House of the Dragon

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by CT Phipps, Aug 22, 2022.

  1. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign ⛧卐⛧ Staff Member Moderator [REDACTED]

    Apr 1, 2005
    Glad to see Crni is watching this so people can talk about it more.

     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
  2. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    https://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2022/09/house-of-dragon-1x6-princess-and-queen.html

    HOUSE OF THE DRAGON 1x06 "THE PRINCESS AND THE QUEEN" is basically a reboot of the entire House of the Dragon series, which is an odd thing to happen in the fifth episode of the season. Here, we have a massive decade-long time skip, a change of a substantial portion of the cast's actors, and a focus on setting up the new status quo. It feels like they could have made an entire season out of the first five episodes or skipped them entirely.

    I've complained earlier about the show's issues with time and it's not something that has gotten any better but something I hope we're at least past the worst of. There's too many important character beats and events that need to be followed up on. Just last week, we had Ser Criston Cole beat to death a guest at the royal wedding and it's not even mentioned in this episode. That's because it took place ten years earlier but it still is something that should have been mentioned or, better yet, had a whole episode of follow up.

    Anyway, the premise is that Rhaenyra has just given birth to another child that is suspiciously neither black nor white-haired. Their father is obviously not Laenor but Ser Harwin Strong, the city guard captain. As such, Alicent takes no small amount of pleasure in rubbing this fact in Rhaenyra's face. She truly believes her father's insane statement that Rhaenyra would murder her children so she's planning to murder hers first.

    Fans of Fire and Blood will appreciate Alicent is no longer being treated as a sweet and kind girl done dirty. No, she's taken several levels in jerkass and is now someone who spends all of her time spitting Rhaenyra, Rhaenyra's children, and underming their position at court. It's much more similar to the character in the books but it will come as a great shock to those used to the show's portrayal of her.

    Speaking of awful characters, we also see Ser Criston Cole has turned from a charming knight in shining armor to a vengeful bully that not only displays misogynist behavior toward Rhaenyra but also behaves as an absolute scumbag toward young children. I suspect he will rapidly become the anti-Jaime Lannister among fans and be someone the audience actively roots for dying.

    Rhaenyra is a great deal more mature despite her questionable choice of making a paramour of a man with no resemblance to her husband. She has evolved into a person who could be a capable queen and effective leader but has already made dire enemies of both her stepmother plus a Kingsguardsman. Worse, she's still not overly fond of her husband and hasn't been making the kind of alliances she needs to with Alicent plotting to put her son on the throne.

    I like the depiction of Aegon in the story as he's clearly an unhinged wild child who has no limits on his behavior. He's also a bully who enjoys tormenting his relations and should never be entrusted with power. The fact Alicent keeps trying to to turn him against his relatives (and it's working) shows how much of a duplicitous and awful person she's become. Also, the fact she has no interest in the greater good of the realm but only her own family's advancement.

    The big villain of the piece seems to be Lord Larys Strong and his turn on his family is genuinely shocking. Unfortunately it lacks dramatic impact because we haven't gotten to know Lord Strong or their father very well. This is another element that shows how much the show has suffered for underdeveloping its characters outside the Targaryens. Also, I don't get Lord Larys' motives that go from 0-100 for evil in an instant.

    In conclusion, the acting is strong in this one but so disconnected from the rest of the stories that we've experienced that it might as well be a new show. As such, I am really hoping we're done with the time skips as they've effectively killed a lot of my interest in the show. It's still fascinating and well-written but I feel like I'm on a roller coaster.

    7/10
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2022
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  3. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    https://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2022/10/house-of-dragon-1x7-driftmark-review.html

    HOUSE OF THE DRAGON 1x07 "DRIFTMARK" is an improvement over the previous episode and gives me hope that we're going to be getting over the massive time skips that leave absolutely no consequences to events like Criston Cole's murder of a guest during a royal wedding as well as sparing a knight from suicide. This takes place a reasonable amount of time after the previous episode and is mostly spent dealing with the emotional fallout that has been so far badly lacking from the series.

    The premise of this episode is that the various factions of Westeros' royal court have gathered together for Laena Targaryen's funeral. It is happening at Driftmark and all the simmering tensions are coming to a head. There's Daemon's branch of the family, Rhaenyra's spawn, Alicent's scummy little sprogs, King Viserys trying to be peacemaker in a family that hates each other, and the Velaryons. It's really a royal **** show and that just makes it all the better.

    Oddly, the MVP of the episode for me is Corlys Velaryon because of his relationship with the obviously not-his-blood grandchildren. I come from a family that included adoption and married an adopted woman, so I am strongly supportive families that don't involve blood kin. Corlys clearly views them as his grandsons and heirs and I like how Rhaenys, his wife, is flat out confused about how her ambitious husband doesn't see this as a problem. It actually implies to me that Laenor may have gotten this attitude from his father.

    Speaking of Rhaenys, it's interesting to see someone who is just tired of all the court infighting and scheming as well as someone who has given up on the idea of making a name for herself. She was someone who could have been a contender but given the decades long time jump, has been worn down by it all and now just wants to retire. It's an image of what could have happened to Rhaenyra if she'd chosen to cast aside her ambitions.

    Alicent Hightower continues to be portrayed by Olivia Cooke as a vindictive spiteful woman with a possible personality disorder. I buy the dramatic change given the ten year time skip and we even have it textually spelled out she's jealous as well as hate-filled due to the fact Rhaenyra has been able to largely live outside the confines of a woman's expected place in Westeros' patriarchal society. Still, people have expressed how much they missed the more sympathetic Alienct from the first five episodes.

    Emma D'Arcy's Rhaenyra is a character I think has been well-served by the time skip as she's actually come to the realization she needs to look after her future after thirty odd years of doing what she wanted. For her children's sake if not for herself. Unfortunately, the die has already been cast and Alicent wants her dead as well as her children. The kind of accusations thrown at them are not something that can easily be cast aside and her husband, Laenor, is a liability since he's been sort of a load for the entirety of their marriage.

    Rhaenyra may overestimate Daemon Targaryen, though, since she sees him as the kind of badass warrior prince she needs to kill everyone who stands in the way of her to the throne. Daemon is more or less ignoring his daughters and struggling with his desire for Rhaenyra that he thinks he "saved" by not seducing a decade earlier. Rhaenyra says that wasn't his choice to make and certainly didn't help their situation in any way. Given this is an uncle-niece relationship, I go "ahhh", but Targaryens gonna Targaryen.

    My biggest disappointment in the episode, really, is Laenor because my fears about his use in the show was realized. I was never overly concerned about the "Bury the Gays" trope (which I probably should be as a Cis Het man) but the fact that he was just going to show up, stand in the background, and eventually get shoved off stage to get to Daemon/Rhaenyra. Which is pretty much what happens and I feel like is a massive-massive waste of his character.

    The children have a big role in the story, particularly Prince Aemond, who is actually the most important Green during the dance aside from Alicent herself. He claims the largest of the dragons in Westeros and goes immediately from being an unimportant second son to one who could become king himself if he desired it. That fits into the larger theme of second sons having no power other what they seize for himself and he's changed the game so the Greens are no longer merely annoying but actually dangerous. We also see a likable bullied boy go from zero to monster in a few scenes too.

    In conclusion, this was a better episode than the previous one with lots of emotional beats I enjoyed. I hope it will continue to follow up the events of episodes without any more enormous time skips. I still had some issues with how they sort of casually write out characters that should have full arcs but there's no use complaining about spilled milk too. Indeed, my biggest complaint is they tried to fake out the audience with what our characters decide to do when they could have shown them discussing it--which I feel would have been interesting on its own. My second biggest complaint is that the episode is dark, literally so, and I could barely see what happened half the time.

    8/10
     
  4. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    HOUSE OF THE DRAGON 1x08 "THE LORD OF THE TIDES" is one of the biggest episodes in the series and it's interesting because it is one of the quieter ones. While there's yet another unnecessary time skip, it carries over from the previous episode's development so I'm able to ignore it.

    It is a powerful episode with a lot of character development as well as culmination of several important plot arcs. I wouldn't say it's my favorite of the episodes but it is strong enough that I am going to say the show has bounced back from several issues it had previously been suffering due to the constant barrelling forward without pausing to analyze previous characterization.

    The premise is Ser Vaemond Velaryon, brother of Corlys, is making a play to become Lord of Driftmark. Corlys has gotten himself severely injured fighting in the Stepstones and this is understandable since the guy has to be, in-universe, in his sixties at the very least. Vaemond also has the point that the official heirs of Driftmark are, in fact, Rhaenyra's bastards with no Velaryon blood in their veins. It should be noted by my pendantic Westerosi scholar heart, though, that he's still not the heir but Daemon's daughters as female children come before uncles in the Andal tradition.

    Ser Vaemond has an ace in the hole to forward his claim because he is going to be taking it before Ser Otto Hightower as he's acting as regent for the dying bedridden King Viserys. Given Otto wants more than anything to disinherit Rhaenyra and her heirs, it seems like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, for Otto, Rhaenyra is warned about his treacherous plan and heads to King's Landing where the Hightowers are hiding behind religion as well as have attempted to remove all of her supporters.

    Alicent also has an interesting balance between being her darker ruthless side with her nicer more mothering side. Some of the things she does are unforgivable like the fact she covers up for her son's rape in what I'm sure is meant to be an invocation of several other mothers doing the same for afluent white kids in today's society. She also attempts to reconcile with Rhaenyra after one last tragic plea by Viserys before it is all ruined by a misunderstanding.

    Speaking of Viserys, Paddy Considine is the MVP of the episode with his best performance yet. He really deserves a Emmy nod if not the actual award. Using the very last of his life, he manages to thwart the Hightower's attempt to seize power. He may not have been a good king but he was a good man (ignoring the whole killing his wife during childbirth thing). He finally dies at the end of the episode but it was after his best act of kingsmanship.

    I also have to give credit for the establishing of the stakes between the sons of Alicent Hightower with the sons of Rhaenyra. Some people complain about the fact that the Blacks are being shown to be superior morally while the Greens are shown to be monsters. You know? I have no problem with that whatsoever. The Greens were scum in the books and the Blacks were far more likable, the show is just following suit.

    I do have an issue with the fact that Viserys' last words seem to be what gets Alicent to decide on betraying Rhaenyra to crown her son. But not much of an issue as I don't think that she would have honored Viserys' wishes anyway. She's spent twenty years grasping for power and trying to think she was justified in the process. People make too much of the misunderstanding when Alicent clearly was ignoring he was out of his mind. All she wanted was some sort of sign that he wanted Aegon to be on the throne and would have interpreted anything her way (which she did).

    9/10
     
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  5. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    HOUSE OF THE DRAGON 1x09 "THE GREEN COUNCIL" is easily the best of the episodes so far. I think this will be a controversial decision but it's how I feel. After a lot of issues with previous episodes, I think this masterfully builds on what has come before and sets up the conflict between the Blacks and the Greens that will hopefully begin next book.

    The premise is that King Viserys has finally died and Alicent believes that he named Aegon his heir on his deathbed. She proceeds to go to the Small Council and announce this stunning fact, only to find out they're already planning on naming Aegon the heir regardless of the king's wishes. Furthermore, they plan on killing Rhaenyra and her heirs (as well as Daemon) because this was always their plan.

    Alicent is appalled by this, which is kind of ridiculous because Otto has been stating that Rhaenyra would have to kill her children for Aegon's entire life. It apparently never occurred to Alicent in all this time that the reverse would be true. However, the wheels are already in motion for Aegon II's usurpation and begin with Ser Criston Cole murdering a member of the Small Council. The fact Aegon II is drunk in some brothel or child fighting pit (seriously, King's Landing is the Gotham City of fantasy settings) and can't be found is not enough to delay their treason.

    I'm going to state that I think all the people complaining about the Greens getting vilified and the Blacks getting whitewashed missed the point that this provides honest-to-God stakes for the conflict. Aegon II is utterly unworthy of the throne and someone who will only bring misery and death to those around him. The fact he's controlled by Otto and his deluded mother doesn't make it any better. It means that we actually care how this conflict ends and I think that's important for this kind of story.

    I really like how awful Otto is and he's not even competant at his scheming. One of the first things he does is start hanging Great Lords of the realm when they refuse to bend the knee. The Lannisters knew this was a mistake when they threw Ned in the dungeon and compelled his obedience through threats to his family. He's an obvious, foul, and unpleasant manipulator that only got as far as he did thanks to his daughter's better politicking. Hell, he's only Hand of the King because of her and Larys working together.

    The real MVP of this episode, though, is Princess Rhaenys. The Queen who Never was is being held under house arrest as they try to figure out if she supports Princess Rhanyra's claim or not. Rhaenyra really doesn't want to, suspecting her of killing Laenor, but the fact is that she's also betrothed her children to Rhaenyra's. There's also the fact that the Hightowers are scheming, grasping, and repulsive upstarts dancing on her cousin's grave. She gets both a silly and awesome scene at the end where I can only think, "You are going to regret not saying a single word here."

    I also liked the depiction of Aemond this episode as we find out he's an erudite, serious, and well-trained man ready to serve the kingdom. In other words, everything his brother is not. I think he even felt out Criston Cole over whether it would be justified to murder his brother but the traitor Kingsguardsman just sort of deliberately ignored it. One of the rare subtle scenes between both and I think worked really well.

    Some people are going to be obsessed with the whole "foot fetish" thing but I actually think it actually serves a useful in-story purpose. Alicent has cloaked herself in the "Madonna/Whore" complex with her serving as the holy good one to the evil sexualized Rhaenyra. The fact she's forced to somewhat prostitute herself to Larys to work against her own father is an important bit of characterization for showing she's not any better. Indeed, Rhaenys has her number that she doesn't want to break free but put a window in her prison.

    In conclusion, I really enjoyed this episode and think it may be my favorite all. The scheming and firm commitment to just what a scummy bunch of monsters the Greens are, finally gives us a reason to care that they be kept from the throne at all costs. We also get some solid politicking and brutal atrocities. If they can keep this up through the Dance then I'll be all over this series for years to come.

    10/10
     
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  6. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    https://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2022/10/house-of-dragon-1x10-black-queen-review.html

    Do you hate the Greens? I know I do. George R.R. Martin stated when he wrote The Dance of the Dragons, he expected fans to be divided on which side to support. Then he found out that it was something like 90% in support of the Blacks and 10% in support of the Greens. The show has actually probably modified those numbers but it's now, 80% support of the Blacks and 20% people who think the Greens aren't being portrayed right due to treating them as the scumbags they are.

    I admit, if you couldn't tell, I'm a bit biased in my Pro-Rhaenyra support. I think the Greens being a bunch of scheming evil bastards is one of the things necessary to give any weight to the Dance of the Dragons. I feel like they should be the most contemptible scummy monsters imaginable while the Blacks should be antiheroes who are facing someone worse with just a DASH of a question whether it matters which side is on the throne because the common people will suffer the most no matter what.

    However, whether or not you support #TeamAlicent or #TeamRhaenyra, the fact is you've been waiting for the civil war to happen between House Targaryen's three branches. Yes, I'm throwing in the Velaryons there. Everyone knew there was eventually going to be a war between the dragonriders and we all just wanted to see how it would come about. Indeed, HBO executives reportedly wanted to start with the Dance of the Dragons and had to be persuaded by George R.R. Martin to give it a season of build-up.

    The premise is that Rhaenys arrived at Dragonstone and tells Daemon and Rhaenyra that Aegon has crowned himself King of Westeros. Rhaneyra is furious but not quite ready to start a war since it's clear that not nearly the level of support she expects is available and House Velayron is an uncertain ally at best. Corys and Rhaenys decide to throw their lot in with Rhaenyra anyway, mostly because Rhaenyra is showing restraint, but Otto provides an unexpected offer of terms that would allow her to back down with dignity. Daemon, of course, is furious and almost strangles his wife over it.

    What follows is an interesting depiction of Rhaenyra's mindset as she really does want to be a good ruler and not tear the realm apart. I like Daemon's reaction, though, because he points out Viserys may have been a fan of omens as well as prophecies because it allowed him to think he was more important than he was--a mediocore king over an utterly uninteresting time. However, the losses she suffers in this episode pile up with her father dying, her baby being stillborn, and the horrifying death of one of her sons. I can understand when and where she breaks in deciding to burn them all ala Aerys II.

    Speaking of which, the actual beginning of the Dance is interesting to interpret from the perspective that Aemond didn't intend to kill his nephew. He was clearly interested in scaring the living crap out of him by chasing him down but lost control of the world's largest dragon. Which is a a nice callback to Viserys trying to warn everyone that the dragons are not really under their control. It's also still Aemond's fault, like aiming a gun at his nephew to scare him only for it to go off.

    This episode was tense and built on a lot of the things I liked about the previous episodes. As stated, without the time jumps, the show feels much-much stronger. We needed the cast to be able to follow-up on events from story to story. Plot elements are also not being tossed away like Corys thinking Rhaenyra had something to do with Laenor's death. I'm not sure I quite buy the fact that he still intends to support her but since he does view her children as his grandchildren, maybe that's enough.

    Overall, I've had my issues with the season. I've felt the time-jumps have absolutely killed the pacing, that some of the plot twists were unnecessary (like Viserys' delerium being misinterpreted or Criston Cole not getting any punishment for multiple murders), Alicent's characterization has been all over the place, and way too many deleted scenes. They cut away a lot of scenes that deserved to be in the story. Still, I think we've finally reached a point where actions can be properly followed up on.
     
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  7. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    This kinda reminds me.

     
  8. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Carbon Dated and Proud

    Nov 26, 2007
    She should have grabbed the two leader scarves, and became the leader of both factions.
     
  9. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Well. She kinda did that in some way. She became leader of one faction in the episode.
     
  10. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign ⛧卐⛧ Staff Member Moderator [REDACTED]

    Apr 1, 2005
    I guess Crni watches this confirmed. I might binge it now that it is done.
     
  11. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Carbon Dated and Proud

    Nov 26, 2007
    It's a good show; also ST: DS9 totally ripped off the premise and several plot details; including the chosen one trope.
     
  12. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign ⛧卐⛧ Staff Member Moderator [REDACTED]

    Apr 1, 2005
    That was the worst part of Deep Space Nine I think.
     
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  13. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    I grew up with Babylon 5 and I still think to this day that it is a great Science Fiction show. A bit dated particularly when it comes to the sets and special effects, but well it is an old series. However it's really only worth watching till Season 4. They actually wanted to do 5 seasons, that is what the creator originally wanted. The studio (I think) was not very confident in the project and they had to wrap things up in 4 seasons. A few people of the original cast also had to drop out, one got seriously sick I think the original main character. Later the show grew in popularity and then they created an "aditional" 5th season however the story was pretty much finished more or less with Season 4 so Season 5 is like it's own arch. In some way. But it wraps up some stuff and story lines.
     
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  14. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Mostly correct:

    * The man who played Sinclair was seriously mentally ill and struggled with it until his death. He had to bow out and they kept his struggle secret until after his death per his request. He got replaced with Bruce Boilixter (Tron) and played a roughly similar character named Sheridan.
    * The woman who played Lyta in the pilot bowed out and was replaced with another actress playing a different hot psychic (Talia Winters). She then quit in a huff and they replaced her...with Lyta.
    * Claudia Christian, who played Ivanova, one of the loves of many nerds, got replaced by Tracy Scoggins (of shitty erotic B-movie fame--no shade on her, just a bad nose for projects) when Claudia's agent held out for more money without her permission. John Michael Straczynski was very offended and wrote her out. To this day, both regret not simply calling each other directly.
     
  15. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    JMS insists to this day he pitched Babylon Five initially to CBS and believes to this day that someone read his script to create DS9.

    Ron Moore and Ira Behr state that they were, instead, inspired by their hatred of TNG dropping every plotline they made and "the anti-Trek" would, of course, be a space station.
     
  16. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Carbon Dated and Proud

    Nov 26, 2007
    Some DS9 actors have —at least on one occasion— apologized to Babylon 5 cast members for the show being a rip-off.

    I read about that. I saw the man in person at a sci-fi convention in the New Orleans Howard Johnson hotel.
     
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  17. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    I also remember the actress which played Ivanova broke her leg or something. And they just decided to keep it for the character. So she was like running around with her broken leg in the series for some time.
     
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  18. Carib FMJ

    Carib FMJ Nuka-Cola Chaser

    Nov 8, 2003
    That might be a very simplistic approach. Cole is a bit of an extreme who took his vows as a Kings Guard very seriously. Him having relations with the Heir was a death sentence at the very least. And her cavalier attitude of taking him on as a paramore was seen - from his point of view - of selecting him not based on his martial ability but because he would be a boy toy. Rhaenyra is not a villain by any means but her actions and the way she sort of treated him in that moment of lust tainted his view. You don't see Cole banging Queen Alicient, instead he is devoted to her because to him, she gives him meaning and upholds his core beliefs of knighthood. It is an extreme view. and Rhaenyra's children while innocent, the fact they are not legitatmate make them fair game and are just an open signal of the Heir flaunting her position. Lies, even well meaning ones destroy trust and bring down realms. My take.

    I don't agree with Ser Cole, but I can understand when you hold ideals and you see them shattered. Maybe that is what makes characters like Hound and Jaime so dynamic. You could hate both at face value till you get to know them. But I mean folks are rooting for a family that practices sister and brother fucking, so it is very hard to really call the moral high ground.

    Personally I wish the White Walkers had just killed everyone and wiped the slate clean.
     
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  19. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Amen.

    I rooted so much for them winning over all this. It would have been a fresh take. Everyone believed humanity to "win". Would have been so awesome if the last episodes/season was actually about people migrating from the north/Westeros to the southern parts simply escaping the long night. Which funny enough didn't last a "whole generation".
     
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