Nutshell Review: House of the Dragon, S1: E3
PG Score: 9/10
House of the Dragon is available on HBO Max. New episodes every Sunday at 9 PM ET.
*SOME SPOILERS BELOW*
"Second of his Name" introduced viewers to Viserys's first born son, Aegon, on his 2nd name day (birthday) after a three-year time jump from where we left off. Viserys and Rhaenyra are still far apart, as Aegon’s birth puts the realm’s pressure on Viserys to name him his heir. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra worries about her position and struggles with the pressure of marriage while feeling quite alone. The War in the Stepstones carries on and things don’t look good for Daemon and Corlys as they battle the Crabfeeder.
The third episode accomplished a few essential things for the series going forward. Paddy Considine is doing a fantastic job at showing King Viserys's weaknesses. Viserys comes off as happy and he is, but the pressure of ruling a Kingdom and trying to make everyone around him happy is starting to crack his façade, all while he tries to reach his daughter, Rhaenyra. The three-year time jump shows that his choice to marry her friend has left Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) feeling isolated.
This episode finally mentions the title she has as, “the realm's delight." Her traveling around on dragonback with her mother endeared her to the people and helped earn her this title. One thing the show hasn’t done well is showing her as just that. She’s been aged up for the series and the time jumps haven’t shown how loved she is to the rest of the Kingdom. Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), among others, including the newly-introduced Lannister brothers, are pushing Viserys to name Aegon his new heir while also encouraging marriage matches for Rhaenyra.
Sights to Behold
The visuals, as always, were amazing. We got an epic hunting scene that put King Robert’s hunting scene in the first season to shame. A big budget does help. Returning to the Stepstones, we got to see more of the isles and a new dragon or two to assist in the war efforts. The Velaryon armor was some of the better armor we have seen, only enhancing the presence of Corlys Velaryon and his men. This episode also briefly introduces his son, who is primed to have a larger role. The dragons in battle are always amazing to see and the opening scene of battle leaves a lasting impression. It is the battle at the end in which Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) gets to truly shine in an amazingly choreographed fight that helps close out the episode.
Job Well Done
Fantastic episode! The score continues to be wonderful and the visuals were amazing, but it is the dialogue and politicking that elevate this episode of House of the Dragon. "Second of his Name" sets up a tremendous amount of story for the future, while keeping the action to basically one location, in addition to the Stepstones. Very well done.