“No, I like it. It’s a statement piece. Really completes the space.” Viserys (Paddy Considine) and Rheanyra (Milly Alcock) in House of the Dragon.
This recap of House of the Dragon’s premiere occasion contains spoilers for. well, for House of the Dragon’s premiere occasion. That is enough much what a recap is. do consequently.
And we are back. All of us — HBO, the Seven fiefdoms, you, and me of course, the joe who recapitulated Game of Thrones for NPR lo those numerous times agone . We are all of us then, back on our dragonscat.
I have written a couple handy manuals to help us all get in the right headspace, but basically Forget what you know, you will not need it much. House of the Dragon opens about 200 times before the events of Game of Thrones. The now 100- time–old Targaryen Dynasty is at its height, as the royal family holds the arm to 10 full– overgrown dragons.
We open at Harrenhal, the vast ruined castle that got famously dracarysed by Aegon the Conqueror, author of the Targaryen Dynasty, a century ahead. We are witnessing the Great Council of 101 AC, where the heir of the Iron Throne will be decided.
In this corner Rhaenys Targaryen, the king‘s granddaughter( she’s standing beside her hubby Corlys Velaryon, aka the Sea Snake — we’ll be seeing a lot further of him).
In that corner the king‘s grandson Viserys Targaryen, standing beside his woman Aemma Arryn, who’s pregnant with their son, Rhaenyra Targaryen.( I know, I know we are not indeed two twinkles in and formerly there is a Rhaenys and a Rhaenyra to contend with. Not to mention the fact that utmost of the characters are sporting the same long, plantinum- golden toupee. Drink to the Targaryen Dynasty. Edgar Winter is coming.)
The Great Council chooses Viserys, indeed though Rhaenys is aged, because the patriarchy is nothing if not hugely predictable.
Featuring a dragon- drop interface
Opening credits! Which expressly don’t shoot us swooping over a chart of Westeros to visit clockwork performances of the colorful locales that will figure in this week’s occasion. rather, we just zoom into the three- headed dragon sigil of House Targaryen.
Take that a signal that House of the Dragon’s principal conflict will not manifest, as GoT’s did, as a sprawling worldwide clash involving multitudinous far- flung Houses and fiefdoms. Then, the battle lines will largely be drawn within a single family, in just a many familiar locales. No chart necessary.
We get a dragon’s- eye view of King’s Landing, which is looking a bit more precisely rendered these days. We may be 172 times in the history, but the waiters in HBO’s VFX department have had four times of updates since GoT ended, and it shows.
That giant domed structure dominating the skyline? That is not the Great Sept of Baelor, which will not be erected for times. That is the Dragonpit, where live the royal family‘s dragons.
We meet teenaged Rhaenyra and her friend Alicent Hightower, son of Otto Hightower, who is the Hand of the King. They walk through the same yard in the Red Keep that Cersei will turn into a giant Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? board, centuries latterly.
The show puts further of its chess pieces on the board Queen Aemma is pregnant again, and offers the willful Rhaenyra some truly terrible” lie back and suppose of Westeros” maternal advice. Corlys Velaryon( told you!) warns that some of the Free metropolises have formed an alliance called the Triarchy, and their crewmate — one Craghas Drahar, aka Crabfeeder is severely clearing the Stepstones( a string of islets between Westeros and Essos) of rovers. Put a leg in that; it will come back.
“I call it Spiny-Echidna-Chic.” Daemon (Matt Smith) and Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) in House of the Dragon.
Enter Daemon Targaryen, the King’s cocky — well, cheekbony, anyway — youngish family. He is sitting on the Iron Throne, which looks much further jagged and dangerous than we flash back . I mean, the tetanus threat alone.
Daemon and Rhaenyra show an easy familiarity with each other. We are meant to pick up on commodity differently between them too and if that squicks you out, hoo boy, are you watching the wrong show, about the wrong family. He gives her a gift, an mascot of exceedingly rare Valyrian sword — the same thing his brand, Dark Sister, is made of.
Then comes the blood
The king has a crack on his reverse that refuses to heal. He says it’s from sitting on the Iron Throne which is commodity taken directly from the books that Game of Thrones noway picked up on; the Iron Throne isn’t meant to be place where anyone can rest fluently. The royal resources presumably come with a line item for Band- Aids and hydrogen peroxide.
Were you allowing that House of the Dragon was acting a little light on GoT- position violence, therefore far? Oh, you sweet summer child. This coming sequence, in which Daemon leads the City Guard( aka the Gold Cloaks) as they attack King’s Landing’s raggedy underbelly by sticking their brands into a lot of raggedy underbellies, should keep you sated for a while.
The coming day, Ser Otto Hightower attempts to smirch Daemon for his impulsive action, but the Napoleon is supported by Corlys Velaryon and, conditionally, the king himself. There will soon be a event, after all, held to celebrate the impending birth of the king‘s child, which( the king is certain) will be a boy. Lots of visiting patricians. The king rationalizes that Daemon’s show of force will help cover the people. Daemon peaces out before anyone can say” Gold Lives Matter,” so that is a good thing.
In a cathouse scene of the kind that comes plant– installed in GeorgeR.R. Martin shows, we meet Daemon’s paramour, a coitus worker named Mysaria, and learn that he is been having trouble. landing the dragon, as it were. before, we learned that he is married to a lady of the Vale, but does not important care for her. All of which is laying the track to remind us that he is a true Targaryen — and therefore a man of veritably specific, plantinum- haired tastes.
The jousting event is a bloody and barbaric affair, substantially between knights that have noway known real war. Daemon defeats Otto’s son, and looks enough damn trim about it. But he, in turn, loses to the mysterious and handsome Ser Criston Cole, upon whom Rhaenyra bestows her favor. Flash back his name, he will figure largely in what is coming.
While all of that is going on, the queen goes into labor, and it does not go well. The child is traduced. The king is summoned to her side and they get to partake a tender moment before he gives his authorization to have her baby removed surgically.( The queen, specially, isn’t consulted in the matter.) The show really lingers on this sequence, daring us to keep watching; if the point is to remind us how dangerous parturition can be, indeed in a world full of magic, charge fulfilled.
The queen dies. Soon later, her child — a manly heir at law — dies as well.
We get a regard of Targaryen burial solemnities, as Rhaenyra instructs her dragon to burn her mama and family‘s corses on a barrow. veritably essence.
Honey bunches of oaths: Rhaenys (Eve Best) and Corlys (Steve Toussaint) line up to swear fealty to the new heir in House of the Dragon.
This meeting could have happed over chain– correspondence
Given the tragedy, the king‘s High Council is divided on whom should ultimately succeed him. Corlys cites precedent and makes a case for Daemon. But others, led by Otto, maintain that Daemon is too impulsive, too ambitious, too cruel for the Iron Throne.( Daemon, for his part, is Jay Leno- ing this meeting, which is to say He is harkening in. He is not, like, driving a classic auto and wearing a lot of denim. Just to be clear.)
rather, the other Council members suggest Rhaenyra. Cue the needful” A. a girl? On the Iron Throne?” foaming and plum– clinging and lorgnette– dropping. The king storms out, leaving the question unanswered.
Otto addresses to Alicent, his veritably! youthful! son, and suggests she go to visit the king in his chambers. To offer him. a kind observance.
For a launch, at least.
Yes, it’s gross, but it’s part of GeorgeR.R. Martin’s whole deal. Fish got ta syncope, catcalls got ta fly, daddies got ta exploit their youthful daughters.
Alicent visits the king, and we learn he is the Seven fiefdoms‘ original to a model road joe He seems to be sculpturing an enormous scale model of King’s wharf out of gravestone.
Contractually- obliged cathouse Scene 2. Daemon toasts the king‘s late child son, calling him” The Heir at law for a Day.” This angers the king, who instantly calls Daemon on whatever the Westeros fellow of a carpet is.
The sisters exchange fiery words of resentment. The king orders Daemon to leave King’s Landing and return to his woman in the Vale — and tells him he is no longer heir at law to the Iron Throne. As if in answer, the Iron Throne instantly gives the king yet another nasty cut.
In the basements of the Red Keep, the king and Rhaenyra converse, under the huge brewing cranium of Balerion, the dragon that their ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror, rode as he set about, you know, conquering.
The king tells his son that their ancestors should noway have meddled with dragons, that they are a dangerous force beyond man‘s control. And also he kind of sneaks in that she’s the new heir at law to the Iron Throne.
Cut to the Iron Throne. The lords of the Seven fiefdoms swear fealty to the king‘s recently named heir at law, Princess Rhaenyra, one by one. House Velaryon, House Hightower, House Baratheon, and also — just as we get a flashback of the king advising Rhaenyra that the world will end with a great downtime — we get a shot of the current Lord of Winterfell, Rickon Stark, swearing the pledge with those round Northern vowels I have missed so much. A nice touch.
Meanwhile, Daemon and Mysaria leave King’s wharf in a huff.
A huff, in this case, is a defile on the reverse of Daemon’s dragon Caraxes. The fact that he takes Mysaria with him explosively suggests he is not going back to the Vale as instructed.
- Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra is the breakout star here. She’s giving you the requisite cool, patrician haughtiness, but she’s able to show you the layers of emotion roiling just beneath the surface, too. I’ll miss her when there’s a time jump later in the season and Emma D’arcy takes over the role as adult Rhaenyra.
- Is King Viserys meant to be weak, or just … not a jerk? Game of Thrones tended to telegraph its incompetent characters, but I don’t yet have a fix on what we’re to make of Viserys. He loves his wife and daughter, and in GRMM’s world, displays of tenderness are usually a harbinger of doom.
- House of the Dragon is based on the 2018 book Fire & Blood, which is presented as a series of conflicting historical accounts, written in different styles, from different points of view. Lots of stuff is left open to the reader’s interpretation, which makes it a fun read, but serialized television can’t be so coy. The show’s gonna have to pick a side and explicitly dramatize it, which will be fun to see.