House of the Dragon: Driftmark – TV Review

TL;DR – The bookends of this episode are full of intrigue. It just falls out during the middle

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this episode.

Dragons fly over Driftmark.

House of the Dragon Review

I have been wondering why I have been having a bit of a disconnect with the show. The production is just as good as Game of Thrones, the narrative has all the elements that usually capture me, and the cast is giving their all in their performances. After some thought, I can tie it down to the show’s narrative structure being like quicksand underneath, with you never being able to grab a foothold. An issue we see in part today, but maybe for the last time.       

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s The Princess and the Queen, Laena Targaryen (Nanna Blondell) begged her dragon Vhagar to incinerate her after her labour went wrong. At the start of this episode, all of the Targaryens and Velaryons have gathered in Driftmark for Laena’s funeral. However, the growing divides continue to spew forth after Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) took her family from court to Dragonstone, and the accusations of her children’s parentage still linger. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Udûn – TV Review

TL;DR – Could I see some of the plot points of this episode coming? Yes. Did that stop it from ripping my heart out? No, it did not.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Adar looks over his armies.

The Rings of Power Review

When watching a show or movie, you never quite know when something will connect with you, like really connect with you. Will a story pierce your heart like a barbed arrow and break through even the most hardened layer of cynicism? After not gelling with last week’s Partings, I wondered if the series was running out of steam with me, but nothing prepared me for today.  

So to set the scene, the orcs had completely surrounded Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) and the remaining townsfolk in the watchtower of Ostirith. However, as Adar (Joseph Mawle) and the Orcs storm the watchtower, they find it empty. Well, almost empty. But while this delays the Orcs, the townsfolk know that soon the horde will be upon them and sure enough, in the distance, torches glow. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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House of the Dragon: The Princess and the Queen – TV Review

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.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this episode.

A dragon flies on top of the water.

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.  

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Partings – TV Review

TL;DR – As much as the title describes, this is an episode of crossroads, not all of them good.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Harfoots migrate.

The Rings of Power Review

I always knew that The Great Wave would be a hard act to follow. Indeed it would be a hard act to get close to that again. However, I was not expecting this week’s episode to give me pause. Not a significant problem per se. More like when you are walking through a forest, and you stop because you have seen something odd in the corner of your eye, pause. Let us now dive into this week’s episode to explore what I mean.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Harfoots as they begin their long migration north, over mountains, through grasslands, and even some marshes where the dead will lie one day. Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) and her family would have been left behind leagues ago because of their father’s (Dylan Smith) foot and being put in the back of the caravan. However, thanks to the help of The Stranger (Daniel Weyman), who fell from the sky, and much to the annoyance of the rest of the caravan, they have kept up. But in this wood, something stirs, and when there is no food, a couple of Harfoots look like a tasty morsel. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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House of the Dragon: We Light the Way – TV Review

TL;DR – The more we try and break out of King’s Landing, the more the story feels small.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this episode.

Danger in The Vale

House of the Dragon Review

Few phrases carry more weight in the world of Game of Thrones than that of a wedding. Whether it is the Red Wedding or the Purple Wedding, no good has ever come from walking down the aisle in Westeros. The bells are ringing today, so the danger must be near.

So to set the scene, tired of the endless stream of poor suiters, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) took the invitation of her uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) for a night on the town in King’s Landing. This led to calamity when Daemon was publicly seen leading her into a house of ill repute. Now Rhaenyra has no choice over who she marries as  King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) makes his way to Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen’s (Eve Best) home on Driftmark to petition them to allow Rhaenyra to marry their son Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan). But over in The Vale, Prince Daemon has returned to great his lady wife, Rhea Joyce (Rachel Redford), and we see a side of him we knew was there all along. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Great Wave – TV Review

TL;DR – This is an episode with joy and tears, warmth and horror, action and romance, and warnings for the future

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Queen regent Míriel walks towards the sounds of crushing water.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

When they announced that Amazon would commission a new Lord of the Rings prequel series, many people [including myself] doubted if they could pull it off. Especially when it was revealed just what they could work with given the limited window their licence gave them. However, as I sit back from watching the fourth episode, it has become clear that those concerns were misplaced because few episodes of televisionthis year have moved me as much as this one did today.

So to set the scene, in Adar, we were introduced to the island kingdom of Númenor. A land was once given to man by the Elves, but a land that Elves are now unwelcome, something that Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) discovers first-hand when she is brought there by Elendil (Lloyd Owen). However, there is something behind Númenor’s reluctance, which haunts the dreams of the queen regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). However, things are going from bad to worse in the Southlands because the orcs have returned and are capturing people to dig their tunnels. Still, as Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) stands in chains, he looks in horror as the leader of the orcs is an elf called Adar (Joseph Mawle). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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House of the Dragon: King of the Narrow Sea – TV Review

TL;DR – This is the episode of ‘rise and fall’, and several characters get caught in the wake.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this episode.

Rhaenyra looks in frustration.

House of the Dragon Review

Even though House of the Dragon is a prequel to Game of Thrones, with the theme song blaring at the start of every episode, there was the question of how it would work tonally compared with its predecessor. But if there were any questions as to if both shows would be walking down different roads, that was answered today.  

So to set the scene, due to pirates raiding ships in the Stepstones and also a need to prove themselves in the eyes of the people Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) took their dragons and their armies to route out the threat. It was an abysmal failure. However, after receiving word that King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) was going to send his Navy to help save them, Daemon implements a dangerous plan devised by Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) to draw the pirates out of their caves using himself as bait, and it worked. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adar – TV Review

TL;DR – As a show, it continues to balance all the competing stories while being a thrilling ride.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Galadriel rides a horse alone the shoreline of Númenor.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

When you have a large ensemble cast, it is easy to lose people and whole stories in the cut, where you end up seeing someone on screen and wondering where they came from before. Three episodes in, The Rings of Power might have one of the biggest ensemble casts I have seen for a while, but they always make sure you know the context of every person.

So to set the scene, in Adrift, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) decided to jump off her boat and swim back to Middle Earth, through the Sundering Seas, than leave her quest unfulfilled. Luckily for her, she spots a raft and is helped by Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), but after a storm leaves them asunder, they are rescued by Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and taken to the island kingdom of Númenór. In the Southlands, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) has been captured by Orcs, but instead of being killed, he is led through covered tunnels full of captured human workers. They dig a tunnel to keep the orcs protected from the bright Sun. Things are bad, but they are worse when Arondir gets to the pit and discovers that all his Elvish companions were also captured before they could return home. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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The Sandman: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a genuinely odd series bouncing from one story to the next with the power of a tsunami, yet somehow it all flows together into a grand gothic fairy-tale.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this series.

Warning – Contains scenes of abuse and scenes that may cause distress.

The Sandman looks into a sunrise.

The Sandman Review

In 2019, I wrote an article on how we entered a New Golden Age of Science Fiction on Television. However, in the last twelve months, we have gotten, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, House of the Dragon, Shadow and Bone, The Wheel of Time, The Witcher, and more. It is such an incredible rise that I think I need to update my article and explore the new Golden Age of Fantasy on TV, and the next entry into this world is the dark gothic fairy-tale set in the modern world.

So to set the scene, humans go about their day in the real world, but every night they dream, but for some reason, they feel that The Dreaming realm is somehow less natural just because it is filled with dreams and nightmares, and they wake up in the ‘real’ world every morning, well most of the time. The Lord of this Realm is Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), one of the seven Endless, powerful beings that shape all forms of reality. In 1916, when one of his nightmares, the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), goes rogue, Morpheus takes a rare trip to the ‘real’ world to take care of the matter personally. However, at that moment, an incompetent aristocratic occultist called Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance) delves into spells he does not understand because he wants to capture Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) to bring back his beloved son, who was killed in Gallipoli. Still, he gets Morpheus and binds him under his mansion for 106 years. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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House of the Dragon: Second of His Name – TV Review

TL;DR – We continue our slow build but at a pace that is verging on snail-like, which is odd given it has been about 2-years in-universe since the pilot episode.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this episode.

King Viserys I Targaryen stares at a fire.

House of the Dragon Review

This history of the world, as well as literature, is littered with people doing stupid things that come back to stab them in the back. Indeed, Game of Thrones was famous for this throughout its run. Some chose honour over personal power, and that cost them their lives. Some overplayed their hands and were caught in the snare. Others still acted irrationally and rode themselves into an early grave. In House of the Dragon, we are starting to see some of these patterns rise again, which does not bode well for the little people about to get caught in the crossfire of dragons.   

So to set the scene, while King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) had declared that Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) was to be his new heir over Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), many in the court still wanted him to remarry quick. First, as a way of shoring up the kingdom with a marriage alliance. But also because, as the “Queen Who Never Was”, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) put it, the men would rather burn the kingdom to the ground than put a woman on the throne. While Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) maneuvered to pair the elderly king with his young daughter Laena Velaryon (Nova Foueillis-Mosé). The King stunned the small council and his own daughter when he announced that Rhaenyra’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey), would be his next bride. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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