REVIEW: House of the Dragon – Episode 3 ‘Second of His Name’

Last Updated on September 6, 2022

Time is flying by as three years have passed in the world of Westeros. The tension is building in House of the Dragon E3 as King Viserys and most of the realm (the men at least) are celebrating the second birthday of his baby son, Aegon. His wife, Queen Alicent Hightower is heavily pregnant and his daughter and heir, Princess Rhaenyra is fighting against the fact that she is the most eligible woman in the world as men from all of the great houses line up with proposals – all of which she is not interested in. Meanwhile, the sulking Prince Daemon, brother to the king and his former heir, is off fighting a war in the Stepstones, attempting to bring down the creepy Crab King.

House of the Dragon- Episode 3House of the Dragon E3 slows down the pace a bit more, continuing the tension building as the major characters in the coming conflict pop up into place, ready and waiting. You don’t need to be a reader of Fire and Blood or a lover of Game of Thrones to spot that dark times are coming. Viserys is drowning in wine as he tries to numb the feeling of isolation and helplessness that has swallowed him since his wife’s death. Rhaenyra is growing more distant as the realm expects Viserys to name his firstborn son as heir and she flees the hunt taking part in her little brother’s honour and spends the night talking with Sir Criston Cole about love and duty before slaughtering an attacking boar and caking herself in blood. As she displays her strength and anger, Viserys only appears weaker and more helpless as the hunting party capture a brown stag and hold the beast ready for an easy kill, one that he fumbles with.

There’s a gritty, earthy, lived-in feel to the world of House of the Dragon. It differs to Amazon’s pristine and glimmering The Rings of Power and suits a grimdark tale inspired by some of the bloodiest periods of human history. There’s a weariness to the characters that the audience can relate to and the great cast – especially the amazing Milly Alcock who seems has mastered the art of opening up to the audience with subtle facial expressions and movements – pull House of the Dragon E3 forward through the political dialogue and plotting before the episode builds up to some of the promised fire and blood. Matt Smith is as delightful as ever as the petulant warrior Prince Daemon as we finally have a chance to see why he is feared by many and seen as one of the best warriors in Westeros. House of the Dragon E3 continues to do what the previous episodes did so well – deliver a Game of Thrones experience that we have come to expect, but with added dragons. It still brings a few twists and shocks but for now, it is in a comfort zone as it doesn’t bring anything groundbreaking like its predecessor – but it does what we want so well and it is hard to argue with the end product.

The tension is building as we edge closer to the inevitable conflict. It’s a slow burn but House of the Dragon E3 is slowly feeding its audience what we want. More fire. More blood. Another great episode for fans of what has so far been a very consistent show. Grimdark for TV at its best.

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Memories of Blood and Shadow, and The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of School at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Elden Ring. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.