House of the Dragon S1.07 — Episode 7 slump

Spoilers below for House of the Dragon S1.07 — Driftmark

What a terrible episode! I just…can’t get over how poorly it was shot and edited, the vast expanses of time with no dialogue and many somber looks, another jarring time jump, and bad character development. I’d say let’s dive in, but it’ll actually be more like Laenor just standing in the water.

The episode is named Driftmark because it mainly all takes place on Driftmark. Clever. Everyone has gathered for Laena’s funeral, including Otto Hightower, who has been reinstated as Hand after the untimely, fiery death of Lord Strong. The funeral is generally normal except that the many comments about not “thinning” the strength of the Valaryon blood directed at Rhaenyra make Daemon giggle.

During the shiva (I’m just kidding, they are definitely not Jewish but they did have a reception after the funeral), everything goes downhill. In both the production of the show and the content. They spend what seems like a full 5 minutes in silence, just cutting between characters giving one another knowing and/or annoyed and/or somber looks. The only dialogue comes when Alicent and Viserys’ daughter Haelena starts chanting to a spider and Aegon complains that he has to marry her. Fed up by her weirdness, he decides to get drunk.

Laenor stands in the water and his dad gets pissed and asks his lover to fetch him. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra sends her kids to bed and Viserys decides to go to bed as well. On his way, though, his flesh eating virus gets the best of him and he calls Alicent by the name of his late wife. I’m sure that didn’t bother Alicent at all, she’s so secure.

As night falls, we watch Rhaenyra and Daemon walk the beach together. For some reason, even though this show has the budget of a small country, they obviously shot these scenes in full daylight with a blue gel over the lens. The lighting was atrocious and the quality equally bad. It was so distracting and really disappointing when you know what they have in their coffers, as they’d say in the show.

In any case, Rhaenyra and Daemon discuss how “shitty” their lives are. I have that in quotes because these two are literally the most privileged people in Westeros and all they do is complain. There are literal peasants who live in an area of King’s Landing called Flea Bottom. I’m sorry your castles don’t fit your dragons and your husbands are gay.

After Rhaenyra reminds Daemon she’s not a child anymore (ew), they make out and then have sex. In 9 months (aka one minute in Dragon time), will Rhaenyra be birthing a blonde babe? I think so! The two of them hatch a plan to get Laenor out of the picture so they can marry and make a claim for the throne. Their plan works, they stage Laenor’s death and marry at the end of the episode. Who knows how much time has passed? 1 day, 1 week, 1 year? Time does not exist on this show!

During the night, while Daemon and Rhaenyra are consummating their love, Aemond comes upon sleeping Vhagar, the oldest and biggest dragon. He was bonded to Laena and now has no master. Aemond successfully claims him and rides him back to the castle. He is greeted by Laena’s daughters and Rhaenyra’s sons who are pissed that Aemond has bonded with Vhagar (the daughters because Vhagar should have gone to the dragonless one and the sons because if Aemond has a dragon, then who will they pick on?).

The kids start to fight and it doesn’t look good. Aemond does not hold back and punches the boys and girls equally (yay feminism!). He calls the boys bastards and picks up a rock to try to kill one of them. Just then, a Valaryon steel dagger enters the scuffle and Lucerys slashes Aemond across the eye, blinding him. The Kingsguards finally arrive on the scene and break up the fight.

In the direct aftermath, kids and adults are yelling at each other. Alicent is, of course, pissed that her son has been maimed (and her older son was too drunk to have helped), Viserys is pissed that his family is divided, Rhaenyra is pissed that people keeping (correctly) calling her sons bastards, and Laenor is nowhere to be found because he is definitely sleeping with his lover.

When Viserys questions Aemond, he says he heard that the boys were bastards from Aegon who said he heard it because everyone knows. Nice of him not to throw his mother under the bus. Viserys says the next person who questions the lineage of his grandsons will have their tongue removed. Gulp!

Viserys seems to think that’s enough for one night and slowly tries to return to bed but Alicent is not having it. She demands an eye for an eye — literally! — and obviously, Viserys says no. Alicent then commands Ser Criston Cole to take little Viserys’ eye and he seems ready to do it until Rhaenyra double commands him not to. In a holding pattern, Alicent decides to take matters into her own hands. She grabs a dagger and goes to attack Rhaenyra. They have a very drawn out but ultimately kind of silly conversation and then Alicent slashes Rhaenyra’s arm. Aemond then explains it was “a fair exchange — lost an eye but gained a dragon.” Why didn’t he say that 15 min ago and save his mom the embarrassment?

But, her anger served a purpose in showing her dad that she means business. He’s now ready to work with her on making Aegon king (I think he would have done that anyway, but whatever). With her father, Cristen Cole, Lord Larys Strong, and now the biggest dragon on her side, I do think Alicent and the Hightowers can give the Targaryens a run for their money.

Originally published at http://lizziekreitman.wordpress.com on October 3, 2022.

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