the worm is in the iron throne

the worm is in the iron throne

House of the Dragonthe prequel to Game Of Thronescontinues to impress with its second, more introspective episode.



If the credits of Game Of Thrones is also cult, it is perhaps less for the flamboyant musical theme of Ramin Djawadi (although you are probably humming it just by reading this sentence) than for its design. With its cogs bringing out models of the various towns and cities of Westeros, this introduction was able to pose clear spatial issues for the spectators, and give them benchmarks. In short, all the thirst for conquest of Game Of Thrones could be summed up in this credits, and support the public’s plunge into this rich and complex universe.

Smart enough, House of the Dragon reappropriates this datum at the very heart of its diegesis. In a huge room in the castle of Port-Réal sits a sculpture of a fortress, which we guess designed by King Viserys I (Paddy Considine). The huge reproduction is not only a sign of his deep loneliness, but also the reflection of a gentle irony. The room is nothing more than a nesting doll, welcoming a fantasy kingdom, which proves to what extent the sovereign has little control over this world reduced to a state of decoration.

House of the Dragon : Photo Paddy Considine“I love models”

Where the first episode of this spin-off series found the fundamentals of Game Of Thrones and its brutality, its second chapter is intended to be softer, at least in appearance. No great betrayal or ultra-violent death, but the inevitable triggering of a more insidious and Shakespearian descent into hell.

Therefore, this episode 2 marks more frontally the real intention of this first season. House of the Dragon is a series on the self-destruction of a bloodline blinded by its own paranoia. Each chiseled dialogue, and each perfectly cut scene are as many nails in the coffin of the Targaryens, reinforcing the mistrust of the characters towards each other. And the best part is that the spectator also finds himself doubting everyone’s intentions.

House of the Dragon : Photo Rhys IfansSufficient air from a high ivory tower

White wicks

“You are the King, but I don’t envy you”, declares Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), the Hand of Viserys. The phrase is strong, but how seriously can it be taken? For sure, the character’s compassion brings to mind the weight of a decision as important as choosing an heir to the crown. However, poor Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) is forced by her father to get closer to the King to ensure a certain power, and this at the cost of her friendship with Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock).

Here again, House of the Dragon fascinates with its ease in exploring a gray area, to never let his camera dictate a binary logic of feeling good and bad. On the contrary, Alicent becomes in just one episode one of the most beautiful characters in the series. We perceive her real tenderness and care for Viserys, but she also agrees to play a game of manipulation to try to become his new wife.

House of the Dragon: PicturesA friendship that burns

As often in the world of Game Of Thrones, the thirst for power ends up touching even those who believe themselves insensitive to its attraction. The staging also likes to dwell on troubled looks, in which one seems to read the hopes for a better life. However, the director does not hesitate to warn: power contaminates its holdersand Viserys reflects this better than anyone with his gangrenous body following his cut on the Iron Throne.

It is difficult not to remember from this episode the meaningful vision of a sick hand plunged into the middle of worms. House of the Dragon is already infested with a death in the making, and all this apprehension (due to the prequel nature of the project) is sublimated by this series of metaphors and symbols, rarely exploited in such an ingenious way in the parent series.

House of the Dragon : Photo Matt SmithEl rata alada

who steals an egg

This is where we come back to the model of the King, and to the utopia of a perfect kingdom, which is ultimately only a “game of thrones” organized around political calculations, vexations and no -said. If it’s nice to see House of the Dragon offer real touching moments (especially between Viserys and Rhaenyra), all are only puppets, entangled in threads that they are convinced to control.

The series thus plays this metaphor spun around this reduced scale of power. Not only do its creators find there the opportunity to develop certain subtleties of its universe (the coats of arms and symbols of the various houses), but this visual research marks a form of dramatic irony. While she must choose a knight for escort, Rhaenyra faces suitors who advance in front of her at the same time as statuettes are advanced on a tray.

House of the Dragon: PicturesNot easy dragon battlements

House of the Dragon is more than ever a chessboard, a chessboard whose pieces are all subject to a precarious balance. Everyone tries to avoid conflict, but tensions are always about to erupt into a bloodbath, like this beautifully tense scene on the walls of Dragonstone. Daemon’s taunt leads to a rapid escalation of the opposing forces, as the narrowness of the path everyone is on seems to offer no way out.

While offering this kind of sequences a spectacular visual proposition, the series subtly deploys its thematic ambitions. The worm is in the fruit, and as on the walls of Dragonstone, it becomes difficult to retreat. We only realize after the fact, but some scenes in this episode are much more important than they seem. Some acts will be regretted, and the point of no return has already been reached.

A new episode of House of the Dragon is available every Monday on OCS since August 22.

House of the Dragon : photo, , Milly Alcock


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