‘House Of The Dragon’ Is About To Take Things To A Whole New Twisted Level

So far, House Of The Dragon has achieved two very important things in its first three episodes:

First, it has distinguished itself from Game Of Thrones, giving us a very different show about the succession of the Targaryen line that focuses a great deal more on palace intrigue and familial strife than the original hit series.

Second, it still manages to feel familiar enough in its world-building, costumes, characters and story that fans of Thrones can still feel right at home.

Of course, the show has also offered up truly excellent writing and dialogue, some deeply compelling and complex characters who, while not necessarily as likable as their Thrones counterparts, are nonetheless well-drawn enough to care about.

Already the show has stirred up some controversy online. Some critics bemoan the patriarchal nature of Westeros, lamenting the fact that women have to struggle so hard for power that comes easily to men. Others find the focus on women and their struggles to be some kind of agenda-driven politicking.

But the reality is simpler: This is a story that mirrors our own world and our own history during a time when deeply-rooted patriarchal ideas and traditions were the norm, and where even powerful women were largely subservient to men. Even queens and princesses.

So it is that Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) finds herself caught up in a conflict that threatens to lead to strife and civil war in the Seven Kingdoms. She has been named heir by her father, Viserys I (Paddy Considine) after her mother and infant brother died during childbirth. Now that the king has remarried Rhaenyra’s friend, Alicent Hightower (Emily Clark), her claim to throne is in peril. That peril grows with every baby boy Alicent pops out.

Meanwhile, her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) has been disinherited by Viserys for being kind of awful about his nephew’s death, but he’s in no way out of the picture—especially now that he’s won the war in the Stepstones and defeated the Crabfeeder.

Here’s the preview for House Of The Dragon Episode 4, which airs this coming Sunday:

What can we glean from this short preview? A few very important details.

The trailer opens to Rhaenyra reading the inscription on the dagger her father gave her. It’s the prophecy of the “prince that was promised, and his will be the Song of Ice and Fire.”

This irks me to no end, because this is (Game of Thrones spoilers!) so obviously about Jon Snow, born of Stark and Targaryen blood, but for some reason the showrunners decided it would be cool to have Arya Stark kill the Night King and have the prophecy changed—retconned, really—to be “prince or princess” so that it was also somehow potentially about Daenerys in the last minute, even though she clearly wasn’t the prince that was promised in the end, and just another Mad Queen who needed killing.

I digress. Apologies, m’lords, m’ladies. Prithy, allow me to continue. My mind has been clouded as of late with dark and brooding thoughts . . . .

Back to the trailer:

Viserys says the House of the Dragon will “stand as one for another generation” and we hear someone shouting “Who will it be? The brother…the daughter…or the little princeling of three?”

The real juicy bits in the trailer come toward the end:

  • Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) brings ‘discomfiting news’ to the king that upsets Viserys greatly. “Who is responsible for this gossip?” he asks his Hand. “I will take their eyes!” We know that Viserys is most protective of his family, and in particular his daughter.
  • Which brings us to Rhaenyra who tells her interlocutor that “this is a vile accusation” while looking quite shocked and appalled. Vile accusations? Discomfiting news? Things are looking grim.
  • We hear Alicent speaking to her husband, the king: “It is not in Rhaenyra’s nature to be deceitful. I cannot say the same for your brother.”
  • We know that Daemon (replete with shorter, less ridiculous looking hair) is back in King’s Landing after his victory over the Crabfeeder and just as Alicent is speaking we see him donning a hooded cloak, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
  • We also see Rhaenyra, apparently disguised to look like a peasant boy, running through the streets of King’s Landing at night.

What seems obvious is that some kind of gossip or rumor has been started about Rhaenyra. But beyond that, we know very little. We don’t know . . . .

  • What this rumor is about.
  • Whether this rumor is true.
  • Who all this rumor involves.
  • Whether Viserys will actually follow through with eye-gouging threats.
  • Whether the rumor involves her disguise or whether she’s running because of the rumor.

It could be gossip and lies spread by her uncle, Daemon—this show’s wildcard—or even by Otto “OG Littlefinger” Hightower himself.

It could also be a rumor that involves her uncle, rather than one started by him. Clearly, based on what Alicent says to Viserys, whatever it is involves both characters, though the nature of the rumor remains a mystery. He said/she said is a possibility. So is . . . “did you hear about Rhaenyra and Daemon?”

It could also involve Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). After all, she and the knight galloped off together during last week’s big hunt and didn’t return until the next morning. Surely rumors and gossip would follow them both, even if the Kingsguard is sworn to celibacy.

Whatever the case, things are about to get twisted and deeply uncomfortable if this trailer is anything to go by. Marriage proposals of young girls to old kings, and infant boys to their older sisters have been about as seedy as this show has gotten so far. It seems we’re about to take things to another level entirely.

Or so the little birds tell me. (Not really, but I’m invoking Varys who, I am sure, would thrive in this game of thrones).

We’ll know more this coming Sunday when House Of The Dragon returns to HBO. I’ll be reviewing each episode here on this blog, so please do follow me here and on Twitter or Facebook. I’m also making Rings Of Power and House Of The Dragon video content on my YouTube Channel if you’d care to subscribe.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2022/09/07/house-of-the-dragon-is-about-to-get-seriously-twisted/