With its episode 4, the characters of House of the Dragon have only one desire: to take the sword out of its scabbard, in the figurative sense of the term.
Warning, minor spoilers!
I would already like to be reeeeine
“I don’t want a life where I have children until I die”, Rhaenyra exclaims as the kingdom awaits her marriage. Despite the pressure put on the shoulders of her father Viserys, the princess refuses to give in to the traditions ofa policy that only reflects its archaismand the death penalty it means for a woman.
Inevitably, episode 4 of House of the Dragon puts forward more than ever the naivety of its leaders, their sincere belief in an evolution of morals, and the wall that they will irremediably hit themselves in the face for this reason.
In this situation: A/ I give priority to the dragon B/ I engage C/ I curl up in the hold
But above all, this fourth chapter stands out as one of the most important of the season, because it confirms the nerve center of the series: the difficulties of the female condition in the world of Westerossymbolized by the two sides of the same coin that are Rhaenyra and Alicent.
From ellipse to ellipse, the new HBO production sculpts rancor and trauma, and proves in the most beautiful way that it has learned lessons from Game Of Thrones. Rather than scattering with dozens of subplots and as many additional characters, it remains focused on its issues, and on narrative back and forth which can only take the form of sharp boomerangs.
Casually, the major (and traumatic) event of the first episode takes on even greater importance as the series progresses. Viserys didn’t just have to make a terrible decision. He led his daughter to want to flee this same fate, and therefore to enact a change that will seal the future of the line.
Conversely, Alicent becomes an increasingly resigned woman, plagued by a malaise that will end up pitting her against her childhood friend. Here again, House of the Dragon going strong throughan alternate assembly as efficient as it is beautifully constructed, where Rhaenyra’s pursuit of hedonism is paralleled by Alicent’s sense of duty…in the bedroom. If Milly Alcock always asserts herself as an incredible actress, Emily Carey pulls out of the game here, embodying in a sublime way the transformation of her character, who loses all her original candor.
A friendship in danger
When incest plagues
Since the start of House of the Dragonsome spectators did not fail to accuse the series of sanitizing the aesthetics of Game Of Thrones. On the one hand, one would be tempted to say that the kingdom of Westeros was much more prosperous and stable at the time (after all, we are talking about the fall of the Targaryens), but above all, we have so far remained up to powerful, cloistered in their ivory tower.
The mischief of episode 4 is precisely to bring Rhaenyra and Daemon to stroll through the streets of Port-Réal, so that the camera focuses on the filth of this medieval Sodom and Gomorrahwhile putrefaction spreads in the very enclosure of the castle by the rotten body of the king, and the rats which spread in the rooms.
The throne of vair
Moreover, where the adaptations of George RR Martin are often forced to limit themselves in the painting of the people and their political considerations, House of the Dragon takes the time to make a pretty metonymy out of it via an outdoor theater play. The opportunity to show that the distrust of Rhaenyra and the misogyny of the court is just as significant on the other side of the wall.
From there, this episode 4 succeeds in representing the fed up of protagonists reduced to their role, to their label in the cogs of power, and how, by throwing their responsibilities out the window, they will generate chaos without name. This obviously goes through typical sex scenes of Game Of Thrones (the return of incest, yay!), followed by hallway noises, lies and irrecoverable Shakespearean betrayals. House of the Dragon fully assumes its tragic dimensionand the beginning of the fall is all the more beautiful.
A new episode of House of the Dragon is available every Monday on OCS since August 22, 2022