Friday, October 14, 2022

What I’m Watching: House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 8 “The Lord of the Tides” (B+)

For a moment there, it actually looked like there might have been a peaceful future ahead for the Targaryen family. Given the title of this show’s predecessor and what we know of their descendants, that didn’t feel likely, but seeing Rhaenyra and Alicent come together for the sake of their father after so many years of viciousness was unexpectedly uplifting. There’s nothing quite as powerful as a man written off as just about dead coming in to speak in no uncertain terms what his wishes are and to question why it is that a decided matter is once again being brought up for debate. Vaemond was also very explicit in his accusation that Rhaenyra’s heirs were in fact bastards, and Viserys didn’t have time to follow through on his order to have his tongue cut out before Daemon went ahead and sliced off his head, a startling show of loyalty to both his wife and his brother. Viserys’ dying request from Alicent may still spell trouble, but the toxic environment in which the children have been raised is enough to ensure eternal infighting. When the adults were able to be civil for once, it was the initially timid and now fearless Aemond who was quick to instigate his cousins. That he can now beat his teacher Criston is not a good thing for any descendant of Rhaenyra. But after hanging on for a startlingly long time, Viserys is finally dead, and now the challenges to Rhaenyra’s rule become less theoretical and likely more violent ahead of the upcoming season finale.

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