On 'house of the Dragon' episode 7, bottled feelings spill out : NPR


Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), commander of the royal navy, is a fleet fox.

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Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), commander of the royal navy, is a fleet fox.

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Welcome to the closest factor we’re gonna get to a traditional bottle episode, whereby all of the movement is confined to a single location. on this case: The island of Driftmark, seat of house Velaryon.

And this bottle episode completely understands the task. It is aware of that it is by no means regarding the bottle itself — it is regarding the weight-discount plan Coke you fill it up with, and the Mentos you plop in earlier than scurrying the hell away.

Thus this episode brings every character from disparate storylines collectively for a funeral the place feelings are working extreme; bashes them in opposition to every fully different in methods in which invariably lead to intercourse and/or violence; then sends all people again to their separate corners, reeling from the expertise.

huge issues happen! huge modifications! A dragon gained, a watch misplaced! a bridal ceremony ends in fireplace, one other begins in blood! Battle traces get drawn — no however for exact, this time we imply it, we’re using everlasting marker! And two characters, the two you least count on, get one factor that seems a hell of rather a lot like a cheerful ending collectively! someway! In defiance of all legal guidelines of God and Man! particularly when the particular person in question is George R.R. Martin!

Some people have been complaining about what they view as a end result of the breakneck pace with which the current burns by means of its plot. i do not share this view, to place it mildly. there is a fireworks manufacturing facility in our future, reader, and our bus is simply now pulling out of the varsity car parking zone.

Open on: lady Laena’s funeral. The gang’s all right here: Her not-so-grieving husband Daemon and her very-a lot-grieving youngsters, Rhaena and Baela. Her mom Rhaenys, her father Corlys, her uncle Vaemond, and her brother Laenor. Laenor’s spouse Rhaenyra and “their” youngsters, Jayce and Luke. The king, the queen and their youngsters Aegon, Aemond and Helaena. Ottto Hightower, being helpful, as quickly as as quickly as extra. Ser Criston Cole, being a smug jerk as quickly as as quickly as extra. Ser Qarl Correy, Laenor’s *throat-clearing noise*, as my mom would name him. And creepy Ser Larys, slinking throughout the place like a silent-film vamp. it is almost your full name sheet.

i like the current’s notion in its actors’ potential to convey what we have to know by means of expression and gesture, as a substitute of by means of thick, wordy clots of exposition. That mentioned, this episode kicks off by giving every freaking character listed above a protracted second to gaze meaningfully at one other character, and with a forged this large, this course of takes a hell of a very very prolonged time. we’re burning extreme daylight with all these pained expressions getting exchanged; it is actually simply “Janet!” “Dr. Scott!” “Janet!” “Brad!” “Rocky!” however stretched out over 12 minutes.


nobody can flip a eulogy proper into a me-logy like Vaemond (Wil Johnson).

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nobody can flip a eulogy proper into a me-logy like Vaemond (Wil Johnson).

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i am the kinda man that smirks at a funeral

Vaemond presents the eulogy in Valyrian, and throws in simply a few thinly-veiled barbs about how Velaryon blood is thick (ought to be all of the fried clams) and might by no means skinny, which causes all people to clear their throats and throw uncomfortable glances at Jayce and Luke. all people, that is, besides Daemon, who giggles, as a end result of he is simply the worst.

however then the digital camera lingers on youthful Aegon, trying bored and usually insufferable, so Daemon, you are off the hook. Aegon. Aegon is simply the worst.

on the reception afterwards, nobody launched a casserole, or a shrimp ring, or a celebration hoagie, or Danish. Which is the way you understand you are watching a fantasy sequence. Disbelief: suspended.

Amid all this, there’s one hilariously posed shot with Alicent inside the foreground, hair fluttering inside the breeze, and Criston behind her, brooding. it is the quilt of Westeros’s bestselling torrid bodice-ripper Queen Takes Knight.

Helaena, bless her, is having fun with with a spider and muttering one factor prophetically significant, so consideration ought to be dutifully paid:

Hand turns loom

Spool of inexperienced, spool of black

Dragons of flesh weaving dragons of thread

…mmkay. Not, uh. Not precisely revelatory. I imply, there is a bit in there regarding the greens (who side with Alicent and want Aegon to be Viserys’s inheritor) and the blacks (who’re full-bore workforce Rhaenyra). however past that, it is anyone’s guess.

Aegon is getting drunk and ogling the comely cater-waiters. Glum Aemond introduces us to a mannequin new little bit of information: Aegon is betrothed to their sister Helaena. Aegon is none too completely satisfied about this. it is not the incest that bothers him, actually, it is the selection of bride. He walks offscreen shouting, “Wench! one other!”

…um.

Look, I know it is a extreme-fantasy sequence with knights and banners and swords and dragons and whatnot, however moments like Aegon shouting, “Wench! one other!” on a daily basis deliver me up quick. I want to baby myself into pondering there is a qualitative distinction between HBO’s zillion-greenback status tentpole property and the two p.m. Saturday current at Medieval occasions, however “Wench! one other!” — properly, you see the biggest means it makes that tough, proper?

Jayce goes to comfort the twins, awkwardly, whereas his youthful brother Luke weeps on the very thought of inheriting Driftmark, as a end result of to take movement would imply “all people seems to be ineffective.” Oh, you candy summer season baby. you have been studying forward!

Which makes for a nice second to step again and word how in any other case the current is presenting its two models of royal twerps. Aegon and Aemond are clearly getting the villain edit, whereas the whole lot we examine Jayce and Luke underlines their warmth and humanity. they’re right here to make buddies.

The king tries to bury the Valyrian-steel hatchet with Daemon, who rebuffs him, and ghosts the social gathering, however not earlier than evaluating Otto to a leech on his means out. traditional French exit.


Hate springs fraternal: Daemon (Matt Smith) and the king (Paddy Considine) butt heads, and are buttheads.

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Hate springs fraternal: Daemon (Matt Smith) and the king (Paddy Considine) butt heads, and are buttheads.

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it is on a daily basis darkest simply earlier than it goes fully black

you are gonna want to show the room lights and swap up the distinction on this subsequent stretch of the episode, which takes place outdoors at evening time. I did, and that i nonetheless had some trouble making issues out.

Otto roughly rousts a handed-out Aegon, whereas Ser Qarl sends a drunk and grieving Laenor off to mattress. (The current’s actually having fun with up how arduous Laena’s loss of life has hit him, which might land on us tougher in the event that they’d ever seen match to level out us a single scene of the two of them talking to at least every fully different, even in passing.)

Corlys and Rhaenys get a nice scene all by means of which the current re-establishes one factor it is already established — particularly, that Rhaenys has her head on straight, and would have made an glorious queen. Corlys blusters regarding the injustice that was dealt her when she was handed over for the crown, and he or she calls him up quick, mentioning that he is merely bloviating about his personal wounded delight. She does not care about vitality or wealth (word: she will say this, as she is possessed of large vitality and wealth), she simply wishes her youngsters to be protected (word: her youngsters mustn’t protected).

We additionally be taught that i used to be mistaken final week as quickly as I assumed the doctor tending to Laena in childbirth was from Dragonstone, as he was inside the e book. The current goes out of its method to level out that the tending doctor was as a substitute from Pentos. Make what you will of this scathing indictment of the state of Pentosi healthcare.

Daemon and Rhaenyra stroll the identical seaside that youthful Laenor and Rhaenyra walked again in episode 5, however inside the fully different means, and at evening time. they start making love at midnight, inside the dunes on the Cape, like they are a coupla Pina Colada-guzzlin’ yuppies in a primary Billboard sizzling a hundred hit of 1979.

Importantly, given Daemon’s involvement: They effectively finish making love at midnight, inside the dunes on the Cape, like they are a coupla Pina Colada-guzzlin’ yuppies in a primary Billboard sizzling a hundred hit of 1979. method to go there, Edgar Winter. Knew you had it in you.

Aemond sneaks off and approaches a sleeping Vhagar, whom you will maintain in thoughts was Laena’s dragon — the oldest, largest and fiercest beast in existence. There’s some again-and-forth about whether or not she’ll settle for him, however she does, and he clambers aboard her again. She takes off and exams his dragonriding skillz, however he is as a lot as a end result of the obligation. (Neverending Story joke for three people goes right here.)

This sequence goes on for a whereas, however i am not mad at it. It appears to be like good, and it is clearly consuming up all of the money the current has been saving up by filming so many scenes on the identical 5 models all season prolonged. (taking a look at you, purple maintain backyard. as a end result of i am unable to not, you will not let me.)

Aemond will get mono

Aemond is obtainable in for a touchdown on the Driftmark balcony that hosted the awkward reception, and makes his means again inside when he is confronted by a roster of royal twerps — Jayce and Luke, plus Baela and Rhaena. (Aegon is off someplace sleeping it off, presumably.)

Rhaena’s offended as a end result of she felt that Vhagar ought to have gone to her. What follows is a comparatively elaborately-choreographed battle scene amongst all of them, which has a particular Bugsy Malone vibe to it, inside the event you squint. At one level, Aemond appears to be like in a place to mind his opponent with a blunt object whereas bluntly questioning Jayce and Luke’s parentage. Jayce responds with a sharp cry and an excellent sharper dagger, slicing by means of Aemond’s left eye.

maintain in thoughts Helaena’s breathily cryptic line from final week? After Alicent instructed Aemond he’d get a dragon sometime? “He’ll want to lose a watch,” she mentioned.

Granted, she additionally mentioned, “The final ring has no legs in any respect,” which stays glorious gibberish, so prophecy-sensible she’s batting .500 — however that is nonetheless loopy respectable, come on now.


The Velaryons hope to not be carrion.

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The Velaryons hope to not be carrion.

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minimize to: The Driftwood Throne, the place all people’s assembled to tut over Aemond’s situation and apportion blame. (we’re reminded, very deliberately, of the recreation of Thrones scene all by means of which a violent dispute between Joffrey and Arya served solely to exacerbate tensions between house Baratheon (be taught: Lannister) and house Stark. the one factor that is fully different right here, actually, is that the members of this house divided in opposition to itself can’t stand every fully different.)

Alicent goes full Hammurabi, actually demanding a look forward to a watch. Rhaenyra pivots by calling the king’s consideration to the fact that Aemond treasonously questioned the parentage of Jayce, the inheritor to the throne. This, she is aware of, is the king’s sore level…properly, sorest level, anyway. He calls for to know the place Aemond heard such a wild accusation. Aemond…finally…factors to his brother Aegon, whom somebody has rousted from his bunk. Aegon’s all, “Duh, all people is aware of, as a end result of I imply, have a look at them.”

and since, in all of the Seven Kingdoms, no maester has but earned a hyperlink in his chain that signifies information of Mendelian genetics, Punnett squares and recessive genes, that is that. The king waves all of it away, saying if anyone ever repeats the slander in opposition to Jayce and Luke, their tongue shall be eliminated.

Viserys’ decline is persevering with apace, by the biggest means. final week was Riff-Raff, this week’s he is hovering down at Crypt-Keeper; you half-count on him to start referring to himself as “King VisSCAREys heeheeheehee!” or some such.

costly stabby

the specter of a tongue-lashing is simply not almost ample for Alicent, nonetheless. She swipes Viserys’s Valyrian-steel dagger and makes a transfer on Rhaenyra. We get a nice shot of Rhaenyra staring down the tip of the dagger, with the flames of the hearth licking inside the background, and we’re reminded of the dagger’s historic previous, and its legacy.

it is the dagger Viserys confirmed to youthful Rhaenyra again in episode one. It belonged to Aegon the Conqueror, and it is inscribed with the prophecy of The Prince That Was Promised. a few years in the end, will in all probability be utilized by an murderer employed by Littlefinger in an try to kill Bran Stark. will in all probability be utilized by Arya to kill Littlefinger, and as quickly as extra, lastly, to shatter the evening time King into pellet ice. it is the Forrest Gump of Westeros, this dagger.

Heated phrases are exchanged, and the true hole between these two former buddies stands revealed. earlier than she’s pulled away, Alicent slices Rhaenyra’s arm, and the import is evident: The greens draw first blood.

Otto visits his daughter the queen, and he or she expects him to berate her for giving into her ardour, however he is like, What? No! Yay ardour! workforce ardour, all of the biggest means! it is biggest to go stabby extra typically! I did not assume you had it in you, whereas you had been a lady.

You and me each, Otto.

He follows that up by mentioning that Aemond might have misplaced a watch, however he is additionally taken Vhagar away from workforce Rhaenyra. that is a huge get, a primary spherical draft choose, and it means they’re worthwhile their Westerosi Fantasy soccer league proper now.


Laenor (John MacMillan) is serving you face, he is serving you Blue steel, he is serving you Tucker Carlson making an try to focus.

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Laenor (John MacMillan) is serving you face, he is serving you Blue steel, he is serving you Tucker Carlson making an try to focus.

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Laenor walks into Rhaenyra’s chamber as she’s getting stitched up, and Jayce and Luke stand round trying severely banged up. And Laenor, true to type, proceeds to make all of it! About! Him!

Wah, i might not shield Laena, wah, i might not shield you and the youngsters, wah, poor me poor me, and many others.

Rhaenyra is simply not having it, and when he start getting into on his personal sexuality, she slaps him out of it, reminding him that he is an honorable man with an excellent coronary heart. (Reader, watching this the primary time, i actually thought that she signed his loss of life warrant with these phrases; “RIP LAENOR,” I wrote in my notes.) They share a second of honest mutual affection; he resolves to let Ser Qarl go and re-dedicate himself to her as a exact companion, if nothing else. She seems impressed and moved by this.

Key phrase: seems.

The king’s social gathering departs Driftmark. Three dragons depart with it, collectively with two we have not met but. Welcome to the stage Sunfyre the Golden, Aegon’s dragon, and Dreamfyre, Helaena’s dragon!

the fully different dragon, underneath new administration, is our outdated brassy gal-pal Vhagar, ridden by Aemond “you will Shoot Your Eye Out, baby” Targaryen.

Rhaenyra and Daemon watch them depart, and have a sizzling and heavy, metaphor-laden dialog about how Targaryens are fireplace, and Velaryons are the ocean, and the means her marriage to Laenor is simply rather a lot tepid water. (She does not actually say the bit about tepid water; i am inferring.)

it is a roundabout method to attending to her proposal, which is simply that: Rhaenyra and Daemon ought to wed. With him by her side, the greens would have a tougher time questioning her proper to the Iron Throne. Daemon factors out it might not happen besides Laenor had been ineffective, and Rhaenyra shrugs. So it seems companionship is simply not ample for her — not that it ought to be, actually. however all that enterprise with a penitent Laenor was a dodge, and what she actually wishes is Companionship + Boning + A Firmer Grip on the Iron Throne.

Now I Laenor proper down to sleep

on the docks on Driftmark, Daemon flirtily negs Ser Qarl Correy, then presents him a handful of gold to kill Laenor — with a witness — engaging him with the notion of life on one other continent, the place nothing issues however your money.

Let’s unpack what occurs subsequent slowly.


Qarl (Arty Froushan) is qrafty and qoqky.

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Qarl (Arty Froushan) is qrafty and qoqky.

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1. A online page enters the Driftwood Throne Room and is swiftly killed by somebody who appears to be like rather a lot like Daemon, who begins undressing the corpse. Later…

2. Laenor enters the Driftwood Throne Room, with one other online page in tow, the place Ser Qarl is ready for him. Qarl challenges Laenor to a duel, muttering one factor about feeling disrespected.

three. Laenor’s online page runs off to get the guards.

4. When the guards arrive, collectively with Lord Corlys and lady Rhaenys, they uncover a physique sporting Laenor’s garments burned past recognition inside the hearth, and no hint of Ser Qarl.

Now, clearly the physique inside the hearth is that of the online page who was killed. I get that. What I do not get is why Daemon would do the deed himself, having paid one other particular person to get their fingers soiled.

The current holds the reveal that Laenor continues to be alive, newly bald and beautiful, for the remaining shot, so what we’re dealing with right here is an intentional (and for my money, needlessly complicated) misdirect. The current does not want to current away that Laenor is in on the ruse pretty but, so what it reveals us as a substitute is Daemon killing the online page. however inside the event you Zapruder that shot, you will see that what appears to be like to be Daemon might simply as simply be somebody sporting a masks of Daemon’s face. Not a Faceless Man-extreme quality masks, thoughts you, however simply the form you’ll choose up at any Driftmark Spirit Halloween retailer.

(I understand that that is all difficult by the fact that Matt Smith is possessed of such pronounced options that his exact face might simply move for a Spirt Halloween masks of Matt Smith’s face, however by no means thoughts.)

Daemon and Rhaenyra wed on Dragonstone, and it is a a lot smaller affair, attended solely by their youngsters. it is a Targaryen-on-Targaryen bridal ceremony, so as that they actually lean into the branding: There’s extra blood than seems strictly essential, as a end result of the completely satisfied couple begins slicing up diverse physique parts with dragonglass to show their love. fully different bridal ceremony couples get hangovers. Targaryens go into hemorrhagic shock.

The voiceover we get is Daemon and Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra expresses delicate dismay that Corlys and Rhaenys will lose Laenor, their solely surviving baby, and that people will assume she was accountable. Daemon says that is good, as a end result of people ought to fear their rulers.

On the exact identical seaside that youthful Laenor and Rhaenyra as quickly as walked and deliberate their future, and that later Rhaenyra and Daemon sealed their fates collectively, a very a lot alive and braidless Laenor meets Ser Qarl. They take a rowboat out to a ship anchored simply offshore, headed collectively to parts unknown: Fantasy Sydney, maybe. Or Fantasy Mykonos. Or Fantasy Sitges. Or Fantasy Berlin. someplace far past the Seven Kingdoms, the place a gay couple can stay free and proud and blissfully unburied.

Parting ideas:

  • This current has a nagging tendency to kill off characters it introduces inside the identical episode: lady Rhea, Ser Joffrey, Ser Harwin, lady Laena. (Harwin and Laena had technically been launched earlier than, however we did not spend any time with them till the episode they died in.) So what a breath of up so far dragonfire to spend a full episode with characters we already know, and have the one loss of life of a named character embody a huge ol’ honkin’ asterisk.
  • talking of! In a engaging departure from the e book, Laenor and Qarl catch a break! The e book kills Laenor off decisively, although it leaves the rationale up for conjecture. Did Qarl kill him in a jealous spat? Or was Qarl paid to do it by Daemon? The current goes with the Daemon idea, put has Laenor play a Get Out of Westeros Free card by having him faux his loss of life and discover your self with Qarl. Did not see that coming.
  • however that additionally signifies that not like the e book, the current leaves Laenor as a dangling plot thread. I completely count on that that is the final we’ll see of Laenor, besides someplace down the avenue the current sadistically presents us a scene the place he is lounging by the pool at some Essos mannequin of Palm Springs and a few sizzling Tyroshi mannequin/actor/singer offs him by poisoning his fantasy Speedo. I hope not, however i do not notion these people.
  • Does Daemon know that Laenor lives? clearly inside the event you assume that is Daemon killing the online page, you think about he does. however inside the event you assume, as I do, that that is Laenor in a Mission: extremely Unlikely masks doing the deed, then Daemon does not know. (Daemon’s line the place he urges Rhaenyra to “launch” Laenor solely complicates this already needlessly difficult matter.)
  • The violence on this episode is simply not about lopped off limbs and heads and limitless gouts of gushing blood — it is the rather extra intimate and disquieting violence of physique horror: stitched-up wounds and sliced-up lips. (Targaryens slice their lips inside the bridal ceremony ceremony, people! Their lips! after which they kiss and drink wine! that is by no means gonna heal!)
  • Welcome, Sunfyre and Dreamfyre! Official Dragoncount: eight! one other than the episode quantity! what goes on on?

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