Welcome again to Westeros, and King’s Touchdown, the place 200 years sooner or later will see a conflict for management of the Iron Throne on Game of Thrones. Right here, now, it’s Home Targaryen that’s dominated for a whole bunch of years, and King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) is within the ninth 12 months of his reign; and this isn’t Sport of Thrones, it’s HBO‘s prequel, House of the Dragon. Totally different reveals, standard Westeros.
Viserys, sensible but in addition easygoing, sports activities the locks of pale straw frequent to the Targaryen line. He’s additionally hyped in regards to the upcoming tourney, the place jousts and video games of likelihood will rejoice the approaching start of what he has little doubt can be a boy, thereby guaranteeing his line of succession. His spouse, the queen consort Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), reminds him of her historical past of inauspicious pregnancies. And Mellos (David Horovitch) can seek the advice of as many moon charts as he needs, however a Grand Maester can’t predict the intercourse of toddler. Nonetheless, Viserys is undeterred as he leads a gathering of his council, which incorporates Hand of the King Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), grasp mariner and head of Home Velaryon Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) – his spouse, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Greatest), is called the “Queen Who By no means Was,” as a result of she was handed over for rule in favor of Viserys – and Daemon (Matt Smith), the king’s impulsive and offended brother. The mutual hostility between Daemon and Hightower is sufficient to soften the marble council desk.
For Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), life as a Targaryen revolves largely round her standing as a proud dragonrider. Surging by means of the cumulus above King’s Touchdown, she brings her golden mount Syrax in for a touchdown exterior the dragon pens, which resemble airplane hangars constructed right into a mountainside, their ribs of stone descending into the gloom. Queen Aemma says their “royal wombs” are how Targaryen ladies serve the realm, however to that Rhaenyra is usually like “nah.” She listens intently within the King’s council room as she refills wine goblets, all the boys jockeying and preening for the eye of Viserys. And what about her research, asks her greatest pal, Girl Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke)? What in regards to the histories their Septa assigned for studying? “Fuck the Septa.” Princess Rhaenyra’s impartial streak is wider than a dragon’s wingspan.
Draped throughout the Iron Throne that he already considers roughly his, Daemon items Rhaenyra with an exquisite necklace cast from Valyrian metal. It’s a pleasant second. However then he rallies his metropolis guard of their fight armor and sweeping capes – “Starting tonight, King’s Touchdown will study to concern the colour gold!” – and leads a brutal sweep into the streets and hilly corners, accumulating criminals and anybody who it’s determined seems like one into the general public sq.. Scrotums are sliced, arms are hacked, and heads are lopped off on the neck, and the dismembered lot will get carted away for dragon meals. The council is aghast at Daemon’s strategies, particularly Hightower together with his ax to grind. However Daemon simply wipes some errant blood from his chin. “A lot of King’s Touchdown is seen by the smallfolk as lawless,” he says, and with the tourney developing, a present of power was crucial.
The tourney begins with King Viserys’s proclamation that Queen Aemma has begun her labors, and because the jousts begin we’re handled to some visceral “lance cam” POV because the knights of their driving armor emulate the conflict of heavy cavalry that Rhaenys notes to Corlys none of those peacetime warriors have ever carried out for actual. Nonetheless, one participant stands out, and that’s the dashing Dornishman Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). Besting two Baratheons and finally Prince Daemon – Daemon, dude, don’t gloat earlier than you’ve absolutely beat your opponent and tossed his mace and chain from the sector – Ser Criston asks for the favor of Princess Rhaenyra, whose tourney finery encompasses a lace neckline that emulates dragons’ wings. She indulges him as tragedy befalls the king, the queen, and the realm.
With the newborn refusing to show and Queen Aemma in immense ache, the Maester in cost has really useful a way taught on the Citadel, and King Velaryon tearfully agrees. However Aemma doesn’t survive the Cesarean part, and neither does the newborn.
“I’m wondering if, throughout these few hours my brother lived, my father lastly discovered happiness,” Princess Rhaenyra wonders to Prince Daemon on the funeral ceremony. They converse in Excessive Valyrian.
“Your father wants you extra now than ever.”
“I’ll by no means be a son.”
Later, at a brothel and surrounded by a rash of his metropolis guardsmen, Daemon raises his flagon. “King and council have lengthy rued my place as subsequent in line for the throne.” And he toasts to Viserys’s lifeless toddler son, “the inheritor for a day.” However as soon as Hightower blabs about this scene and his callous feedback to mentioned king and council, it’s curtains for Daemon’s probabilities. “You selected to rejoice your individual rise!” the king shouts. “I’ve determined to title a brand new inheritor.” And Princess Rhaenyra dons a ceremonial cowl and her woven necklace of Valyrian metal to obtain the fealty of all the nice homes, and lords on bended knee. When it’s time, she’s going to turn out to be the primary queen of the Seven Kingdoms. And Prince Daemon, for his half, is banished again to Runestone, the place the girl spouse he loathes lives. However as he prepares for departure on Caraxes, the dragon generally known as Blood Wyrm, he’s joined by Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), the lady of the pleasure homes who’s turn out to be his confidante.
In his hopes for a male inheritor, a son, the king uncared for his daughter. However in time and tragedy, and in flip with Daemon’s unbecoming rage and deceit, Viserys got here to know that Rhaenyra was all the time the precise girl for the job. Standing earlier than an enormous dragon cranium memorialized over an everlasting flame of candlelight, the king imparts to his chosen inheritor a dream – a prophecy, actually – of a terrifying years-long winter to come back. He calls it “the tune of ice and hearth,” and says it’s any ruling Targaryen’s obligation to organize for this occasion and shield the realm. Lastly, with a gesture towards the cranium, Viserys asks the princess what she sees within the creatures. “Us,” Rhaenyra solutions, for the dragons are the supply of Targaryen energy. The king nods, happy together with his daughter’s humility and knowledge. “The concept that we management the dragons is an phantasm. They’re an influence man ought to by no means have trifled with.” And for any Targaryen to rule – as king or queen – that should all the time be understood. They’re the Home of the Dragon. However the dragons will all the time be dragons. Welcome again to the sport of thrones.
Johnny Loftus is an impartial author and editor dwelling at giant in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Information, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Comply with him on Twitter: @glennganges