Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon Episode 8 SPOILERS.
What an ordeal episode 8 of House of the Dragon was. Gosh, I’m guessing one of the Best Actor Emmys tonight will be engraved with Paddy Considine’s name. Disintegrated while still alive, Viserys has some of the strongest scenes of the entire season in this episode. It was painful to watch, clinging to life with every breath, a self-sacrificing and almost humiliating performance.
The episode itself was rather slow and again very dialogue driven. To sum up this episode – and Viserys’s life in general – in one sentence, one should use George Bernard Shaw’s quote: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. He remains the most tragic character on this show, getting close in every attempt to fix things, get it right, make it all fail again. Which doesn’t always happen out of gross incompetence.
Because sometimes he can still convince his family, for example that for an almost perfect dinner, his descendants finally seem to laugh together. But now… Viserys wouldn’t be Viserys if, on his deathbed on painkillers, he still mistook his wife for his daughter and ushered in the demise of his dynasty with a perfect misunderstanding. I’m glad he won’t notice anymore. He wasn’t a bad guy, not even a good father, but he wasn’t made for work.
The most punchable face is Aemond a second time. And that despite a cast change due to the time jump. Someone has to imitate him first. The boy, whom I felt sorry for the consequences beforehand, has become intoxicated with power because of his king-size kite. Nothing against the looks of Ewan Mitchell. It’s mainly the wig that doesn’t do him any favors. He has an attractive, interesting face, but here it looks like he stretched it on purpose to be able to walk on it with even more condescending disgust at those around him. It is the youth’s lack of self-control that, against Visery’s will, to calm the waves, tosses thick boulders from the tallest tower of the red keep into the water. A nice side note was how much Daemon seemed to recognize himself in Aemond. At least that was the expression I read on Matt Smith’s face at the time. The names are not coincidental anagrams, I think.
Interestingly enough, Rhaeny’s support for Rhaenyra and her not-so-secret bastards stabbed her brother-in-law Vaemond Velaryon in the back. Rhaenyra certainly hadn’t counted on that—and without Viserys, who took herself to the throne on 2 percent battery power to hear the petitioners for a change, she probably wouldn’t have gotten them. Rhaenys certainly still thinks that Rhaenyra was behind Laenor’s alleged death. I can’t see through it. Or is it sheer loyalty to her badly wounded husband? And I’m just now realizing that this really follows the rules of a classic soap opera, actually…
It will cost Vaemond at least two-thirds of his head when Daemon decides to save his wife/niece and his brother’s daughter. First the sword, of course. Characters and conflicts are rarely as intricate and complex as here (which again goes against the rules of the soap). It’s almost depressing how much most of the characters here are victims of the circumstances and decisions of others, capable only of actions that in turn victimize others. It is the most dangerous Hot Potato game you can imagine.
Well, next week the blades will probably come out again, which must be especially dangerous for Rhaenyra. Her approach to Alicent seemed genuine and the Queen also wanted to honor her husband’s will, it seemed. Visery’s last words probably put an end to this peace, and so far only one of the two warring factions knows it. Don’t cut your nails this week, you need something to chew on Monday. Episode Nine Goes Wild!