House of the Dragon is definitely the best drama on the air, right now. That could sound like a very exaggerated statement. However, when people see what the writers and the rest of the filmmakers, actors, and every other department have in store for this eighth episode of the show, it is going to be hard to deny it. House of the Dragon has not only saved the Game of Thrones franchise but also has given an important flow of viewers to HBO, and also has become an example of what appointment television should be like.
The 8th episode of Season 1 of House of the Dragon is titled “The Lord of the Tides”. The title is a reference to Corlys Velaryon, the current holder of the title, and also to Lucerys Velaryon, the second son of Rhaenyra, who has become the apparent heir of the title after Corlys. These two characters are very important for what happens in this episode, and yet, you feel like they become completely unimportant once the bigger characters come into the scene. This is an episode with a lot of drama and emotion.
Of course, it all works thanks to the excellent work of the writing team. The writers have managed to charge very spoken lines with as much meaning and weight as they possibly can. Because of it, every single conversation that happens during this episode feels like it is just as important as it could be. There are some lines in this episode that are absolutely bone-chilling, and they really manage to come across as end-of-the-world stuff. The writers have put a lot of effort into creating and molding these characters to perfection, and the result is just amazing.
There has been some criticism going around that the time jumps in the show don’t allow for character development, but I believe that the show has proved the absolute opposite. By only focusing on the most important moments of these people’s lives, the series avoids creating scenes that could feel like filler, something that happened a lot in Game of Thrones. Here, in House of the Dragon, every scene is meaningful, and every character is only shown when making a decision that builds their character or advances the plot. The time jumps have only made the character development tighter.
This episode is the type of episode you end up receiving awards for. The direction is beautiful and potent, and every scene is handled in the best possible way. The costume design is also through the roof. This department definitely becomes an important part of the episodes, and as the series progresses, the importance of the colors and the suits the characters use are definitely something to keep an eye on. The cinematography is also quite amazing, with some shots that will really stay in people mind’s after the episode is over.
However, what really makes this episode stand out is the acting. Every single actor here is just doing an amazing job. The usual suspects come to mind, but one of the real standouts in the episode is Ewan Mitchell in the role of Aemond Targaryen. The actor makes his debut as the adult version of the character, and it is clear that he will become a fan favorite. Aemond is basically the parallel of Daemon Targaryen on the side of the greens, and because he is as unpredictable as his uncle.
The main reason to watch this episode is Paddy Considine’s performance as King Viserys, the characters have been going through unbelievable changes throughout the entire series. However, here the actor pulls from every other moment in the show and really pulls off a performance, unlike anything that we have seen this year on television or in film. Considine will probably receive tons of awards for this episode, and he deserves each one of them. By the end of the episode, you cannot but watch the credits roll and analyze the gargantuan acting job Considine just pulled off in front of your eyes.
The VFX team also goes to the next level with some amazing VFX work that is so much more subtle than the fantastic job they have done by creating the dragons. We don’t often see this quality of visual effects on a TV show because not many productions can afford it. Thankfully, House of the Dragon can pay for it, and it just ends up enhancing the scenes so much that it is quite hard to imagine how the scenes would have been without them. Really, the VFX teams deserve so much more praise than what they got.
Episode 8 of House of the Dragon cements the show as one of the best dramas of the year and the best one currently on the air. HBO has always been proud of producing appointment television. They make an event out of the release of each episode, and here you can see why they have such a reputation. Many other networks and streaming services wish they could pull off something like this, but it requires a lot of talent and experience to do it. Episode 8 is perfect.