House of the Dragon Review Roundup Season 1 Episode 2 – The Rogue Prince

Craghas 'Crabfeeder' Draha (Daniel Scott-Smith), Stepstones 1x02

Happy House of the Dragon Week episode 2 week, everyone! Remember me? It’s me from just last week! Wait, you don’t remember? Ah, that’s OK. I’ll remind you what I’m doing here. Every week, for each new episode of HOTD, I’ll be deconstructing the multitude of reviews out there, boiling them down to one short summary sentence that will perfectly encapsulate what the original author was saying, no questions asked…and by that I mean that I will deconstruct whole essays down to one sentence apiece, often quoting them verbatim.

What I will do is attempt to summarize the original review as best I can, and if my tease whets your appetite for their style of review, you are encouraged to head over to their site and let them know…after of course letting us know your thoughts in the comments below. At the bottom, I will summarize my review of the reviewers’ reviews.

All squared? Jolly good, let’s dive in.

What did the Internet think of HBO’s House of the Dragon episode 2, The Rogue Prince? Well, once you’ve consumed Sue’s Sullied take, why don’t we find out what everyone else had to say:

Alec Bojalad, Den of Geek – In which some bad habits are established, such as talky scenes where the quality of the talk doesn’t pass muster, and the well-established talking in rooms” doesn’t hit the kinetic energy of GOT’s heyday.

Belen Edwards, Mashable – In which the ways by which Fire & Blood was changed on its journey to the screen as HOTD are broken down, most notably in this episode, that of Daemon stealing the egg being stretched from a few sentences in the book to an entire episode’s plot in the show.

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Glen Weldon, NPR – In which an earthy POV character such as a Davos or The Hound is missing, who could laugh at all the royal pomp and pompousness.

Hillary Kelly, Vulture – In which Rhaenyra and Daemon’s verbal sparring creates the episode’s most neck-prickling moment.

Jeremy Egner, New York Times – In which Viserys not telling Rhaenyra about his impending marriage to Alicent is not a ridiculous narrative contrivance as some viewers might find it, but rather an example of Viserys’ flaws coming into play.

Jenna Scherer, AV Club – In which a very talky episode’s most thrilling set piece is a fog-shrouded standoff between Otto and Daemon.

Kelly Lawler, USA Today In which the stakes haven’t been truly established, the world isn’t fully built, and not a single character is sympathetic, relatable, or even very interesting.

Kim Renfro, Insider – In which the ages of all the main players are analyzed and contextualized.

Lauren Sarner, New York Post – In which Viserys is the real villain in HOTD, due to his selfish marriage choices.

Meghan O’ Keefe, Decider – In which Corlys Velaryon’s “second sons” reference is explored in deeper meaning.

Michelle Jaworski, daily dot In which Corlys has made an indelible mark on audiences already.

Rob Bricken, Vulture – In which HOTD is more familiar to audiences at this point than GOT was when it debuted, and because of that, it doesn’t have anything to propel the slow burn of its political intrigue other than every character being nuanced, compelling and sympathetic, including Daemon.

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone – In which from crazed warlords to dragon-fueled standoffs to a momentous marriage proposal, this episode does its dark business well.

Summary: Episode 2’s The Rogue Prince was less well received than episode’s 1 The Heirs of the Dragon. Some people loved it, but others found it slower and talkier. While I personally agree, I find this relatable to episode 2 of GOT The Kingsroad. Very few things happened as our characters literally and figuratively shuffled into place. But they end with similarly shocking moments: Ned carries out Lady’s unjust execution, while Bran wakes up (thunderous!), while in HOTD, a spurned Corlys Velaryon makes an eleventh hour alliance with Daemon (stupendous!) How will it all play out?

Well, anyway what do you make of these reviews? Sound off in the comments below, politely, but with a firmly gloved hand. Just don’t throw any gloves.

21 Comments

  1. I’m in the minority here, I loved this episode more than the premiere.

    I felt the premiere was just establishing the characters and sides of the conflict (all necessary), but the storylines there felt more parallel than anything (character introductions, Aemma’s pregnancy, Deamon’s shenanigans, Small Council business) up until the end when it all came together.

    The Rogue Prince felt more subdued but better intertwined. The episode focused on one thing (Viserys’ marriage) that affected everyone emotionally and their interests (Rhaenyra’s and Deamon’s need for validation, Otto’s manipulating, Corlys’ ambition). And although dialogue-heavy, it nonetheless surprised me with how familiar I am now with the characters. I don’t think it’s an outstanding episode, but it’s a very solid set-up for the season that manages to give everyone their time to develop, breathe, and shine.

  2. I’m not exactly sure how to word this, but the characters and the show as a whole lack spirit. I don’t mind a slower pace and more dialogue but the characters aren’t as punchy. GOT S1 had more mockery, sarcasm, and wit to the dialogue scenes while the scenes in HOTD feel too matter of fact and most of the characters are a little too normal so far especially the small council. The unique character traits aren’t coming through in the scenes unless the dialogue is telling us directly what a character is supposed to be like. The characters in GOT felt more distinct from each other so there was always a lot of contrast when interacting while the characters in HOTD just seem too similar to each other. Overall, I think the series is fine so far I just hope going forward the characters are more punchy, bold, and we can see each character as unique without being told.

  3. What´s happened to the weekly video reviews like we had when GoT was being aired? There were quite a few I recall. Some of them were serious and others took a more light hearted comical view. e.g. Ozzie Man´s videos were always a good laugh 🙂

    One one my favourites was Alt Shift X who went into great detail. Not only breaking down the episode, but also explaining a lot of the background history, the ancestory, etc. which one perhaps wouldn´t know unless they have read the books.

    I took a look on YouTube and saw Alt Shift X at least is back doing weekly reviews. It would be great if WotW checks out these video reviews as they did for GoT and posts a list to the group? Here is Alt Shift X breakdown for Episode 1.

  4. I loved it also!

    Not enough can be said about the acting on this show. Applause applause applause

    I was concerned I’d be less engaged knowing how it ends, but it actually lends everything a lot more weight. Really got a sense of Alicent for the first time. Like everything she says to Rhaenyra in that sept scene feels sincere, and I think it is, but she’s also stone cold manipulating her.

    I love the way they wrote the scene with Rhaenys and Rhaenyra. It really surprised me how chilly they were to each other, but it makes so much sense. Obvi Rhaenyra’s not cool with being replaced. But Rhaenys really seems to resent and pity and admire Rhaenyra all at the same time. Maybe it’s one of those tragedies where the oppressed becomes the oppresser. Or it’s seeing your faults in another person and knowing that you can’t save them from it.

    Couple people complained that Otto wouldn’t risk his own safety like that, but I think it tracks. He’s calling Daemon’s bluff and trying to get him to do something impulsive. I don’t think he thinks Daemon would actually turn to violence. He doesn’t want the king going because he doesn’t want them speaking alone and smoothing things out. Daemon is useful as a threat. I could be wrong.

    I think the cost of subtlety is the risk of misinterpretation. But it’s worth it.

    Can’t wait for next week!

  5. i love the show i have read the book. the actors are top notch.

    this is for the show runners.
    someone like
    Bron, Sandor, ser davos
    we need sacasm, and a good laugh

  6. Brandon,

    that’s a good comment and observation… There’s no one to root for except Princess Rhaenyra…

    I am also surprised that Ramin Djawadi’s music hasn’t added much to any scene… Maybe I missed something or my expectations are too high but so far nothing new in the soundtrack has stood out. I like “A Song of Ice and Fire” song but that is from Game of Thrones S8

  7. Knowledge is Power:
    Brandon,

    that’s a good comment and observation… There’s no one to root for except Princess Rhaenyra…

    I am also surprised that Ramin Djawadi’s music hasn’t added much to any scene… Maybe I missed something or my expectations are too high but so far nothing new in the soundtrack has stood out. I like “A Song of Ice and Fire” song but that is from Game of Thrones S8

    The pilot episode opened with Rhaenyra soaring on Syrax with new music, as we hurry through the minutiae of King’s Landing in its heyday. That scene threw me right in.

  8. David Rosenblatt,

    Yeah that’s good soundtrack… that 2nd scene happens right after the “172 Years Before Daenerys Targaryen”

    Young Princess Rhaenyra souring through the heavens (clouds) and landing in the Dragon Pit which is exactly what Queen Daenerys does when she arrives at the Dragon Pit in S7 E7 The Dragon and Wolf… another good Game of Thrones teaser.

  9. I generally don’t read critics’ reviews for most of the stuff I watch, especially for my favorite TV shows. I sometimes check the rotten tomatoes score for some new movie to get this vague idea but that’s it. I feel that for most of the time, these people are just paid to review and I see no point in needing to know what they feel and more than often, reading critics’ reviews just embitters my watching experience. So I prefer watching stuff in my own bubble with occassional trips to WotW in case of HoTD, especially Oz’s thread.

    As for episode 2, I fully expected it to be a build-up episode, just like The Kingsroad. For most of the time, I don’t dislike build-up episodes because I know they’re much needed to “glue” the big episodes together. Granted, if I get to rank the episodes, build-up episodes are bound to be low on my ranklist but that doesn’t make me dislike them (in case of GoT, episodes like “Lord Snow”, “The Prince of Winterfell” and “Nightlands” are some of my least favorites but for neither of these I can say I don’t enjoy). As a build-up episode, “The Rogue Prince” was great to me.

    But the key for me to enjoy build-up episodes is correct placement of them and just enough exciting or meaningful moments sprinkled through them that they spark some feelings. 2-3 build-up episodes leading to a big episode or two, then reverting back to let’s say 2 slower episodes to another big episode… that’s how I love it in TV shows and that’s why GoT was so effective to me in terms of how much I enjoyed it. Generally if the TV show is in its early stages, I’m more accepting to build-up episodes because I prefer a slow-burning start leading to more fiery second half of the season rathern than firing all the guns in the premiere episode only to never reach as high level again in following episodes.

    But build-up episodes don’t work that well for me if there’s a whole bunch of them in consecutive order with neither really raising the stakes of previous episodes. An example when build-up episodes didn’t work for me was Breaking Bad S4… after a chilling S4 opening (obviously expected considering chaotic S3 end), episodes 2-7 were just build-up with nothing really drawing my attention in those episodes. Yes, the final six episodes of BB S4 were amazing but this was too long build-up for me. I kept reading on internet how BB S4 was wonderfully crafted and how it has the best pace but episodes 2-7 were the only time in BB when I felt I was “pushing through” rather than being there with my heart. If there are any Breaking Bad fans here, this may be an unpopular opinion I imagine but that’s how I felt.

  10. Honestly GoT went to shit the moment D&D decided to go the “book route” and kill off Yoren like Gurm did. They should have kept him alive!!!! He is a great character! And the actor who played him is amazing!

  11. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    Great. Are you glad you got your feelings out?

    Honestly no one cares about how you feel about Breaking Bad. Your opinion will not sway another’s of different opinion. It’s all good bro. So state your piece and man the fuck up. Or woman the fuck up. We allz in dis to-get-her.

  12. Brandon:
    I’m not exactly sure how to word this, but the characters and the show as a whole lack spirit.I don’t mind a slower pace and more dialogue but the characters aren’t as punchy.GOT S1 had more mockery, sarcasm, and wit to the dialogue scenes while the scenes in HOTD feel too matter of fact and most of the characters are a little too normal so far especially the small council.The unique character traits aren’t coming through in the scenes unless the dialogue is telling us directly what a character is supposed to be like.The characters in GOT felt more distinct from each other so there was always a lot of contrast when interacting while the characters in HOTD just seem too similar to each other.Overall, I think the series is fine so far I just hope going forward the characters are more punchy, bold, and we can see each character as unique without being told.

    Although I am enjoying the show I believe the above sums it up well. Other than Alicent I struggle to really root for the characters like I did Nedd, Rob, Jon and Arya at the start of GOT. I also worrying about the pacing, things appear to be moving very quickly especially when you see what is likely coming next week.

  13. Still no sign of WotW posting video reviews and breakdowns of episodes? Has the admin team decided not to provide links to these videos these any more? A pity if so as I (and sure many others) really enjoyed these.
    Don´t know if its just me, but seems like the membership has dropped considerably since the time when GoT was on air and with very few comments posted these days?
    I see some have mentioned about the opening sequence and not understanding the symbolism it contains. That includes me also! Here´s Alt Shift X breakdown of episode 2 and he goes into quite a bit of detail about it. He says it shows the history of the House Targaryren.

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