House of the Dragon: Driftmark Spoiler Review – ScreenHub Entertainment

If we wanted to pinpoint an exact moment where lines were drawn in the setup for the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, we definitely got that in the seventh episode of House of the Dragon. Tensions and emotions ran high this week, which focused on a few key screens, rather than a tapestry of events and locations.

The episode opens up with the funeral and eulogy for Laena, who died last week of suicide via dragonfire. The Targaryens and the Velaryons have gathered together for what might be the first time in years, yet despite this, the opening scenes of the show are short on dialogue. But the camera lingers on the faces of many characters as they stare daggers into others, most notably Alicent to Rhaenyra, or analyze the situation at large, which is what Otto Hightower has been doing, now that he’s Hand of the King again due to the death of the last hand at Harenhall. Otto feels like a sentry, his eye always watching, never missing a beat. Daemon seems to think all of this is somewhat amusing by chuckling during the eulogy. Meanwhile, Lord Corlys’ usually cool demeanor cracks as he tells Ser Quarl, Leanor’s boyfriend on the side, to “fetch his patron”. I’m sure Otto definitely noticed that.

[Credit: HBO Max]

This scene eventually transitions to night and two important things happen. Prince Aemond, Alicent’s second born, steals and pairs with Vhagar, the massive dragon that Laena once rode. He was dragonless, so used this opportunity to claim a fearsome dragon for himself. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra and Daemon eventually shack up on the beach. Both scenes are clearly shot in the daytime, but thanks to some VFX and colour correction, the scenes come off as “dusk”, we’ll say. My guess is that due to the backlash around the episode The Long Night, which was infamously too dark, the producers opted to film in broad daylight to avoid any conversation around not being able to see anything happen, especially since there was a dragon flying montage. And we do know these scenes were shot in daytime, as it was part of the first-look images, which feature this scene in broad daylight. Does the end result look a little bit silly? Yes and it was a little distracting and it makes me wonder why HBO is having trouble shooting night scenes. Rings of Power just had an episode where most of it was shot in pitch black coupled with torches but we could make out everything clearly, so why can’t HBO figure out how to light and set up a night shot in 2022? Despite having great character moments and a story that builds upon its earlier episodes quite well, House of the Dragon has been struggling in the effects and cinematography departments.

This is supposed to be nighttime [Credit: HBO Max]

The “theft” of Vhagar though has some intense ripple effects. As the Dragon was paired with Laena, her children were the natural heirs to the dragon. But Aemond usurped that claim from his cousins, who are furious at the challenge. Rhaenyra’s own children, Luce and Jace, come to their aid but are subsequently called bastards out in the open by Aemond. A fight ensures and Luce slashes Aemond across the face, permanently disfiguring him and causing the loss of one of his eyes in the process. I’m not sure if the show is making the audience want to pick a side in the conflict, but due to the cruel and absurd behaviour of Alicent’s two sons, we instinctively want to root for Rhaenyra’s side in the conflict. I kind of wish that it wasn’t so obvious though, I think it would’ve been better if the audience was struggling to pick a side, but it’s pretty obvious that the show is vilifying Alicent’s side.

[Credit: HBO Max]

From here, there’s a massive confrontation between the two sides in the coming conflict. Accusations are thrown left right and center, with Otto Hightower taking mental notes of everything and everyone. Alicent, furious that her son has lost an eye in a fight with Rhaenyra’s son, demands an eye for an eye, something King Viserys denies. When asked for the meaning of the fight and its source, the legitimacy of Rhaenyra’s children once again comes up, with Aemond all but confirming his mother, Alicent, as the source. Viserys, whether in denial or complete ignorance, refutes the claim and states the matter has to end, due to the two houses being one family. It’s a brilliantly tense scene that builds on the growing animosity built up over the season thus far. Alicent’s usually calm and reserved composure breaks in this scene and she attacks Rhaenyra in the open with the Catspaw knife, to which Rhaenyra states “now they see you as you are”. When the two are pulled apart, we have two clear parties on either side of the room and we can probably say battle lines have now been drawn.

[Credit: HBO Max]

When Alicent, Viserys and company leave Driftmark, Rhaenyra suggests to Daemon that they should marry to solidify the Targaryen claim to the throne. They stage the death of Laenor, who isn’t really there for Rhaenyra and vanishes into the night with Ser Quarl while his parents assume he was killed and burned. With Laenor assumed dead, Rhaenyra has “no choice” but to marry again as she’s the heir and marries Daemon. He finally has the throne in reach. It’s kind of messed up, but thankfully Daemon and Rhaenyra didn’t actually kill Laenor, which would have made it really hard to root for them. In a way, they kind of saved Laenor, despite the dark means they went to see it so. But it does show that the duo are not afraid of taking pawns off the board completely, so we should take note as things get even more contentious. The show continues to struggle in the effects department, but House of the Dragon continues to deliver strong performances and an interesting story.

2 thoughts on “House of the Dragon: Driftmark Spoiler Review – ScreenHub Entertainment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s