It’s awesome to see social media and friends’ reactions of what’s happening in House of the Dragon. When an adaptation sticks as closely to the source material as House of the Dragon has, knowing what’s coming is a gift and a curse, especially trying to piece together how the show is going to adapt the book moving forward, and not spoiling stuff for you nerds. Let’s get into it.
The episode opened in Driftmark, the seat of house Velaryon, where the Targaryens and Velaryons, and most of the King’s court have arrived for Laena Velaryon’s funeral. Very sad, very awkard, especially when Vaemond Velaryon started his funeral speech and monologued on about how they need to keep their blood pure and strong, a direct shot to Rhaenyra’s (possibly illegitimate, who could know!) children, prompting Daemon to chuckle loudly and put the attention on him instead of the kids. Good guy Daemon!
There was a lot of staring and tense conversations in the beginning of this episode, especially with Viserys (looking a hell of a lot better than last episode) trying to reconcile with Daemon and being spurned, Corlys seeing Laenor be drunk as hell waist-deep in the sea and basically screaming to Qarl to go get him, raising everyone’s attention, and ending with Viserys calling Alicent by his first wife’s name, Aemma. Get wrecked Alicent, you idiot.
Aemond and Jace’s brief reunion scene with the two of them standing awkwardly together, with Aemond seeming to try and start a conversation before walking off was of interest.. It’s a good addition, showing that the kids are being forced to hate each other by their parents, and their reluctance to do so.
Aemond has been pining for a dragon for a while now and refuses to wait any longer, especially with the largest dragon in Westeros there for the taking. The first ride looked like Aemond was trying to hang onto a 747 as it climbed higher and higher. Tom Cruise is probably asking for a dragon to ride for the next Mission: Impossible movie after seeing this episode.
Vhagar’s roars and flight wake up a number of people in Driftmark, specifically Rhaena and Baela, who in turn wake up Jace and Luke to confront who was riding the girls’ mother’s dragon. They meet Aemond in a tunnel coming from the beach and it’s pretty clear that a little power in the form of a flying nuclear weapon has gone straight to Aemond’s head. The four Velaryons start arguing in protest that Aemond stole Vhagar, starting a brawl that ends with everyone beating the hell out of everyone. It ends quickly after Aemond gets Luke by the throat with one hand, and a rock in his other ready to come down on Luke’s face. As he starts gloating and calling Jace and Luke bastards, Luke gets his hands on a knife it and slices Aemond, taking out his left eye. The Lore clearly states his right eye was taken out, so this episode is sadly a 1/10 on book accuracy.
Most importantly, the largest living dragon switched sides from the Blacks to the Greens, as pointed out by Otto Hightower. The results of this trade might become real sooner than you think.
Greens and Blacks
The brawl between the children brought both families together, screaming at each other, with the King trying to make amends. Viserys trying to patch things together and seeing everything slip out of his fingers is becoming a bit of a bad habit.
Jabs were tossed back and forth between Alicent and Rhaenyra, but the biggest was the allegation of who Jace and Luke’s father is. Aemond, being the little brother quickly blamed Aegon, who declared to the entire room that “Everyone knows. Just look at them.” Viserys quickly denounced these claims and put into law that anyone who is spreading these vile rumors will have their tongues out.
As the King went off to bed, Alicent went a little nuts and called for Criston Cole to bring her an eye from one of the boys. Smart guy Cole pointed out he’s sworn to protect her, not to maim children for her. Rageful, Alicent being the genius she is, decided to snatch Chekov’s dagger from Viserys and do it herself! Stopped by Rhanenyra, the two have a bit of word play that ended with Alicent slicing Rhaenyra’s arm, showing everyone in the room that she is a grade A psycho. Also, this is first blood to be spilled in the Dance, and it happens to be Aegon the Conqueror’s knife with the Targaryen prophecy forged into it.
This entire scene seems like a direct parallel to Season 1 of Thrones, where Joffrey is attacked by Arya’s direwolf. It ended with Robert succumbing to Cersei and ordering Ned to kill Sansa’s direwolf. Viserys however puts a stop to it. A stronger man than Bobby B.
After the showdown, Rhaenyra came to the conclusion that she needs strength from her husband, something she doesn’t currently have. But would with Daemon. They had a quick little romp on the beach for old times’ sake, and then they started their scheming. Daemon, in his henchman cloak, tossed some 30 pieces of silver to Qarl for the service of killing Laenor and escaping to Essos. And they did have a bit of a duel within Driftmark, where after Corlys and company find a burned body and mourned for Laenor…butour guy is revealed to have lived, those silver dreads shaved right off! Rhaenyra and Daemon are good guys!
Things to Come and Critiques
Helaena’s Dragon Dreams keep coming up, but what is it she’s prophesizing? Her prophecy from the previous episode paid off as she noted that Aemond would have to close one eye, which he happened to lose, in order to get a dragon. This episode she’s quoted as saying “Hand Turns Loom” (Could be literal, as Otto the hand has been creating a rift and seeds of war, spinning the loom) “Spool of Green, Spool of Black” (Back to the Loom. Green is Hightower, Black is Targaryen), and “Dragons flesh, Weaving dragons of thread” (More Loom! Targaryens creating war banners).
The show is leaning heavily into showing that the Blacks are the right side to cheer on, which is something that is a bit of a disappointment when it’s so clear that everyone on both sides sucks.
Laenor surviving and leaving his family seems a bit hypocritical. Earlier in the episode, he doubled down on his commitment to Rhaenyra; suddenly, he’s fine with leaving everyone, including his dragon Seasmoke? Throughout the books, the bond of a dragon and rider is for life. How is Seasmoke going to bond with a new rider when Laenor is still alive?
It seems as thought Episode 8 might see another time jump, aging the kids up for the Dance. The 9th episode of almost every Season of Thrones was where the shocking spectacles took place. Ned’s death, The Battle of the Blackwater, the Red Wedding, the Battle on the Wall, Dany and Drogon in the fighting pit, and the Battle of the Bastards were all EPISODE 9 events. Episode 8 is the deep breath before the plunge, and so far, there are no signs that House of the Dragon will be doing things differently.
“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen” – Lenin – ME