House of the Dragon Episode Five, We Light the Way Review: The Green Wedding.

After directing the fantastic episode “King of the Narrow Sea”, Clare Kilner returns to direct Episode Five of House of the Dragon, “We Light the Way.”
The episode begins by answering one of the questions I have had ever since reading Fire and Blood, which is what caused the death of Daemon’s wife, Rhea Royce?
In the book, George R.R Martin writes that she died after falling from her horse, however, this always seemed quite a bit convenient for Daemon, so I wondered if he had a hand in it.
“We Light the Way” confirms Daemon’s involvement, depicting him arriving at the Vale in secret, scaring Rhea’s horse, causign her to fall and become paralyzed.
Daemon then bashes her head in with a rock, off screen.
What makes this murder disturbing is how, much like in the battle with the Crab Feeder in Episode Three, Daemon does not speak a single word.
This adds a level of unpreditability to his actions.
Whenever Daemon is silent is when you need to be truly afraid of him.
As for how he scared the horse to throw Rhea off, one interesting theory I have heard is that the horse was scared of Daemon because it could smell Caraxes on him.
We know riders do smell of their dragons after riding, as Rhanerya is told a few times in Episode One.
Another interesting detail is Rhea Royce’s last words, as she mocks Daemon for not being able to “finish.”
In the moment, it seems she is talking about him holding off on murdering her but the subtext appears to imply that she is actually referencing Daemon’s impotence.
In Episode Four, he could not have sex with Rhanerya because he was put off when she began to take control.
Could this be part of the reason he hated Rhea so much?
As for Daemon potentially holding off on killing Rhea, it does seem he is leaving her to die, before Rhea insults him, after which he decides to kill her with the rock.
We do not know if this was his train of thought, however, due to his silence.
I like how the show is portraying the ambiguity of Daemon’s thoughts so far.
It was also sad to see Rhea go as the actress, Rachel Redford, did a good job in her scene.
After the murder, the scene quite literally cuts, as it transitions from Daemon about to kill Rhea to a chef cutting off a fish’s head, implying Rhea’s death.
The scene is now on a ship, where Viserys, Rhanerya and their entourage, are travelling to Driftmark to offer Corlys a marriage between his son Laenor and Rhanerya.
With Otto’s dismissal as Hand of the King, the job has been passed on to Lyonel Strong, a good choice, considering he is the only one in the King’s Council who does not give advice for personal gain.
As for Otto, we get a scene of his departure, with Alicent attempting to apologise for him being removed as Hand, which she caused by telling Rhanerya of his spying.
She says she believes Rhanerya’s claim that nothing happened with Daemon, to which Otto berates her for, telling his daughter that she is no fool but she refuses to see the truth.
He warns her that to become queen Rhanerya will have to kill Alicent’s children, even though she has shown no sign of ever thinking this.
Yet, despite all the manipulation he has put her through, Otto does seem to genuinely love his daughter but does not know how to express it.
His final words to Alicent do leave an impact, however, as we will see later.
For now, Alicent is also influenced by Lyonel’s son Larys, who sneakily informs her of the tea Rhanerya was sent by Viserys to prevent a pregnancy, increasing her doubts.
Meanwhile, Viserys and his entourage finally reach Driftmark but are made to walk to see Corlys, a sign of disrespect from the Sea Snake.
Corlys knows where to pull his punches, though, as he bends the knee when Viserys stands before him.
Rhaneys then arrives and she and her husband announce the death of Rhea, talking about it as if it were an accident, yet it is clear that none of them believe it.
Viserys proposes the marriage between Rhanerya and Laenor, and Corly’s continues to push boundaries, seeking power for his family, wondering if the children they have will bear the name Velaryon.
Viserys concedes this but is adamant that the child who takes the throne after Rhanerya shall be named Targaryen, to which Corlys accepts, agreeing to the marriage pact.
As this arrangement is taking place, Rhanerya and Laenor walk on the beach and come to their own arrangement.
Rhanerya is aware of Laenor’s sexuality so subtly sugests that they marry but then take what lovers they wish, to which Laenor also agrees.
Corlys is in a state of denial about this, however, believing that Laenor will grow out of his preference for men, showing the time that Westeros is stuck in (although that is not saying much since this attitude can be seen today, unfortunately).
On a lighter note, it is funny to see Corlys be so assertive in his negotiation with Viserys and then become more uncertain around Rhaenys, showing his vulnerabilities to her, as he wonders if he pushed Viserys too far.
They truly are one of the happier couples in Westeros.
This happy mood turns darker, however, as Rhaenys points out that Rhanerya’s succession will be challenged, due to her gender, putting Laenor’s life and the lives of any children he has with Rhanerya at risk.
Corlys vows to protect them, leadsingto him saying that Rhaenys should have been queen but Rhaenys tells him she has got over the loss and so should he.
This was a great scene between the couple, with a few interesting details, like the Crab Feeder’s mask on display.
It is followed up by a scene with another couple, as we meet Laenor’s lover ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), the Knight of Kisses
Their relationship is quite healthy, like Corlys and Rhaenys’, as Joffrey is accepting of Laenor’s position and wishes to protect him when he becomes Rhanerya’s king consort.
This is paralleled by the less than healthy relationship between Rhanerya and Criston.
The Kingsguard confronts Rhanerya on their return to Kings’ Landing about their affair, wanting to run away and start a new life with her.
Rhanerya obviously refuses, given the responsibility Viserys has placed on her shoulders with the knowledge about the White Walkers.
She even seems to be about to tell Criston about this, before he interrupts her.
What Criston says shows the unhealthy state of their relationship, since Criston’s main reason for asking Rhanerya to run away with him was so he could regain his own honour after breaking his vow of chastity with her, as the white cloak he wears is the only thing to his name.
Criston’s inner turmoil is put on further display when Alicent calls for him to talk after reaching King’s Landing.
So great is it that he misinterprets Alicent’s questions about Daemon and Rhanerya to be about himself and Rhanerya and admits to their affair.
He even begs her to have him merely put to death, rather than gelded and tortured.
Emily Carey’s face during this plea shows a wide range of emotions, chief among them a feeling of betrayal against Rhanerya, as her worst fears are confirmed.
She is probably thinking of Otto’s warning in this moment and deciding where her loyalties lie.
As this talk is happening, Viserys is having his own with Lyonel after being treated by the Maesters.
Viserys reflects over his life and wonders what the people will say of him after he is gone, since he was never a conqueror.
Lyonel views this as a positive thing, since he continued Jaehaerys’ peace,
As a book reader, it is interesting to see this scene and know how Viserys is remembered, not only by the people of Westeros but by book readers.
I will leave that for the spoiler section, though.
Speaking of Viserys, the guy looks pretty terrible in this scene and I have seen numerous reactors believe that he died here, until he is shown later.
The make-up department for this show is doing an excellent job at detailing the progression of Viserys’ mysterious illness, which Paddy Considine has said is actually a form of Leprosy.
The shot fades away from Viserys’ sickened face to Kings’ Landing on the day of the wedding celebrations.
Laenor and Rhaenys both arrive on their dragons, Sea Smoke and Meleys, the Red Queen.
After this, we see the procession of noble guests gretting Viserys and Rhanerya, including Jason Lannister being a prideful jerk again, and Rhea’s cousin Gerold (Owen Oakeshott), who accepts condolences for Rhea’s death.
The Velaryons then arrive, quickly followed by Daemon, who swaggers in unnannounced.
Viserys reluctantly welcomes him, wordlessly offering him a chair at the table.
Daemon, likewise, does not speak, again making us wonder what his intentions are.
Viserys then begins a grand speech about the future of Targaryen rule, only to be interrupted by the best moment in the episode, as Alicent arrives in a green dress, Ramin Djawadi’s excellent score serving as her entrance.
As a book reader, this was such an exciting moment to see.
The enormity of this moment is translated to show only viewers by Larys, who informs his brother Harwin that the green colour of Alicent’s dress is symbolising her house calling its banners to war.
After Alicent’s dramatic entrance, the celebration continues, with Joffrey noticing Criston eyeing Rhanerya, and Gerold Royce confronting Daemon about Rhea’s murder.
It does not go how he planned, however, as Daemon announces his intention to inherit Rhea’s lands, before going down to join the dancing.
He dances with Laena Velaryon (Savannah Steyn) for a bit, who shows quite an interest in him, before moving on to Rhanerya.
Daemon makes another play for Rhanerya’s hand but she is dismissive of him this time, goading him into stealing her away, which she appears to know he will not do.
While this is happening, Joffrey has a talk with Criston, suggesting they take a vow to protect Laenor and Rhanerya because, if they stay safe, so do they all.
Whether Criston sees this as blackmail, is disgusted because he sees himself in Joffrey, or a combination of the two, the end result is the same.
Criston attacks Joffrey and proceeds to beat him to death in front of dozens of noble witnesses, also assaulting Laenor, while Rhanerya has to be saved by Harwin.
This scene has resulted in a lot of questions about how exactly Criston got away with murdering a knight in front of everyone.
An argument could be made for Alicent speaking up for him but we do not see this happen.
Criston murdering Joffrey in front of everyone is actually a change from the book, where he killed him in a tourney, so he had the excuse that it was an accident.
The change raises the plot hole of how Criston got away with it, so I do wish the murder had been done differently to have Criston going unpunished make more sense.
As least the acting is great here, with Theo Nate’s grief stricken cries over Joffrey being especially tragic.
You cannot have a Westerosi wedding without at least one death, after all, or it is considered a dull affair.
I say we call this one the Green Wedding, after Alicent’s dress reveal.
After the night’s horrifying events, Viserys decides to marry Rhanerya and Laenor right away, celebrations be damned.
Viserys collapses during the wedding, showing just how sick he is getting.
Before this happens,  Criston goes outside to commit suicide, only to be stopped by Alicent who, presumably, wants to form an alliance with him.
It looks like Rhanerya is going to regret naming him to the Kingsguard, after all.
Out of all five episodes, I would say that “We Light the Way” is my second favourite, behind “King of the Narrow Sea.”
My only issue is that Criston getting away with murdering Joffrey is a plot hole.
Otherwise this was a great episode and an excellent farewell to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, who both did a terrific job playing a young Rhanerya and Alicent.


Book Spoiler Section:
About Viserys’ legacy, it was interesting to think about this when the king himself worried about how he would be remembered.
Unfortunately for him, I do not think he is remembered all that well.
Yes, his rule was peaceful but it was the precursor to the Dance of the Dragons, something which started in part because of Viserys’ complacancy.
It makes sense why he was this way, given how he likely wanted Weteroes to be peaceful so they could be united when the White Walkers eventually attacked.
But good intentions do not always result in good things happening and, especially the world of Westeroes.
Bad intentioned actions are the same as well, for Daemon’s efforts to claim Runestone will be for nothing, since Jeyne Arryn will refuse his request.
As for Alicent and Criston, it was interesting to finally see what turned them both against Rhanerya and I think it makes a lot of sense for the both of them.
They will now become huge problems for Rhanerya and it was interesting to see how that played out ten years later in the following episode, “The Princess and the Queen.”

House of the Dragon Episode Two, The Rogue Prince Review: Medieval Matchmaking.

House of the Dragon‘s first episode was a great start for the series, bringing many fans who were burned by Game of Thrones‘ final season back into the fold.
The second episode “The Rogue Prince” is just as fantastic, in my opinion.
Directed by Greg Yaitanes and written by Ryan Condal, the episode begins in gory fashion, showing off the victims of Craghas Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith), the Crab Feeder, on one of the beaches of the Stepstones.
The Crab Feeder’s method of murder is particularly brutal, as he stakes his enemy’s to posts and then leaves them for the crabs to eat alive.
His actions naturally anger Corlys Velaryon, since a ship with his banner has been hit and his men slaughtered, however, King Viserys and Otto Hightower seem reluctant to do anything about it.
Viserys because he wishes to avoid conflict and Otto because, well, House Velaryon is the richest house in Westeros and I suppose them falling in stature could put the Hightowers higher up in the pecking order.
Rhanerya, however, is team attack the Stepstones, along with Corlys.
Unfortunately, she is not taken seriously, even though Viserys named her his heir last episode, and she is instead religated to choosing a new member of the Kingsguard, since one of their number recently died.
Rhanerya has a lot of noble knights to choose from but instead chooses Ser Criston Cole, the only knight among the lot with any experience in combat.
Otto advises against this, wanting someone from a noble house in the Kingsguard but Rhanerya argues her case well.
After all, someone whose job is to protect the king should be selected on their fighting skills, not for political reasons because that is just asking for the king to get assassinated.
Following this scene, we then get one between Viserys and Alicent, showing that her father is still directing her to try and seduce the king for power.
However, Alicent is still certainly not comfortable with this, as shown by her numerous expressions across the episode.
Along with this, she proves herself to be a kind and caring person by using her influence with both Viserys and Rhanerya to try and bring the two to talk again after Aemma’s death.
The scene between Alicent and Rhanerya is also particularly great, with Milly Alcock giving a great performance as the Realm’s Delight, which she does across the entire episode really.
As for Viserys, even though it has only been six months since his wife died, various lords are insisting he get remarried, and I don’t just mean Otto subtly shoving Alicent his way.
Corlys and Rhaenys take a more direct approach with Viserys, bringing up all the signs of weakness his rule over Westeros has, before suggesting he marry their daughter Laena (Nova Foueillis-Mose) to show strength in the realm.
Unfortunately for Corlys and Rhaenys’ attempt at medieval matchmaking, Viserys brings up this marriage proposal to Otto.
Rhys Ifans did a fantastic job portraying Otto’s inner panic here, as he realizes the Velaryons may get one over on him, first bringing up Laena’s youth as an excuse before going in more subtly, comparing the loss of Visery’s wife to his own.
This may have planted the idea of marrying out of affection more firmly in Visery’s mind.
Frankly, I’m just surprised Viserys could continue the conversation normally while those maggots were eaten the rotten flesh around the finger he cut on the Iron Throne.
The wonders of medieval medicine.
Speaking of medieval times though, the next scene showcases one of the most uncomfortable things about those times, this being underage arranged marriages.
When Otto said Laena was young it may have been an excuse but that does not change the fact that she is only twelve years old, making the whole planned speech from her about joining their houses and not having to bed Viserys until she turns fourteen deepy disturbing.
Thankfully, Viserys seems just as creeped out about the idea of marrying a child as the audience is.
He is far happier to discuss anything else with Laena, other than the prospect of the marriage, like Vhagar, the oldest and largest living dragon.
Vhagar was a dragon who lived during Aegon’s Conquest and was ridden by Visenya Targaryen but her location, something Laena is interested in, is unknown.
As Laena and Viserys walk togethor, Rhanerya and Rhaenys are watching them and have a discussion, which is one of best dialogue exchanges in the entire episode.
Watching these two throw shade at each other was great.
Rhaenys was harsh but, in the end, she said many things that Rhanerya needed to hear.
If she wants to sit the Iron Throne, it will be an uphill battle.
As Rhaenys says, “men would sooner put the realm to the torch, than let a women assend the Iron Throne.”
But, while the shade throwing between Rhanerya and Rhaenys was great, there is one character who can throw shade better: Daemon.
He makes his return in Episode Two in a big way, stealing a dragon egg off screen to give to Mysaria, who is pregnant and he intends to marry.
Daemon did not just steal any dragon egg, however, but the one Rhanerya chose for her brother Baelon, the child Daemon titled “the heir for a day.”
As I said, major shade thrower Daemon is.
Yet, this reveal does lead to the first moment Rhanerya commands a small council meeting, as she demands to know which dragon egg Daemon stole, the answer of which causes Viserys to act, wanting to bring Daemon to justice, before Otto offers to go instead.
Leading a group, including Criston Cole, Otto journeys to Dragonstone, where he confronts Daemon on a foggy bridge.
This confrontation is excellent, even though no blood is shed.
The banter of the episode continues to be great, as Daemon and Criston share barbs, Otto demands Daemon return the dragon egg and send Mysaria away, and Daemon remains entirely flippant about the situation.
Eventually, swords are drawn but this was a bad call on Otto’s part because it alerts Daemon’s dragon Caraxes, the CGI for which is fantastic.
Lucky for Otto and the rest, Rhanerya then arrives to prove her worth as the heir by convincing Daemon to hand over the egg.
Their discussion in High Valyrian is another great moment and its interesting to note how respectful Daemon suddenly becomes when talking with his family compared to everyone else.
Even more interesting is how Rhanerya quickly deduces that Daemon’s claims about Mysaria being pregnant and marrying her were lies just to get Viserys to come see him.
Essentially, what we are seeing here is the equivalent of a child throwing a tantrum to get their big brother’s attention.
In any other show, this would be incredibly obnoxious but the writing for Daemon is so great it makes him all the more compelling.
Daemon hands the egg over to Rhanerya, in the end, and she and the others depart, leaving Daemon with Mysaria, who is none too pleased about Daemon’s lies, since they put her in danger.
And, it is here that I have to talk about Sonoya Mizuno’s accent.
I’m sorry but it is flat out terrible.
I did not talk about it in my review for the first episode because I wanted to see if it would get better but her accent was just as bad here and I have no idea what she’s trying to go for.
Hopefully, her accent gets softened or she ditches it entirely in future episodes because otherwise it is going to be incredibly distracting.
Upon returning to King’s Landing, Rhanerya receieves an initially frosty reception from Viserys, who is understandably angered that she would risk her life like that.
However, the conversation eventually evolves into a moving moment, when the two finally reconnect for the first time since Aemma’s death, promising not to become estranged, even if Viserys remarries.
Well, maybe Viserys should have been more clear with Rhanerya about who he was going to marry.
Honestly, did he really think Rhanerya would take it well when he announced that he was going to marry her best friend?
Maybe he was too worried about Corlys’ reaction to notice, since the guy is extremely angered that his daughter was passed over, the second time his family has been passed over for the Iron Throne, in fact.
No matter what Viserys thought Rhanerya’s reaction might be, however, the end result is almost certainly the destruction of her friendship with Alicent.
I would not be surprised if Rhanerya now thinks every single interaction she had with Alicent was all a ploy for her so-called friend to get into her father’s pants.
As the audience, we know this is not true, but it would be understandable for Rhanerya to come to this conclusion.
On another note, Otto’s smug face during this whole scene is particuarly funny.
The man is an expert at manipulating Viserys, at this point, while Corlys was far too direct.
Having been denied by one Targaryen, Corlys turns to another, extending an invitation for an alliance with Daemon.
The final scene with the two of them is also excellent, with the slow reveal that it is Daemon Corlys is talking to.
Corlys suggests that Daemon help him conquer the Stepstones, insulting Viserys as he does so.
Daemon’s response to this is epic.
“I will speak of my brother as I wish… you will not.”
Again, Daemon’s attitude toward his family is very compelling.
He has no qualms speaking ill of them if he thinks they have screwed up buts gods help you if he hears you doing it.
Despite this, Corlys apparently still manages to persuade Daemon to help him, as the final intercutting shots tease a fight between Daemon and the Crab Feeder.
On a final note, I would like to talk about the new opening.
I think it is pretty decent with nice visuals.
The theme itself is great, of course, what with it being the one from Game of Thrones. 
My biggest criticism is that the symbols shown are a bit vague and flash across the screen so fast, meaning that many viewers may not even know what the symbols mean.
I was one of the these people until I looked up exactly what was happening in the opening afterwards.
Still, a good opening, I think it just should have moved a bit slower with the visuals and been a bit more clear about what it was displaying.
“The Rogue Prince” is another great episode of House of the Dragon with various compelling character interactions that set up the future of the story.
Speaking of…

Book Spoilers:
I said in the spoiler free section of the review that Rhanerya is probably questioning her entire friendship with Alicent.
Since we have now seen the beginning of Rhanerya’s grudge against Alicent, I wonder what exactly will be the start of Alicent’s against Rhanerya?
Despite seducing Viserys under Otto’s command, Alicent clearly still cares about Rhanerya, proven by the attempt to help her reconcile with her father, so I wonder what will drive her to that point?
Another thing I am interested to see is Laena taming Vhagar.
Or rather, I am hoping to see it.
Unlike Alicent growing to hate Rhanerya, Vhagar becoming Laena’s dragon might not be something we see.
We might just see that she has tamed her off screen later on.
Still, Laena seemed interested in finding Vhagar during her talk with Viserys, so I hope we get to see this happen.
Finally, I am excited to see the war in the Stepstones next episode with the innevitable fight between Daemon and Crab Feeder.
It will be the first big battle of House of the Dragon and it will be interesting to see how the show handles it.

House of the Dragon, Episode One, The Heirs of the Dragon Review: Return to Westeros.

Game of Thrones is an interesting show to look back on.
In its glory days, it was praised as one of the greatest television series of all time, yet it has one of the most reviled final seasons in television history as well.
The last few seasons were so bad that there was a lot of bitterness when the spinoff was announced, House of the Dragon, based off George R.R Martin’s Fire and Blood, a history book about the Targaryen dynasty in Westeroes.
Specifically, the show will adapt a certain portion of that book, the best part of it in fact, known as the Dance of the Dragons.
Upon hearing that it was this amazing section of the novel that would be adapted, I became excited for this show and my excitement only increased with every subsequent trailer.
Well, after seeing the first episode, “The Heirs of the Dragon”, I think I can say that the hype was fulfilled.
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, and written by Ryan Condal, the showrunners, “The Heirs of the Dragon” is a fantastic start to the show, which seems to have already succeeded in getting those who were lukewarm about returning to Westeroes after the disastrous ending to return to the story.
The episode begins in 101 AC (Aegon’s Conqeust), where a great council is convened at Harrenhal to decide the successor of King Jaehaerys Targaryen, the longest ruling king in the history of Westeroes.
Two of his grandchildren are considered, the elder Rhaenys (Eve Best) and her younger cousin Viserys (Paddy Considine).
Because Viserys is a man, he is the one chosen to inherit the Iron Throne over Rhaenys, setting up one of the Dance of the Dragons’ main themes, this being the role of women in Westeroes.
It is also interesting to note a change from the book that occurs here.
In Fire and Blood, Rhaenys is passed over pretty quickly because of her sex, causing her son Laenor to be considered instead, but he is also passed over due to him coming from the female line as opposed to Viserys.
Personally, I like the change of Rhaenys being the main candidate for the throne along with Viserys because it puts the women’s rights aspect of the show front and center.
This entire scene is narrated by Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), the son of now King Viserys, known as the Realm’s Delight.
Nine years after Viserys becomes king, we see a younger version of her (Milly Alcock) riding the dragon Syrax around Kings Landing in some truly stunning shots.
The CGI for both the dragons and King’s Landing are top notch, and both also contribute to a nice piece of world building, as we see the citizens of the city walk about their daily lives while Syrax flies overhead.
It really shows how much has changed from where House of the Dragon begins to the events of Game of Thrones, 200 years later.
While the people of King’s Landing were terrified of the dragons in the original show (rightfully so), seeing them fly over the city is just a part of everyday life in King Visery’s time.
Rhaenyra lands Syrax at the Dragon Pit and meets up with her friend Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey), daughter of Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), the Hand of the King.
The two travel to the Red Keep, where they meet Rhaenyra’s pregnant mother, Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke).
A brief exchange follows that will become horrifyingly significant later, as Aemma tells a reluctant Rhaenyra that as women the birthing bed is their battlefield.
She also mentions that Rhaenyra stinks of dragon, which is a fun little detail, continued when Rhaenyra visits her father’s small council and Viserys tells her the same thing.
I wonder what dragon smells like?
As for the small council itself, it is quite telling about its state that a joke the king is making takes precedent over Corlys Velaryon’s (Steve Touissaint) report about the rising danger of an alliance in Essos, known as the Triarchy, preparing to take over the Stepstones.
Speaking of Corlys, I absolutley love his characterization here, with him holding up his hand to stop Rhaenyra serving him alcohol, showing he wishes to have a clear mind in important meetings.
He is certainly taking the meeting more seriously than everyone else, but King Visery’s jovial attitude is understandable, since his child will soon be born, one he is certain will be a son because of a dream he had, which he later tells Aemma about.
Although, Targaryen dreams can often be misleading and this is proven true later.
After the small council meeting, Rhaenyra goes to the throne room after hearing that her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) has come to court.
Honestly, when I heard that Matt Smith had been cast as Daemon, I was a bit unsure about him.
I mean, I never really imagined Daemon as Dr Who.
Yet, after seeing his first scene, I was completley sold.
Everything about his introduction is perfection, from Smith’s performance, to Daemon and Rhaenyra speaking Velaryon.
But, by far the best part of his intro, in my opinion, is the first clear look at him we get, when Rhaenyra points out that the coming tourney is to celebrate Viserys’ heir, to which Daemon leans forwards and says, “As I said.”
Daemon is going to be a fun character to follow.
To some the greatest of heroes, to others the blackest of villains, as the books say.
We mostly see the villainy part in this episode, with Daemon’s command of the city watch, giving them the gold cloaks they come to be known for.
He then leads them on a raid on the cities “criminals,” cutting hands off “thieves”, gelding “rapers”, and beheading “murderers.”
The reason I used so many quotation marks in that sentence because, to me, it seems pretty ambigious if the people Daemon and his men brutalized were even criminals at all.
After all, we never saw these people do anything before they were attacked, so for all we know they could have been wrongly accused of being criminals and were unjustly punished.
It is the spectacle of the thing that Viserys and Otto take issue with, however, as the two storm into the small council to discuss the attack, only to find Daemon sitting right there.
What follows is a fantastic introduction to the rivalry between Otto and Daemon.
I specifically love how a lot of Daemon’s dialogue from Fire and Blood is adapted here, most notably his comments about his wife in the Vale, calling her his “Bronze Bitch.”
Following the second small council scene, we see Daemon in a brothel having sex with his favourite prostitute Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno).
It was actually kind of funny seeing this scene because news articles were reporting that House of the Dragon would have much less sex and violence than Game of Thrones. 
Well, this scene and the one with the Gold Cloaks’ attack completley disprove those articles.
Further disproving them is the violence on the battlefields of the tourney and Aemma’s birthing bed.
As Aemma goes into labour, Viserys holds his tourney where multiple knights celebrate the fast approaching birth of the king’s heir.
The scale and cinematography displayed in the tourney are excellent, with Daemon eventually emerging to challenge multiple jousters, defeating Otto’s eldest son and recieving Alicent’s favor all to piss the Hand of the King off.
However, Viserys is called to his wife’s side right as Daemon is about to fight the low-born knight, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).
Unfortunately, Aemma’s telling Rhaenyra that child labour is like a battlefield has become terrifyingly literal, as her baby is breeched and the Grand Maester cannot turn it, requring a C-Section.
In today’s world, such procedures can be done without harming the mother but back in medieval times it was horrifying and fatal.
House of the Dragon translates this horror suitably, with the C-Section being probably the most disturbing scene I have seen on television in a while.
What makes the whole thing worse is how Viserys does not tell Aemma what is about to happen before she is even cut open.
He does not even ask her opinion on it.
Yes, Aemma would have died anyway but it was her life and she spent the last few moments of it in extreme agony, feeling betrayed by the man she loved.
This gruesome scene is intercut with Daemon’s joust and then fight with Criston, their battle intercutting well with Aemma’s death, as Daemon is eventually defeated by Criston, who then gains Rhaenyra’s favor.
Word of Aemma’s death begins to spread but, typically for the time, it seems that Rhaenyra is the last to be informed of it.
In the end, all the pain Aemma went through before she died was not even worth it, because her and Visery’s son dies anyway, and is cremated alongside his mother.
The funeral scene was quite touching, with Daemon comforting Rhaenyra, telling her she needs to be there for Viserys, only for Rhaenyra to say she can never be the son he needs.
Rhaenyra nearly crumbling when she has to give the order for Syrax to cremate her mother and brother is just as touching, with Milly Alcock doing a wonderful job.
Paddy Considine does just as amazingly in the following scene, where Otto tries to convince him to name Rhaenyra his heir, afraid of what Daemon will do if he becomes king, leading to an argument about the succession.
Viserys shouting out that his wife and son are dead and he will not “suffer crows that come to feast on their corpses” was very impactful.
It also may have been a refrence to the fourth book in the series, A Feast for Crows. 
Unfortunately for Viserys, more feasting is in order, for Otto sends Alicent to comfort him, hoping to create a connection between the two and extend his family’s influence.
You really have to feel bad for Alicent, as she is clearly uncomfortable about the whole thing, and you have to wonder how her friendship with Rhaenyra will suffer because of it.
The episode does a really good job of showcasing this friendship in an earlier scene, as it has the best humor of the episode.
Aging Alicent down to Rhaenyra’s age to create this friendship will surely make where their relationship goes more interesting.
Just as interesting is seeing the “heir for a day” scene play out, with Daemon using the title to refer to Visery’s dead son.
Otto learns of this through his spy network, which I think we see spying on Daemon when he is having sex with Mysaria.
When Viserys is informed, he calls Daemon to the throne room and the two argue, with Daemon calling out Otto for using Viserys.
It is interesting how Daemon and Otto both hate one another for things they themselves are guilty of.
Otto warns of Daemon, stating that, “the gods have yet to make a man who lacks the paitience for absolute power.”
Otto says this when he wants power for his family, proven when he sends Alicent to seduce Viserys after Aemma’s death.
As for Daemon, he hates Otto because he is “a second son who stands to inherit nothing he doesn’t seize for himself”, which is exactly what Daemon does.
The two are so similar, yet they hate each other equally, making for a compelling conflict.
Just as compelling is Daemon himself because in Fire and Blood I was pretty certain that Daemon did most of what he did for power and did not care for most of his family, except for a select few.
This assumption is proven wrong with the show version of Daemon because he clearly cares about Viserys and Rhaenyra, shown when he worries that Viserys is being used because of his weakness.
It is true that Viserys is weak, since Otto is seeking to use Alicent to manipulate him, and even the throne seems to reject him, cutting him, which is the sign of a weak king.
Back to Daemon himself, his clear love for his family makes the “heir for a day” moment pretty ambigious, a staple of Fire and Blood. 
For example, we do not see Daemon actually say it, it is only repeated by Otto.
Still, Daemon does not exactly deny saying it but, given how he looks somber in the scene where he gives the speech, I think it is possible he did not mean to call Baelon “the heir for a day” as an insult.
In any case, Daemon and Visery’s argument results in the king sending Daemon away and naming Rhaenyra his heir.
The latter is where my big issue of the episode comes into play.
Viserys informs Rhaenerya that Aegon conquered Westeroes because he dreamed of the White Walkers eventually invading.
The reason I have a problem with this is because the White Walkers turned out to be pretty easy to defeat in Season Eight.
Plus, the trailer for the next episode shows Rhaenyra reading about “the prince that was promised”, something which was never paid off.
I guess we’ll just have to think of this reveal in terms of book continuity rather than show continuity.
After all, the whole “prince that was promised” storyline may pay off in the Winds of Winter, whenever that releases, if ever (probably never).
Despite my issues with the White Walker reveal, the scene of Rhaenyra being declared heir is pretty great, especially with how it cuts from Viserys talking about the North to Lord Rickon Stark swearing fealty to Rhaenyra, alongside the other lords of Westeroes.
Not all look happy about this, however, is Boremund Baratheon, understandably so, since his own cousin Rhaenys is the Queen Who Never War, yet Viserys is now crowning his own daughter.
Overall, “The Heirs of the Dragon” is a fantastic start to House of the Dragon.
It sets up the characters and conflict well, with some excellent performances, set design, cinematography and CGI.
The story of Game of Thrones may be returning to its glory days once more.


Spoiler Section:

I have decided to put a spoiler section at the end of every one one of my House of the Dragon reviews, so I can talk about things from Fire and Blood, without spoiling the show.
For this first review, I do not have much to mention, merely that Rhaenyra and Alicent being made best friends will make them becoming enemies more impactful.
Along with this, I would like to talk about the sexual tension between Daemon and Rhaenyra in the throne room scene.
Yep, those two are going to end up togethor and yep, they are uncle and neice.
Targaryens, am I right?
In all seriousness, the moment Daemon wrapped the necklace around her neck was very uncomfortable due to that sexual tension and we’ll definitley be seeing more of that in the show because of the Targaryen’s incestuous ways.
I will probably have more book spoiler moments to talk about as the season progresses.