‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 2 Review: The Rogue Prince

House of the Dragon

Here we are once again in Westeros. In the past week, House of the Dragon, episode 1, became the most viewed premiere ever for a show on HBO. Game of Thrones as a brand is back. Not even the dreadful season 8 is enough for people to not want to go back to Westeros and immerse themselves once again in a world they love and are passionate about. Thankfully, House of the Dragon is the best of Game of Thrones, with none of the bad, at least for now. In this review for the second episode of the show, it seems it is still in that phase.

House of the Dragon is a prequel to the original Game of Thrones series, and it is mostly based on the book Fire & Blood. That book isn’t a normal novel. The book has the structure and the style of a history book. The book narrates the events in the most dispatched possible manner and tells us exactly what happens. There is no time for filler in a history book; everything that needs to be included in the story needs to be relevant, and that seems to be the way the showrunners are also approaching the TV adaptation.

One of the things that might benefit and hurt the show the most might be the pacing. In Episode 2 the series certifies that it will not stop creating meaningless scenes. Each scene needs to have a weight, each scene needs to be building up a character, moving the plot forward, or showing how a decision is being made. There is no time for anything else. This makes the show really exciting because it seems as if every single scene that we watch is the chance for something crazy to happen.

House of the Dragon

However, while the pacing is fast and relentless. That same pacing can hurt the series when it comes to having memorable characters. So far, the plot of the show is magnificent. The betrayals, the plotting, the intrigue, all these elements are being worked on in the same quality that made them famous in the original series. Nevertheless, the series hasn’t really been able to introduce a character that feels iconic or that the audience could attach to in a meaningful way.

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Daemon Targaryen, the rogue prince that gives the episode its title, seems to be the closest to a memorable character. Matt Smith really expels a lot of personalities just by walking around. It is quite entertaining to watch. This is only the second episode, so it might be that the show is simply a big slow burn. Let’s hope people are patient enough to go along with the show as it takes its time to put every piece of the game on the board.

This second episode begins to brew the seeds of disorder in a more clear way than in the first episode. The characters are built up just a bit, especially when it comes to Viserys I. Paddy Considine is killing it in a role that could have been tasteless, but it is actually quite complex and compelling. In this episode, he is certainly the MVP. The actor manages to convey the heavy weight of the crown on his head as he is pushed to make decisions that become harder and harder with each passing day.

It seems that more than anything, House of the Dragon is trying to avoid the melodrama that permeated the last episodes of the original show and threw the entire thing into a dumpster fire. HBO really has the opportunity to bring the audience back to Westeros for a long time. House of the Dragon could be expected to last even longer than the original show. It has all the material it needs to do it, so they really must be careful to not lose the audience by repeating the mistakes of the past.

House of the Dragon

The visual effects on the dragons are quite nice in this episode, and going back to older sets such as the one in Dragonstone is almost nostalgic. Will the show ever be as present with his characters as the original series? Probably not. At the pace the story is moving, we will probably never get another Daenerys or another Tyrion, but we might get another The Hound, or another Bron. Secondary characters that were able to shine, but were never going to be in the spotlight as the main trio was.

The episode culminates with a development that will throw the land of Westeros on its head. For those who know what is coming, whether they read the original books, or read the Fire & Blood book, it is quite a powerful moment. One that will be remembered hundreds of years into the future, and mainly, one that will seal the future of House Targaryen. It is a simple moment but carries so much weight that it is sad that many people will not realize how important it is.

Episode 2 of House of the Dragon keeps building up the show by focusing on all the things we loved from the original show. None of the characters are really popping in terms of becoming fan favorites, but as long as the plot and the story continue with the amazing pacing and plot developments, the show should be in a good place.

SCORE: 9/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.