House of the Dragon Episode Ten, The Black Queen Review: The Dance Commences.

The first season of House of the Dragon has come to a close with its tenth episode, “The Black Queen”, and I do not know how I am going to be able to wait until 2024 for Season Two.
Directed by Greg Yaitanes, “The Black Queen” was a fantastic way to end the season.
The episode begins, rather fittingly, with Lucerys.
He is still having doubts about his future inheritance of Driftmark, yet Rhanerya seeks to console him, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Rhaenys who has brought word of Visery’s death and the Green’s coup.
What follows is a tense scene between her, Rhanerya and Daemon, with Rhanerya being understandably distraught, while Daemon is enraged, believing the Greens have murdered Viserys.
Him coming to this conclusion is natural, given that we saw how suspicious he was of Viserys recieving milk of the poppy in Episode Eight.
There is even some suspicion around Rhaenys, due to both her unlikely escape and the fact that she did not burn the Greens with Meleys.
In the end, Rhaenys advises that Rhanerya leaves Dragonstone, before the Greens come for her and her children.
This is not possible, however, because Rhanerya’s grief and shock causes her to go into a horrific early labor.
Daemon proves himself to be quite the poor husband, as he immediately starts planning for a war, instead of being by Rhanerya’s side.
Although, he is rather smart about it, threatening the two Kingsguard on Dragonstone to swear fealty to Rhanerya or die by Caraxes’ flames.
As for Rhanerya, the stillbirth scene that follows is arguably even more graphic and disturbing that Aemma’s C-Section in Episode One.
First, there is the way that Rhanery’a screams are mixed with Syrax’s, once again showing the connection between Targaryens and their dragons.
Most of all, though, are the horrifying visuals of the stillbirth, with the amount of fake blood and prop of the baby itself being absolutley haunting.
This then leads into the funeral scene for the baby and the devestated feeling transforms into a hopeful one with the arrival of Erryk Cargyll, who stole Viserys’ crown.
And so, with Ramin Djawdi’s epic Rhanerya theme, Rhanerya is finally crowned as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
The planning for the Blacks’ war then begins, with the painted table on Dragonstone being lit up in a fantastic shot.
We can clearly see that Rhanerya and Daemon are on opposite sides, with Rhanerya being more cautious while Daemon wants war.
When it comes to dragons, the Blacks do have the advantage, and if they can sway the other lords of Westeroes to their cause then it will also boost their chances.
Before any decision can be made, Otto arrives with a delegation from King’s Landing to offer Rhanerya peace.
This is clearly Alicent’s gambit, since she won control over Aegon in Episode Nine.
Had Otto won this would have been an assassination attempt rather than a negotiation.
The meeting on Dragonstone perfectly mirrors the one from Episode Two, as Otto arrives to confront Daemon, only to be interrupted by Rhanerya and Syrax.
Only now, she stands with Daemon, and Syrax blocks the Greens’ escape as a serious threat.
Otto offers Rhanerya and Daemon control of Dragonstone, Lucerys of Driftmark, and high places at court for Aegon the Younger and Viserys.
That last one would make them, in effect, hostages and Daemon clearly picks up on this stating, “I would rather feed my sons to the dragons than have them carry shields and cups for your drunken, usurper c**t of a king.”
A classic Daemon line.
Rhanerya is not swayed by Otto’s offer, throwing away his Hand of the King badge.
However, she is convinced to think on it through Alicent’s gesture of good will, the page Rhanerya tore from their book when they were younger and closer, recalling a happier time between them.
The choice of the writers to make Rhanerya and Alicent childhood friends was an excellent one, as it creates much more compelling drama.
Alicent’s touching gesture is enough to get Rhanerya to consider the offer, angering Daemon further.
Rhanerya does make some good points in saying that relenting her claim to the throne would create peace as her father wished for.
She even brings up how this could eventually lead to the fulfilment of Aegon’s dream, thinking Daemon would understand.
Instead, Daemon grabs Rhanerya by the throat while berating Viserys’ obsession with prophecy, stating, “Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did.”
This causes Rhanerya to realise that Viserys never told Daemon.
Essentially, the grief Daemon feels for Viserys’ death makes him lash out at Rhanerya when he learns that his own brother never trusted him with such vital information.
On another note, it is kind of funny that some people were annoyed by Daemon choking Rhanerya, saying he would never do something so cruel.
They seem to be forgetting that Daemon murdered his wife.
Daemon has never been a good person.
Interesting?
Definitley.
A good person?
Absolutley not.
Following Daemon and Rhanerya’s confrontation, a recovering Corlys arrives at Dragonstone and is attended to by Rhaenys.
What follows is a tense conversation between the couple as Rhaenys condemns Corlys for leaving her alone for six years, following the deaths of their children.
Their relationship is much healthier than Rhanerya and Daemon’s, however, as, upon learning of Vaemond’s death, Corlys admits his weakness for ambition, resolving to be a changed man and retire to Driftmark with Rhaenys.
Unfortunately, this has come much too late, as Rhaenys points out that their grandchildren will still be in danger with war looming, and Rhanerya being the only one showing restraint.
And so, Corlys enters the meeting room to decide which side he will choose, if any.
It honestly feels as though Corlys was still considering, right up until he looked upon his grandchildren and saw that they had chosen to stand by Rhanerya and her family.
This makes Corlys side the Blacks, revealing his control over the Stepstones means he can block all trade with King’s Landing.
Once this is done, all that will be needed is to confirm Rhanerya’s allies among the great houses and then they can force the Greens into abdicating power without the need for bloodshed.
At Jace’s suggestion, Rhanerya decides to send her sons to confirm her allies, rather than ravens, sending Jace to the Eyrie and Winterfell, and Lucerys to Storm’s End, making them swear not to fight on their missions.
As this is happening, Daemon is attending to the unclaimed dragons on Dragonstone, among them the Bronze Fury, Vermithor, King Jaehaerys’ dragon.
Singing a High Valyrian lullaby, Daemon soothes the old dragon, as it breaths fire across the room, showing the strength the Blacks could have on their side if they could just find riders to claim these dragons.
They will certainly need it because of what happens next.
Lucerys flies to Storm’s End to treat with Lord Borros Barethon, only to find he is not the first one there.
In an intimidating the shot, the head of Vhagar rises above the castle walls, like something out of a giant monster movie.
Despite the danger, Lucerys enters the castle to treat with Borros, finding that Aemond is already there, having brokered a marriage pact between himself and one of Borros’ daughters in exchange for Borros’ support.
Lucerys gives Borros Rhanerya’s letter (leading to a humorous moment where Borros needs a Maester because he cannot read, which is true to Medieval times) but he refuses to fulfill his father’s oath, since Lucerys has nothing to offer because he is already betrothed to Rhaena.
Lucerys then attempts to leave, only to be stopped by Aemond who wants him to cut his eye out as payment for his own.
Aemond removes his eye patch, revealing that he has stuck a saphire in his eye socket, in a great adaptation from the book.
Before Aemond can attack Lucerys, Borros orders Lucerys removed, not wanting blood shed beneath his roof.
Lucerys is taken back to his dragon, Arrax but, chillingly, sees that Vhagar is gone.
It is at this point that I would like to commend Elliot Grihault for his performance as Lucerys.
He plays the character’s fear well and his High Valyrian is excellently pronounced.
Lucerys takes to the sky but the stormy weather keeps Vhagar out of sight, allowing the massive dragon to fly overhead in a terrifying shot that shows just how outmatched Arrax.
Aemond then ambushes Lucerys with Vhagar, intent on taking Lucerys’ eye.
Thanks to Arrax’s small size, Lucerys manages to manuvere him through a cliff face, allowing them to temporarily escape Aemond.
However, as Viserys said in Episode One, “The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion” and this is proven in the most disastrous way possible.
First, Lucerys loses control of Arrax, as he breaths fire at Vhagar.
This agitates Vhagar to the point that Aemond cannot control her.
In an effort to escape, Lucerys flies Arrax high above the clouds.
Unfortunately, this leads to Vhagar jump-scaring them and the audience, as she flies up out of the clouds and rips Arrax apart with a massive bite, also killing Lucerys.
Aemond clearly did not wish for this happen, as evidenced by his commands for Vhagar to stop.
This is different from the book where Aemond supposedly murders Lucerys.
Although, this version of events was just from second hand accounts, and the only one who would know what really happened is Aemond.
In any case, the horrified look on Aemond’s face shows that he clearly realizes the magnitude of what he has done as he flies back to King’s Landing, fully aware that he has started a war.
This is all but confirmed in the final scene of the episode, which sees Daemon tell Rhanerya of Lucerys’ death.
The hopeful note of Rhanerya’s theme then turns dark as Rhanerya turns towards the camera, her grief and rage obvious.
Emma D’Arcy does an excellent job of portaying Rhanerya’s feelings in this ominous moment.
They do an incredible job across the entire episode as well, from the horrifying stillbirth scene all the way up to this grim ending that has me especially excited for Season Two.
“The Black Queen” is a fantastic ending for the first season of House of the Dragon.
As for where I would rank the episode, it is definitley among the top three, including Episodes Seven and Eight.
However, at this point, I am unsure if I would rank it above or below either and will probably need a few more rewatches to decide.
Nevertheless, House of the Dragon has been a fantastic spin off to Game of Thrones, redeeming the series after the horrible Season Eight, and I cannot wait to see more.


Book Spoiler Section:

In regards to what Aemond will do when he arrives back at King’s Landing, I can definitley see him acting like he meant to kill Lucerys.
Aemond is in a no win situation.
He either claims he murdered Lucerys, which will make him known as a kinslayer, or he admits that he lost contorl of Vhagar, which will make him seem weak.
Given how we saw that Aemond being bullied as a child lead to him compensating by claiming the largest dragon in the world, I cannot see him owning up to weakness.
He would rather be known as a kinslayer than weak so he will act like killing Lucerys was intentional.
Alicent will no doubt be horrifed by her son’s actions as this has ruined any chance for peace between the Greens and Blacks.
Westeroes will be plunged into civil war in Season Two, and I am excited to see many of the events from the book unfold.
I think Season Two will end either with the Battle of the Gullet or Rhanerya taking King’s Landing.
If I am right, this means that we will also see Blood and Cheese, the death of Rhaenys, and the introduction of the Dragon Seeds in Season Two.
Of all these events, I am excited for the Sowing of the Seeds the most.
Characters like Nettles and Addam Velaryon are some of my favourite characters in the entire Dance so I am very excited to see how they will be portrayed.
Although, I have heard theories that the show will replace Addam and Nettles with Laenor and Rhaena.
To be honest, I would absolutley hate it if the writers did this because it could ruin so much of the story going forward or, at the very least, lessen the impact of numerous scenes.
I do not mind if Laenor and Rhaena have more scenes but make their characters seperate from Addam and Nettles.
However, this is just a theory at the moment and hopefully a wrong one at that.
There is no reason to be concerned until there is actually evidence of this happening.
In the meantime, there is so much to be excited for in Season Two.
It’s just a shame that we have to wait until 2024 to get it but I am sure the wait will be more than worth it.
House of the Dragon has pulled me back into the world of Westeroes and I will eagerily await its return.

House of the Dragon Episode Nine, The Green Council Review: Where’s Aegon?

The penultimate episode for House of the Dragon‘s first season, “The Green Council” is an episode full of political intrigue and infighting, as Alicent and Otto fight for control of Aegon during their coup to take the Iron Throne.
Directed by Clare Kilner, the episode begins in the aftermath of Viserys’ death, as a servant quickly relays the news of to Alicent, who is quite distraught.
I think this portrayal of Alicent is great and Olivia Cooke completley sells it.
In the book, I never got the sense that Alicent loved Viserys, since she seemed to fall into the stereotypical evil step-mother character archetype.
The show, however, clearly shows that Alicent did love Viserys, just not in a romantic way.
It makes her much more sympathetic than in the book, along with her reasoning for putting Aegon on the Throne, this being that she misunderstood what Viserys said before he died.
With the possible exception of Otto, clearly no one in the Small Council buys Alicent’s claim that Viserys’ dying wish was for Aegon to be king.
This does not the stop the majority of them from usurping Rhanerya’s throne, as it is revealed that Otto had been spearheading a plan to do this for years.
Alicent is outraged by this but she is not the only one, as the Master of Coin, Lyman Beesbury, is also greatly angered, calling this coup out for the treason that it is.
He is understandably suspicious about the circumstances of Viserys’ death.
Although, his comment that “the king was well last night, by all accounts” is pretty hilarious when you consider that Viserys looked like he was on death’s door constantly.
In any case, Criston does not take kindly to Beesbury suggesting that Alicent poisoned Viserys and murders him by slamming his head into the ball used by Small Council members.
I guess this is why we never saw these things in Game of Thrones.
The members of the Small Council were probably worried about having their heads bashed in with them.
All joking aside, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Harrold Westerling, attempts to take Criston into custody but is talked down.
So this is the second time Criston has murdered an innocent man in front of numerous witnesses and got away with the crime.
It does make sense for him to get away with it this time, though, since Beesbury probably would have been executed for supporting Rhanerya later.
With Beesbury dead, the conversation among the Green Council turns darker, as Alicent realizes Otto means to have Rhanerya, Daemon and their children put to death.
She is angered by this idea and so is Ser Harrold, who quits as soon as Otto orders him to go and kill Rhanerya on Dragonstone.
Now realizing they will have to fight to influence Aegon, Alicent and Otto race to his rooms, only to find Helaena with the children.
“It is out fate, I think,” Helaena tells a servant, before Otto and Alicent walk in. “To crave always what is given to another. If one posesses a thing, the other will take it away.”
This is a perfect reflection on the Green coup.
People really should start listening to Helaena.
Unfortunately, Alicent and Otto just want to know where Aegon is, and Otto departs when he learns he is not there.
For the second time, Helaena warns that “there is a beast beneath the boards” but Alicent dimisses this, although in a caring way.
With Aegon missing, the game to find and control him begins, with Otto sending the Kingsguard twin brothers, Ser Erryk and Arryk Cargyll, and Alicent sending Aemond and Criston.
Erryk and Arryk have the advantage, however, as Arryk is more aware of the places Aegon goes.
This includes a child fighting ring, where some of Aegon’s own bastards fight to the death for the amusement of crowds.
So, Aegon is definitley the worst choice to be king.
Not only is he a rapist but he also allows his children to be sold into fighting rings.
While searching for Aegon at the child fighting ring, they are approached by an associate of Mysaria, who has kidnapped Aegon after Alicent’s handmaiden Talia informed her of the king’s death.
Mysaria now wants a meeting with Otto, who is currently dealing with those who swore fealty to Rhanerya, demanding they now renounce these oaths and swear fealty to Aegon instead.
Many do but some are proud enough to keep their honour and are executed.
One of these is Lord Caswell, who acts as though he has switched sides, only to attempt an escape to warn Rhanerya.
He is sadly caught thanks to Larys spies and executed.
Meanwhile, Criston and Aemond are performing their own searches at brothels Aegon frequented, with Aemond venting to Criston about Aegon and the crown going to him.
When Aemond mentions the way Aegon spoke of women, Criston replies that every woman in an image of the Mother and must be spoken of with reverance.
Well, that’s pretty hypocritical coming from the man who called Rhanerya the C word in Episode Six.
Along with Criston’s hypocrisy, we also get a good look at Aemond’s envy, as he wishes to be king and, honestly, would actually be better suited for it than Aegon.
Yet, as the second son, he is doomed for the support role.
Aemond really has a lot of parallels with Daemon.
Even their names are almost identical.
Despite their lack of success in finding Aegon, Criston and Aemond catch a lucky break when they spot Otto secretly meeting with Mysaria.
Maybe it was the Hand of the King badge he stupidly wore under his hood which gave him away?
As for Mysaria, yep, her accent is still terrible.
I like Mysaria as a character, as her motivation to stop the child fighting rings in King’s Landing is noble, yet it is hard to get into her story when the actress’ accent is so bad it distracts me.
I’m still really hoping they remove this accent in Season Two.
While all this is happening, Alicent meets with Rhaenys, who has been locked up in the Red Keep until now.
Informing her of Viserys’ death, Alicent attempts to convince Rhaenys to side with the Greens, admitting that Rhaenys should have been queen but stating that they can still have power through guiding the men above them.
Rhaenys grows newfound respect for Alicent’s conviction, yet correctly states that, “You desire not to be free but to make a window in the wall of your prison. Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?”
This was an excellent moment for Rhaenys and Eve Best continues to do great work as the character.
Meanwhile, thanks to Otto’s deal with Mysaria to stop the child fighting rings, Erryk and Arryk are able to locate Aegon, only to be ambushed by Aemond and Criston, who followed them.
A fight ensues, during which Criston and Aemond take Aegon captive, as Erryk leaves, disgusted by Aegon, as he now knows he is not fit to be king.
Aegon begs Aemond to let him go, stating that he will find a ship and never return.
Aemond seems to consider this but, before he can do anything, Criston leads Aegon to Alicent.
With Aegon now firmly in Alicent’s clutches, she meets with Otto where he tries to worm his way into Alicent’s good graces.
Alicent is having none of it, however, leaving when Otto says she looks so much like her mother.
Despite his manipulations, I could not help but think that Otto was oddly proud of Alicent in this moment.
Not everything is going well for Alicent, however, as it is revealed that she trades sexual favors to Larys in exchange for information, specifically by presenting her feet to him.
I had heard the leaks for this scene and I was quite concerned about it but, after having seen it, I think it was handled as well as it could have been.
It certainly makes the moment Alicent takes her shoes off when talking with Larys in Episode Six creepier.
The guy with a club foot having a foot fetish is a bit on the nose, though.
Larys informs Alicent of Mysaria’s spy ring, leading to her ordering an attack on Mysaria, pretty much destroying her deal with Otto, which is not exactly a good thing, since Mysaria pointed out to him just how much power the small folk actually have.
Another blow to the Greens is Erryk Cargyll, as he frees Rhaenys, defecting to the Blacks.
He intends to lead her out of the city, leaving Rhaenys’ dragon Meleys behind, only for Rhaenys to be swept up in a crowd that is luckily heading for the Dragon Pit.
It is here that Aegon is crowned as king by Criston and it is also here that I have to mention one of my criticisms, this being Criston’s role in crowning Aegon being reduced.
Sure, he does place the crown on his head but in the book he played a much more important role, since he was actually the one to convince Aegon to take the throne by claiming that Rhanerya would kill him and his entire family if he did not.
This earned him the title of King Maker.
In the show, however, it is Alicent who convinces Aegon and Criston merely crowns him.
I hope they do not downplay any of Criston’s other actions in future seasons.
As for Aegon, we see that he has overcome his reluctance to become king, due to the love he recieves from the crowd in the Dragon Pit.
As messed up as Aegon is, he did want love and affection from his parents and now he is getting that affection from the people of Kings’ Landing.
Or rather, what is left of the people of King’s Landing because Rhaenys chooses this moment to bash through the ground with Meleys killing an untold number of small folk, and fulfilling Helaena’s “beast beneath the boards” prophecy.
She looks ready to kill the Greens until Alicent jumps in the way.
Having gained a newfound respect for Alicent and also sympathising with her as a mother, Rhaenys spares the Greens’ lives and departs in epic fashion to warn Rhanerya of her crown being usurped, bringing an end to the episode.
This moment is entirely show original and has recieved mixed reactions, since some have said it makes no sense for Rhaneys to kill many civilians but then spare Alicent and the rest of the Greens immediately afterwards.
However, I think it works when you take into consideration that the nobles do not really care about the small folk in general.
I mean, there is a literal child fighting ring going on in Kings’ Landing and no noble did anything about that.
So, I think this change does work.
Overall, “The Green Council” is another solid episode of House of the Dragon. 
It is not one of my favourites but it does build nicely into the finale, which I am very excited to see, as a book reader.

Book Spoilers:
I am probably more excited for Episode Ten, “The Black Queen”, than I have been for any previous House of the Dragon episode.
This is because we will get the first dance between the dragons in “The Black Queen”, if you can even call what happens a “dance.”
It’s more of a slaughter, actually, with Lucerys’ Arrax standing no chance against Aemond’s Vhagar.
It will be brutal and, along with the stillbirth of Visenya, will be a tragic way to end the season, with Season Two almost definitley not arriving until 2024.
It will be a long wait but I think it will certainly be worth it to see many of the epic and horrifying events that take place during the Dance of the Dragons.
One of these horrifying moments is the Blood and Cheese incident, where Daemon and Mysaria send hitmen to murder Aegon’s son in retaliation for Lucerys’ death.
Mysaria’s involvement in this act makes a lot of sense after Episode Nine because of how her chance to end the child fighting rings was destroyed by the Greens in this episode.
We also have to take Helaena’s “beast beneath the boards” prophecy into account.
Yes, she was most likely talking about Rhaenys and Meleys but her prophecy could also have a double meaning by referring to Blood and Cheese.
We will have to wait for Season Two to know for sure.
Until then, we can enjoy the final episode of House of the Dragon‘s first season, which airs today.

House of the Dragon Episode Eight, Lord of the Tides Review: Give Paddy Considine His Emmy.

Going into Episode Eight of House of the Dragon, “Lord of the Tides”, I was expecting the Geeta Vasant Patel directed episode to be a pretty standard one but nothing special.
This is why I was surprised when “Lord of the Tides” more than exceeded my expectations, becoming my favourite episode of of the show thus far.
The episode picks up six years after the events of “Driftmark.”
In that time, Corlys has returned to fighting in the Stepstones, only to suffer a potentially lethal wound, from which his life now hangs in the balance.
And so the succession to the Driftwood Throne is now in question.
Ordinarily, it would pass to Lucerys, like Corlys wanted because, even though he is a bastard, “history does not remember blood, it remembers names,” as Corlys said last episode.
However, Corlys’ brother Vaemond wants the throne to stay in the Velaryon bloodline, so he petitions the Iron Throne to hear his claim.
This would not have ended well for Vaemond had Viserys been sitting the throne but, as Vaemond points out to Rhaenys, it is Alicent who is in charge while Viserys is bedridden with his sickness.
Meanwhile, on Dragonstone, we see Daemon retrieving a clutch of eggs from Syrax for his children with Rhanerya.
These are Aegon, Viserys, and the baby soon to be born.
His subsequent meeting with the dragon keepers is quite funny, as Daemon seems like a giddy child, having retrieved the dragon eggs for his own kids.
This giddiness is dulled, however, when he recieves a letter from Baela (Bethany Antonia), whom has become a ward of Rhaenys, warning him of Vaemond’s incoming attempt to have Lucerys illegitimized so he can take the Driftwood Throne.
Upon Daemon going to inform Rhanerya of this, he finds her tutoring Jace (Harry Collett) in High Valyrian.
Rhanerya is understandably distressed by the news of Vaemond’s actions, even more so by the uncertainty of which side Rhaneys will take, due to her believing Rhanerya and Daemon had Laenor killed so they could marry.
In the end, Rhanerya and Daemon travel to King’s Landing, only to recieve a frosty reception, as only one loyal lord greets them, despite Rhanerya being the heir.
Not only this but the Targaryen iconography seen in previous episodes has been entirely replaced by ones representing the Faith of the Seven, which the Hightowers worship, showing just how far their influence has spread.
While Daemon and Rhanerya wish to continue Targaryen traditions, as seen with Rhanerya teaching Jace High Valyrian, the Hightowers seek to replace this.
Even worse is the state of Viserys, whom Rhanerya and Daemon find bedridden, with his leprocy having consumed half of his face.
Daemon’s reaction to seeing his brother like this is a particular gut punch.
The scene turns more heart warming when Rhanerya introduces her father to Aegon and Viserys.
As for why Rhanerya would also name one of her children Aegon, in the book it is most likely a slight against Alicent.
King Viserys is overjoyed to see a grandchild named after him, saying he has a name “fit for a king,” only for pain to overwhelm him, needing milk of the poppy to sooth him.
Meanwhile, Alicent has problems of her own, as Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) has raped a servant named Dyana.
Maddie Evans’ performance as the abused Dyana is gut wrenching and you cannot help but feel sorry for her and disgusted at Alicent’s actions, as she pays her off with gold to keep silent, gives her a tea to prevent pregnancy (which is kind of hypocritical since she judged Rhanerya for this in Episode Five) and then sends her away.
Alicent then goes to berate Aegon over what he did to Dyana, with Aegon grossly saying, “It was just harmless fun.”
When Alicent slaps Aegon and calls him “no son of mine”, Aegon throws a pity party, saying nothing he does is good enough for Alicent or Viserys.
Well, if you want your parents’ love and affection, Aegon, maybe you could start by not sexually assaulting women and be an actual decent human being for a change?
Just an idea.
The argument between Aegon and Alicent is then interrupted by Helaena (Phia Saban), who wonders where Dyana is because she was supposed to dress her children with Aegon.
Alicent then embraces Helaena, clearly regretting marrying her to Aegon.
Helaena seems like the only completley innocent character on the Green’s side, so you have to feel sorry for her being married to such a piece of work.
Afterwards, Alicent meets with Rhanerya and Daemon who both accuse her of keeping Viserys drugged up on milk of the poppy.
Alicent does make a good point, however, as she states that Viserys is in a great deal of pain without it, something we see to certainly be true.
Meanwhile, Jace and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) are looking around the training yard when they see an older Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) training with Ser Criston Cole.
I have to say, of all the aged up actors, Mitchell is particularly great as Aemond.
He gives off the perfect feeling of menace as, after defeating Criston, he calls out to his nephews without even looking at them.
Despite only having one eye, Aemond’s senses are keen, making him quite dangerous.
Any potential confrontation between Aemond and Jace and Luke is interrupted with the arrival of Vaemond, who meets with Alicent and Otto in an attempt to convince them to support his claim, promising his loyalty in the coming Targaryen succession crisis.
Meanwhile, Rhanerya meets with Rhaneys in an attempt to persuade her to her side.
Interestingly, Rhanerya does not reveal that Laenor is alive to win Rhaenys’ support.
This shows just how deep her loyalty to Laenor goes.
As for Rhaenys, Rhanerya suggests marrying Jace to Baela and Luke to Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell), which would make Baela the future Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Rhanerya says this is a generous yet desperate offer, and Rhanerya hits back that desperation does not matter because it would still benefit Rhaenys and her grandchildren.
However, Rhaenys is correct in her next comeback that such an alliance would be worthless if the Hightowers succeed in declaring Rhanerya’s children illegitimate.
That night, Rhanerya visits her ailing father, begging him to help her, bringing up Aegon the Conqueror’s dream about the Prince that was Promised.
This is something that will have both positive and disastrous consequences.
The next morning, Vaemond makes his petition to Otto, who sits the Iron Throne in Viserys’ absence.
Things look dire for Rhanerya until, in what is the best moment of the show so far, Viserys enters the throne room and stumbles to the Iron Throne with his cane.
Much like Alicent’s entrance in the green dress during Episode Five, this epic entrance is accompanied by Ramin Djawadi’s excellent score, hyping up the bravery of this moment.
Viserys is in incredible pain, yet he still struggles to the throne to protect his daughter.
He stumbles twice, the first time refusing help and the second time accepting help from Daemon of all people.
The brothers went from at odds during the beginning of the show to reconciled near the end, and it is beautiful to watch Daemon help Viserys to the throne with gentle encouragement and then place his fallen crown upon his head.
Now upon the throne, Viserys asks to hear Rhaenys thoughts on who should inherit the Driftwood Throne, since she is the only one who would understand her husband’s wishes.
Rhaenys makes her decision, supporting Lucerys’ claim, backing Rhanerya.
However, she also plays the situation in her own favour, by announcing the betrothal between Jace and Baela, and Luke and Rhaena.
Viserys accepts this and reaffirms Lucerys claim, only for Vaemond to angrily denounce this.
Spurred on by Daemon, Vaemond goes on to call Jace and Lucerys bastards but goes a step even further, calling Rhanerya a whore.
And the Darwin Award goes to… Vaemond Velaryon for stupidly calling the heir to the Iron Throne a whore, somehow thinking this would not get him executed!
To Vaemond’s credit, he may have known this would get him killed but he decided to die getting the truth of Rhanerya’s children’s parentage out into the open once and for all.
In the end, his death is pretty quick and brutal, with Daemon cutting half his head off right after Viserys demands his tongue, stating, “he can keep his tongue.”
The reaction to this from the Hightowers are priceless, with all of them being horrified, except for Aemond who appears to be quite impressed with his uncle/brother-in law… man, Targaryen family trees are weird.
That night, after recovering somewhat, Viserys orders a dinner to take place with his family in the hopes of reconciling the two factions.
His speech is heart breaking and it seems to get through to Rhanerya and Alicent in particular who both raise their cups to one another.
Alicent even says that Rhanerya would make a good queen, seemingly accepting her rise to the throne following her own son’s terrible actions.
Aegon attempts to provoke Jace by making a sexual advance on Baela but Jace plays this off, being the better person.
This all prompts Helaena to make her own toast, encouraging Baela and Rhaena in their marriages.
“It’s not so bad,” she says. “Mostly he just ignores you, except when he’s drunk.”
Helaena is just too pure for the terrible world of Westeros.
Her toast leads to Jace dancing with her afterwards, in what is both a noble attempt to cheer her up and also to get back at Aegon for his pot stirring.
Much celebration follows, with the two sides seemingly getting along and Viserys heart is clearly warmed at the sight, as he clearly thinks his family has reconciled.
So, of course, as soon as Viserys departs, due to the pain he feels, fighting breaks out.
A pig is placed in front of Aemond and this clearly reminds both him and Lucerys of “the pink dread” prank he, Jace and Aegon played on Aemond when they were younger.
Lucerys tries not to laugh at the memory.
It was really not a good plan to provoke the guy whose eye you cut out and now definitley has a grudge against you, Lucerys.
This is proven when Aemond makes his own toast to his nephew’s health, calling them “Strong” in a clear reference to their true father.
Jace punches Aemond in retalitation but Daemon steps in before a brawl can break out and someone else loses an eye.
As Jace and Luke go to their rooms, Aemond and Daemon face off silently, before Aemond relents and leaves.
Alicent and Rhanerya then reconcile further, with Rhanerya saying she will return to visit “on dragon back.”
After Rhanerya and her family leave, Alicent puts Viserys to bed, giving him milk of the poppy again for the pain.
Unfortunately, this has the worst of consequences, as it causes Viserys to hallucinate, thinking that Alicent is Rhanerya from the night before, asking about the Prince that was Promised.
Viserys response causes Alicent to think that he is saying Aegon should be king over Rhanerya, when he is actually saying Rhanerya is the heir who will continue Aegon the Conqueror’s line.
I have made it clear that I have disliked the inclusion of the whole Prince that was Promised plotline, given that it never amounted to anything in Game of Thrones.
However, I think this was the perfect usage of it, with this natural misunderstanding between Alicent and Viserys leading to the Dance of the Dragons.
If this misunderstanding never happened then Alicent very may well have supported Rhanerya’s claim over Aegon’s, following Viserys’ death.
And because Viserys dies he can never clear up the misunderstanding that just happened.
Viserys passes alone, in his bed, seeing his dear Aemma in his final moments.
“My love,” he whispers, as he breaths his last breath.
So dies King Viserys Targaryen, the First of his Name, King of the Andals, and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
With Viserys’ time on the show now at an end, I am now going to say what many people have been saying since this episode aired… Give Paddy Considine his Emmy!
Seriously, the guy gives an incredible performance as Viserys, turning the bland character from the book into one of the most tragic characters in the show.
If he is not at least nominated for this role then I do not what the world is coming to.
Viserys’ storyline alone makes “Lord of the Tides” my favourite episode of House of the Dragon thus far.
It is a fantastic episode, which serves as a great goodbye to Viserys and is the final calm before the storm.
And now the dragons dance.

Book Spoiler Section:
Once again for the book spoiler section, I will begin by attempting to guess what Helaena’s prophecy means.
“Beware the beast beneath the boards,” is what Helaena murmers at the dinner party.
I think this is a reference to Blood and Cheese, the tragic event in the Dance of the Dragons, where assassins are sent to kill one of Helaena’s children in retaliation for Luke’s death.
It will certainly be a horrifying moment in the show when this happens in Season Two, considering how sweet Helaena is.
“Lord of the Tides” also has a lot of great foreshadowing for the future of the show.
There is Rhanerya saying she will return “on dragon back”, which she does when she takes King’s Landing during the Dance.
There is Aemond and Daemon’s brief stand off, hinting at their final fight above the God’s Eye.
We see Mysaria has a servant of Alicent as an informer, foreshadowing her future role as a Mistress of Whisperers.
Then, there is Viserys comment about his grandson having a name “fit for a king,” which Viserys the younger will eventually become.
Although, this is decades down the line, so we likely will not see it in the show.
The next book spoiler I wish to discuss is actually not related to the episode itself.
This spoiler concerns the character of Daeron.
In the book, he is Alicent and Visery’s fourth child who has a key role to play in the Dance. However, he has been completley absent in the show.
Many have speculated that he is squiring in Old Town and George R.R Martin has seemingly confirmed Daeron’s existence in the show.
However, him not even being mentioned previously will make it quite strange for show only viewers to meet him in the following seasons.
I just hope he is introduced right and in a way that feels natural, despite him not being mentioned.