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.  

Continue reading

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.  

Continue reading

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.    

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

House of the Dragon: The Rogue Prince – TV Review

TL;DR – While still mainly just politics this week, the world has come into shape, and those intrigues have weight.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Death on the stepstones.

House of the Dragon Review

There is one genre that I do particularly like, and it is a political drama. It is part of why I still think Deep Space Nine is my favourite of all the Star Treks because it didn’t move, so it had to deal with the politics of where it was. However, last week was mostly just politics, but it felt flat for me. I was wondering if the show would click with me at all, but this week gave a better chance at that.

So to set the scene, in last week’s The Heirs of the Dragon, we discovered a dynasty at the point of fracture. King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) was named the king in a contested succession, and while he has tried to be a strong king, many see him as weak. But tragedy struck when his Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) died in childbirth, and even a caesarean section could not save their child. With succession now being called into question again, the king finally cuts off his petulant brother Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and declares his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) as heir. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

House of the Dragon: The Heirs of the Dragon – TV Review

TL;DR – You can feel them trying to get lightning to strike twice, but it never rose above being just fine, bar maybe the tournament scene.  

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

A dragon flies through the clouds.

House of the Dragon Review

There are many TV shows that come and go, but few have stamped a legacy as much as Game of Thrones. But that legacy is complicated and fraught with tension. It rose to be one of the most well know shows in TV history, a place where everyone had to know what was going on, and moments like the Red Wedding echo across the zeitgeist in a way maybe only the MASH finale and moments like that had. But then Seasons Eight happened, and it was like watching all that momentum crash against a solid object like one of those experiments in MythBusters. The entire marketing push disappeared overnight under the wave of discontent, and I wondered if this was the last we would see of this universe that someone had paid a lot of money to dabble in. there were talks of sequels and prequels. Still, none of them ever got anywhere, well, that is until today.

So to set the scene, in the dying days of King Jaehaerys Targaryen (Michael Carter), there was a succession question, so he held a Great Council in the ruins of Harrenhal. Where the lords combined supporting Prince Viserys (Paddy Considine) over Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best). Eleven years later, King Viserys’ wife, Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), is pregnant again, and all hope is that it is a boy. But the vultures are starting to circle, and one of those with knives out might be the king’s own brother Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), Commander of the City Watch. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

TV Review – The Good Place: Chillaxing

TL;DR – It is the moment when the loss and pain catch up with everyone.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Good Place: Chillaxing. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

Review

We continue our march to the final ever episode of The Good Place with a real threat looming over us. No one is improving and time is not infinite. It is in these moments of pressure in the past where the series has really excelled but will it work this time around.

So to set the scene, after our two-part season opener A Girl from Arizona, things had started to move into place. But every step forward was also a step back. They got rid of the demon in disguise, but then Chidi (William Jackson Harper) got brought more into the fold at the further expense of Eleanor’s (Kristen Bell) happiness. As well as this, after some struggles Janet (D’Arcy Carden) decided to break up with Jason (Manny Jacinto), leaving more of the group fractured. Just a reminder that we will be looking at the episode at the whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne and Season Eight

TL;DR – While there has been patchy moments this season, I do think they stuck the ending.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne. Image Credit: HBO.

Review


Well, here we are, the final ever episode of Game of Thrones (if you don’t count the multiple prequels in preproduction at the moment). I can still remember that day when I first watched the very first episode as a group of men from The Watch go north past The Wall and discover there was something worse than wildlings waiting for them. A lost queen forced to marry into a barbarian horde to secure her ungrateful brother an army to retake their throne. A drunkard ruling a kingdom though all he wants to do is hunt and joust and fornicate with people who are not his wife. A family of noble people trying to do what is right, especially when it is hard, and being woefully unprepared for the mess they were walking into. Also, the things we do for love. All of those years of story have been building to this final episode, and I wonder can they stick the landing?

So to set the scene, during last week’s The Bells a lot of things happen and a lot of people died. After the death of Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) in The Last of the Starks, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) had become inconsolable, and Missandei’s final word Dracarys sat in her mind so that even when she heard the bells of surrender Dany decided to burn Kings Landing to the ground, not really caring who or what got in her way. The complete slaughter of the capital is something she has threatened since she arrived and finally showed what damage even one dragon can do, insert the nuclear weapons analogies. The capital is in ruins, Jon (Kit Harington) tried to do the right thing and failed, Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) had their whole worlds crash down on them, oh and Euron (Pilou Asbæk) is finally gone. We open with the aftermath as ash and snow still fall in the ruins of Kings Landing and the dead and dying lay among the wreckage. Here Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Jon (Kit Harington), and Davos (Liam Cunningham) walk and see the damage their actions have wrought and the potential hell that they have unleashed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Bells

TL;DR – The rushed final season is starting to show its issues … badly.

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Game of Thrones: The Bells. Image Credit: HBO.

Review

I have honestly been really happy where the final season has been going so far. I liked how Winterfell and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms were these slow-burn episodes giving us some much-needed character development and interaction. I found The Long Night to be a really emotional experience as the dead came and slaughtered. I was ever really jiving with The Last of the Starks up until that last 15 minutes. It was like a speed boat suddenly threw out its anchor grinding everything to a halt. This means for the first time, I am coming into an episode of this 8th season, and the penultimate episode at that, with a lot of hesitation and I don’t know how to feel about that. 

So to set the scene, last week everyone was celebrating their win over the dead and the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) but there was still one big threat on the horizon. Cersei (Lena Headey) still controls King’s Landing, and with it the legitimacy of the throne. Just one problem Cersei captured Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and beheaded her in front of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and well that did not go down well. So we begin today with everyone getting ready for the final push but some people have reservations and one of them is Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) who is finally caught out. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. This week we are going to do something a little different and focus our review on different character relationships because it is through these relationships we see the very highs of this episode and the real lows.  

Continue reading

Article – Masters of Cinematic Music: Ramin Djawadi

TL;DR – We explore the wonders of Ramin Djawadi’s musical score through the lens of Light of the Seven

Masters of Cinematic Music: Ramin Djawadi. Image Credit: HBO.

Article

Today we are starting out the first entry in a series about modern cinematic composers. For me at least, one of the factors that emotionally connects me to a piece of visual media, whether that be, a video game, a television show, or a film is the music. The right musical choice can make or break scenes and can be one of the factors that make these moments resonate across the media landscape. We all remember that first time we heard the Imperial March or The Avengers theme explodes onto the screen. They help us get lost on the high seas, traverse galaxies far, far away, or in our first example help us delve into a world of fire and ice. Because this is an article about music, I have added links to the songs in question so you can listen along.

Ramin Djawadi is a German/Iranian composer and the key musical voice of Game of Thrones, the hugely successful HBO series based of George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series. As a composer, Ramin has been working for a long time in the musical world starting first as an assistant and then creating addition music for films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Ned Kelly, working under one of the defining voices in modern composition Hans Zimmer. Before moving onto working on his own films like Iron Man and Pacific Rim.

Continue reading