Here we are, finally. Episode 10 of House of the Dragon is already out, and it brings a fantastic season to a close. The show saved the Game of Thrones franchise after the disastrous 8th season of the show. And now, many of those who were disappointed with that series have come back and are more than happy with how House of the Dragon has executed its ideas. The world of Westeros has never looked so grandiose and alive before. This first season of House of the Dragon is surely one of the best seasons of television of 2022.
More than anything, the season has cemented that this is where HBO and Warner shine as a studio, and why they should understand that this is the kind of material that they should be offering. No one, absolutely no one, can do TV shows and movies like they do. Amazon tried to do it with The Rings of Power and failed miserably thanks to a poor script and weird creative choices. Meanwhile, HBO is pulling off things as impressive as this on television and even greater projects, like Dune, on the big screen. If only they could realize that before it is too late.
Anyhow, Episode 10 of House of the Dragon, Season 1, titled “The Black Queen” brings the point of view from King’s Landing to Dragonstone, the place where Princess Rhaenyra, now Queen Rhaenyra, has been stationed for the last few years. Episode 9 focused entirely on The Greens and their machinations to usurp the throne from Rhaenyra, who is the heir named by her father, King Viserys. So, now the show focuses entirely on The Blacks as they react to the news of the usurpation and start preparing for the incoming war.
Unlike many other shows, House of the Dragon knows how to work on both levels, the epic and the subtle. This episode is filled with those little details that only enhance the relationships between these characters more and more as time goes by. The episode brings a plethora of characters together in one place, and again, the show makes conversations and decision-making as exciting and dangerous as anything seen on TV to this date. When you have to wait to see if your allies are really with you or not, every word can have deadly consequences.
The show really brings down how hard it is going to be for Rhaenyra to take what is hers in future seasons. Her enemies are everywhere, and she has very few allies. A situation of her own making really, as she never applied her father’s advice that she should have been working on creating alliances and relationships not only with people in the court but also with the people around Westeros. Now that the time has actually come, Rhaenyra must start basically from scratch, and this will make the road countless times harder than she ever thought it would be.
The Black Queen also brings to light new sides to some characters that have been mostly in the background since the start of the show. Seeing Lord Corlys and Rhaenys back together is a welcome sight, and the things they say and do during this episode really bring them forth as some of the most important characters in the world of Westeros. Something that feels very logical, as they are the ones who control the seas of Westeros thanks to their larger fleet. Keep an eye on these two, as they will be pivotal in the coming events of season 2.
Jacearys and Lucerys, Rhaenyra’s oldest sons also come forth as more defined characters. This is something they need to be, as they will also be part of very significant events concerning the war. One of those events actually occurs here in this episode, and it is a wonderful sequence. If this sequence is just a sign of what we are going to see in future seasons as the war reaches its peak, then we are in for a treat. The visual effects team is really doing amazing work here, and their efforts should be applauded.
Rhaenyra, of course, is the central character of the episode, and unlike Alicent, we can see that even after all of her faults, Rhaenyra is truly Queen material. Her sense of duty and the way she thinks about what would happen if they bring dragons to do war is truly something to be respected. Leaders functioning in today’s world don’t even think about things like this. However, like everyone, she has a limit, and it is here that we see that limit being broken, and it gives you chills about what is to come from this character.
House of the Dragon, Episode 10 is truly a magnificent example of what can be done on television. For many years, the medium has been plagued by low-effort productions, but now television can easily match or surpass what theatrical films are doing. It is really sad to see some films being released in theaters with the idea that they are worthy experiences for that medium. Especially when we have things like House of the Dragon showing how it needs to be done if you want people to watch.