House of the Dragon Series:This recap of the premiere episode of House of the Dragon includes spoilers for… for the premiere episode of House of the Dragon. This is a lot that is a recap. proceed accordingly.
And we are back. All of us — HBO, The Seven Kingdoms, you and I, of course, the guy who reimagined Game of Thrones for NPR Low several years ago. We are all here, back on our dragonscat.
I’ve written some handy primers to help get us all in the right headspace, but essentially: Forget what you know, you won’t need much. House of the Dragon opens nearly 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The now 100-year-old Targaryen dynasty is at its peak, as the royal family holds the reins of 10 full-grown dragons.(House of the Dragon)
We open into Harrenhaal, the sprawling ruined palace that became famous a century ago by Aegon the Conqueror, the founder of the Targaryen dynasty. We are looking at the Great Council of 101 AC, where the heir to the Iron Throne will be decided.
In this corner: Renées Targaryen, the king’s granddaughter (she’s standing beside her husband, Corliss Valerian, aka the Sea Snake – we’ll see her more).
In that corner: Viserys Targaryen, the king’s grandson, stands beside his wife Amma Aryan, who is pregnant with their daughter, Renera Targaryen. (I know, I know — we’re not even two minutes in and already have a Rainice and a Rainera to contend with. Not to mention the fact that most of the characters are the same long, plantinum- Blond sporting wigs. Welcome to the Targaryen dynasty. Edgar Winter is coming.)
The Great Council elects the Viserys, even if the Ranis are older, because the Patriarch is nothing if not completely predictable.(House of the Dragon Stories)
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Featuring a dragon-drop interface
opening credits! Which clearly doesn’t send us swooning over the map of Westeros to visit clockwork versions of the various locations that appear in this week’s episode. Instead, we zoom into Sigil, House Targaryen’s three-headed dragon.
Take this as an indication that the main conflict of House of the Dragon will not appear, as GoT did, as a massive worldwide conflict involving many far-flung houses and kingdoms. Here, battle lines will be drawn largely within the same family, in just a few familiar places. No map required.
We get a dragon-eye view of King’s Landing, which is being rendered a little more accurately these days. We may be 172 years ago, but the servers in HBO’s VFX department have received an update four years since GOT ended, and it shows.
That giant domed building dominating the skyline? That is not the Great Sept of Belor, which will not be built for years. That is the Dragonpit, where the dragons of the royal family live.
We meet teenage Rainera and his friend Alicent Hightower, the daughter of Otto Hightower, the hand of the king. They walk through the same courtyard in the Red Keep that Cersei will turn into a giant. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Board, centuries later.(House of the Dragon Series)
The show puts more of its chess pieces on board: Queen Emma is pregnant again, and the headstrong offers Rainera the truly terrifying “lie down and think about Westeros” maternal advice. Corlys Velaryon (told you!) warns that some of the liberated cities have formed an alliance called the Triarchy, and that their admiral – a Craghus Dahr, aka the Crabfeeder – is the Pirate’s Stepstone (of the islands between Westeros and Essos). a string) brutally. , put a pin in it; It will come back.
Enter: Damon Targaryen, the king’s cheeky—well, cheekbones, anyway—little brother. He’s sitting on an iron throne, which looks more jagged and dangerous than we can remember. I mean, tetanus risk alone.
Damon and Rainera show an easy familiarity with each other. We’re in between them to pick up on something too — and if that freaks you out, whoo boy, are you watching the wrong show, about the wrong family. He gives her a gift, an amulet of extremely rare Valyrian steel – the same thing his sword, the Dark Sister, is made of.(House of the Dragon Series)
Here comes the blood
Raja has a wound on his back that refuses to heal. He says it’s from sitting on the Iron Throne – drawn directly from books that Game of Thrones never picked up on; The Iron Throne is not meant for a place where one can rest comfortably. Royal treasures probably come with a line item for Band-Aids and hydrogen peroxide.
Were you wondering if House of the Dragon was shedding a little light on GOT level violence so far? Oh, you sweet summer baby. This next sequence, in which Demon leads the City Guard (aka the Gold Cloaks) as they attack the seed underbelly of King’s Landing by sticking their swords into several seed underbellys, should keep you calm for a while.
The next day, Ser Otto Hightower attempts to shame Damon for his impulsive action, but the prince is supported by Corliss Valerian and conditionally, the king himself. A tournament will soon be held to celebrate the imminent birth of Raja’s child, who (King is certain) will be a boy. Visit of many nobles. The king reasoned that Daemon’s display of force would help protect the people. Damon calms down before anyone can say “Gold Lives Matter”, so that’s a good thing.
In the scene of a factory-installed brothel on The George R.R. Martin Show, we meet Damon’s boyfriend, a sex worker named Massaria, and learn that he’s having trouble… taking down the dragon, as it were. Earlier, we got to know that he is married to a woman from the valley, but he doesn’t care much for her. All of which is laying the track to remind us that he is a true Targaryen—and thus a man of very distinctive, plantinum-haired tastes.(House of the Dragon)
The take-out tournament is a bloody and barbaric affair, mostly between knights who never know the actual war. Damon defeats Otto’s son, and looks pretty good about it. But in return, he loses out to the mysterious and handsome Ser Kristen Cole, to whom Renera takes his stand. Remember his name, he will be prominently involved in the times to come.
While all this is going on, the queen goes into labor, and it doesn’t go well. The child is broken. Raja is called to her side and they share a tender moment before her child is allowed to be surgically removed. (The Queen, in particular, has not been consulted in this matter.) The show really hinges on this sequence, daring us to keep watching; If it’s just a matter of reminding us how dangerous childbirth can be, even in a world full of magic, mission accomplished.
The queen dies. Soon after, her child – a male heir – also dies.
We get a glimpse of Targaryen’s funeral, as Rainera instructs her dragon to burn the corpses of her mother and brother on the pyre. very metal.
This meeting could have happened over chain-mail.
Sensing the tragedy, the King’s High Council is divided as to who should eventually succeed him. Corlys cites precedent and makes the case for Damon. But others, led by Otto, believe that Damon is too impulsive, too ambitious, too cruel for the Iron Throne. (Damon, for his part, is Jay Leno-ing in this meeting, which has to be said: He’s listening. He doesn’t like driving a classic car and wearing too much denim. Just to be clear.)
Instead, other council members suggest Renera. Expected “A.. a girl? On the Iron Throne?” Flutter and pearl-clutching and monocle-dropping. The king came out leaving the question unanswered.
Otto talks to Alicent, a lot of him! Youth! daughter, and suggests that he visit the king in his chambers. To offer him … a kind ear.(House of the Dragon Series)
For starters, at least.
Yes, it’s gross, but it’s part of the whole George R.R. Martin deal. The fish must swim, the birds must fly, the father must exploit his young daughters.
Alicent visits the King, and we learn that he belongs to the Seven Kingdoms, the equivalent of a perfect railroad worker: it looks like he’s carving a giant-scale model of King’s Landing out of stone.
Contractually bound brothel scene 2. Damon toasts the king’s late infant son, calling him “the heir of a day.” This enrages the King, who immediately summons Damon, the Westeros equivalent of a carpet.
The brothers exchange fiery words of indignation. The king orders Damon to leave King’s Landing and return to his wife in the valley – and tells her that he is no longer the heir to the Iron Throne. As if in response, the Iron Throne immediately gives the king another nasty cut.
In the dungeons of the Red Keep, the King and Rainera chat, under the giant rising skull of Belarion, the dragon that his ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror, rode aboard, as you know, conquering.
The king tells his daughter that their ancestors should never have messed with dragons, that they are a dangerous force beyond human control. And then he kind of secretly says that he is the new heir to the Iron Throne.
Cut to: Iron Throne. The lords of the seven kingdoms one by one take an oath of allegiance to the king’s newly designated successor, Princess Renera. House Valerian, House Hightower, House Baratheon, and then – as soon as we get a flashback of Rainera warning the King that the world will end with a great winter – we get a shot of the current Lord of Winterfell, Rickon Stark, swearing I have missed a lot with those round northern vowels. a nice touch.
Meanwhile, Damon and Massaria leave King’s Landing in a huff.
A huff, in this case, is a saddle on the back of Damon’s dragon Carax. The fact that he takes Mysorea with him strongly suggests that he is not going back to the valley as instructed.
Millie Alcock is the breakout star here as Rainera. She’s giving you the cool, patrician vanity you need, but she’s also able to let you see layers of emotion lingering beneath the surface. I’ll miss her when the time jump happens later in the season and Emma D’Arcy will take on the role as the adult Renera.
King Viseries is meant to be weak, or just… not a jerk? Game of Thrones tried to telegraph its incompetent characters, but I don’t have a clue yet about what we’ll be making of Viseries. He loves his wife and daughter, and in the world of GRMM, displays of tenderness are usually a harbinger of doom.
House of the Dragon is based on the 2018 book Fire and Blood, presented as a series of conflicting historical accounts written in different genres from different perspectives. A lot is left open for the reader to interpret, which makes it fun to read, but serial television cannot be so fearless. The show will have to pick a side and dramatize it clearly, which will be fun to watch.