House of the Dragon Episode Six, The Princess and the Queen Review: The Clubfoot Strikes.

I was quite excited for Episode Six of House of the Dragon “The Princess and the Queen” because it would give us our first look at the new actresses for Rhanerya and Alicent, Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke.
After watching the episode, I can definitley say that the two live up to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey’s performances, and I am looking forward to seeing more of them.
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, “The Princess and the Queen” is the best directed episode of the series so far, in my opinion, beginning with some terrific long takes as a now older Rhanerya gives birth to her third son, Joffrey, named after Laenor’s lover.
D’Arcy does a great job showing Rhanerya’s pain during the birth and her instant love for her child, yet this joy is halted when a midwife tells Rhanerya that Alicent wishes to see the child immediately.
Rather than allow them to take her child, Rhanerya decides to stand up to Alicent by taking the baby to her, instead of resting.
An older Laenor arrives and is disgusted by Alicent’s actions, helping Rhanerya to see her, yet things have obviously grown cold between them, recently.
They meet with Alicent and it is then that the viewers receive what may be the biggest shock of the episode… which is Viserys still being alive.
Kidding aside, it is funny how so many viewers were surprised that Viserys still lived.
The King looks even worse than he did ten years ago and he is now missing an arm, although he is overjoyed to have a new grandson.
What is less joyous is Alicent immediately picking up on the fact that the child is clearly not Laenor’s because he has none of the Velaryon features, as she cruely tells Laenor, “Soon or late, you may get one that looks like you.”
The actual father of the child is Harwin Strong, who Rhanerya and Laenor leave to see, along with Rhanerya’s two other children with Harwin, Jacareys (Leo Hart) and Lucerys (Harvey Sadler), leaving a trail of blood as she does so, highlighting Alicent’s cruelty.
As for Rhanerya and Harwin, all we really get of the couple is a few brief looks between the two and loving exchanges.
I wish we could have got more but Harwin dies at the end of the episode.
In all honesty, I kind of like the subtle way their relationship is handled.
It is really not all that important to the overall story, except for Rhanerya’s children being bastards, so it makes sense for it not really being featured much in the show much.
Despite the short amount of time, I still think we got enough to make it work.
After the brief moment between them, the scene cuts to Jacaerys and Lucerys going to the Dragon Pit with Aegon (Ty Tennant) and Alicent’s other son Aemond (Leo Ashton) to train Jacaerys dragon, Vermax.
Jacaerys does well in training Vermax but then he, Lucerys and Aegon make fun of Aemond for not having a dragon, gifting him a pig to use they dub “the Pink Dread.”
This prompts Aemond to enter the Dragon Pit to try and claim a dragon of his own, only to be met with the dragon Dreamfyre, who is actually the mother of Daenerys’ dragons.
Her flames drive the boy away.
We then meet Alicent’s only daughter Helena (Evie Allen) who seems to be a bit of a bug collector.
On that note, I would like to praise the portrayal of Alicent’s children in this episode.
We did not get much of a sense of their personalities during their earlier years in Fire and Blood, especially with Helena, and I like what this episode did with them.
Upon learning what Jacaerys and Lucerys did to Aemond, Alicent goes to Viserys about it, using this as an excuse to bring up the boys’ obvious parentage.
Viserys is still in denial, however, bringing up a story about how a silver stallion he once had gave birth to a chesnut foul.
His denial is understandable since if the truth came out it would end badly for his daughter and grandchildren.
Alicent is frustrated by this, venting to Criston Cole about it, who goes on his own rant about Rhanerya, calling her “a spider who skins and sucks her prey dry” and a “spoiled c***.”
Criston’s feelings for Rhanerya have clearly grown into outright hatred, yet even Alicent thinks his statements go too far, saying that she hopes honour and decency will prevail.
Therefore, the shot perfectly cuts to Aegon masterbating in the window looking over King’s Landing, Homelander style, showing exactly how hypocritical Alicent’s claims of “honour and decency” are, considering how she seeks to make the perverted Aegon king.
Alicent arrives and admonishes him for making fun of Aemond, strangely ignoring the fact that she just caught her son masterbating in a dangerous position.
Her attempts to raise Aegon to rule have clearly failed, as he would rather not challenge Rhanerya, causing Alicent to grab him and shout that he is the challenge.
Meanwhile, we finally see what Daemon has been up to these past ten years.
He is revealed to have married Laena (Nanna Blondell) and had two daughters with her, Bela (Shani Smethurst) and Rhaena (Eva Ossei-Gerning), and the four of them are visiting Pentos.
Laena has also claimed the largest and oldest of the dragons, Vhagar.
I and many other book readers had been anticipating seeing her and she did not disappoint, being absolutley massive and covered in scars from various battles.
In Pentos, the prince offers them a home, so their prescence can ward off the recently reemerged triarchy.
Daemon seems to consider this idea, appearing much more laid back to Westerosi politics than he was ten years ago.
Laena is reluctant, however, wanting to eventually die a dragon rider’s death.
Back in King’s Landing, we see Criston orchestrate a confrontation between himself and Harwin to further spread the rumors of him being the father to Rhanerya’s sons.
He does this during a training session, deliberately putting the boys in a fighting situation in which Harwin has to step in, prompting him to say Harwin treats the boys like his sons.
Just as Criston expected, this leads to Harwin attacking him, spreading the rumors and ultimately resulting in his banishment from King’s Landing.
Unfortunately, this has the unintended side effect of having Criston getting away with murdering Joffrey last episode make even less sense.
Hearing of the assault, Rhanerya goes to see Harwin, only to overhear an argument between him and Lyonel, stoking her fears of what may happen to her and Harwin’s sons if the rumors are confirmed as fact.
Laenor certainly does not help matters, as he arrives in her room with his latest lover, Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan).
The two argue, with Laenor wanting to go out and fight the triarchy again, ending with Rhanerya ordering him to stay.
Rhanerya’s desperation is also seen when she offers a marriage between Jacaerys and Helaena to Alicent at the next Small Council meeting.
Although desperate, this is quite the smart call from Rhanerya, and Alicent too would have been wise to accept it.
Marrying the two would extend protection to Helaena and Alicent’s other children, which is a priority for Alicent.
It would also mean Helaena becomes queen if Alicent’s plan to make Aegon king fall through.
Unfortunately, Alicent is too prideful to accept this deal, refusing it, and Viserys is too complacent to argue.
Before the two can talk further, Lyonel arrives to resign as Hand of the King because of Harwin’s actions but Viserys will not allow it unless Lyonel says why.
Lyonel is reluctant, since this would mean admitting that Harwin fathered Rhanerya’s children, spelling disaster for his house.
Unable to resign, Lyonel instead asks to take Harwin back to Harrenhal, which Viserys concedes.
Alicent is angered by this, meeting with Larys to rant to him, even admitting her own bias, wanting Otto back because “he would be partial to me.”
Larys interprets this as permission to recruit death row prisoners, remove their tounges to keep them from talking, and then send them to kill his father and brother.
The fire at Harrenhal was another mystery in the book that I think the show answered well, with Larys ordering it and Alicent accidentally implicating herself.
One change from the book is Laena’s fate.
Rather than die of a fever after a stillborn birth, she instead suffers a similar fate to Aemma, as the baby will not emerge.
Faced with the choice of dying by C-Section or dying like a dragon rider, Laena chooses the latter, going to Vhagar and shouting, “Dracarys!”
Vhagar appears reluctant but, in the end, honours her rider’s wish, burning Laena to death, while Daemon looks on in horror.
Back at King’s Landing, Rhanerya decides to go to Dragonstone as the heir, bringing her children, Laenor and Qarl.
Upon their arrival, word of Harwin and Lyonel’s deaths reach King’s Landing, which Alicent is horrified about.
She clearly did not wish for this, as she says.
The question is if Larys really did interpret her words to mean that she did, or if he is just saying he saw it that way to blackmail her.
My bet is on the second possibility.
Larys wants his reward for killing his family eventually, after all, and Otto’s return must surely bring a big one.
It is on this disturbing note that the episode comes to an end.
“The Princess and the Queen” is another great episode of House of the Dragon.
My only criticisms are that Harwin being punished while Criston is not is weird, and that some scenes, like Laena’s death, feel a little rushed.
Although, this is understandable, given that the writers have to hurry to reach the events they want to by the end of the season.
I am quite excited for the next episode, “Driftmark”, which is sure to be a big one.

Book Spoiler Section:
In this part of the review, I would like to discuss the theory that Helena is a dreamer.
She does seem to prophesy Aemond losing an eye, which will happen next episode, stating that, “he will have to close an eye.”
I am unsure what the other vague statements she makes could be in reference to.
Speaking of Aemond getting his eye cut out, I am extremely excited to see that whole fight between him and Rhanerya’s kids.
I have heard rumors that Bela and Rhaena’s role in the fight will be bumped up, along with another rumor of a massive book change so I am intrigued to see what that will be.
Laenor’s death and Rhanerya marrying Daemon also looks to be happening.
Alot of interesting things will occur in Episode Seven and I am eager to watch then unfold tomorrow.

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. 

Game of Thrones, Season Eight, Episode Five, The Bells Review: As One Mad Queen Falls, Another Rises.

3 stars
Well, this was a controversial episode.
You only need look at the numerous scathing reviews fans have given Game of Thrones’ penultimate episode, “The Bells”, directed by Miguel Sapochnik, to see how they think the story is going.
By far the biggest point of contention with the episode is where the writing took Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) character.
After defeating Cersei’s (Lena Headey)  army and the Golden Company with very little effort, she suddenly goes insane and burns down most of Kings Landing, killing thousands of innocent people
Many fans are saying that this horrendous act is completely out of character for Dany,
however, in my opinion, that is not the case.
I still think the writing is bad here but for a different reason.
It has been hinted at on numerous occasions that Dany would become like her father.
In fact, it was quite obvious to me this was going to be where they took her character because I literally titled my review for the previous episode, “The Beginning of the Mad Queen.”

burning King's Landing
I think it was pretty obvious that Dany was going to go full Mad Queen after last week’s episode. 

So, if I think Dany doing this is in character, why do I think this is bad writing?
Well, that comes down to how unconvincing the scene where Dany decides to do this is.
After the city surrenders, showing they are no threat, Dany glares at the Red Keep, before heading off towards it.
As a result, it makes it appear that she is going to kill Cersei for all she has done… only for her to burn thousands of innocent civilians instead.
Why she decided to target these people instead of her ultimate enemy first is beyond me.
What is worse, I feel they could have easily made this scene work.
Remember when Rhaegal was killed out of nowhere by the Scorpion last episode?
Well, since it made absolutely no sense for Dany to make such quick work of them after losing her other dragon so easily, maybe this could be her reason for burning down Kings Landing.
In this version Rhaegal is helping Dany take King’s Landing when the bells sound.
Dany halts her attack, only for a trigger happy soldier, or maybe someone acting on Cersei’s orders, to shoot Rhaegal down with a hidden Scorpion where all the civilians are.
Enraged and paranoid about where other Scorpions may be, Dany resolves to destroy the city no matter the cost.
This would help her actions make more sense I feel.
But, as I said, I do think her turning mad was setup well.
It is just the scene itself that I feel is poorly written.
So, I do not hate this bit as much as other people.
No, the thing I hate most about this episode is what they did to Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), throwing all of his development out the window, just like he did Bran.

Jamie dies
Jaime’s death in this episode is very underwhelming and feels like a contradiction to his character.

First of all, the fight between him and Euron is absolutely stupid.
There is little to no build up and no satisfaction in this fight, due to Euron (Pilou Asbaek) being such a terrible character.
Then there is Jamie’s loving reunion with Cersei, which is weird considering she ordered Bronn to kill him for some reason.
The two then try to flee King’s Landing, only to be trapped underground and crushed by rocks while holding onto each other.
Now, while this was somewhat satisfying for Cersei, it did not feel that way for Jamie.
What did he even do this season?
He just ran off to help in a fight he was not needed in and returned to Cersei just do die.
What happened to all that buildup with him getting his good deeds book fulfilled?
All in all, it felt like they really dropped the ball with Jaime’s writing this episode.
Even the best scene of the episode, where Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jamie say their final goodbye, does not ring true to Jamie’s character because he says he does not care if innocent people die, which goes against what we know about him.
It is a shame too because, like I said, this scene is great, with both actors giving a great performance, especially Dinklage.
Sadly, Varys (Conleth Hill) also feels badly written in this episode because he is captured and killed pretty easily.
The Varys of previous seasons would have left long before he was arrested.
Then there is Arya (Maisie Williams) who I am pretty sure has infinite plot armor because of how many unsurvivable things she somehow lived through this episode.
Again, I know I am complaining a lot about the writing of the episode, but the cinematography, action, and acting are all superb.
The scene between Tyrion and Jamie is the most touching of the season.
We finally got Cleganebowl in all of its epic glory, with both Sandor (Rory McCann) and Gregor fittingly dying in fire.
Although Dany’s reasoning for burning down King’s Landing is badly written, her actually doing it is horrifying to watch and well filmed.
Then there is Emilia Clarke who gives a great performance as Dany, really selling the madness.

Crazy Dany
Even though the scene where Dany decides to burn King’s Landing down did not work from a writing standpoint, Emilia Clarke still did a magnificent job.

The shot of her face as she decides to go on her mass killing spree is chilling.
She looks set to be the villain of the final episode, with Jon, Tyrion, Arya and Davos about to probably face off against her.
It will be interesting to see if this final episode is enough to earn back the fans’ good will.
But, with all the hate this final season is getting, I doubt it.

Game of Thrones, Season Eight, Episode Three, The Long Night Review. Wait, That’s It?

two-and-a-half-stars
Coming into the third episode of Game of Thrones season eight, directed by Miguel Sapochnik, I was very excited to see what would surely be the first epic battle with the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) and his army of the dead in the final season.
Only for it to be the last as well as the first.
That’s right, the Night King and his entire army are killed off this episode in one of the most anticlimactic deaths I have ever seen.
Arya (Maisie Williams) just leaps out of nowhere, right at the end of the episode, and stabs him with the Catspaw dagger, killing him and his entire army because their existence is tied to him.
Game of Thrones has been setting up the threat of the White Walkers from the very beginning of the series.
They were the entire focus of the seventh season, and they have posed such a threat that the fight for the Iron Throne seemed inconsequential.
As Jon (Kit Harrington) puts it in the first episode of the season, “you want to worry about who holds what title. I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter.”
Well, apparently it does matter now because the greatest threat of the entire series, the Night King, has been killed off three episodes before the series’ conclusion.

Arya kils the Night King.jpg
The Night King’s death feels too soon, what with him being built up for the entire series only for him to just die here.

I just want to say that the death itself is not completely terrible.
It is well shot and executed.
However, Arya has had absolutely no interactions with the Night King, unlike Jon, and the Night King himself has not been explored in any meaningful way.
We know his origins but nothing more than that.
We have no idea why he wanted to destroy the world.
He was just a mustache twirling villain, but without the mustache, and this goes against everything Game of Thrones stands for.
The bad guys of the series’ motivations are all explored and even characters that are completely evil like Ramsay and Joffrey, are realistically evil, basically being serial killers put into positions of power.
The Night King is just some monster that is evil for no reason.
And I will say it again: they just killed off what has been hyped up to be the main threat of the series, leaving the last three episodes to cover who gets the Iron Throne, which I have stated has been made to feel inconsequential.
This is not the only thing about the episode that is disappointing.
The predicted crypt scene happens here but nothing special comes from it and sometimes the scenes are so dark you cannot tell what is happening.

The Crypts.jpg
The crypt scene had no point at all, with no major characters dying. It felt very out of place.

Plus, by killing the Night King, it feels like all of those prophecies about “the prince that was promised” are being thrown away.
On top of this, many characters felt pointless in this battle.
Seriously, what was the point of Jamie (Nickolaj Coster-Waldau) switching sides at the end of season seven?
Other than a brief scene where he saves Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), he made literally no difference in the battle with the dead.
Then there is Melisandre (Carice van Houten), who is one of the big deus ex machinas of the episode because, with no build up at all, she just shows up to help in the fight.
All of this said, there are some good things about the episode.
The opening minutes do a great job of building up suspense and, with the exception of the Night King, many of the deaths are tragic and bring an end to the characters’ arcs well.
Theon (Alfie Allen) gets the redemption he deserves before dying, Jorah (Iain Glen) dies protecting Dany (Emilia Clarke), and Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) goes out like the little badass she is, killing a giant.
I even felt sad about Edd’s (Ben Compton) death, with him trying to protect Sam (John Bradley) only to be stabbed from behind.

Lyanna Mormont
I definitely did not expect Lyanna to die but she had a great death, with her taking out a giant. 

These are some genuinely good and tragic moments in an episode that was a large disappointment.
I feel like a lot of the great build up of the last two episodes was squandered.
Sadly, this has been happening a lot in the last few seasons of Game of Thrones.
Ever since the series started diverging from George R.R. Martin’s source material the series has been slowly declining.
Where the show once felt realistic in its portrayal of war and death, everything now feels very reliant on tropes, something that Martin definitely wanted to avoid when writing the series, and many characters have been dumbed down, especially Tyrion  (Peter Dinklage).
Speaking of him though, Bran (Isaac Wright) definitely knows something about him right?
Bran keeps staring at him so Tyrion is probably going to do something important soon.
Hopefully this will make him an interesting character again.
Overall though, “The Long Night” is a disappointing episode that concludes a storyline built up right from the first episode of the series very poorly.
I will say though, my opinion of “The Long Night” may change depending on how Game of Thrones concludes.
If the writers manage to pull off a good ending without the Night King and his army, I will certainly be more forgiving of the episode.
However, if they do not, this will always be one of the most disappointing things about the series for me.