Kids, they grow up so fast. After the confusing, decade-long time of the last week, jump up house of the dragon, the Targaryen and Velaryon spawn have progressed from mere babies (or glints in their eyes) to wild children. Drink, jerk off, fight. And now that the dust has settled on this quantum leap, it’s time they took center stage.
Bad Heir Days
But first an olive branch. “It’s time you came home,” Viserys (Paddy Considine) tells his brother Daemon (Matt Smith). “I know we had our differences, but let them pass over the years.” Perhaps he’s forgotten that Daemon was expelled from court for trying to marry his niece (aka Visery’s daughter Rhaenyra, then played by Millie Alcock; now Emma D’Arcy). It can’t be said that the same forgiveness came from Daemon to Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), who has now returned as the Hand. “No matter how fat the leech gets, it always wants another meal,” Daemon whispers venomously to the listless Otto.
This episode focuses on the question of inheritance, succinctly formulated by Steve Toussaint’s Lord Corlys. “What is this short mortal life,” he asks, “if not the pursuit of a legacy?” His wife, Rhaenys (Eve Best), seems unimpressed. Finally, they mourn the loss of their daughter Laena (who self-immolates in the final episode) and rightly fear for the life of their son Laenor (John MacMillan), whose sham marriage to the princess is the talk of the land.
His life is further put on the line when Rhaenyra and Daemon finally do what they left off nearly 10 years ago and engage in sexy, sexy incest on the moonlit deck of a moored boat in the controversial fourth episode.
The Eye of the Storm
When he says “legacy,” Corlys really means succession. Ding Ding. In the blue corner are the brown-haired bastards: Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey; Sons of Rhaenyra and Laenor, although they bear a close resemblance to the late Harwin Strong. In the red corner we have the blonde bombshells: Aegon, Aemond and Daeron, representing the duel between Hightower and Targaryen. You can forget about half of them for now. The only ones that matter are cocky elder Targaryen Aegon (Ty Tennant), creepy middle Targaryen Aemond (Leo Ashton), and Rhaenyra and Laenor’s ill-defined Velaryon blob Jacaerys (Leo Hart). If that’s too much to remember, frankly, maybe house of the dragon it’s not for you
Unlike his brothers, Aemond doesn’t have a dragon – but with Laena Velaryon’s death a mount has been freed. In the middle of the night, he sneaks out and claims the dragon (and braces himself here house of the dragon‘s creature design, which has evolved massively since then game of Thrones). When his cousins - including Daemon’s children with Laena – discover this betrayal, a fight ensues. Jacaerys grabs a paste before Lucerys catches Aemond’s eye. “The Kingsguard have never had to defend prince against prince!” wails wet blanket Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) as the aftermath of the night’s enucleation begins.
The game is in progress
Aemond may have lost an eye, but the real meaning of the skirmish is to keep the families firmly and irreconcilably against each other. Curiously, the actual crime is not the stabbing, but the repetition of bizarre rumors about the legitimacy of the Velaryon boys. “Where did you hear such slanders?” Viserys asks his eldest grandson, Aegon. “Everyone knows that,” replies the blond prince. “Just look at her.”
But while Viserys is busy insulting his heir’s honor (“Anyone whose tongue dares question the birth of Princess Rhaenyra’s sons should it be removed”), his wife Alicent (Olivia Cooke) is understandably upset about her new-eyed son. She wants an eye for an eye, and when that is denied, she draws the knife herself. In the ensuing scuffle, Rhaenyra is cut. “These endless power struggles have to stop,” demands Viserys, “we’re a family!” Too late, boy.
“I behaved in a way that was inappropriate for my status or anyone else’s,” Alicent Papa Otto laments. But the buttoned-up man who never shows a flare of emotion doesn’t have that self-flagellation. “We’re playing an ugly game and now for the first time I see that you have the determination to win it,” he tells his increasingly wild girl. Continue to play.
And then house of the dragon does what it seems to do a lot. It devotes the last five minutes of the episode to the leapfrogging action of the plot. Rhaenyra and Daemon go very dark. “I need you, uncle,” she tells him. “You and I are made of fire.” This might sound like lyrics from an early noughties Euro-pop-bop, but it catalyzes a devastating chain reaction. Laenor is murdered by his lover under Daemon’s orders, freeing uncle and niece to tie the knot. Poor Laenor, who felt like a semi-main character, is eliminated in a quick post-production montage. “They will fear what else we may be capable of,” declares Rhaenyra. She is right. With Rhaenyra and Daemon united, a quick mid-season death is the best one can hope for.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/house-of-the-dragon-episode-7-recap-hbo-b2191486.html House of the Dragon: The 3 Biggest Talking Points from Episode 7