House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 5 “We Light the Way” Recap

1x05 Vale Runestone Rhea Royce (Rachel Redford), Lord Royce (1)

“A Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair.” OK, so what do we think about a Targaryen/Velaryon wedding with yet another Joffrey death? Dull? Mild-mannered? Just plain impolite? In episode 5 of House of the Dragon, we have (in my humble, and usually correct opinion), the most eventful storyline all season. It’s not that other episodes didn’t have major plot, it’s that the meat and potatoes of this episode very clearly will have such consequential rippling effects into and beyond a post-Viserys Westeros.

Recap Note: I’m stepping in for Sue today, so while I’m sure you’ll voice your displeasure in the comments below, I welcome those who are open to my own style of review.

Spoiler(ish) Note: It’s theoretically possible that the bare bones knowledge I halfheartedly remember from that one time I read Fire & Blood could affect portions of this recap, but in all honesty, this is incredibly unlikely. I do not remember most of it, and frankly, I rather like it that way. As a TV purist, I prefer to analyze the episode we just watched, rather than speculate about episodes of TV that haven’t happened yet. TL;DR, you’re probably safe, but take heed as you will.

Before I can stop to wonder if my eyes are seeing Yara Greyjoy reborn in the flesh, Rhea Royce, who turned out to be Daemon’s long talked about Girlfriend who lives in Canada, is murdered brutally before we even got a chance to know her. As mentioned in my “spoilerish” note above, I barely remember anything, and I sure did not remember this. If anyone had “Redeemable Daemon” on their Bingo card, you best bet you will not be checking that box. I fully gasped at my TV in the first few, brutal minutes of this episode. It’s honestly almost Joffrey-level cruel, though, I suppose there is a method to Daemon’s madness, and a reason to his hastily-drawn murder scheme. Once he’d decided that he would be bedding and wedding Rhaenyra, I guess he just had to get rid of that plot convenience of, ya know, having a mysterious wife! Who hasn’t? Oh, Daemon. We had such high hopes for you. And then you went and killed your wife. We all have bad days!

Viserys (Paddy Considine), Daemon (Matt Smith), Red Keep Throne Room 1x04 (3)

Speaking of bad days, Daemon’s brother King Viserys’ days are growing increasingly numbered. He can’t make it through a ship ride without throwing up, a trip to a lovely seaside manse (more on that later) without coughing, or his daughter’s wedding without bleeding! Come on Your Grace, pull yourself together! The day the King dies is drawing nearer, and the succession plan he has in place seems fragile at best. Otto makes clear to Alicent the consequences which will befall her very male, very Aegon-shaped child if she does not train him to rule, and prepare him for the inevitability of Rhaenyra’s challenge. I just love the way this scene ended with Alicent framed alone against the rain. She’s Queen, sure….but of whom? And who are her true friends at court? Does she have any? Well…

Boy, HOTD sure is a knee slapper, isn’t it? Our Tobias Fünke of the hour, Ser Criston Cole accidentally divulges state secrets to the Queen herself. Alicent beats around the bush a little too long in her one on one with Ser Criston, and fails to imply that it was Daemon with whom Rhaenyra slept. Whoops! While he clearly jumped the boat on that one, Alicent is more calculated, taking a beat to absorb the new information, and then dismissing Criston without consequence. How will this play out? We’ll get to that…but let’s flash back a bit to how we found Criston at such a low point.

1x05 Driftmark High Tide Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) (1)

Early on in the episode, while Daddy Dearest was puking his brains out on the starboard side of their ship, Rhaenyra found herself approached on the stern by an extremely hopeful Criston. Did…Ser Criston really think that the impending inheritor to the Iron Throne, someone who had been groomed for Queendom would throw it all away for a life as a nameless peasant? Look, credit where it’s due, and my guy, you really tried…but no. Rhaenyra is ready to be Queen. Off you go now, tail between your legs. You can’t blame a common-born lesser knight for trying.

1x05 King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room Wedding Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) (1)

The trip to Driftmark was, in a word, gorgeous: Those hallowed halls! That shot of the great mansion itself and its surrounding lands. The eeriness of the castle that clearly lends itself to talking clocks, guests invited to dinner by a single candlestick, and a gay sidekick. Lord Corlys the Sea Snake Velaryon and Rhaenys The Queen Who Never Was Targaryen have a heated heart to heart over whether now is the right time to join houses (it is), whether their nicknames are too long (they are), and if their children will be able to keep their Velaryon names (They will. Kinda.)

1x05 Driftmark High Tide Viserys (Paddy Considine), Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) (1)

Which means…we’ve got a royal wedding on our hands! And if there’s one thing we know about Westerosi weddings, it’s that they’re safe, cheerful, and 100% death and disease free. While in its heyday we all remember the opulence and pomp of Joffrey’s and Margaery’s wedding of old (well, of future), the wedding of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon is almost destitute by comparison. Does The Crown have the ability to bear the expenses needed for the royal wedding? Well, there are a lot of guests in attendance, so I guess the kitchen has enough sustenance. But the wedding is held in a dimly lit room, and the main entertainment is a dance provided by the unpaid guests – so it certainly seems like a scaled back wedding! Of course, never one to miss the chance to put on a show, Daemon waltzes in, and is swiftly demoted to “side chair.” But the wedding venue isn’t the only thing Daemon waltzes into; he also dallies with Laena Velaryon for a spell, seemingly in a ploy to make Rhaenyra jealous. What is his endgame there? Does he still want his shot at marrying her? Much as I want to sort out what’s going on in Daemon’s mind, there’s simply no time for this.

1x05 King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room Wedding Young Alicent (Emily Carey) (3)

Joffrey Lonmouth, secret boyfriend of Laenor Velaryon, has deduced that Ser Criston is the apple of Rhaenyra’s eye. How he has done so? Uh…looking, I guess? Look, the guy just knows, OK? Stop asking questions! Wait, I have one more question…what the hell happened at the end??? What did Joffrey say or do that could have let to Criston’s such unbridled rage? Recall that until Rhaenyra seduced him, he was a stalwart man with seemingly impenetrable skin. But now, as the king faints yet again, our episode’s massive climax is Criston beating the absolute murder out of Joffrey Lonmoth, without so much as a specific explanation. What the hell, man?!

1x05 King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room Wedding Young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) (1)

This brings us to the end, where an absolutely despondent Criston Cole is at his wit’s end, and about to end his own life when Alicent draws near and calls his name out…uh oh. Criston, are you about to turn on Rhaenyra and go with Alicent? This foreshadowing looks like it’s going to be mighty important down the line..

Concluding Tidbits

  • Larys Strong informs us that Hightowers wear green during war. Now, I don’t want to brag, but I’m a bit of a Sherlock Holmes  type myself. My sleuth eyes inform me that Alicent Hightower wore green to her stepdaughter’s/friend’s wedding. A very greenish green, if mine eyes don’t deceive me. Is this the proverbial laying of the glove at Rhaenyra’s feet, given it’s her wedding after all? Is that how we do this now? By wearing our “war colors”?
  • Speaking of Larys Strong, wow is this dude creepy. His “how lucky I am to have been wrong” shtick was extremely see-through-able, and the good Queen Alicent is no dummy. Dude is creepy, and I’m not sure what’s up with him, but he gave Alicent good intel, and looks to be a literal Master of Whisperers.
  • The score – Ramin [Djawadi] you’ve done it again! I can already pick out themes and motifs, all of which evoke fond memories of the standard GOT music while it still charts its own course.
  • Just a word on the acting – Rhys Ifans (Otto Hightower) managed to steal the show this week in his one and only one scene with Alicent in the rain. The man is the best face actor on this show; simply put, his face says it all in this scene. Though Fabien Frankel (Criston Cole) does give him a good run for his money in his eleventh hour plea to Rhaenyra to become a vagabond with him. You tried, kid.
  • It was in episode 5 of Game of Thrones where two gay characters had first been introduced. Not much has changed now, with Laenor’s and Joffrey’s forbidden romance going on behind the scenes, which not many know about. However, I am very familiar with the trope of bury your gays and I really wonder how people are going to warm up to this one. To introduce a gay character so early on, and to rip away his love interest this quickly is likely to hit some resistance in the viewing community.
  • Hats off to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey for leading us through the first half of HOTD’s inaugural season. Going forward, Rhaenyra and Alicent will be aged up, and so that’s a wrap for them, folks.

Conclusion:

This episode was the most pulse-pounding and forward moving of the first 5. I think the groundwork is being set for a final few episodes that I hope will be outstanding. There’s a method to the slowness, and a reason for the build up. Some of the character moments in this episode I didn’t see coming, such as Daemon unabashedly murdering his wife, or Criston unabashedly murdering Joffrey (not that Joffrey. Sorry to those excited at the thought of a dead Joffrey).

86 Comments

  1. Criston has a very strange sense of self, that’s all I can really say about that one. Apparently you can just kill someone and no one does anything about it. Huh.

    They really seem to like playing up the “Daemon can’t get it up” theme.

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  2. ”Oh, Daemon. We had such high hopes for you. And then you went and killed your wife. We all have bad days!”

    I feel weird that I feel bad for Criston. Like you said, we all have bad days, right ?

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  3. So, this is the episode where we see Alicent become a player in earnest. She totally owns Ser Criston now, and understands that he can be useful to her. What I find interestingly ironic is the fact that she is making her training as a repressed woman of the court – to be a good listener, speak little, keep your own counsel – pay off in terms of letting other people run off at the mouth and thereby get themselves in trouble.

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  4. I need HBO to release the season 1 soundtrack right now. 🔥🐲

    Larys’s manipulation was obvious, and a more seasoned player would have figured him out, but Alicent is still learning. Or maybe she thinks he can be useful later on. I think something shifted when she got the information out of Criston kind of by accident.

    Every time Daemon is on screen, something dramatic and messy happens. They should put him in every scene. I am thoroughly entertained and can’t wait to see what shenanigans he has in store. Him vanishing from the wedding when the fighting started was hilarious.

    Criston was naive to think Rhaenyra would give up her throne to live like a peasant in Essos, but it tracks with his character. He is a naive country boy who rose high and quickly at court, and he’s way over his head.

    Harwin punching his way to get to Rhaenyra…. loved it. Gave us so much information about the character 👁👄👁.

    Rhaenyra asking Daemon to take her to Dragonstone and wife her right in front of the entire court was amazing. Poor Viserys can’t catch a break. The way he was cutting up that pigeon 😂.

    Alicent ate everyone up in that green dress. And the music during that entrance. 🔥

    Laenor’s scream broke my heart. And then they had the wedding amid the blood and guts of Joffrey. Didn’t even bother to clean up Laenor’s face and the floor. Insane.

    Best episode of the season thus far. I am really enjoying myself. Everyone was petty, messy and I can’t wait to see more mess after the time skip. The promo clip looks great.

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  5. I wonder if the couples dance Rhaenyra + Laenor shared is supposed to reference dragons mating? I am definitely no expert on ye olden dance moves… but the way they were circling each other & particularly moving their arms reminded me a bit of the way Eagles skydance as a mating display..so dragons might too?

    Hats off to Milly Alcock & Emily Carey, they were outstanding as Rhaenyra/ Alicent.

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  6. I didn’t really like it tbh. I was so ready to enjoy it after last weeks great episode. I thought we’d turned a corner. But no, it’s just more of the same. The last 10 minutes were a mess, in a bad way. I don’t really know what happened, that has worked in other cases, but not here for some reason. And Criston just got up and walked away? He punched the King Consort and off he went. I’m ready to move on to the other actors now.

    I’ll have to rewatch it, to see if I like it more the second time.

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  7. Great episode!

    I do have one question about the show so far:
    I fail to understand why Alicent gives a damn if Rhaenyra has been sleeping with someone or not. Is it coz she is jealous that she didn’t get a say in her choice of suitor, is it because of anger that Rhaneyra lied to her? tho why was she expecting for rhae to come clean? She is married to her dad (obviously Rhaenyra would think that she will tell her father the truth if she comes to know). and now she is pissed that it wasn’t Daemon she slept with but Criston. Is that better in her opinion or worse and moreover why does it matter to her so much?

    The source of Alicent and Rhaneyra’s conflict to be difference in ambition when it comes to the throne makes sense, but the rise to the conflict due to such a trivial thing is something I am not completely understanding. Or is it more subtext that I am missing somewhere.

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  8. Angeala95,

    That’s another issue I have, some of the character turns didn’t make much sense to me. I suppose it’s a combination of things. Alicent is very proper, so she judges anyone who strays from their duty. She has always defended Rhaenyra and it hurt her father this time, now she has found out that Otto was right all along and she is alone. Beyond that, I’m not sure. Suddenly people are talking about Rhaenyra murdering her children, perhaps she is taking that seriously. But I don’t see how she can suddenly see Rhaenyra as a murderer, but it would be a good reason to hate her. Idk

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  9. Angeala95,

    Virginity is a big deal in that world, especially to a faithful woman like Alicent, and Rhaenyra swore on her own mother’s memory that Daemon did not “touch her.” Then she found out she did not ony lie to her but had sex with Criston. Oh, and she got her father out of a job. Seems like more than enough for someone like Alicent to feel betrayed by Rhaenyra.

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  10. Jenny,

    As much as I hate agreeing with Otto, Rhaenyra would kill Alicent’s children if she saw them as threats to the throne. The show established last episode via the play (and in the hunting trip episode via Jason Lannister) that the realm is divided and some people want Aegon on the throne. As long as these supporters exist, they will be a threat, especially if/when some of the more ambitious ones start plotting. It reminds me of Mary Queen of Scots vs Elizabeth I.

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  11. Jenny,

    As much as I hate agreeing with Otto, Rhaenyra would kill Alicent’s children if she saw them as threats to the throne. The show established last episode via the play (and in the hunting trip episode via Jason Lannister) that the realm is divided and some people want Aegon on the throne. As long as these supporters exist, they will be a threat, especially if/when some of the more ambitious ones start plotting. It reminds me of Mary Queen of Scots vs Elizabeth I.

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  12. Angeala95,

    I hate to say it but to me it looks like there’s a lot of internalized misogyny in Alicent.

    She has to suffer, always stay in her lane submissive to the will of the men surrounding her and be pimped out as a vessel for procreation and advancement by the Hightowers (her only left parent btw) and here’s Rhaenyra who enjoying sex out of marriage apparently with no consequences? AND gets to sit the iron throne?

    I’m sure there’s some betrayal feeling of “I asked her and she lied to me” but to start a succession war based on that alone? Eh, not likely. After all, it wasn’t the fear that Otto tried to put into her when he left that if she doesn’t act her kids will be killed or she would have acted on THAT to begin with, as Otto accurately stated she knew the situation but didn’t push for Aegon to replace Rhaenyra. It was the moment where she learns Criston had sex with Rhaenyra at her own “instigation” (meaning Rhaenyra had sex because she wanted to regardless of any consequences that might arise, uninhibited and liberating).

    Any other add on to that in my opinion was just gravy.

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  13. Flayed Potatoes,

    I have seen absolutely nothing to support that though. People will be divided, Rhaenyra has been offending people all over the realm. That arrogance will come back to bite her. But murder her own nephew? At this point in the story, I just don’t see it, though she will be urged to do so.

    The comparison to Elizabeth and Mary works, but Mary was actually plotting lol. So far Alicent has done nothing

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  14. Luka Nieto,

    Not only on her mother’s memory, but in front of a Weirwood tree! Not that Rhaenyra or Alicent believe in the Old Gods, but you just know that tree was judging the everloving shit out of her.

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  15. Criston Cole is far more complex in the show than I ever perceived him in the book. And this, D&D take note, is why you hire writers.

    Here are some realities:

    1. Rhaenyra used her power to seduce him. He was her subordinate by many miles. From a modern perspective, she’s clearly in the wrong.

    2. Criston then thought he could restore his honor by convincing Rhaenyra to leave it all behind & run away with him because love is more powerful & more important than duty/honor. Obviously, she wasn’t going to but he was still so idealistic at this point he convinced himself she would. I’m sure a lot of this is also about deep-rooted toxic masculinity & misogyny.

    3. His confession to Alicent is his final attempt to regain his honor, expecting that it means death. When it doesn’t, he is a knight without honor unable to regain anything because even the Queen doesn’t give him the solution he wants.

    4. When Joff approaches him he finally sees a moment of regaining some honor while ending the dishonor of another knight. This is his major trigger. It is a murder/suicide. He will wipe out another stained knight & then kill himself… which, obviously, doesn’t happen because Alicent stops him.

    Some ask how he was allowed free after the murder… I think the simplest answer is he is the future Queen of the realm’s sworn protector. Who is going to arrest him without command from the King, who is out of it, the Queen, who wants to protect him, or the future Queen of the realm who likely feels guilt over what has happened and also doesn’t want him to out what happened between them. So, the Lord Commander? Maybe. But it’s the actions of a Kingsguard against a knight sworn to a Velaryon. Who has a higher status?

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  16. So does next episode start with the time jump and the new actors? I dunno why but I was expecting some sort of “fade out/in scene” or something haha

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  17. Winterry71:
    So does next episode start with the time jump and the new actors? I dunno why but I was expecting some sort of “fade out/in scene” or something haha

    Same.

    And I’m expecting we lost the tournament too, so… this episode combined a few things together. It’s a superb episode but I also thought we were going to get a transition coming out of that tournament from the book.

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  18. Flayed Potatoes,

    Tbh up until now I didn’t even think that Alicent in anyway actually likes her father. That is the same guy who basically pimped her out to an old king.

    I kind of now think that what is probably driving her is that she has seen the kind of loyalty (even if insanely toxic), the Targaryens have for each other, (Rhaenyra facing no consequences, Viserys providing moon tea to her) and she feels that none of that is going to apply to her and her kids.

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  19. Angeala95,

    Yeah Alicent doesn’t have to like him, but she does need him and she knows it… and he is her closest family alongside her children, who are very young. Otto is one of the few allies she has and trusts. Family bonds can be very complicated.

    I hadn’t thought about the toxic loyalty the Targs have and how that might not apply to her and her kids. You’re right though. I can’t see Daemon going to bat for Alicent’s kids the way he would for Rhaenyra (even if he is also their uncle). And while we haven’t seen Viserys with his younger kids, I won’t be surprised if we find out later that Rhaenyra is is favorite and the rest are fighting for his attention or something.

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  20. Angeala95:
    Great episode!

    I do have one question about the show so far:
    I fail to understand why Alicent gives a damn if Rhaenyra has been sleeping with someone or not. […] She is married to her dad (obviously Rhaenyra would think that she will tell her father the truth if she comes to know). […]

    …the rise to the conflict due to such a trivial thing is something I am not completely understanding. Or is it more subtext that I am missing somewhere.

    I think you need to maybe just frame things a bit differently. There is a conflict between Rhaenyra and Alicent that is building, yes, and that is mostly a matter of lost trust between two women who had been close. The conflict is not in itself why things are headed to war: People can and do decide all the time that they just don’t like or respect someone else and that isn’t really the core of it.

    Alicent thinks Rhaenyra is ungrateful for, and abusing her privilege – she gets to choose her husband but squanders the chance, she goes out for an evening of freedom that no other lady would get away with, and she takes a lover which is reckless for an heir to the throne because of the obvious potential consequences. There is an element of jealously and repressed rage at her own situation in Alicent’s reactions and choices, but more than that, Alicent is revising her earlier opinion that Rhaenyra is “more suited to the role” than Daemon. In other words she has lost the basis for her support of Rhaenyra as heir. And is she is no longer of the belief that Rhaenyra would make a good queen then she has no reason to resist her father’s argments and to ignore the clear lack of support that exists among many for Rhaenyra.

    Jenny:
    Angeala95,

    …Alicent is very proper, so she judges anyone who strays from their duty. She has always defended Rhaenyra and it hurt her father this time, […] Suddenly people are talking about Rhaenyra murdering her children, perhaps she is taking that seriously. …

    I don’t think one needs to see Rhaenyra as a murderer to be able to see how and why Rhaenyra becoming queen could lead to the death of Alicent’s children. It is not that she thinks Rhaenyra would take the crown and then murder the competition the next day without provocation. It is just that with weak support from some parts of the kingdoms she can see how and why Rhaenyra would eventually be FORCED to eliminate the alternatives to keep her own crown.

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  21. Pigeon:
    They really seem to like playing up the “Daemon can’t get it up” theme.

    They are. That’s 3 different women, in 5 eps and within 3-5 year span that they showed/told/implied he has some erectile dysfunction issues with. At this point, it looks like it’s not really trauma related or psychological, but a physical thing. I also understand from reading online that in the behind the scenes they confirmed that he is impotent.

    Which is to say that I really hope they don’t come with the love of a good woman will fix that for ya after years of ED. so here’s Leana’s vag and have some twins! Because it only takes a magical vagina… I do hope they show he’s going to some maester for cure or advice or something, instead of relying on a women to be the cure or imply those that were before Leana Velaryion are at fault for not being enticing enough for him.

    Anyway, just another thing that in today’s environment and stereotypes makes Daemon a “lesser” man (?) I suppose. I really hope not to be honest, but the way they always make him say brown bitch about Rhea and have him talk shit about her “hostile environment” who knows what they wanna really say?! They do like to use ambiguous a lot so there’s that.

    EDIT: ok so maybe someone can fix the spoiler tags because they don’t work. Didn’t before either which is a shame a it looks like David himself and others do not want to be spoiled even though they have read the F&B.

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  22. Angeala95:
    Flayed Potatoes,

    Tbh up until now I didn’t even think that Alicent in anyway actually likes her father. That is the same guy who basically pimped her out to an old king.

    I kind of now think that what is probably driving her is that she has seen the kind of loyalty (even if insanely toxic), the Targaryens have for each other, (Rhaenyra facing no consequences, Viserys providing moon tea to her) and she feels that none of that is going to apply to her and her kids.

    I would agree. She is not motivated here by overwhelming love for her father as their relationship is complicated. It is more about a loss of trust and faith in Rhaenyra who she no longer sees as “more suited to the role” than Daemon. She is starting to see her former friend as more and more like her uncle, who she well knows is dangerous and would do anything. This makes her receptive to the notion that her own children might eventually be in danger.

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  23. Great episode and great review….

    One note about the comparison to Joffrey and Maergerys wedding. The event we saw in this episode was originally intended to be a celebratory banquet simply welcoming the lords/ladies to the capital. The wedding itself was supposed to be in another few days. I imagine it would have rivaled Joffrey and Maergerys….

    Then of course…everything went to hell so they went ahead and rushed it. One of the few wise decisions in the episode.

    But great episode in general!

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  24. Thought it was a decent episode, but I still don’t care about any of these characters.

    I thought Criston’s “run away with me” speech was silly. I know they slept together last week, but I haven’t really seen anything that made me think Criston was obsessed with her or wanted to run away with her. They kind of went from “we had awkward sex one night” to “let’s run away together” a little too quickly for me. That moment felt unearned.

    As for Alicent, it’s pretty clear it’s a combination of being lied to by Rhaenyra and being jealous that Rhaenyra can sleep around while Alicent is stuck being a broodmare for an old man with leprosy.

    The show is always more interesting when Daemon is on screen.

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  25. TormundsWoman,

    It is not that I don’t think those elements are there. Alicent’s repressed rage at her situation combined with jealousy at Rhaenyra having freedoms she can only dream of and getting away with things no other woman would certainly drives her choices. But it is not so directly the WHY of it. Rather, it is the reason why she no longer feels like Rhaenyra would make a such good queen that she is willing to go against her family to fight for it. Maybe a subtle difference, but I would argue it is important because it is less petty as far as motivations go.

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  26. Complete mess of an episode, that started well and then went downhill, poorly directed and sadly predictable………the only way to save this plodding dirge is to bring back Tyrion….Ha!

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  27. Angeala95,

    Alicent followed the rules and was pious and righteous despite not really having agency; Rhaenyra never did any of this and does what she likes and she’s still considered the Heir. I’d say Alicent has plenty to be pissed about.

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  28. TormundsWoman,

    I think that it is psychological, he was wound up over something with Mysaria. Rhaenyra freaked him out when she showed too much interest, and Rhea didn’t look like the docile wife. I think he likes to be in control, and when that slips, he can’t perform. He has slept with many many women in pleasure houses, he could be exaggerating ofc, but I suspect not. I interpreted their use of ‘impotent’ to mean that he is powerless. I think he’s a huge baby throwing a 20 year tantrum, I don’t see the appeal of his character at all

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  29. Side note, I appreciated them showing the horse run off. I can’t stand seeing horses get hurt on screen. I know it’s fake (though dangerous) but I absolutely hate it. It probably shouldn’t have got up, it looked like it landed on it’s head/neck

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  30. I notice similar character traits of Prince Daemon and Lord Petyr Baelish. When Ser Gerold Royce confronts Prince Daemon at the dinner feast event. Prince Daemon shuts him down just like Littlefinger shuts down Yohn Royce in S6 E4… are Ser Gerold Royce and Yohn Royce from the same family? Littlefinger had power in the Vale and Prince Daemon is going to inherit Vale property. Also Prince Daemon creates chaos just like Littlefinger creates chaos.

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  31. Jenny,

    Oh boy. That makes it worse. Because the next two women in his life are anything but submissive or docile. Maybe the first (?) though I cannot say that now with all the characters changes they make, but what about the second?! These are women from really powerful fam, dragon riders in their own right. I just don’t see them being under Daemon’s control sexually. Or otherwise for that matter. But maybe you are correct, only time can tell…

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  32. They honed in on Criston and Joffrey’s crotch area as Joffrey passed him. I immediately asked my husband if Joffrey brushed Criston’s “member” as he passed? It didn’t show that, but the positioning of the seemed to imply it. I think Criston and Alicent can use that as an excuse why Criston went apesh**.

    Regarding Leana, I guess she likes a bad boy. LOL Since Rhaenyra and Daemon’s plan to force the King’s hand didn’t work (unconscious on Rhaenyra’s part), Daemon has no choice but to move to Plan B. One that happened to land right in his lap!

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  33. My least favorite episode. Who directed this mess? The barely visible smoky atmosphere needs to improve. GoT has a history of filming hard to see scenes, in this case smokiness, that it’s frustrating to watch. Be that as it may, the quickness to which Rhea Royce and Joffrey Lonmouth are first introduced and then killed off is staggering and ridiculous. I understand Rhea Royce’s death as it propels Daemon’s lovelife forward, but Joffrey Lonmouth’s death was absurd. The honorable Criston Cole literally loses his mind over one inane sentence and pulverizes Joffrey’s face into mush? Really? How stupid. The book storyline of how Joffrey came to die made much more sense, but, of course, the show runners thought they knew better than GRRM, and turned Criston Cole into a raging idiot over a one night stand. With the exception of the gratuitous, meaningless and gory death of Joffrey, this episode was predictable and beyond boring. I hope it gets better.

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  34. Mr Derp,

    God, Cristen was the worst in this episode. I really just did not like that character this week. People talked a lot about consent in Rhaenyra Cristen sex scene last week and I could kind of understand that so if situations would be reversed now, I can bet a woman won’t be dumb enough to think that the man would abandon his duty to the throne. There was so much misogyny in that supposed confession scene. The proposal did not feel like it was coming from a place of love but from a place of desperation that he broke his vows so now he needed her to absolve him of his guilt. And that entire last 10 mins is literally the height of stupidity I have seen from a character ever in the series.

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  35. Is nobody even asking why the hell Criston beat a man to death, sullying a royal wedding and putting Rhanaerya in danger without even being questioned, and was then allowed to walk away to the Godswood?

    Am I missing something here?

    On a side note.. did we catch a glimpse of Mushroom in the band?

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  36. TormundsWoman,

    Thinking about it, he might not actually have a problem at all. All 3 examples could be explained away, he was angry and upset with Mysaria, he was emotionally conflicted with Rhaenyra and he didn’t want to marry Rhea. That seems pretty normal to me. But they are making such a big deal about it on the show, so I don’t know. I don’t really know where they are going with it, or him for that matter. I don’t really understand him

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  37. TormundsWoman: They are. That’s 3 different women, in 5 eps and within 3-5 year span that they showed/told/implied he has some erectile dysfunction issues with. At this point, it looks like it’s not really trauma related or psychological, but a physical thing. I also understand from reading online that in the behind the scenes they confirmed that he is impotent.

    I think in the Behind the Scenes, Miguel (think it was him) talked about Daemon’s “impotence” in the brothel scene, but I took it as more situational with Rhaenyra surprising him and maybe some guilt hitting him about trying to out the princess to everyone.

    The first scene with his paramour has him hiding his face under a sheet (lol), and she seemed to immediately know he was preoccupied with the politics of Viserys changing his heir.

    I do think it’s more psychological than not, but they seem to really be making note of it. I’m not sure if they’re tying it to his back and forth personality, making him have inferiority issues with a smugness on the outside, or what. 🤔

    Lol, I’m with you on the “magic vag”. 😄

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  38. As someone mentioned above, CC was hoping for redemption by execution.

    When he didn’t get it and met another dishonorable knight (who basically called him the princesses side piece), he decided to go out murder/suicide.

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  39. Perhaps I´m getting hard of hearing, but what did Joffrey whisper to Criston to make him go ballistic and beat the shit out of him which killed him? Perhaps as “Trarecar” mentioned, he grabbed at Criston´s dick. I´ll have to watch that scene again a bit more closely 🙂

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  40. Angeala95:
    Mr Derp,

    God, Cristen was the worst in this episode. I really just did not like that character this week. People talked a lot about consent in Rhaenyra Cristen sex scene last week and I could kind of understand that so if situations would be reversed now, I can bet a woman won’t be dumb enough to think that the man would abandon his duty to the throne. There was so much misogyny in that supposed confession scene. The proposal did not feel like it was coming from a place of love but from a place of desperation that he broke his vows so now he needed her to absolve him of his guilt. And that entire last 10 mins is literally the height of stupidity I have seen from a character ever in the series.

    I read a lot of comments here about the sex scene with Criston/Rhaenyra before I watched it and saw how there was a debate about consent. When I watched it, I didn’t see any issue with consent. It was a bit manipulative of Rhaenyra, but Criston seemed fine with it. I thought his only hesitation was regarding his vows. I also kept hearing what a great scene it was, but it seemed pretty normal to me, if maybe a bit awkward. *shrugs*

    It was naive of Criston to think Rhaenyra would give everything up for him, too. That’s a lot to put on anyone. Plus, like I said in my earlier comment, that entire scene felt off to me. There wasn’t anything onscreen to suggest their relationship developed to the point where Criston thought Rhaenyra would run away with him forever. I think you’re right. The guilt of breaking his vows made him go for broke there. Very desperate move.

    I thought the last 10 minutes were generally fine, but having a wedding go on with that poor dude’s blood still on the floor was bizarre.

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  41. Flayed Potatoes,

    ”…the realm is divided and some people want Aegon on the throne. As long as these supporters exist, they will be a threat, especially if/when some of the more ambitious ones start plotting.”

    For a second there, I thought this was the setup for the “Snow” spin-off.

    Surely there will be a growing contingent of people who are not thrilled with being ruled by a three-eyed space cadet, and there will be “ambitious supporters” who “want Aegon on the throne,” even if Jon aka Aegon whinges “I don’t want it. I never have.” Or, if “the realm is divided,” Jon the Conciliator will feel obligated to head south to unite the country.

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  42. FRankel:

    “It was just being there and imagining what kind of a circumstance it would be to be stood at the wedding of the woman that you love, merely a few days after having made love with her and asked her to run away with you, and then having to stand there in front of all these people, essentially on display as a representative of her power, and watch this whole thing unfold,”

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  43. Apollo:
    Is nobody even asking why the hell Criston beat a man to death, sullying a royal wedding and putting Rhanaerya in danger without even being questioned, and was then allowed to walk away to the Godswood?

    Am I missing something here?

    On a side note.. did we catch a glimpse of Mushroom in the band?

    You are not missing anything. It is so ridiculous and makes no sense.

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  44. awol:
    TormundsWoman,

    It is not that I don’t think those elements are there. Alicent’s repressed rage at her situation combined with jealousy at Rhaenyra having freedoms she can only dream of and getting away with things no other woman would certainly drives her choices. But it is not so directly the WHY of it. Rather, it is the reason why she no longer feels like Rhaenyra would make a such good queen that she is willing to go against her family to fight for it…

    I hear ya. But whatever the reasons for their estrangement, I gotta say that a big reason I had and have apprehensions about HotD is that I’m kind of wary of the trope in movies and TV of women characters invariably shown as jealous, backstabbing adversaries: the Mean Girls Syndrome. It’s all too rare that they have the equivalent of a “bromance,” or – like in “buddy comedies” and cop shows, they start out as enemies before becoming fast friends and staunch allies. [In GoT, e.g., Tormund & Jon; Bronn & pre-lobotomy Tyrion; Sam & Jon.]

    This is a big reason I hated the “Winterfell” plot in GoT S7. The PsychoArya vs. FranticSansa “drama” felt contrived, and required both sisters to behave like gullible, petulant idiots, and muse about killing each other. I would really have enjoyed seeing Sansa and Arya accepting their differences and working together to outmaneuver LF, rather than watch them get played by LF and threaten each other. While the brief battlements scene at the end of S7e7 was lovely, their reconciliation would have been more compelling (for me) if it had been developed over 3-4 episodes rather than squeezed in at the very end.
    Similarly, after Arya in S2 expressed her admiration for dragon-riding princess Visenya Targaryen, a “great warrior” and heroine of hers, I expected Arya would fawn all over the dragon-riding Targaryen heroine who had saved her brother and his crew at the Frozen Lake. Nope: Just like Sansa, for no good reason she copped a “we don’t Iike your girlfriend” attitude.

    …. [Sorry. Screen is starting to freeze. Can’t edit. To be continued and concluded]…

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  45. Apollo:
    Is nobody even asking why the hell Criston beat a man to death, sullying a royal wedding and putting Rhanaerya in danger without even being questioned, and was then allowed to walk away to the Godswood?

    Am I missing something here?

    On a side note.. did we catch a glimpse of Mushroom in the band?

    As far as the Velaryons are concerned, they’re not going to ask any questions. Corlys is probably relieved Joffrey is out of the picture for good.

    Alicent and Rhaenyra would also not want to question anything, because that can lead to everyone finding out about the Rhaenyra and Criston relationship.

    It’s enough to just say to the curious people that Criston defended the princess from someone who was threatening her. Joffrey isn’t from an important family, so the incident will get swept under the rug.

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  46. Cont. from 7:07 pm

    For me at least, it’s difficult to really look forward to watching

    a story of two girls who were dear friends become mortal enemies, orchestrating a series of escalating, retaliatory bloodbaths.

    I can’t think of many shows or movies that portray girls or women as loyal, supportive allies. Why is that? Is there a built-in assumption that women by nature tend to undermine each other? Is it attributable to “internalized misogyny” however that term is defined? Is it harder to script friendships than hatefests?

    I had noted a few examples of movies and TV shows that feature amity rather than animosity between smart and witty female characters. I’ll try to find the names of those shows and movies. I do remember that I enjoyed them a whole lot more than those that resort to the Mean Girls/cat-fight/stink-eye cliches.

    – End Unintended Rant –

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  47. 6/10, the weakest episode so far. I have mixed feelings about the opening scene. I really liked Rhea Royce and getting to see Daemon’s devious side, but considering Rhea could more than handle herself and it appeared Daemon was unarmed, what would the plan have been if she wasn’t thrown from her horse?

    I enjoyed the scene with Viserys compromising with Corlys and the scene where Daemon demands his inheritance from his late wife. I also liked the scene between Corlys and Rhaenys.

    I didn’t like that the drift between Alicent and Rhaenyra is caused by her sleeping with Criston and lying to her about it. It seems weak. I think it would have been better if Alicent was worried Rhaenyra would murder her children to secure her claim to the throne. That would have made more sense. I don’t understand the meaning behind her dress. Does she really want to go to war over Rhaenyra sleeping around? That’s an overreaction.

    Criston’s character is all over the place. First, he breaks his vow sleeps with Rhaenyra. Then, he wishes to break even more vows, abandon the Kingsguard, and spirit Rhaenyra away so they could get married. Then, he feels guilty about breaking his first vow immediately without much prompting. Then, he beats a man to death for learning the secret he had already openly confessed to. The whole sequence was just bad. Badly written and badly directed. Just bad.

    So far, the show as a whole is a 7/10. It’s pretty good, but I will admit, I hoped for better.

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  48. GeekFurious:
    Criston Cole is far more complex in the show than I ever perceived him in the book. And this, D&D take note, is why you hire writers.

    D&D did hire writers. Hell, they’re writers themselves. This comment makes no sense.

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  49. Ten Bears: Similarly, after Arya in S2 expressed her admiration for dragon-riding princess Visenya Targaryen, a “great warrior” and heroine of hers, I expected Arya would fawn all over the dragon-riding Targaryen heroine who had saved her brother and his crew at the Frozen Lake. Nope: Just like Sansa, for no good reason she copped a “we don’t Iike your girlfriend” attitude.

    Daenerys stole their kingdom from them. That’s more than enough reason not to like her. Arya fawning over Daenerys because she admired her ancestor would have been a step backwards in her development. Besides, considering what happened, Sansa and Arya were in the right not to trust Daenerys.

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  50. In general, they have done a pretty poor job of introducing characters who will become important to the story. I see people tweeting about characters from the book, who are already in the show and I am literally like ‘who? I have never seen that man in my life, oh he’s had .3 seconds of screen time…. great’. I won’t be specific because of spoilers. The Valarians are underdeveloped, I didn’t know who could ride dragons. That’s quite important! After 5 weeks, it seems like the pre season reviews were quite accurate, with many pointing to Episode 4 as the highlight of the first 6 Episodes

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  51. I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to spread the past 5 episodes over 10 episodes and have next season begin with the 10 year time jump. That way there is more time to flesh out the characters a little more. At first view I sometimes have no idea who’s who. And also who is riding which dragon. I only know because I read it here (and I read the book ‘Fire and Blood’ long time ago).
    I like the show a lot, more than I had expected. But for casual viewers I can imagine it’s sometimes difficult to follow.

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  52. Young Dragon,

    ”Daenerys stole their kingdom from them.”

    That’s not what I saw. Jon “bent the knee” and relinquished his crown and the North’s sovereignty all on his own. Dany had already said she’d defend the North with no strings attached. Blame Jon’s Johnson.

    ”Arya fawning over Daenerys because she admired her ancestor would have been a step backwards in her development.

    Why? Why would it be a regression in her character development?
    Watching Arya Stark interact with Daenerys Targaryen would have been lots of fun.

    Dragon joyriding. Comparing cooking preferences: bake or flame-broil?

    ”Besides, considering what happened, Sansa and Arya were in the right not to trust Daenerys.”

    But there was no reason at the time “not to trust Daenerys.” What happened much later in KL could have no bearing on how they felt about Dany in WF. And Dany had just gone into battle and lost many of her men to defend the North. You’d think those two little ingrates would think twice about bashing Dany, and spouting stupid stuff like “we don’t need allies.”
    Sorry my friend. There was no reason for my suddenly xenophobic girl Arya and her supposedly super smart sister Sansa to be bitching and moaning about Daenerys.

    But I commend you on your steadfast defense of everything done by D&D.

    I’m tempted to dedicate a musical interlude to you and the way you always defend D&D no matter what. (Lyrics: “Even when you’re wrong, I’ll stand by you.”)

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  53. Joy C:
    I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to spread the past 5 episodes over 10 episodes and have next season begin with the 10 year time jump. That way there is more time to flesh out the characters a little more. At first view I sometimes have no idea who’s who. And also who is riding which dragon. I only know because I read it here (and I read the book ‘Fire and Blood’ long time ago).
    I like the show a lot, more than I had expected. But for casual viewers I can imagine it’s sometimes difficult to follow.

    This is exactly what I was thinking, especially after this episode where the climax landed with a big thud because Cole’s decision to kill Laener’s bf came out of left field and they just skipped over the entire aftermath. While I liked a lot of this episode, it highlighted some of my major issues with the show, a) rushing along the timeline to hit milestones but not always earning them because there’s not enough time to flesh out the characters and b) the awful look of the show, what with the darkness and the fake looking CGI. I hope Alan Taylor fixes the latter next season, and the former might get fixed as they now settle into the main timeline with the jump that’s coming next episode, but as Joy says, I would’ve much rather preferred they spent the entire season with the younger characters and done the time jump to start next season.

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  54. I thought it was fantastic, beautifully dark and rekindled that Thrones magic fully for the first time.

    I was wondering if the overall misty darkness were as it were a bit of a prologue, perhaps it will burst into light next week?

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  55. Joy C:
    I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to spread the past 5 episodes over 10 episodes and have next season begin with the 10 year time jump. That way there is more time to flesh out the characters a little more. At first view I sometimes have no idea who’s who. And also who is riding which dragon. I only know because I read it here (and I read the book ‘Fire and Blood’ long time ago).
    I like the show a lot, more than I had expected. But for casual viewers I can imagine it’s sometimes difficult to follow.

    I actually think there could be a lot of payoff to doing it this way. Yes, they are zipping through pre-war « history » really fast and compressing a few things even from the source book, but what that means, in the end, is that in season 2 they can slow right down and do things on a more similar timeline to seasons 2 and 3 of GOT as the war ramps up. Which means that the major moments of the war will hopefully feel very earned, and the characters who are alive and relevant to the Dance of the Dragons itself do feel very complete.

    My one exception would be Criston Cole. IMO there is basically a scene missing which should have been in episode 3. We needed a scene between Criston Cole and Ser Westerling his Lord Commander about the value and history of the Kingsguard, the weight of the duty and the pride they take in serving this role. The scene could have taken place after Rhaenyra returned with the boar having saved her life. I think it would have done a lot to make his sense of conflicted honour feel more earned.

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  56. Perhaps we will see a flashback of what really happened. My guess is that Joffrey was bi and suggested they swap partners or something similar. If he noticed Criston’s infatuation with Rhae, perhaps it was as he himself was also keeping his eyes on her in a similar way. This would explain, to some degree, why someone who was already falling apart from losing his honour would explode so violently.

    As to why Christon was allowed to leave, surely because nobody knew Joffrey was Leonor’s lover and it was just seen as a fight between two knights. I doubt Viserys would have contemplated the marriage if he’d suspected. Corlys himself was in denial about his son’s sexuality, so it seemed as though their relationship wasn’t common knowledge–similar to Cesei and Jamie (a few people suspected it, but wouldn’t dare to outright mention it in front of Tywin).

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  57. Ten Bears,

    I can understand them being concerned after learning of Jon’s heritage, he was a threat to her rule and that made her dangerous. Otherwise, I see no reason to mistrust her. The woman who came North for her lover, who sacrificed her armies to defend the realm she wanted to rule. I’m not hearing alarm bells. I don’t know why Sansa wanted independence anyway, the South hardly ever bothered the North, it was known to be unruly. I think she was right to ask for it in the final Episode, after seeing what her armies had contributed to. I think the problem came from Jon handing it over without consulting anyone.

    I don’t think it would have been a regression for Arya either, S7 and S8 was all about her reconnecting with her lost humanity, an interest in Dany and her dragons would have been part of that.

    Don’t get me started on the S7 plot, it was almost unwatchable lol

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  58. Jenny,

    This one Youtuber called Macabre Storytelling did a great series of videos, basically rewriting each character’s story to fit better with their established arcs and the themes of the show. He dedicated a whole video to each character. I’ve kind of come to see his version as the canon ending, honestly (and I’m one of the few people who didn’t hate the ending). XD

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  59. Jenny:
    Richard,

    He punched the King Consort and left him with a bloody nose. It can’t be explained away

    Tyrion managed to walk away after bloodying Joffrey’s nose (when he was actually King).

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  60. Ten Bears,

    Jon told Sansa that he needed to bend the knee to gain Dany’s support. Besides, after seeing how unhappy Sansa and the rest of the northerners were, Daenerys could have always returned the North back to them. Because she did not, Sansa and Arya had every right not to like her.

    After all the hardship Arya went through, trusting Daenerys because she admired her ancestor would be, for lack of a better word, stupid. Daenerys, after all, is not Viseyna, and even though Arya found Viseyna to be impressive, that doesn’t mean she’s not dangerous or could be trusted.

    It’s called intuition. Sansa and Arya could tell what kind of person Daenerys was. Guess what? They were right.

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  61. Jenny,

    Since the White Walkers wanted to exterminate all humanity, Daenerys sacrificing her armies was an act of self-preservation. There was nothing really noble about it and it doesn’t say much about her character.

    It makes complete sense that Sansa and the North would want independence after how badly the Iron Throne keeps treating their lords. If the North is so unruly, Daenerys should have given them up.

    Regaining one’s humanity does not mean placing your faith in someone just because they have dragons, especially since one of those dragons would later be used to demolish a city.

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  62. Ten Bears,

    Yohn Royce was against trusting a targ from the beginning. He had Sansa’s ear and one her biggest supporters. You don’t think his hate almost guaranteed Sansa’s distrust? Lord glover in season 7 also started to question naming Jon king. The north didn’t want a southern ruler. They were independent for 10,000 years. I do agree season 7 was the most clunky of thrones storytelling. But I thought they made it clear what Sansa and the northern lords wanted and that was an independent north. From this time until the end of time they are a free and independent kingdom and they fulfilled Robb’s wish.

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  63. Young Dragon,

    I think that’s a bit harsh to Dany. She believed Jon and risked her Dragons to rescue him because she trusted him and she loved him. In doing so, she saw the threat and knew that she had to support the North. The two are linked. I think it’s wrong to call it selfless, and unfair to call it selfish, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

    Yeah, that’s fair. I think Dany should have given them independence in exchange for marching south. But she saw that as payment for supporting them in the North. Sansa showed too much hostility imo, especially when Dany was there to help them (and herself ofc). Plus Jon was in love with her. She seemed to take an instant dislike to her based on nothing but vibes, at least let her unpack her suitcase lol.

    I don’t think Arya should have trusted Dany, or even liked her, but it would have been nice to see them talk. Did they even interact? I don’t think Dany’s later actions should be used to justify Arya and Sansa, unless Bran popped in to give them a heads up. Absolutely nobody could have predicted a massacre like that. That was the whole point of it happening in the show. I wish they could have waited until Dany and Sansa had their heart to heart, none of this ‘what do dragons eat anyway?’ business. it just felt like an unearned snap judgement (unless i’m misremembering the order of events)

    Stew,

    Good point, all of this fell out of my head when I posted this morning lol

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  64. Richard,

    The benefit of being the Hand of the King and a Lannister, nothing would happen to Tyrion, even Cersei got a slap in. When they accused Tyrion of murder, he was immediately seized. Criston on the other hand is a nobody. I don’t mind that he got out of it, but I think that it’s weird that he wasn’t thrown in a dungeon and questioned

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  65. Jenny,

    Don’t get me wrong the last two seasons I saw their vision on what they wanted to accomplish. I feel that the execution of some of the stories didn’t nail like they wanted or intended. I think 4 more episodes would had help add depth and certain story lines breath.

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  66. Jenny:

    Fair enough, but I’m not even convinced he would have been punished, unless Laenor had specifically gone to Viserys after and demanded it. It was such a confusing event that you could easily forgive the guards for not being aware of that happening. I doubt he’d be arrested for the murder itself. He probably slightly outranked Joffrey, and was on home soil, so it’s questionable he would face much serious discipline in that sort of society, unless Viserys was given a good reason to. And if nothing else, it has set up massive conflict between Laenor, Rhae and Criston!

    (I gave a bad example, but… Is it really likely that someone who had been groomed his whole life to be lord of Winterfell would really forsake an important marriage vow made as part of a war alliance? When it was quite common for lords to have wives for duty and mistresses they loved? To me, that was equally unrealistic! But it didn’t matter as Thrones was still a top notch fantasy drama set in an authentic-feeling medieval kingdom and so is House of the Dragon… I just saw the best depiction of a medieval event I’ve ever seen and, in Daemon and Alicent’s dramatic entrances, had the biggest adrenhaline rushes I’ve felt probably since Dany and Jon arrived in battle during The Long Night! I’m more than happy to sacrifice a little authentic detail to have a lot more Thronesesque experiences back in my life again! And given how well they have set this series up so far, I think it’s going to get jawdropping once the fireworks start!)

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  67. Shaka:
    Great episode and great review….

    One note about the comparison to Joffrey and Maergerys wedding.The event we saw in this episode was originally intended to be a celebratory banquet simply welcoming the lords/ladies to the capital.The wedding itself was supposed to be in another few days. I imagine it would have rivaled Joffrey and Maergerys….

    Then of course…everything went to hell so they went ahead and rushed it.One of the few wise decisions in the episode.

    But great episode in general!

    Thank you! That’s a good point about this being just the wedding preamble vs. the all out affair of Joffrey’s and Margaery’s wedding. I was thinking more along the lines of, all the preamble we’d seen for the J&M wedding was outdoors, and still seemed riddled with fanfare. So I’m not sure! Appreciate you reading!!

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  68. GeekFurious:
    Criston Cole is far more complex in the show than I ever perceived him in the book. And this, D&D take note, is why you hire writers.

    Ah yes, Game of Thrones, the improv show that famously ran for 8 seasons without writers.

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  69. I don’t really even get the take that Criston is “far more complex in the show”.

    What specifically is complicated about him anyway? He’s a freaking knight who takes his vows seriously. He broke his vows and feels conflicted about it. That’s pretty simple.

    Maybe he’ll get more complex as the show goes on, but right now, it’s pretty standard stuff.

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  70. Jenny,

    If Daenerys had done all that without receiving the North as a reward, I would agree that the North should have been more accepting. But seeing as the White Walkers were a threat to her too, not just the Starks, and considering that it was Arya who ended up taking out the Night King, saving Daenerys and her army in the process, it makes sense that the Stark girls would feel salty that Daenerys would take the North as a reward.

    I also would have liked to see some sort of exchange between Daenerys and Arya, but I didn’t need Arya to automatically fall for her, especially if her only reason for doing so was because she heard a story about some other Targaryen in her youth.

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  71. Pigeon:

    …They really seem to like playing up the “Daemon can’t get it up” theme.

    I sure hope they’re not going to play into the old trope that because he can’t “rise to the occasion” in the sack, he compensates for his insecurity about his own masculinity by lashing with violence

    ; or they’re resorting to cheap symbolism, e.g., that thrusts of his long, hard Valyrian Steel sword penetrating deep into the flesh of his victims, represent the redirection of his sexual energy.

    Is HotD really setting up Daemon’s erectile dysfunction as a critical factor contributing to the eruption of the Dance of Dragons civil war?

    It already seemed like Ser Criston’s realization that Princess Rhaenyra treated him as if he were a disposable plastic sex doll, was such an affront to his manhood and his “honor” that he pounded some poor schmuck’s head into ground beef, and then planned on killing himself.

    All of this brings to mind a line from The Sopranos in which a character reflects that the warring Mafia families’ ongoing civil war and retaliatory revenge killings originated with a certain sex act performed by Uncle Junior.

    I acknowledge that the dispute over succession, i.e., whether Princess Rhaenyra or Queen Alicent’s son should be recognized as the heir to Iron Throne, was the apparent “cause” of the Dance of Dragons.

    Still, it seems like playing up the “Daemon can’t get it up” theme and aftershocks of Criston’s tryst with Rhaenyra and then getting spurned by her, may play a part in causing the greens vs. blacks “wars to come.”

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  72. Stew,

    All valid points. All I’m saying is that Jon unilaterally decided to relinquish Northern sovereignty. And he did so stupidly and impetuously, when he didn’t have to, and didn’t bother consulting anyone first. That’s on him. He was King, and his subjects were bound by his decision. Sure, a wise king probably should have at least laid out his case and sought to persuade his people before making such a momentous decision on their behalf. Especially after initially telling Dany “my people won’t accept a Southern ruler, not after all they’ve been through,” it was a pretty boneheaded move to just show up in WF and announce “Say hello to your foreign Queen!” (Even his first and staunchest supporter, Lyanna Mormont, belittled him for leaving as a king and coming back as … who knows what he was.)

    Plus, when Jon pulled his bedside abdication stunt, Dany herself had questioned whether she’d be accepted by the Northerners, but Jon assured her they would once they saw her for who she was.*

    * Nominee for “Well, That Comment Didn’t Age Very Well” Hall of Fame

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  73. Ten Bears: I sure hope they’re not going to play into the old trope that because he can’t “rise to the occasion” in the sack, he compensates for his insecurity about his own masculinity by lashing with violence

    Is HotD really setting up Daemon’s erectile dysfunction as a critical factor contributing to the eruption of the Dance of Dragons civil war?

    I don’t think it’s playing that big of a role, but they do seem to mention it more than necessary. Sure he is a back and forth character and that could be part of his volatility, but I don’t think there’s going to be a War of the Willy.

    I don’t think I could have disliked him more than I did in Episode 5, I just wanted to smack him. Standing in his Evil Kermit cape and refusing to say anything like the petulant 3 year old he morphs into at times, doing wavy hand magic, being a doucheturd arriving and being at the wedding, and for the second time just up and abandoning Rhaenyra in a dangerous situation. I mean, at least with just a nod from Viserys, Harwin yoinked her out of there.

    Speaking of unhinged, Criston is and his violence towards Joffrey wasn’t a fight, it was a complete demolition, after which he goes into a catatonic-like trance, meanders away with no one giving a crap, and then unfortunately was stopped from doing the right thing. Boy, the mess it would have spared.

    The fact that he truly thought that Rhaenyra, whose father is the King, who grew up and is named heir, who has spent her life in her position, would swan off with him to a life of obscurity (not that that would have even been possible) because he did puppy dog eyes …well, that’s the moment you can see the dude is not right in the head.

    The only person I liked this episode were Rhaenys and her genuine happiness at seeing Viserys (and her KICK ASS DRESS AT THE WEDDING THINGY, HOLY HELL), and Viserys himself, who looked like he had about 6 aneurysms and 2 strokes just dealing with everyone. He’s probably falling apart from all of the internal screaming he does.

    I wanted to smack Alicent who won the trophy for “Can I Be Any More Obvious Except for When I’m Supposed to Love Criston”.

    Ah, I feel better now.

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House of the Dragon 3 Days 9 Hours 20 Minutes 43 Seconds