House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 8 “The Lord of the Tides” Recap

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Listen, as far as Westerosi family dinners go- this was far from the worst. I’ve had meals back home in Worcester that were more unpleasant and aggressive. I’m just saying.

Spoiler Note: This recap and the comments section may contain mild spoilers from George R.R. Martin’s novels and Westeros histories, whether or not that material has appeared on the show yet. If you have not read the books and wish to remain completely Unsullied, we encourage you to check out our non-book-reader recap by Oz of Thrones!

Driftmark, High Tide, Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), Baela Velaryon (Bethany Antonia), Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), 1x08 (2)What’s an episode kickoff for House of the Dragon, without a loud hint about how much time has passed? Six years. It’s been six years since we last saw the characters, per the expositional opening dialogue about Corlys Velaryon and his grievous injury earned fighting the Triarchy. (We all know they aren’t going to kill supreme bad motherfucker Corlys offscreen without a big scene so this little moment lacks some tension.) Vaemond is talking too much shit about the Driftwood throne, implying he might have a right to it, with his brother possibly dying. He challenges the right for Lucerys Velaryon to inherit.

Daemon goes on a successful egg-snatching mission, snagging three eggs from Syrax. He receives a letter from Baela informing him of Vaemond’s inheritance shit-stirring. Rhaenyra is revealed to be pregnant while she receives an update on the latest gossip and we get another expositional info dump. TLDR; the greens are running the joint now.

House of the DragonRhaenyra and Daemon return to King’s Landing and discover Alicent has been renovating with ugly religious decor. Targaryen banners, out; Seven-Pointed Stars, in. Rhaenyra is reunited with her father the king and finds the years haven’t been kind; the rot has gotten to his head, and ravaged him. Rhaenyra is emotional but Daemon has his mind on the game, pushing their claim for Lucerys who should remain the heir to the title of Lord of the Tides. Rhaenyra introduces to her father her new babies – Viserys and Aegon (yeah, another one).

Alicent meets with an emotional young serving girl, giving her moon tea and a payoff to cover up that the girl has been victimized by Prince Aegon. Afterward, the queen confronts her son in his bed, furious.  He’s a hot mess and apparently already a huge disappointment.

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Rhaenyra and Alicent finally meet up- the queen snubbed the princess on her arrival. Viserys is heavily drugged up, and Daemon doesn’t approve of all the decor changes. Things are tense.

King's Landing Red Keep Gardens, Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), Rhaena Targaryen (Phoebe Campbell), Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy), 1x08 (1)
In the courtyard, fighters spar-the Cargyll twins and Prince Aemond against Ser Criston Cole. Jace and Luke look on, until their uncle notices them. Vaemond Velaryon arrives, will full fanfare.

Meeting Otto and Alicent, Vaemond plots and Otto presses the question, “Do they want a child as leader of Westeros’ largest fleet?” With Alicent reigning as regent in her husband’s convalescence, it looks like a done deal- she should be able to hand the title over Vaemond.

In the godswood, Rhaenys’ path crosses with Rhaenyra, accompanied by Rhaena. (Yes, those are three different people.) Rhaenyra questions Rhaenys’ motives for appearing there; knowing she must still be upset about Laenor’s death. Seeking to win her over, Rhaenyra makes an offer- two marriages to bind them together, her two sons to Rhaenys’ granddaughters. Rhaenys is not impressed.

paddy-considineRhaenyra visits with with Viserys and she muses on Aegon’s dream. After all that has transpired, the princess is questioning her destiny.

Having been drugged to the point where he could do nothing, despite being in terrible pain, Viserys declines the medicine that night.

Otto Hightower takes the throne to hear the petition for the Lord of the Tides. A confident Vaemond makes a nice speech, and scorns Rhaenyra’s claim. Rhaenyra’s response is interrupted by the dramatic arrival of King Viserys. He’s a broken tragic specter, determined to walk on his own two feet to the throne, but he manages to get almost there. The last few feet, he stumbles. With the help of his brother Daemon, the king takes the throne. Curveball! He will hear only from Rhaenys, Corlys’s wife.

The power in her hands, Rhaenys makes a choice: she announces Corlys chose Lucerys as his heir, and she announces the engagements proposed by Rhaenyra.

King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room, Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), Baela Velaryon (Bethany Antonia), Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), 1x08 (1)Seeing his chance at the title slipping away, Vaemond completely loses it, giving Daemon an excuse to cut half his damn head off. Viserys gets faint. Drama over.

Later Rhaenys visits the body of her brother in law. Contemplating his corpse, it seems she recognizes what she has sacrificed for her and her family’s future.

ewan-mitchell-rhys-ifans-olivia-cooke-paddy-consdine-emma-d-arcyIt’s time for the Targaryen Family Fun Times, and oh my gods, candles! So many candles! How do they not light their hair on fire?

Despite his collapse, Viserys joins dinner. Aegon is immediately gross, so I think this is his baseline. The king makes a heartfelt, impassioned call to his family to unite. Moved, Rhaenyra extends an olive branch of a toast to Alicent and the queen returns the gesture of kindess. Otto hates all of it, and Aemond looks sketchy just sitting there.

Aegon sets to taunting his nephew Jace over his new fiancee and the tension grows. It’s apparent Aemond is looking for a fight. Helaena makes a rather sad toast of her own (and a muttered prophecy, but no one ever listens…)  Viserys suffers in agony without medicine but watches the young people dance, and it’s sweet.

King's Landing Red Keep, Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell), Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney), 1x08 (2)

As pig is served (the Pink Dread lives!), Aemond serves up a final toast, for the strong boys of Rhaenyra, leading to a scuffle. They’re separated before it gets bloody.

Alicent and Rhaenyra maintain their tentative peace, with Rhaenyra resolved to bring her boys home to Dragonstone.

sonoya-mizuno(3)Mysaria is revealed to be still around and still beautiful in white. The queen’s servant spied earlier (bringing the moon tea to the unfortunate victim of Aegon) reports to Mysaria.

In bed the king cries in pain, and the queen tends to him. Alicent gives him his poppy medicine. Delirious, dreaming, and thinking she’s Rhaenyra, he rambles about the prophecy,  and tells her, “you are the one who must do this.” She slips away, believing she understands him.

King Viserys, his tortured life and pain finally ending, dies alone.


Assorted Thoughts

Swiftly Fly the Years: These kids grow up so fast, don’t they? I thought the rapid pace aging might bug me this week, but actually it didn’t faze me at all. There is some adjustment to be made for different acting here and there, which is a slightly separate issue. (Adult Aegon is less goofy and more menacing than teen wanker Aegon, for example.) But the time jump this week didn’t feel as jarring as the previous ones- maybe I’m just getting used to it?

That said… Ewan Mitchell (Aemond) filled me with dread every scene he was in. I absolutely believe this guy is going to murder someone any time he’s onscreen. Kudos!

The Worm Returns: Was wondering what Mysaria was up to after all these years and disappointed her appearance was so brief this week. Sonoya Mizuno feels woefully underused so far in season 1.

“Beware the beast beneath the boards:Know what goes well with your dinner cheese? Not blood. Watch out for rats beneath the floor, Helaena.

He’s here, the Phantom of the Operaaaa: They didn’t hold back on the makeup and effects for Viserys, did they, oooooof. That was some Richard Harrow-level face work happening there. Impressive and and horrifying and heartrending, yet Paddy Considine’s performance still came through beautifully.

Get Bill Shakespeare on the Stage! The dialogue felt very Shakespearean in this episode in a great way. It was most noticeable to me in the opening scene with Vaemond and Rhaenys and and then in the scene with Rhaenys and Rhaenyra, with the princess using double-speak to cover the truth of Laenor. It’s one of the striking differences between GoT and HotD- GoT was much less formal in language and it did take some getting used to when HotD began. But you could also say, hey, this is a couple hundred years earlier in-world and maybe their language used to be more formal and got more casual over time! Ending with the king’s moving death and a classic misunderstanding also gives me some serious Shakespearean vibes.

No, Not You: If Alicent starts believing she has a destiny and has to save all people, she’s going to become an absolute nightmare. Okay, the seven-pointed stars everywhere already point to her thinking that, so…yeah, they’re all screwed.

Valar Morghulis

King Viserys (Paddy Considine): After an incredibly long battle with Westerleprosy, the beleaguered king finally succumbed in poppy-addled delirium. All the Emmys for Paddy, honestly.

Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson): Quit while you’re ahead, Vaemond. More importantly, quit while you still have one.

Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of WatchersOnTheWall.com

72 Comments

  1. I firmly believe that Viserys will be back next episode looking much better, and having received incredible medical treatme…..*bursts into tears*

    Vaemond was a twerp and I felt quite proud of Daemon, which I’ll probably never say again.

    Aemond Greyjoy is brilliant casting.

    Can someone give Rhaenys a dang break already.

    I’d kill for some commentary by Sandor at this point.

  2. Fuuuuuccccckkkkk.

    Aemond is like young Daemon. Yes, I read the book. No, I don’t remember most of it. And Aemond seems far more calculating at a far younger age. I think he will ultimately pose a far greater threat than anyone else.

    I just cannot believe Daemon and Rhaenyra are so impulsive and rash. Flaunting bastards, cutting off heads, obfuscating with grieving aunt… JFC. The only reason they get away with it is because they have charisma.

    Farewell, Viserys. You were a wonderful man and a shit king, and in 100 years’ time the last dragons will be the size of house cats.

    Sigh.

  3. The downfall of the Targaryens being a misinterpreted prophecy in which they think they will come out victorious and likely stronger is so funny. It definitely sounds like something GRRM would do.

    Also, where’s Daeron? I thought he would at least get name-dropped this episode. I am worried we won’t be getting enough grey on both sides moving forward.

  4. I know that there are 2 more episodes, but this seemed like a season’s finale. I wonder how they will end the season.

    Nice scene with Daemon and his brother. Very clear here that Daemon loves his brother, but was just misunderstood.

    Aemond looks more of a son of Daemon than his actually sons do. Good casting!

    After the depressing last episodes of GOT I thought I would and could never follow a tv-show so intensively. HOTD airs here in my country at 4 AM, while I have to go to work at 9 AM. So I set my alarm at 7 AM, but everytime I wake up before 4 AM because I cannot wait to watch it.

  5. Flayed Potatoes:

    Also, where’s Daeron? I thought he would at least get name-dropped this episode. I am worried we won’t be getting enough grey on both sides moving forward.

    I wonder if they are going to simplify/sanitize the storyline of Aegon’s kids and give Daeron’s role to one of them. That might make a lot of sense because I am not sure we need to see BOTH of their fates on screen (without spoiling).

  6. awol: I wonder if they are going to simplify/sanitize the storyline of Aegon’s kids and give Daeron’s role to one of them. That might make a lot of sense because I am not sure we need to see BOTH of their fates on screen (without spoiling).

    Aegon the Elder’s kids? Wouldn’t they be too young for Daeron’s storyline?

  7. Flayed Potatoes: Aegon the Elder’s kids? Wouldn’t they be too young for Daeron’s storyline?

    Daeron was pretty young and we don’t have ages for Aegon the Elder’s kids in the show but they are likely about the same as Aegon the Younger and Viserys because last episode Aegon and Helaena were clearly about to marry. Which means Aegon is about 6 right now and will be 7 or 8 when he starts to have a role. I think it could work. Yes he is a child, but that would only make it better potentially.

  8. Flayed Potatoes,

    Really the only other character that could take over that part of the story is Helaena herself but while I would love her role to be less passive and depressing than in the book, it seems out of character. She doesn’t seem all that keen on the fighting ATM. Of course that could change with future events….

  9. Loved that Episode, the show has finally found its feet. It is so much better with the older actresses and I really didn’t need those prologue Episodes. I’m excited about the last 2 Eps and the next Seasons.

    I do feel that the name mixup is a bit of a cop out in favour of Alicent, but whatever, I can live with it. The goodies and baddies are obvious, but they don’t want her to look entirely evil (unlike her sons who can rot in hell)

  10. “The Worm Returns: Was wondering what Mysaria was up to after all these years and disappointed her appearance was so brief this week. Sonoya Mizuno feels woefully underused so far in season 1.”

    Eh, not really. I don’t find her character to be particularly interesting or enriching to the story. At least, not yet. This show isn’t about her. We’ll see what the show does with her.

  11. I like the guy playing Aemond. He looks like a proper bad guy. This show is kind of becoming Green Team = bad, Black Team = good.

    The guy playing Aegon though. He almost looks younger to me than the previous actor playing Aegon.

    I hope they settle on some of these actors soon. In GoT, we grew up with the same actors. We genuinely cared about them. It’s hard for me to care when the actors in HotD keep changing every episode or two. I like the actors, I just want to be more invested in the characters.

  12. Mr Derp,

    There are no more time jumps now, we are now 129 AC. The main story about the dance of the dragons, lasts only 2 years, until 131 AC. So it will be the same actors we have now until the end. Could be that they recast the really young kids, like Rhaenyra’s kids with Daemon, but the rest will stay the same.

  13. Just watched and enjoyed it, another solid episode 7.5/10 for me although I saw a few VLOGGERS/GOT analysts declaring it as the best to date (Grey Area and James Hibberd) and even better than more of GOT which feels well over the top. The last couple of episode have definitely been decent but oh dear yet another time jump, please can we stop this, I thought we were done.

    Highlights for me were Paddy C, absolutely brilliant acting and Vaemond who was excellent and has huge potential to be a major player in the remainder of the story which is to come. Also Alicent was very good this episode, I rooted hard for her in the earlier episodes then felt she was being painted as a villain but in this I felt a lot more sympathy for her once again. I’m having a hard time liking or caring about any of the kids in general Aegon is a spoilt brat, the two strong bastards are less spoilt but hardly worth caring about, same as the two Vaelrion girls who they were betrothed too. Helena (I think is the one who survives with Joffrey) feels like a background character.

  14. Jon Snowed: Vaemond who was excellent and has huge potential to be a major player in the remainder of the story which is to come.

    Vaemond is dead. You mean Aemond?

    The names are hard to keep up with. Rhaenys, Rhaena, Rhaenyra…..yeesh

  15. Thanks yes I meant Aemond the one eyed Prince, it’s definitely hard to keep up with all the characters given the time jumps, children etc.

  16. WTF, I just found out Viserys dropping his crown wasn’t scripted! Paddy dropped the crown by accident, and then Matt improvised Daemon helping him up to the Throne!

  17. Jon Snowed,

    Someone who got a screener claimed that it was one of the most emotional hours of TV ever. EVER. Not possible with that character development i’m afraid. It wasn’t even one of the best Episodes of GOT, but it was very good and I enjoyed it.

    Paddy did make me cry, he had a sad life after Aemma died and he never really got over it, his last words as well…. tears. It was painful to look at him. But i’m glad that he died thinking that the two factions had reconciled. He go that peace at least

  18. awol,

    We saw Aegon the Younger and Young Viserys on the show and they didn’t look older than 4 years. I think they’re much younger in the show compared to the books.

  19. Flayed Potatoes:
    awol,

    We saw Aegon the Younger and Young Viserys on the show and they didn’t look older than 4 years. I think they’re much younger in the show compared to the books.

    We know that 6 years have passed since Corlys left for the Stepstones and in the last episode he had not left yet. Aegon and Helaena’s wedding was hinted to be imminent in that episode, so they could easily have a child who is 6 now.

    In this episode Viserys was still quite small, but Aegon was to far in the background to really know his age, and it doesn’t much matter re: Aegon the Elder’s kids.

    Daerob’s role is late in the Dance so 7 or 8 years is accurate.

  20. Jon Snowed,

    Yeah I can’t say I am emotionally invested in any of the characters except for Alicent and Rhaenys. But the characters on the greens side are imo definitely much more interesting than the ones in the Rhaenyra camp (who are starting to get more dull as the season progresses because I get the sense that the writers don’t want them to get their hands dirty). Rhaenys is imo carrying that entire squad on her back, whereas on the greens side they have Alicent (who is very sympathetic and flawed), Otto (who is providing the politicking and moving the plot), and Aemond (who is stirring trouble and already has a story arc going).

  21. awol,

    Oh okay. The show takes some liberties with the ages, so if Young Aegon has a sudden growth spurt I suppose it wouldn’t be too jarring. They’ll probably have to do that with Joffrey too at some point.

    But I’m still going to stand vigil for Daeron like Brienne waiting for that candle to light up outside Winterfell lol.

  22. I must admit, one of my greatest disappointments thus far is not seeing the Sea Snake in action. We have the most famous naval commander in Westerosi history + Sapochnik as showrunner for S1 and not ONE naval battle?

  23. Jenny,

    I mean, would you really have cared about anything that happened in this episode had it not been for the “prologue” episodes?

    Daemon helping Viserys to the throne, Vaemonds allegations regarding Rhaenyra’s children, Rhaenyra and Alicent’s brief moment of reconciliation, the ENTIRE dinner scene really. It would have had no emotional resonance without the buildup in the previous episodes IMO. Except the killing of Vaemond, nothing really major happens – still the consensus seems to be that we really enjoy these characters just interacting together.

    I think this is (whether the viewer is aware of this or not) a testament to the great characterization and personal arcs the show has set up. I really don’t get how people can claim that they don’t care about the characters (because of pacing, actor switches, etc) but enjoy the show at the same time. I mean apart from the characters, what else is there to enjoy? (It’s a very character-driven show, more so than GoT)

  24. Team Green,

    I would, and i’ll try to explain why:

    I can’t stand Daemon, I felt emotional because of Viserys, not because of him. Seeing him in that state was hard to watch and he made me cry a few times. I feel nothing about Daemon, I don’t understand him and I never have. He has no depth imo, the attempt at giving him depth happened 2 weeks ago, when Laena died. Another character that they didn’t bother to introduce properly.

    We knew next to nothing about Rhaenyra’s relationship with Harwin, and he wasn’t properly introduced until after the 10 year time jump. So I would have felt exactly the same. I don’t know or care about Vaemond, he has had about 3 minutes of screen time, and most of them were in last nights episode.

    The final breakdown of Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship fell flat for me, so I didn’t really need to see it. Episode 5 was probably my least favourite episode of the Season, and I thought the reason for their fallout was weak at best.

    Everything we need to know about these characters and their relationships with each other has been set up post time skip. And tbh, I wasn’t enjoying the show much until the actor change. I felt nothing for the characters until Episode 6, I didn’t know them. The show was merely fine, because it has high production values and a some good scenes.

    I really enjoyed episode 4, because it was a small story, purely focussed on character. It was the first time that I liked Rhaenyra at all. I would have been sorry to miss out on that, but the others? Not bothered.

    I wish they had either spent 10 episodes on the younger characters without time jumps. Or skipped it entirely, this halfway house felt exactly that. Neither one or the other

  25. Jenny,

    I somewat agree in that probably they could have made a great, deeper, full season out of the younger years and in a lot of things they are rushing. But I also understand.

    With GOT almost the whole cast was meant to last. They knew we would be watching those kids grow up and chose them very carefully. This is different. Even if they did do a whole season of the younger years there still would have been a change of actors required. Milly and Emily simply could not have pulled off the later years of their characters. So the show needed to cast and sign contracts for the actors who will stick around for the rest of the show. They could not have done that without a guaranteed second season. But with the controversy around later GOT seasons they really could not guarantee this would succeed enough for a second season.

    With that in mind we also needed time with the actors for the rest of the series. I think if you consider this context, the solution they have given us is a decent compromise. I am very much enjoying it.

  26. Jenny,

    I respect your opinion, but then again, I just don’t understand how you could have gotten any enjoyment at all from the long dinner scene (which dominated the latter half) of the episode when it was purely based on the character’s relationship and the tension built up in them. You didn’t address this scene with your comment.

    I think Rhaenyra and Alicents relationship might be one of the most developed and interesting ones in all of the extended GoT. Purely based on a runtime basis, they’ve had a lot of time together. And I think their arcs and trajectories are crafted very skillfully as well. They were good friends, albeit with very different personalities. Rhaenyra feels slighted and betrayed by Alicent marrying her father and becoming queen. Alicent is shocked by Rhaenyras values (which contrast with hers) and devastated by her outright lies (swearing on the memory of their shared trauma, i.e. “dead mothers”). And from there the enmity just grows naturally because of the political machinations of the people around them. But still, after all these years, they clearly do still have some affection towards each other on a personal level (and will probably always have). They have shared memories and a bond that their children (driving the conflict in the dinner scene) do not have. I think that is very nice and will serve the remainder of the show very well.

    If you feel Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship is uninteresting, and that Harwin and Rhaenyra’s relationship was underdeveloped, how do you feel about the relationships between Arya and Sansa, Sansa and Jon, Jon and Robb et cetera in GoT? I presume you (like many others) like them?* I do too, but THOSE I deem truly underdeveloped.

    Sansa and Arya’s relationship in a nutshell is Sansa being a stereotypical annoyed big-sister, and Arya just taking any chance she can to provoke her.

    Jon and Sansa don’t have a single scene together prior to s.6 if I recall correctly.

    Robb and Jon have a few normalish brotherly interactions, and the beloved Jon-Arya relationship consists of a single nicely done scene (comparable to the scene between Rhaenyra and Harwin IMO). It’s hard to motivate why we should care about these relationships based on your logic. We, the viewers, kinda have to fill them with headcanon for them to work.

    (And no, the writing and acting in these few scenes in the first episodes of GoT s.1 are not written and acted so much better than HotD that it justifies this logical gap. Especially the Sansa-Arya scenes. No I think we have to realise the importance of headcanon and viewer “gap filling”)

    *And unlike Ser Harwin, these are all major characters that are actually relevant to the story.

  27. awol: Wow, you really are here trying to bait and troll aren’t you?

    Either the joke flew over your head, or you must be an absolute blast at parties LOL

  28. Team Green,

    I think everything brought up in the dinner scene was addressed in the show post E5, but i’ll be more specific.

    Alicent opens with a prayer, she has become religious in the past 6 years. Viserys addresses the group, congratulating the two betrothed couples, this was arranged during the Episode. Lucerys will become the Lord of the Tides, also decided in this Episode. Viserys talks about the rift, this was covered in Episodes 6-8. The toasts from Rhaenyra and Alicent make perfect sense after watching the show post time skip. We know that they are divided because Alicent is bitter and jealous over Rhaenyra’s perceived freedom. This goes back to Harwin, who, as I said, was only introduced properly in Episode 6. Meanwhile Alicent is trapped in a marriage to a decaying old man. She takes great issue with the illegitimacy of Rhaenyra’s children. Her fear for the lives of her own children was mentioned once by Otto in Episode 5, she has passed that on to her children, we saw that in Episode 6 I think? It wasn’t developed in the first 5 Episodes, so her conversation with Aegon does the job. The dance between Helaena and Jacaerys references the proposed marriage between the two. This was in Episode 6. They all get along until the pig arrives, which sparks Aemond’s anger. Because he is clearly still upset about the joke played on him in Episode 6. Really, there was nothing in that scene that wasn’t established in the show post time jump.

    As for GOT, I think they did a great job introducing the Starks, they conveyed the relationships well in a short space of time. Proving that you don’t always need a lot of time, you just have to use the time well. The Starks have the benefit of being related, so that bond is intrinsic. Unfortunately, when it comes to GOT, my memory is mixed up with the books, which I read after S1. It is difficult for me to separate them now, but i’ll try. I can’t say that I really cared that much about the separation until they were hit by tragedy after tragedy. I wanted to see these characters comforted in some way, naturally that comfort lay in old family bonds, it was like, for goodness sake, give these people SOMETHING to cling to. And for the most part, the wishing was far more effective than the actual reunions, which were pretty poor for the most part. But that gets perilously close to my issues with the latter Seasons of GOT, which is a bit of a tangent

    It probably sounds like I think HotD is terrible, but I really don’t, I just don’t think that they used their 5ish hours in the most effective way. The show only found its confidence in character and plot after the time jump. Personally, I would have done a full 10 Episodes with the younger cast or started somewhere before Episode 6 to lay a little bit more groundwork.

  29. Jenny: It probably sounds like I think HotD is terrible, but I really don’t, I just don’t think that they used their 5ish hours in the most effective way. The show only found its confidence in character and plot after the time jump. Personally, I would have done a full 10 Episodes with the younger cast or started somewhere before Episode 6 to lay a little bit more groundwork.

    I mainly agree with your points, and I don’t think you hate the show at all. Even if you did, there’s no reason why your opinion should upset someone else’s experience. It’s weird how some people take criticisms of the show personally around here.

    Anyway, I think starting with the main cast right from the beginning might’ve been a better choice and then use the younger cast for flashbacks. Or maybe there is no magic formula. We all grew attached to the Starks after one episode of GoT. It’s been 8 episodes of HotD and the same emotional attachment just isn’t there for a lot of people.

    For example, I thought Paddy was terrific with Viserys and did everything he could as an actor, but storywise, I’ve basically just been waiting for him to die, so the plot can move forward.

  30. Mr Derp,

    When you write it all down in one post it can look extra critical, I get a bit concerned about that anyway. I’ve always enjoyed something in each Episode.

    Yeah, I think the first Episode of GOT is a great example of character and scene setting. That Episode covered so much, it’s quite incredible really. I forgot to mention in my post, but Jon and Arya were always connected by Needle, you just knew that she was thinking of him when she used that sword. Sometimes it’s that simple. More time doesn’t always equate to deeper connections with characters. I felt nothing for Rhaenyra until Episode 4, and that took an entire Episode dedicated to her.

    Viserys was my favourite character and he wasn’t really in it that much. Sometimes it’s the actor, sometimes the plot just hits a nerve and you feel empathy, even with underwritten characters. I don’t really have a favourite character now, i’m all in on my man Beesbury lol

    I wonder if they could have started with the first Episode or 2 to introduce the characters, and then a jumped to the older cast. I don’t really know. They were willing to skip over soooooo much, so I started to ask myself, why not just skip it all? Anyway, we got what we got, and there are no more time jumps thankfully, I feel like I can get settled in for the ride now.

  31. King Viserys appearance and walk through the throne room is one of the coolest moments in thrones history for me.

  32. Malcolm Ferguson:
    WTF, I just found out Viserys dropping his crown wasn’t scripted! Paddy dropped the crown by accident, and then Matt improvised Daemon helping him up to the Throne!

    I was totally verklempt during that scene. What a beautiful and tragic connection between the brothers.
    My eyes were riveted to Paddy whenever Viserys was on. He derives everything during award season.
    I just have to say that Emma D’Arcy is utterly stunning.

  33. Wolfish:

    Farewell, Viserys. You were a wonderful man and a shit king, and in 100 years’ time the last dragons will be the size of house cats.

    Sigh.

    Ha! Perfect epitaph. 😄 Well done!

  34. awol,

    Oh please. Second season here was guaranteed. To the point where they talked about it on Comic Con before the show even aired.

    They were in a much more comfortable position than GOT when it started, after shows like Rome were cancelled.

    There was no need to rush through the story this much.

  35. Jenny,

    You can’t create emotional connection when actors change all the time and it seems that outside of Rhaenyra, Alicent and Viserys show isn’t even interested in developing other characters.

    Daemon barely talks and his character is all over the plaace. His daughters have no personality. Rhaenyra’s sons have no personality. Characters in the Small Council have no personality.

    Secondary characters are all bland and dull. They’re made even the Lannisters boring

  36. mau,

    Yeah, that’s been my issue with the show up to this point. If they were willing to gloss over so much, they probably should have skipped the younger years and fleshed out the remaining characters more. People could have started watching Episode 6, and they wouldn’t be far behind people who watched from Episode 1. As time passes, those first 5 Episodes are feeling less and less important imo. Every necessary plot was introduced post Episode 5.

    I don’t like Daemon either, I can’t pin him down, I don’t know who he is and it really annoys me. He’s really popular in the fandom as well. I’m very confused by it.

    Why on earth did they cast Graham McTavish and Bill Paterson? Such thankless roles for 2 great actors. Ser Harrold Westerling should have been by Rhaenyra’s side for most of the show.

    It’s getting better and I am enjoying it, but it is very flawed. I feel like they will continue to improve though

  37. mau:
    awol,

    Oh please. Second season here was guaranteed. To the point where they talked about it on Comic Con before the show even aired.

    They were in a much more comfortable position than GOT when it started, after shows like Rome were cancelled.

    There was no need to rush through the story this much.

    You ignore that this was after the season was mostly done, and very much nit in the schematic storyboard and key casting phases. They only knew there woukd be another season AFTER they knew it was good.

    The point stands. They needed to cast the actors tbat will carry the rest of the show and they can’t do that and the have a whoke season without them.

  38. Mr Derp:
    awol,

    HotD was renewed for season 2 two days before the second episode of season 1 even aired.

    Yes, which is 3 YEARS after the show was storyboarded and at least 1.5 after the key actors were cast. I feel like you guys are not reading what I said very carefully.

  39. awol:
    Jenny,

    I somewat agree in that probably they could have made a great, deeper, full season out of the younger years and in a lot of things they are rushing. But I also understand.

    With GOT almost the whole cast was meant to last. They knew we would be watching those kids grow up and chose them very carefully. This is different. Even if they did do a whole season of the younger years there still would have been a change of actors required. Milly and Emily simply could not have pulled off the later years of their characters. So the show needed to cast and sign contracts for the actors who will stick around for the rest of the show. They could not have done that without a guaranteed second season. But with the controversy around later GOT seasons they really could not guarantee this would succeed enough for a second season.

    With that in mind we also needed time with the actors for the rest of the series. I think if you consider this context, the solution they have given us is a decent compromise. I am very much enjoying it.

    Posting again for clarity.

  40. awol,

    You said they renewed season 2 before the cast was even official and then you said they only renewed season 2 after they knew it would be good, so I guess Im not really sure what you’re saying.

  41. awol,

    You don’t need to be television expert to realize that covering 20 years in one season is not going to work. And it doesn’t.

  42. Mr Derp:
    awol,

    You said they renewed season 2 before the cast was even official and then you said they only renewed season 2 after they knew it would be good, so I guess Im not really sure what you’re saying.

    Argh. No, I said no such thing. I said that planning (at the planning stage, so about 3 years ago) a show with the first FULL season devoted to the younger years and younger cast would have required a guaranteed second season AT THAT TIME. So they would have needed to lock in contracts for their SECOND season cast who are core for the remainder of the show before they even filmed the first season.

    From a planning and finance standpoint, that just is a non-starter.

  43. awol,

    Ok, got it. Sorry for any misinterpretation.

    Personally, I don’t see any need for an entire season devoted to the younger cast. As has already been mentioned on this board, I think viewers could easily start watching the show around episode 6 and still understand the heavy plot points.

    IMO, every episode is kind of the same exact thing, just with a different set of actors. I really wish the show would have a side plot/B plot/whatever you want to call it. The succession drama episode after episode gets old for me pretty quick and that’s pretty much what the show deals with over and over again. Multiple seasons of this would drive me crazy and I’d probably stop watching at some point. I’m glad this isn’t being dragged out.

  44. mau:
    awol,

    You don’t need to be television expert to realize that covering 20 years in one season is not going to work. And it doesn’t.

    While I mainly agree, I would really hate to see multiple seasons drag out what we’ve already seen in the first 8 episodes. Gods that would be boring as hell. I’m already sick of the succession talk after 8 episodes let alone multiple seasons. Let’s get to the action already.

  45. Mr Derp,

    Yes, probably true for a lot of people. But for me some depth has certainly been lost that a few more scenes and secondary characters could have provided. I just don’t take that small critique to the point of saying thecshow is not working. Because it is. The background stuff just needs to be rushed through a bit for logistical reasons.

  46. awol,

    I think the show could’ve utilized it’s time better to make us care about the characters more, IMO.

    Instead of spending the umpteenth scene complaining about succession drama, they could’ve spent more time on other characters to provide a bit more depth, particularly in the earlier episodes. A lot of the scenes with the younger version of Rhaenyra felt a bit too repetitive to me.

    Outside of Rhaenyra, Daemon, Alicent, and Viserys, pretty much every other character is a “glorified extra”, as Alan Rickman would say.

    I still enjoy the show enough to keep watching, but not by much. I have to admit, I’m also not really looking forward to all the dragon deaths/fighting, etc…so we’ll see how long I stick with this show.

  47. mau:
    Jenny,

    You can’t create emotional connection when actors change all the time and it seems that outside of Rhaenyra, Alicent and Viserys show isn’t even interested in developing other characters.

    Daemon barely talks and his character is all over the plaace. His daughters have no personality. Rhaenyra’s sons have no personality. Characters in the Small Council have no personality.

    Secondary characters are all bland and dull. They’re made even the Lannisters boring

    From “T*ts and Dragons” to “Wigs and Dragons”. Truth is, all those Targaryens are tough to keep apart and the lighting is mostly between ‘dark’ and ‘very dark’. Sun don’t shine in Wigland or has The Long Winter come early?

  48. Jenny,

    HOTD is not terrible but it’s painfully mediocre. And the main issue is Condal obsession with making GRRM happy.

    The problem is that he doesn’t want to make a coherent television narrative but to please his idol.

  49. To those saying that the show would have worked as fine without the first five episodes:

    The most talked about scene in this episode is Viserys walking to the throne to protect his daughter and Daemon placing a crown on his head. I’ve read some people have been tearing up at this scene.

    Yet, how it would have landed, if all the setup we got between Vis and Daemon was (checks notes) one brief conversation at the funeral.

    The complex history we witnessed between V & D matters. That whole scene would have been an empty gesture without it.

    Same goes for V and Rhaenyra. And R and Alicent in the previous episodes. I spare you the details, but all those scenes are payoffs to these characters and their relationships that would not land the same way if we were just introduced to them.

    Yet we have people here claiming that no need for character and relationship building, let’s just get on with the payoffs. And how did that work with GoT s7-8, when all we got was huge payoffs that were not set up properly? Each one rang hollow and empty.

  50. Jenny,

    Daemon, in my opinion, is the only character that has felt like a Westeros character from his very first appearance on screen. For a while there, the other actors just seemed to be playing dress up and “acting” their roles, while I think Matt Smith just binged a lot of GOT and knew what world he was entering from the beginning. I saw him and said, yup, he’s definitely related to both Viserys and Daenerys, he belongs in the Westeros GOT first introduced us too. To me, Daemon may not be someone easy to like but he’s rather intriguing exactly because you don’t know what his true motivations are. He likes chaos but he is also loyal to his brother. He wants power but not to the point where he is willing to do what Larys Strong did. Daemon Targaryen is best define as the Targaryen coin which is suspended in air, waiting to see on what side it would land, and for some reason, I think Daemon’s coin will hilariously land on its edge.

  51. Kattimaijanen,

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t think that the history between V and D was particularly complex, we didn’t get nearly enough of it. As i’ve said, I don’t understand Daemon and I feel nothing for him. I cried the moment Viserys entered the throne room, Rhaenyra begged for his help and he showed up. That was a father on the brink of death coming to the aid of his child, that was more than enough to have me in tears.

    I like a slow burn, but I don’t think that the show used its time effectively because they tried to cover too much in a few Episodes. They asked us to feel emotion over characters that we barely knew (Laena, Laenor, Harwin etc). The supporting characters have been neglected and I think that’s a shame. I am not claiming that we don’t need character and relationship building, i’m saying that the show did a poor job at character and relationship building and I wanted more. As a result, I question the need for those Episodes. The show has been perfectly happy to skip to the payoffs, was I supposed to be sad over Harwin? Who was he?

    Other people got more from those opening Episodes and I respect that, but I think it might have been better to start the show somewhere during the 10 Year time skip to establish the supporting characters more before killing them all off

  52. I think what we got was probably the best compromise. 10 episodes with young actors would have been too slow for the story, starting with the adult actors leaves out all the history between the characters and most of the setups, and the 10 years was skipped for a reason, as not much of note happened.

    While I could have used more Harwin, the show was telegraphing to us with his late introduction and early demise that in the end this character does not really matter. Knowing roughly how Dance goes, I agree. Most important thing he did was sire some bastards.

  53. Kattimaijanen,

    Yeah I mean, it’s difficult when you are dealing with generational conflict. I heard that they initially planned to start with Viserys’ death, which would have been a lot to take in. I just think back to GOT, and how they managed to explained Robert’s Rebellion and all of the various conflicts involved. I think it could have been done. But I don’t hate what we got, I enjoyed parts of every Episode, and I loved Episode 4, I would have been sorry to miss out on that, and Aemma’s death for that matter. I just think that they spread themselves a bit too thin, and the supporting characters really suffered for it. I will complain about Laena’s lack of screen time forever. But I like where the show is going and I hope that it will slow down and build on what we already have

  54. My 2 favorite episodes are the episodes that remind me of Game of Thrones the most..

    King of the Narrow Sea 10/10 & We Light the Way 10/10… Spies, Betrayal, Chaos, murder, a Wedding – Everybody playing the Game in their own way.

  55. The drama in this episode was phenomenal, all of the stuff in King’s Landing, the meeting in the throne room, the dinner table scene, Aemond’s training in the courtyard with his nephew’s watching, the many conversations behind closed doors between the main players. Paddy Considine really deserves an Emmy for his work on the show, sucked to see Viserys finally go as he was one of my favorite characters.

    Overall, the show continues to impress me. The scene and dialogue writing have been awesome and it was one of the things I was worried about most. I’ve mostly enjoyed all of it, sans a few hiccups (the first half of the pilot, Daemon’s assault on The Crab King, anticlimactic ending before the first big time jump and some other small things). Most of the stuff that’s bugged me has been a result of the time jumping structure which finally seems to be at an end as we settle into The Dance of Dragons. The last two episodes should be awesome as the conflict continues to ratchet up, cannot wait.

  56. After watching House of Dragon, I have to wonder if Kevin Feige over at Marvel is fuming with jealousy. HBO just proves time and time again that they don’t give a fuck and they’re going to do what best serves the story, not pander to the audience. In a show that’s supposed to be about dragons, there’s been little of them. There’s also been very little action or violence. The show has been 99.9% people talking in rooms, in a crazy time jumping structure with a million characters (many of whom have the exact same name). Yet people are watching it in droves. Let this be a lesson to risk-averse cowards like Feige who have no confidence in their story telling abilities and have to rely on nostalgia and other gimmicks to win over viewers: you don’t have to kiss people’s asses to get them to show up. If you take chances and do something truly original, the audience will love and respect you for it.

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