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House of The Dragon Season 1 Episode 3 Review


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Rhaenyra really showed out this episode. Both Daemon and Rhaenyra had their moments but in my opinion Rhaenyra had the best moments.

House of The Dragon did a great job showing off the extravagance of the royal hunt. We were introduced to a lot of new faces. The ones that stood out to me were the Lannister twins. I wonder if making them twins was a nod to Jamie/Cersei in Game of thrones? I don't remember if the Lannister Lord at this point in history had a twin in the books. It doesn't hurt the story, but so far it hasn't really added anything to it either.

If I'm being completely honest, I would have loved to see the Lord of the Stormlands there again since I remember he will have a significant part later on. Ser Cristion Cole is getting plenty of screen time. I didn't really care for Rhaneyra having a public shouting match with the king. Publicly and privately she is still his named heir. By publicly bickering with your father it shows discord in the family and would only help spread more gossip that Rhaneyra has fallen out of favor with the king and that the king plans to officially name Aegon heir.

Another problem that I have is that of Rhaenyra's desire to be queen. In episode 1 she seemed to very clearly not care to be heir to the iron throne. And then by episode 3 we get a private scene between her and Viserys were she openly states that her attitude towards him is largely based on her belief that he had planned to name her brother Aegon as heir.

I have no problem with Rhaneyra wanting to buck established tradition and to remain heir. But I feel like the showrunners made a mistake by first making it seems like Rhaneyra didn't care about the crown and then all of a sudden she desires it. There should have been an obvious transition that we get to see on screen. We should've seen a mindset shift. Some big even or idea should have sparked Rhaneyra's desire to actually wear the crown.

We know now that she covets the crown. But why? Is it just so she can make history as the first woman ruler? Is it because men view her as incapable and she wants to prove them wrong? This is another reason why Rhaneyra's isolation is a bit of a problem. The show is obviously setting up Ser Criston Cole to be a confidant of Rhaneyra in her early years before the civil war. But he owes her a life debt. Everything he is, he owes to her. Also he's a member of the kingsguard. He doesn't just serve her but the entire family. She's not going to truly confide in him and he'll never give her pure honesty.

He admits as much in this episode, when Rhaneyra asks him if  he believes if the Lords of westeros would accept her as heir to the iron throne, he simply says "I have no choice but to princess". If Rhaneyra had some other court companions like Alicent in the early years. We could have gotten a lot more scenes where Rhaneyra is speaking her mind to people she trusts. We could get inside her head. But she has no one she can trust. Daenerys didn't have that disadvantage. In game of thrones, once Daenerys got away from her brother Viserys, she had female attendants that she would regularly speak to about matters of the heart. And later on she also had trusted councilors(for the most part) that she regularly spoke to about matters of state and strategy. We always knew what she was thinking on a variety of different issues. So it was much easier to empathize with her and her journey.

But anyways back to the hunt. I couldn't quite understand what was going on with the king and him killing the stag. He obviously struggled with the job. Eagle eyed fans will have noticed that the king's illness appears to be slowly getting the better of him as they have chopped off two of his fingers by this episode. Rhaenyra on the other hand sees the great stag that the scouts had spotted earlier and instead of trying to kill it, they let it go. I thought that was an interesting decision.

I feel like it would have worked better if Rhaneyra would have drug that Stag back to camp. But the unwashed, bloody hair look was great. I loved that scene where she enters camp with the boar. Everyone staring, everyone realizing in that moment that despite whatever plots or schemes they may all have, this one is not going to go quietly. Ser Otto Hightower and Alicent with all of their scheming, wealth and influence have yet to truly get their hands dirty.

And finally we come to the war that has been raging in the stepstones. Daemon Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon have somehow been losing this war. I'll be honest. It's one thing to read footnotes about this war in the books but to actually see it on screen made me think...HOW IN THE WORLD IS CORLYS AND DAEMON LOSING???(That feels better I had to get that out!)

They have two dragons! I think Aegon the conqueror started his conquest of westeros with three dragons and around 300 men at arms. This whole war seems pretty simple to me. Whenever those archers come out of their hidey holes, turn them into barbecue crab via dragon flame. They will eventually get tired of living like caveman.

While the crabfeeder and his men are in the cves, create a blockcade, so no food or freshwater can reach them. It seems like the war should have been over in a month. What soldier is going to continue to serve a man that feeds people to crabs and in between time force you to scrounge for food and clean water, all while making you sleep near your own excrement in dark caves during day and night. The only time you're allowed outside is when he's feeding you to dragon flame. It's just not gonna continue like that for very long. His men would mutiny far faster than any member of the Velaryon forces or Daemon's army. That's the situation in the show.

For context, in the books, its much more believable that the crabfeeder could hold off House Velaryon and Prince Daemon. The Triarchy is an alliance between three of the free cities of Essos: Lys, Myr and Tyrosh. The crabfeeder was the commander of the Triarchy's navy and armies.   I imagine these armies and navy would have been much more vast than what was shown in the show. Which could explain Daemon and Corlys having some difficulties despite the advantage of having dragons and essentially the royal fleet of westeros at their disposal.

The war in the stepstones also shows you just how weak Viserys is. If the Triarchy is on your doorstep and cutting off westerosi shipping lanes, Viserys should have immediately sent envoys to the free cities that make up the Triarchy and said listen get this rabble off my front porch or I'm sending all ten of my dragons to burn down your crops in the open fields. Your cities may be well defended via thousands upon thousands of arrows, so I won't risk my dragon riders safety but we will burn all your crops, destroy all your livestock. How quickly do you think the population would turn on you?

I think the showrunners have a soft spot for the actor that plays King Viserys because there are almost no voices openly criticizing him. It's almost as if we are supposed to be sympathetic to the decisions he makes as king(or doesn't make) because of personal affairs. We need some scenes with some of the minor characters critiquing some of the kings decision making. Giving viewers both sides of the conflict.

Surely even the grand maester could see the importance of goods and shipments being able to make their way across the seas and around westeros unmolested. Without reliable expectations for tolls on shipping, this would cause the price of goods to skyrocket based off sheer speculation, especially for luxury items from overseas. This would be a problem that immediately affects the nobles and high lords.

Viserys is so weak to allow all of this to go on in his kingdom. It's sad,  Jaehaerys "the old king" should have named Rhaneys "the queen who never was" his heir. Corlys would have never let this happen. Rhaneys seems pretty wise to the ways of the realm and would have made a sensible ruler. Corlys is a proven adventurer, and wealth creator. What an incredible waste of talent and ability. What has Viserys ever achieved? Furthermore, the king could have still patched up his horrible decision making by convincing Rhaneyra to marry Laenor Velaryon. I can't imagine a more perfect match.

So back to the war in the stepstones😅. Dameon gets so mad that his brother decided to do the smart thing and send him aid to help him defeat the crabfeeder that he beats the messenger! That came across as incredibly weak and makes Viserys look almost wise in naming Rhaneyra heir to make sure that the crown doesn't pass to his brother Daemon. But Daemon then decides to become the bait in the very plan they were discussing 5 minutes ago. Of course it works, the crabfeeder's army comes running out of the cave in their hundreds. They become barbecue crab within minutes courtesy of chef Seasmoke. And Daemon runs into the cave and comes back out carrying the crabfeeders dismembered body.

Am I the only one who thought it was a bit of a cheat to just have Daemon win the fight off screen. I think he had been shot by arrows two or three times. Let us see them fight! Daemon wields the Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister! Why is he fighting the main bad guy in a dark cave where nobody can see? Every great warrior knows to fight the other guy with name recognition out in the open!

This was a missed opportunity by the showrunners. They could have had some great dialogue from the crabfeeder. I remember in the movie Troy there is a scene where Achilles has just stormed the beach of Troy by himself with his Myrmidons far ahead of the rest of the greek army which are still on ships approaching the beach. Prince Hector attacks him but they destroy Hector's calvary and Hector is alone surrounded by Achilles and his men. Achilles lets him go and when his men ask him why, he says "its too early in the day to be killing princes". That's an absolutely epic line, Achilles understood the moment!  It's especially tragic knowing what happens later to Patricles but its sets up an even more epic showdown between him and Achilles later.

The point is, the crabfeeder and Daemon should have battled one on one. Daemon wields Dark Sister but was tired and injured. It would have been a fun duel to watch. The showrunners could have found a way to make it epic. Maybe emphasize the threat of the greyscale that the crabfeeder is suffering from. Maybe have the crabfeeder fight him over a large pit of big hungry crabs. But we needed something more than hide and go seek.

I enjoyed episode 3. All the bones are there for this show to really be a masterpiece but so far its falling just short. Right now, the show is really good but not quite great. These are still the early years, where we are still developing the characters and the relationships. It's gonna be fun watching it all fall apart.

It's almost time for the tragedy to commence. I imagine we have 2 more episodes of the "good days". What's the old expression? You don't know the good days until they're gone?

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