At three episodes into HOUSE OF THE DRAGON (I really need to stop calling it GAME OF THRONES), we’re finally given some much-needed character development. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the series thus far, but this episode was less about telling and more about showing who these people are. Some of GOT’s most captivating moments were not on the battlefield but in the throne room (or the bedroom!). It’s good to see this series’ writers are following suit (as well as delivering some pretty cool battle moments here and there).

Remember the good old days before a worldwide pandemic when the main thing we had to be upset about was how disappointing the GOT finale was? *sigh* The world was such a different place (OK, maybe it wasn’t the thing we were most worried about, but still…). Personally, I was of the crowd who thoroughly enjoyed GOT throughout its run and, frankly, was not enraged by the way it ended up. The final season was sloppy and rushed, undoubtedly, but how else could the series have possibly ended? (I’m so glad we don’t have a comments section!) That said, I wasn’t interested in a prequel series; I didn’t think we needed it—and perhaps we don’t. However, I have to concede that I’m finding HOUSE OF THE DRAGON to be incredibly captivating. Despite what I consider to be a lazy opening credits sequence, I must say I’ve really missed Westeros.

The episode, entitled SECOND OF HIS NAME, springs forward a few years to the second nameday of the king and queen’s new son…and thank goodness for that. I suspect we will witness more time jumps throughout the season, a tool that I found incredibly effective this week. We’re able to quickly recognize what has changed and what hasn’t over the course of three years. We’re also able to see how our main characters have settled into the events of episode two, specifically King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) nuptials and Daemons’ (Matt Smith, who, despite being terrific in this role, will always look cooler in a bow tie to me) wartime intentions. The most impactful character study this week, however, belongs to Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock.) All three undergo a drastic change in perspective within the course of the episode, but hers is the most grounded and, perhaps, relatable. She seems to appreciate moments of reflection, removing herself from conflict to think and be free rather than flying off the handle. I could learn a thing or two from her.

I must mention, too, that it’s interesting to see a king who is seemingly well-liked amongst his subjects (though not entirely without critics and gossips). After years of tyrannical ruling throughout the course of GOT it’s refreshing to see this royal family’s greatest threats lie amongst one another.

GAME OF THRONES—I mean…HOUSE OF THE DRAGON—is available to stream on HBO Max.

Ricky J Duarte

[He/him/his] Ricky is an actor, singer, and writer in New York City. Passions include: theme parks, Disney villains, and watching horror movies with his cat. He's also the host of the Rick or Treat Horrorcast podcast. www.RickOrTreat.com

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