” confides Princess Rhaenyra to her intended, Ser Laenor Velaryon. “It’s just like combat,” he replies. He’s not wrong.

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House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 4 – King of the Narrow Sea

“You are wearing a crown. Do you also call yourself King?”

(SPOILER WARNING – ALSO POSSIBLY NSFW!)

Right, well it looks as though I was wrong in my earlier assumption that House of the Dragon would be playing down the massive amounts of sex so beloved of parent show Game of Thrones. Very, very wrong. Because this episode lets it all hang out, with copious amounts of sex and discussion of sex – along with (natch) how it affects that all-important Royal Duty.

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House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 3 – Second of His Name

“You’re not only Rhaenyra’s father, you’re the King. She’ll do as you command.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After the relatively talky first two episodes, this time House of the Dragon delivers on the action, with several storming battle scenes as the war with the piratical, mysterious Crabfeeder continues. Dragonfire rains down on his beleaguered forces, driving them to scurry, Bin Laden-like, into the cover of some handy caves. Director Greg Yaitanes continues a tradition established in Game of Thrones by directors like Neil Marshall, directing the action with a sure hand that provides compelling vistas, while also plunging the viewer nearly first hand into the action.

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House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 2 – The Rogue Prince

“We are the realm’s second sons, Daemon. Our worth is not given. It must be made.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After the season opener’s rather lengthy scene-setting and exposition, the showrunners of House of the Dragon hit the ground running in the second ep with the beginning of an actual plot. So keen are they to get the plot up and running that we get plunged into it without any explanation, as the opening scene pans across a beach full of carnage, with voracious crabs feasting on the bodies of the dead (and the not-so-dead).

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House of the Dragon: season 1, episode 1 – The Heirs of the Dragon

“The only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon was itself.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Roll up, roll up, for the Big Autumn Battle of the Fantasy Epics! In the blue corner, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, reportedly the most expensive TV show ever made! And in the red corner, it’s HBO’s younger upstart, House of the Dragon, a prequel to their ratings juggernaut Game of Thrones!

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