House of the Dragon: 2.01 - A Son for a Son

ctg

weaver of the unseen
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As Alicent grows concerned by Aegon's Small Council, Rhaenyra arrives at a fateful decision.
IMDB rating: 8.8 (4.5k votes) Runtime: 71 minutes
 
I have to say two years is too long time between the seasons, and yeah, they could pin it on the writer and actor strikes, but the truth is the production began way before the strikes, and it was mostly going in the UK/EU. You can even see at above shot the Irish Sea as evidence.

It annoys me that I'll have to go and read a bit instead of relying on my memory. Like I said, two years between seasons is too long. But the funny thing is that AMZ Rings of Power is coming at August when this one is finishing. So it took them too two years to finish a season.

This season opens up with a new intro, with this time us seeing figures on the canvas instead of a cryptic blood trail staining everything. Personally I'd loved to see the whole tapestry as my attention was drawn to every stitch instead of the images they were portraying.

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The season opens up on Lord Cregan Stark recounting the tale of how he was chosen to don the Black at the wall. Not that he's wearing one in the picture with his humongous claymore, strapped to his back. Yet, back in the day 1/10th of Starks and the Clans were chosen to go to the Wall to do their duty.

After Cregan recounted the tale of the Conquerer coming to the Wall, Jace pointed: "Surely the great Thorren Stark would have sooner died than bent the knee. Unless he believed that Conquerer could bring peace and unity to Seven Kingdoms."

"You're right in that," Cregan admitted.

"That unity is now threatened," Jace stated. "The realm will soon tear itself apart... if the men don't remember the oaths sworn to King Vicerys and his rightful heir."

Cregan glanced at the young prince and said, "Starks do not forget their oats, my prince. But you must know that my gaze is forever torn apart between North and South. In Winter my duty to North is even more dire..." Not that it's arriving in many, many decades. "... than the one I owe to King's Landing."

He is right in the respect, and its wonderful to see the Wall in full operation and not the half cocked measure it'd become in the GoT times. The Wall will longer than the men on it. That is for sure, but as they arrived to the viewing platform, Cregan said, "I need my men here."

"Whilst your men guard against wildlings and weather," Jace stated. "The HighTowers plan to usurp the Throne. If my Mother is hold the realm, keep them united, she needs an army. War is coming, to whole of the realm, my lord. We cannot wage it without the support of the North."

He stopped and gazed the scene without able to say another word.

Cregan moved to his side and said, "My father brought King Jaehyrys and Queen Alyssana here to see the Wall. His grace stood at this very outlook, and watched their dragons, the greatest power in the world, refused to cross the Wall. Do you think my ancestors build 700-foot wall of ice to keep out snow and savages?"

So the Prince popped the question, "What does it keep out?"

"Death."

No lies there. We know the truth, or part of it, since GRRM still haven't delivered the final edit on Winds of Winter. But he's not lying, the Wall keeps out the death of world. Not a nuclear, but literal version of death that they have in the GRRM's fantasy world. The interesting bit was that Cregon then went on and promised "grey beards," instead of saying veterans for the Black Queen's campaign.

When the Prince asked, "Can they fight?" I laughed out loud. They might not be fresh and agile as the young ones, but they have experience and cunning to compensate for what they're lacking in the physical department. In fact, the truth is, some of them might be stronger than their younger versions. Most certainly they are wiser and under right command they'll do well.

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Cruel Prince and Mum. I loved that Daemon tried to get Mum to turn around and go to King's Landing to wage a war and get "a Son for a Son," revenge done, because in his mind that would right the wrongs and possibly prevent the longer clash between the Greens and Blacks. But Mum wasn't having none of it, since she'd been out patrolling the blockage for a long time. Yet, Daemon was persistent on his demands because his wife was grieving, and he couldn't face her. To be on her side.

Men think it's a weakness to show the soft side, especially back in those days. And to be honest, being a good husband isn't something the Cruel Prince possess, because he hasn't learned it from anyone. But mum was right as she pointed that she got news of her daughter's death via Raven, just like the Black Queen, and it took her "weeks to even began to process," of what had happened.

You just simply are broken. To a thousand pieces. And you can see it on her face, as the Black Queen faces the sea and cries her eyes out, while the dragon remains by her side, pining for mum.

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Fantastic shot from the Red Keeps banners. I loved hearing the shouts, commands, grunts and whining as the dragon approached from South East. But my question is, why Vaghar has holes in his wings? He's not an undead dragon, is he?

Over the years I have read and played fantasy games, the undead, skeletal version of (Western) dragon is the most terrifying and fascinating piece, because you cannot but accept that it flies by using magic.

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Well, I guess that is a bodyguard duty, when there's no fighting. To satisfy the lady, whatever her needs might be. It's just Ser Cole didn't really seem to like it. Maybe it's making him feeling dirty, but after all, he's the one and only who is to remain by her side.

"There is a chill in their air," Alicient mentioned. "The summer is well and truly over."

Ser Cole glanced at her and said, "We are expected at the small council." But that is not what he really wanted to say. And the Queen wasn't talking about air temperature. She moved closer and looked him in the eye, "We cannot. Again."

Ser Cole nodded. "Yes, your Grace."

What is it about that women cannot come out about their lovers, and yet, men are allowed to boast about their conquests. GoT has several times shown this controversy, but that same thing applies to the real world. To us, humans. Mere mortals.

They were as if nothing had happened when the Small Council gathered together to hear Otto Hightowers news. That Rhaenyra's blockade was working, and the Vale was still yet to answer to their call. As expected, the Riverlands were also in the call list, and had done nothing. Yet, the attention from the news were interrupted because King Aegon II had decided to bring their toddler in the meeting, instead of focusing in the important matters.

I'm not really sure if he's made to be a king, or that Jaehyrys will ever accent to the throne, when he still has so much to learn. But it's also kind of tradition that the golden haired Targaryan overlords don't know how to hold the reins of power with dignity. But one thing he got right, as he'd asked Aemond to attend the meeting.

King "best sword" walked on the map and immediately identified Harrenhall as the place that they must hold, if they were to face the Blacks.

King Aegon smiled and stated, "Riverlords will either declare for me, or they will meet Vhagar and SunFyre together. And, a-and maybe we can burn the blockade while we are at it."

Alison shocked hearing those words said, "Rhaenyra has dragons."

"Mine are bigger," the King stated. :ROFLMAO:

Might be so, but man, what a line as it not only it's a great punchline, it also speaks about the lack of experience. The wisdom is completely lacking and it proves that Aegon II doesn't understand how to wage a war. He has Hitler like grand illusions dominating his vision, while the reality is quite different, even if GRRM's Westeros is a fantasy world.

Power tripping Aegon went to state on Alicient face, "Fat, old lord Tully will either raise my banner or see his burn."

He really wanted to fly there to demonstrate his 'power.' But Otto Hightower spoke about "patience and humility," so that they could get answers from other Houses, because it was the tradition. It all made Aegon II to sigh and slump in his chair, instead of understanding the meaning and wisdom behind those words.

After the Small Council meeting, Alicient met with Lord Larys only to hear that he'd disposed of her staff from disloyal members and hand-picked new ones. It didn't make her happy, instead she felt that she'd been betrayed again.

Although more was coming as after King Aegon's met with his subjects, Lord Larys suggested to him to dispose Otto Hightower, because he was the old king's Hand. Not that Otto had any suspicions, when he finally arrived to answer Alicient summonings. The Green Queen continued being on her high horse, demanding that his dad would remain as her ally.

Ser Hightower however pushed it aside because he'd more than one iron in the fire, and he couldn't solely focus on tending Queen's wishes. He told her that Aemond, "only wishes to please," but also that he's angry. Alicient claimed that Aegon still head to her words, in private, but you can sense that the power is slipping from the grasp as the days after Old King passing rolls by.

Does she realize that the future doesn't look so good?

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The other Queen, however, only wished to find the remains. Whatever there was left to confirm his death and being able to put the remains in the ground. It is amazing that no fishes nipped on the wing, because I'd have assumed that the nothing would have remained.

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While the Queen were with the remains the Cruel Prince met with White Worm. This time she was a stowaway in one of the ships that the blockade searched. She claimed that she'd been selling secrets to Otto for a long time. But Cruel Prince wasn't happy because she wasn't in tip top condition ready to be shagged. Not that it was on his mind, because he was still fuming about her making Aegon the King and profiting from it.

She claimed that she "would posses no value" to Daemon, because she knew "nothing and less." There just wasn't any secrets she was able to sell. Maybe.

Yet, Daemon ordered to throw her into the dungeons and treat her as if she was the traitor to the crown.

It was only after that the Black Queen returned to Dragon's Landing, and straight away proceeded to Council meeting. All she could say through gritted teeth was: "I want Aemond Targaryan."

The Council bowed to her command, didn't ask anything as she moved to her chambers.

At the deep Daemond went to White Worms cell, and said, "In all your years as a merchant of gossip, you must have accumalated a number of eyes and ears in the Red Keep. Servants who knows the comings and goings."

"Scheme with someone else, Daemond," White Worm stated. "I was once in your thrall, but no longer."

"Transaction then," Cruel Prince countered. "Your knowledge against your freedom."

In the Black Queen's chambers, Jace told Rhae that Vale had agreed to terms in exchange of a dragon and that Starks were going to deliver the veterans. 2000 greybeards. And then they cried together.

It was strange to see Alicient going to temple to light a candle to all those who had passed, including Lucerian Targaryan, while the funeral was happening at the keep. Why would she do that to her enemy?

It was not long after Daemon managed to sneak into the King's Landing, and buy protection from one of his old men, while he went to follow up on details that he'd canvassed from White Worm. Interestingly his subject was one of the rat catchers. And he wanted to lead the loyal protector into the keep and slay Aemond.

Mouse and the Guard made it to the keep. Through Throne Room where Aegon was boasting with his yes-men to rat infested tunnels, where Mouse confessed the he didn't know his way around. Because he wasn't allowed upstairs. "A different ground handles that," he claimed. The guard had none of it. They were under orders to find Aemond, but he wasn't anywhere around when they reached his chambers.

The pair didn't give up. The searched the level, to find golden haired son and daughter in roayl chambers. And then they proceeded on burdering a baby boy for their pleed on "A Son for a Son" case.

--

Beautiful opening for the season 2. 7/10
 
In “Fire & Blood,” Jaehaerys is still killed by Blood and Cheese. But in the book, the “historians” of Westeros say the men were not explicitly commissioned by Daemon Targaryen to kill Aemond like they are on “House of the Dragon,” but rather just given the orders “an eye for an eye, a son for a son.”

Also in the history book: Rhaenyra does not call for Aemond’s death; the murder of Jaehaerys takes place in Alicent’s bedroom, not in Helaena’s, where Blood and Cheese tie Alicent down and use her as bait waiting for Helaena and the children to come in and say goodnight. Additionally, rather than point at Jaehaerys to show he is the boy and effectively select his death, Helaena picks her youngest son, Maelor, to die, hoping Blood and Cheese will spare Jaehaerys. But they kill Jaehaerys anyway.

“One of the things that’s challenging about adapting ‘Fire & Blood’ is that there is this intentionally conflicting narrative in the book where there are often these three different viewpoints on the history that don’t line up with one another,” “House of the Dragon” showrunner Ryan Condal says. “So it’s our job as adapters to try to find the objective line through this to bring the audience into the narrative as we see it having been laid out.”

I definitely got wrong the assassins. It is just so complicated when you don't know the source material and not all the names come up. Personally, killing the baby boy shocked me. Hearing them sawing it off was horrifying, and I honestly thought the mother would've screamed as soon as she was in the clear. Thus alerting the whole castle on what had happened.

I also don't mind that they altered the source material, as the whole sneaking into the city to find a guard and a guide (ratcatcher) was enough. Not talking about sneaking into the castle, and finding them missing Aemond by only a few moments. If they had been successful, they would have removed a lot of drama from this season.
 
The opening credits for the first season of House of the Dragon took viewers by surprise two years ago. Its first shock was that producers, HBO, and composer Ramin Djawadi opted to reuse Djawdi’s admittedly iconic musical suite written for Game of Thrones more than a decade ago; the second was… figuring out what in the Seven Hells those rivers of blood were about.

While there is a definite beauty and meaning to the season 1 table-setter, with the red streams and tributaries marking each new family member in the Targaryens’ contentious succession from Aegon the Conqueror down through the many children of both Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Coke), it was always a little esoteric. So it perhaps is less unexpected to find season 2 has opted for an entirely different opening credits sequence. This time we’re examining the tapestries.

Aye, tapestries, and there is something immediately clever and foreboding about this approach. Once again House of the Dragon is attempting to tell the story of fire and blood that comprises the Targaryens’ legacy, but now the details are a little clearer to viewers. Much like how the original Game of Thrones’ classic opening titles resembled scholars and kings examining a war map in Dragonstone or at the Citadel, the new House of the Dragon opener might represent the tapestries the Mad King ran his fingers through as a child at the Red Keep—or that Robert Baratheon had ripped down from the walls around the Iron Throne. They tell a story we are currently watching unfold… and it seems to be weaving together a tragedy.
 
Instead of screaming her head off in the usually pretty well-guarded castle, she grabs her other baby and runs into Alicent’s room—where her mother is naked in bed with the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole. But she doesn’t react to that. Nor does she crumble into hysterics at what’s just happened. She’s just eerily calm as she announces “They killed the boy.”

For Saban, figuring out exactly how Heleana—who’s already an offbeat, unpredictable person—would react to the shock of seeing her son murdered, then catching her mother with an off-limits lover, took some time. “That was the most exciting thing about playing that scene for me, because some aspects were scary,” she said. “I had to try and find—something that was cool and positive was reminding myself: this is a specific character, and [we are showing] how she would deal with this. And in a way, that gave quite good boundaries within which to see what happened.”

Saban knew Heleana’s reaction was bound to startle the audience. “I think people are surprised by her apparent lack of—for example, at the end of the episode when she comes in on Alicent and Criston and the way she delivers the information that Jaehaerys is dead, people have been like, ‘that was a bit unfeeling.’ But I think that you can’t underestimate how you behave in something that is as high stakes and as traumatic as that,” Saban said. “And I think she’s someone who is so particular and specific anyway that it would be understandable that it would be an intensified version of that when the sh*t really hits the fan. I kind of had fun with [her reaction] being quite far from [how I would actually react]. Also, luckily for everyone, no one will have to go through that. But you can’t imagine. You can’t imagine what it would be like. I can’t imagine.”
 
I think Ser Cristian Cole is being showing short in Ep1 of this season as he was in S1.

Blood and Cheese was far more dramatic in the book than in the opening episode.

That said this was a tremendous start to the season. Happy they got the distinction between the White cloak Twins out there. It will lead to a compelling sequence later on.
 
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With dramatic, do you mean the murder was more visceral?

Not quite. The decision that Heleana had to make came across as more terrible. If I remember correctly the children were awake when she made the decision.
 
Overall good start. Plenty of intrigue. Could have done with previous season recap on how everyone is related and who killed who.
Not many guards in the palace??
 
The sets are great but the castles look a little too new and clean inside don’t they? Well, clean is fine but they shouldn’t look like the new sets they are. Also the Iron Throne is now comfortable to relax on with a drink.
 
Why did they kill the kid when they knew it was not their target? No eyepatch.
 

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