Man, we’re simply flying by the primary season of HBO’s Home of the Dragon. As customary, I wish to react to on-line reactions I’ve seen across the internet during the last week. To be sincere, I’m sort of shocked on the unfavorable takes. An article in The Sydney Morning Herald, for instance, known as the present “laughably dangerous” and acknowledged, “So much is being arrange, however little is actually occurring.” On-line remark sections negatively level out various similarities between HOD and Sport of Thrones, notably with regard to sure character arcs — Viserys is principally Ned Stark, Rhaenyra is Daenerys, Otto Hightower is Little Finger, and so on.
Whereas not an ideal present, HOD nonetheless stays head and shoulders above most blockbuster tv fare — Marvel’s abysmal She-Hulk, for instance. Whereas that will look like a backhanded praise, I feel there’s sufficient in HOD: Season 1 to get pleasure from to this point. Sure, the time jumps are clunky, and the well-documented changing of various the present’s stars shall be laborious to swallow when the second lastly arrives — principally as a result of everyone seems to be doing a beautiful job of their respective roles — however general I feel HOD has employed a gradual steadiness of engrossing drama and thrilling spectacle consistent with early GOT. I’m invested in Rhaenyra’s scenario, inquisitive about Otto’s true intentions, frightened of ancillary characters resembling Corlys Velaryon and Criston Cole, and desirous to see how Daemon Targaryen — the present’s solely true wild card — figures into the overarching narrative.
My prediction? Alicent Hightower makes the transfer that kicks off the eventual conflict. Up till this level, the present has largely centered on Rhaenyra and Viserys whereas Alicent quietly suffers within the background. As everybody rages concerning the issues they stand to lose, Alicent has already sacrificed every part — her freedom, her dignity, and now her father — all in order that her son, Aegon, can ascend to the throne. Besides, if Rhaenyra stays inheritor, Alicent’s sacrifice would have meant nothing, which is all the rationale for her to take drastic motion.
Lengthy story brief: I like the place all of that is headed. HOD: Season 1’s first half does really feel like an prolonged prologue — extra set dressing than an precise story — however I assume we’ll be glad about the cautious (albeit truncated) buildup when the shit inevitably hits the fan.
Onto Home of the Dragon Episode 5!
What Occurs in Home of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 5
We open on Rhea Royce galloping throughout the Vale on her horse. She comes throughout a hooded determine — Daemon. “Husband? Come to consummate our marriage,” she snarls earlier than dispensing a heap of insults — how he was handed over for a “little woman,” and so on. “What is going to you do now?” Wordlessly, Daemon casts a chilly lookup at his spouse, who shortly deduces his goal there. She reaches for her bow, however her actions spook her horse and within the commotion, she falls to the bottom and presumably turns into paralyzed. Even so, she continues to hurl insults at Daemon, who quietly saunters off. “I at all times knew you couldn’t end,” she says.
He pauses. Picks up a bigger rock and —
We minimize to a fish being beheaded. Yikes.
Properly, that’s one solution to separate out of your spouse, Daemon, you previous rascal!
Viserys sits aboard a ship that rocks laborious sufficient to trigger him to vomit over the aspect. Rhaenyra and Criston Cole are readily available as effectively; traversing the treacherous waters to succeed in Home Velaryon in Driftmark, the biggest island in Blackwater Bay. (I’m assuming that is the place they’re headed, in fact, based mostly on Viserys’ directions for Rhaenyra to marry Corlys’ son, Laenor, in final week’s episode.)
We in the reduction of to King’s Touchdown the place a weepy Alicent confronts her father. He rebukes her for siding with Rhaenyra (regarding the complete having intercourse with Daemon in a brothel factor) after which calmly explains what she already is aware of: in some unspecified time in the future, the King will die, Rhaenyra will take the throne and conflict will comply with as a result of the realm is not going to settle for a feminine inheritor. If that wasn’t sufficient, Rhaenyra will doubtless be pressured to kill off Alicent’s youngsters to safe the crown, which is … not good for anybody. These damned Targaryens.
(Otto seems genuinely sympathetic on this scene. Alicent accuses him of pushing Aegon’s declare too laborious, however his intentions do seem noble.)
“Both put together Aegon to rule, or cleave to Rhaenyra and pray for her mercy,” Otto advises earlier than embracing his daughter and driving away right into a raging storm. Dramatic.
Following her father’s departure, Alicent stands earlier than a Weirwood tree. Lord Larys Sturdy (whose personal father took Otto’s place) hobbles close by and begins making idle (learn: important) chit-chat. He casually notes that the Grand Maester dropped off some “tea” for Rhaenyra to eat a number of nights earlier — across the identical time as her, ah, tour with Daemon. In different phrases: Alicent was mistaken to imagine her buddy and misplaced her best ally because of this. That is dangerous.
Again with our sickly King, we see the group arrive at Excessive Tide or Corlys’ dwelling. Naturally, Corlys doesn’t arrive to greet Viserys in particular person (he’s nonetheless miffed over the entire Stepstones episode, and Viserys selecting Alicent over his daughter). As an alternative, we see a a lot older Laena welcome the crew. “Oh, that is awkward,” Viserys says between vomits.
“What’s the which means of this,” Lord Lyonel Sturdy, the brand new Hand, exclaims. “The place’s Corlys?”
“Relax. He’s ready someplace else,” Laena replies.
“Let’s do that,” Viserys says and the group shuffles off to a different gloomy locale the place Corlys awaits. After temporary introductions, throughout which Princess Rhaenys practically kills Viserys simply by shaking his hand (he’s not effectively), they relay the dangerous information: Rhea Royce is lifeless.
“How,” Viserys asks.
“A horse accident crushed her whole physique, together with her cranium,” Corlys explains. “Yeah, she was actual previous.”
Viserys switches gears. “Rhaenyra and Laenor ought to get married,” he suggests. Corlys takes the supply in stride however needs to iron out a number of particulars relating to succession. “My daughter will inherit the throne,” Viserys explains. “And her baby, no matter gender, will inherit the crown after her.”
Corlys needs to verify the youngsters take up their father’s title — “Velaryon” — as a result of individuals don’t have anything higher to do on this world than fear about legacies.
“Certainly, you’re not proposing the tip of the Targaryen dynasty just because Rhaenyra is a lady,” Viserys snaps because the Princess, aka the Queen that By no means Was, smirks. Regardless, Viserys agrees to maintain with custom and permit Rhaenyra’s youngsters to tackle the Velaryon title — not less than till they take the Iron Throne. “Dragons are gonna kick ass for the following hundred years,” he smirks.
Corlys and Rhaenys smile like two individuals who simply discovered they might be taking part in for a washer and dryer on the Worth is Proper and settle for the compromise. Later, we see them overanalyze the dialog — at this level, I’m assuming 85% of their marriage consists of plotting their subsequent political maneuver. Additionally they talk about Laenor, who we study is totally different. “He’s nonetheless younger,” Corlys states. “He’ll outgrow it. There’s nothing higher than bedding a lady!” The Princess notes that everybody will come after Rhaenyra when she takes the Iron Throne and wonders if the danger is value it.
“We now have dragons and lots of ships,” Corlys says. “Anybody silly sufficient to problem Rhaenyra’s declare shall be crushed!” Hell yeah.
“To what finish, Coryls? Wealth? Energy? Pleasure,” the Princess retorts.
“Justice,” he shoots again. He’s nonetheless pissed that Rhaenys by no means wore the crown. That is their alternative to proper a mistaken.
Elsewhere, our bride and groom grasp with the individuals they actually wish to be with. Laenor chills with Ser Joffrey Lonmouth whereas Rhaenyra spends time with Criston. The previous is intrigued by the ability Laenor will possess, whereas Criston asks Rhaenyra to run away with him. “You may marry me. A wedding for love, not for the crown.”
“I’m the Crown, Ser Criston,” she states. “It’s my responsibility to marry a noble man from a terrific home.” In different phrases, no. Although, she explains that she and Laenor have reached an understanding.
“You need me to be your whore,” Criston says earlier than storming off. He evidently had an actual good time the opposite evening.
Everybody arrives again at King’s Touchdown following that thrilling weekend. The King collapses — he doesn’t have lengthy — an occasion Alicent watches sans emotion. She summons Criston “the whore” to her room to ask about that evening. She already is aware of the reply … sadly, the way in which she phrases her query, Criston thinks she’s speaking about him and comes clear. This makes issues quite a bit worse.
“I’m a whore,” Criston says. “Please don’t torture me, simply kill me mercifully.”
“Uh, you may go,” Alicent says and we see confusion splattered throughout our knight’s face.
Elsewhere, the King collapses right into a chair, sips some drugs, after which wonders aloud what his legacy shall be. He stored the peace however didn’t actually transfer the needle. Is that sufficient?
We zip ahead a number of weeks and — following a nifty little bit of dragon flying — discover ourselves at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding ceremony (uh oh). Visitors strategy the bride, together with Jason Lannister, whose look causes Rhaenyra to roll her eyes (I’m going to overlook Milly Alcock when she ultimately surrenders this function to Emma D’Arcy). Ser Gerold, Rhea’s cousin (?) additionally seems and laments her passing, however his phrases are minimize brief by Corlys’ sudden entrance.
Why am I feeling uncomfortable proper now? The digicam cuts to numerous individuals within the crowd, together with Laenor’s lover, Lord Larys Sturdy, and Criston Cole. To compound issues, Daemon struts in alone like a boss. He pulls up a chair and takes a seat on the royal desk. What the hell?
Viserys makes a speech however stops brief when Alicent out of the blue emerges. Lord Larys notes the peculiarity of the scenario by asking what shade the beacon on the Hightower glows when Oldtown calls its banners to conflict … uhhhh … Alicent coldly congratulates Rhaenyra. Viserys continues his speech. “Extra dragons,” he beams, “and 7 days of match and feasting, adopted by a royal wedding ceremony.”
Awkward glances are exchanged. Rhaenyra and Laenor dance. Alicent seems positively miffed. Laenor’s lover glances at Criston. Daemon seems like he’s ready for one thing. Alicent heads to her uncle, who tells her that Oldtown stands together with her.
Close by, Gerald confronts Daemon. After calling him a bronze previous c–t, Daemon notes that he’s keen to debate his inheritance. “What inheritance,” Gerald asks. Because it seems, since Rhea and Daemon had no heirs, every part she stood to inherit handed to her husband. “She stood to inherit all of Runestone. Did she not,” Daemon asks.
“Shit,” Gerald says earlier than fleeing the scene.
Viserys watches his brother, a sorrowful expression etched on his face.
Extra dancing. Daemon makes a transfer on Laena. Laenor and Joffrey guess that Criston is Rhaenyra’s secret lover because of the painful look he retains casting in her path. “This can be a good factor. She is aware of your secret and now you already know hers,” Joffrey says. He then wonders over to talk with Criston — awkward pictures of individuals breaking up meals provides to the strain — and principally orders him to, effectively, maintain her secret.
Dameon slips over to Rhaenyra and once more presents his hand in marriage. She scolds her uncle and tells him that he’ll need to principally kidnap her to make it occur. Earlier than their dialog can proceed, individuals start screaming. What occurs subsequent is kinda nuts.
Apparently, Criston Cole misplaced his, er, cool and determined proper now was the perfect time to beat the shit out of Joffrey. Granted, the person was most likely dwelling in a glass case of emotion since his evening with Rhaenyra, however jeez … he goes all Edward Norton on Joffrey till the person’s face seems like uncooked hamburger. The King’s Hand casually nods to his personal assistant to save lots of Rhaenyra, an order that regarded extra “oh, what the hell” than “save her in any respect prices” — or perhaps I’m studying an excessive amount of into it.
At any price, Viserys seems about completed with all this political shit — he can’t even get pleasure from a marriage for God’s sake — and begins coughing up blood. Laenor screams and the present neatly cuts to the pair having fun with a silent wedding ceremony later that evening in an empty eating corridor, tears of their eyes. Not comfortable tears thoughts you, however tears not in contrast to my spouse when she realized her grave mistake throughout our personal wedding ceremony. Everybody says their “I dos” and Viserys collapses — once more — on the ground.
Criston, ever the dramatic whore, heads outdoors to casually kill himself however is stopped brief by Alicent. Did everybody simply let the poor bastard depart after he straight-up murdered Joffrey? He can’t survive … can he? Think about the following morning when the Queen arrives with Criston by her aspect appearing like George from Seinfeld: “Oh, that? You thought I used to be severe?”
Remaining Ideas on Home of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 5
I dug it. There’s quite a bit occurring on this present, even when a lot of the motion is buried inside small character beats. Everyone seems to be plotting one thing, however we’re nonetheless ready for somebody to make the primary transfer. Daemon needs Rhaenyra and has taken smaller steps to assert her, however has but to totally commit; Alicent is aware of her scenario is perilous however refuses to take motion; and the King’s advisors know Rhaenyra’s bid for the throne will result in conflict however are ready for the correct second to make their transfer, no matter that transfer is. The one one having enjoyable is Corlys, who appears utterly oblivious to the plotting and scheming occurring round his son.
Then once more, perhaps nothing will occur. Perhaps the expectations created by Sport of Thrones have impaired my skill to overview this present within the correct gentle. Perhaps Home of the Dragons isn’t about stunning twists and turns and is extra of a quiet cleaning soap opera centered round a bunch of wealthy assholes whose consolation blinded them from impending doom.
No, I refuse to just accept that.
Alicent will make the primary transfer that can thrust this world into conflict. I’m unsure what that transfer seems like, but it surely’ll be drastic sufficient to trigger ripple results throughout the entire kingdom. Sooner or later I collect Rhaenyra will run off with Daemon … perhaps that’s once we’ll get our time bounce? I don’t know.
I’ll level out that the time bounce did have a unfavorable impact on that stunning ending. We haven’t actually gotten to know Criston Cole very effectively. He’s a pleasant knight who smiles at Rhaenyra and appears to do his responsibility effectively. His courtship with the Princess was comparatively temporary — a brief scene of the pair wandering by the woods, a number of delicate exchanges, after which SEX! — and never written effectively sufficient to make us imagine he would throw his life away simply to be together with her. Certainly, his supply to Rhaenyra was maybe probably the most stunning second on this episode.
Had the collection developed this relationship additional, Criston’s beatdown of Joffrey might need left an emotional influence. As is, we do lament Criston’s choice, but when he had died on the finish of this episode my response would’ve been, to as soon as quote Seinfeld, “That’s a disgrace.”
As acknowledged above, Home of the Dragon Season 1 feels just like the prologue to a bigger story. We’re witnessing the essential moments that ultimately led to the downfall of a robust household, and it is going to be fascinating to see if the present slows down once we make the anticipated time bounce. Then once more, a lot of that is based mostly on a “historic account” written by George R.R. Martin. The place Sport of Thrones was a feature-length story, Fireplace and Blood is essentially a dictionary of types chronicling the Targaryen dynasty. Perhaps the plan is to leapfrog by the varied a long time so we are able to see probably the most notable methods this household f—ed up. I’m all for that, but it surely actually makes caring about these individuals a little bit tougher.
Additionally, I assume Crabfeeder is actually lifeless, eh? I assumed for certain there was one thing else brewing between the mysterious sea creature-loving baddie and Daemon. Is Otto Hightower gone for good? He rode off right into a rainstorm and didn’t look again. His phrases to Alicent felt closing. A form of “you’re by yourself, child” farewell, because it have been. What is going to the alliance between Alicent and Criston produce? Will the pair fall in love? Or will they scheme to drive Rhaenyra off the throne? Lastly, Daemon actually likes Rhaenyra. Extra importantly, I feel he respects her. They maintain teasing their courtship for a purpose. Right here I’m rooting for an uncle to get along with his niece. What the hell is mistaken with me?