Another great episode as House of the Dragon E8 sees a potentially award-winning performance from Paddy Considine as King Viserys could be. Viserys is falling apart due to his illness and the same could be said for his family as the grudges and bad blood between the Queen’s family and the heir to the Iron Throne threatens to lead to war.
House of the Dragon E8 jumps forward another six years as Corlys is dying and a proxy battle is being waged between those who wish to inherit the Driftwood Throne. Corlys’ brother, Vaemond wishes to sit on the throne as a true Velaryon – making an agreement Queen Alicent and her father as Viserys lies in his bed, dosed up on milk of the poppy. Rhaenyra and Daemon aren’t stupid. They attempt to make their own alliance with Princess Rhaenys who is still rightly pissed off with her niece who she believes killed her son to marry her uncle. Westeros is a strange place at times… A decision needs to be made regarding the succession and this brings all the major players back to King’s Landing where Viserys battles through the pain to sit on the Iron Throne on final time. The scene where he almost crawls to the throne is breathtaking. It is expertly directed and acted, with all the major characters showing concern for the one person they all care for, and Daemon shows the love he has for his brother by supporting him and placing the crown on his head. It’s a beautiful scene and a highlight in what has been a brilliant season. Everyone connected with the show just seems to get what it is all about. Little facial expressions and slight movements prove that this cast truly embodies these characters and even improve what is on the page in Martin’s Fire and Blood. Martin himself has claimed that Considine’s Viserys is an improvement and that is something that not many people will argue with.
House of the Dragon E8 plays with its audience and what we expect. Daemon has been quite calm recently but here he is able to show that he can still be the ruthless killer we fell in love with. Matt Smith has been a joy to watch as he develops this complex character – a prince who has at different points in this series been cold, ruthless, and vulnerable. He has been a killer, an heir to the throne, a caring brother, a horrid husband, and so much more. Yet, through it all, he still feels very much as Daemon should. He has changed through the years but Smith has kept a consistency with the character that Daenarys lacked in the final seasons of Game of Thrones. The smirk and the cold look he gives Aemond (a brilliantly cast Ewan Mitchell from The Last Kingdom) is the sign of an actor who just lives and breathes the character he is playing. I can’t wait to see things play out between those two! There is so much to love about this episode: the changing of Targaryen symbols to the Seven, the easing of the tension during a masterful dinner scene which then gives way to further sniping between the two sides, stunning visual effects, and perfection from the ensemble cast. It deserves to be watched more than once.
House of the Dragon E8 is further proof that this series deserves to stand on its own and not be seen as just a spin-off to Game of Thrones. In some ways, it betters the much-loved grimdark series and it is incredible to see another perfectly cast series with such brilliant performances from all involved.
The one thing holding everything together in King’s Landing is about to snap, and there is one thing that is certain: it is going to be some of the best TV of the last decade. Grimdark fans are in for a treat as we all look forward to Fire and Blood.