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House of the Dragon Ep 2 Review: The plot thickens as steely ambitions and political motives take centre stage


House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon Cast: Paddy Considine, Milly Alcock, Matt Smith

House of the Dragon Ep 2 Director: Greg Yaitanes

Looking back at Game of Thrones and how it all began, minus all grandeur brought by costumes and set design and even the forced erotica at times, what was truly fascinating about the show was its characters and their ambitions. Every move made by any character on the show happened to be a calculated one and in the grand scheme of things, it was all connected to only ambition, the idea of wielding power, and creating a strong position for themselves in unstable realms. In the ca of House of the Dragon, it all begins with the concept of legacy and its connection to progeny. A King without an heir is weak but a King with a woman as his heir is considered vulnerable in the world of Westeros.

The second episode of House of the Dragon takes place after a time jump of six months since King Viscerys (Paddy Considine) loses his wife and son in a birth scene that will go down in history. With the passage of half a year since his wife’s death, King Viscerys is now being urged by his council to consider re-marriage to “strengthen” his position which indirectly suggests him receiving a second chance at producing a male heir after he announced his daughter Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) as his successor in the last episode. Without going into details about the kind of royal matches that the king is offered, it can be said that here lies the beginning of all that will bring doom to House Targaryen given that the political motives of those around the king now come into focus.

The first episode of the prequel received a thunderous response from the audience and going into the second one, viewers will realise that it hasn’t been simply a stroke of luck but that the showrunners have truly worked hard on making the show with reminders of the past and a future to look forward to as it progresses ahead. One character and actor who brilliantly stood out right from the show’s debut episode was Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and while the second episode features him a little less, the cliffhanger ending ensures that big things lie ahead for Daemon who may be ready to rise above his title as the “second son” and show the people of King’s Landing another side of him. Daemon’s arc already seems to be building towards something extraordinary and when compared to Game of Thrones, I’d hope he gets a Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) style journey.

House of the Dragon may be focussing on the Targaryen history but there are other important houses as well who may have pledged their allegiance to Viscerys but that doesn’t stop them from chasing bigger dreams, your cue here would be to watch out for  Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Touissant) and of course, the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). There’s also the introduction of a new enemy in the second episode as Craghas Drahar aka  The Crabfeeder gets introduced. Keeping the gory elements a notch lower than the debut episode, this time the show does focus more on the mind games. In a particularly brilliant exchange between the “Queen that never was” aka Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best) and Princess Rhaenyra (Alcock), the former delivers a powerful line, “Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman sit on the Iron throne.” This does put things into perspective as to why what Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen did 172 years later was a feat that came with a journey that seemed impossible.

ALSO READ: House of the Dragon gets renewed for another season after explosive premiere

When they say, “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”, it’s an expression that gets visual manifestation in shows like Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. With the King making a major decision towards the end of the episode, it looks like Ep 3 is going to be packed with bigger drama. As for those who enjoy the visual aspects of the show more, we head back to Dragonstone in this episode and there’s a brilliant scene featuring the two dragons, Caraxes and  Syrax.  In terms of performance, Alcock manages to bring a balance to Rhaenyra’s still healing from her mother’s death yet determined to own her role as heir to the throne emotions well. Emily Carey’s Alicent Hightower will expectedly get a chance to portray more layers to her character in the next episode. Rhys Ifans continues to impress as Otto Hightower, the tension between him and Matt Smith’s Daemon is delectable to watch.

All in all, the second episode of House of the Dragon forms a great set-up for some major events that lie ahead. What’s missed so far though is some lighter moments that a character like wine-chugging, Tyrion Lannister brought so easily to Game of Thrones thanks to Peter Dinklage’s fine act.





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