TL;DR – A time jump that feels like we are missing important details is not the best thing to do in the middle of the season.
Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this episode.
House of the Dragon Review –
If there was one thing that was forwarded back in the first episode The Heirs of the Dragon, it was that we would be getting a massive time jump at some point in the season. Indeed, we have jumped forward a good 10-ish years from last week’s We Light the Way, and in today’s review, we will look at whether this was a wise narrative choice.
So to set the scene, in the years since Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) married in less than ideal circumstances, the realm has seen relative peace. However, as Rhaenys gives birth to her third child and the whole realm but her father, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine), can see that they are probably Ser Harwin Strong’s (Ryan Corr). This all gives Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) more ammunition because as Viserys slowly deteriorates, she hopes that her eldest Aegon Targaryen (Ty Tennant) will take the crown. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
Where the show shines is in these vignettes of power, where we see the interplay of influences and positions interact. The episode opens with one such one where the Queen asks to see the new child moments after it was born, even before the Princess had a chance to hold him. For the Queen, it was to show her power and to confirm that this child was like the rest, but not wanting to roll over, the Princess then walked the baby over herself. There is a long take as we watch the Princess walk through the Red Keep, which is used for both expositions and as a demonstration of the burden being placed on the Princess. There is also another small council meeting, full of intrigue, and these have been the highlight of the season, well, that and some tongue-less goons.
Unfortunately, the time jump hurt the show’s narrative because it felt like we glossed over so much. Harwin Strong went from being a side character in the background to having fathered three children to the heir apparent and then being murdered by his own brother Larys Strong (Matthew Needham). It is a blink, and you’ll miss it storyline, which happens throughout this episode. Because of this, characters just don’t have time to establish who they will be, especially because I believe there is at least another time jump coming. To combat this, they have to swing big with the characterizations, which gives us the awkward The Boys homage/parody, but they always fall flat.
In the end, do we recommend House of the Dragon: The Princess and the Queen? Yes, but with a lot of reservations. I think all the cast are swinging for the fences, which makes the show work as well as it does. However, some timeline choices are ultimately frustrating, holding the show back.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of House of the Dragon
Directed by – Miguel Sapochnik
Written by – Sara Hess
Created by – Ryan Condal & George R. R. Martin
Based On – Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin
Production/Distribution Companies – 1:26 Pictures, GRRM, HBO Max, Binge & HBO
Starring – Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’arcy, Fabien Frankel & Rhys Ifans with Graham McTavish Matthew Needham & Jefferson Hall and Gavin Spokes, Bill Paterson, Ryan Corr, Leo Hart, Harvey Sadler, Ty Tennant, Leo Ashton, Evie Allen, Shani Smethurst, John MacMillan, Nanna Blondell, Kurt Egyiawan, Paul Kennedy, Luke Tittensor, Alexis Raben, Arty Froushan, Patrice Naiambana, Jordon Stevens, Dean Nolan, Sean Cernow, Arevinth V Sarma, Gareth Morrison, Rosie Ede, Rosa Escoda, Ravi Aujla, Paul Hickey, Anna Sari & Afolabi Alli
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