Review: House Of The Dragon Midseason Changes

With the end of Episode 5; We light the way; House of the Dragon has reached the half way point of its debut season and season two has already been announced.

Most people have picked out Matt Smith (Daemon) and Milly Alcock (Rhaenyra) as House of the Dragon’s best performances and whilst I agree they both do a terrific job.

Matt Smith and Milly Alcock

I want to pick out two other actor’s that I believe also deserve praise, Paddy Considine and Rhys Ifans.

Paddy Considine plays King Viserys Targaryen who is the ruler of the seven kingdoms, considered a weak ruler.

He is King at a time of peace, his Grandfather Jaehaerys I ruled over 50 Years of peace, so long that his children, Prince Baelon and Princess Alyssa, Viserys’s parents, predeceased him and so Viserys came to the throne through a Great Council at the exclusion of his female cousin.

I feel this is a role that Paddy Considine has been waiting to play.

Rhys Ifans plays Ser Otto Hightower who at the start of the Series is the Hand of King and is a schemer and seems to be always up to something.

His daughter is Alicent (Emily Carey) who he manoeuvres into position beside King Viserys as his new Queen.

When Alicent has a son to Viserys, Ser Otto Hightower vows to do all he can to make sure his blood gets onto the Iron Throne.

King Viserys has named his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) as his heir to the Iron Throne.

Before her Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) was King Viserys’ chosen successor, but he was deemed too hot headed, and the King feared the seven kingdoms would have had war if he was on the Iron Throne.

Daemon feels unfairly treated and he still believes he should be Viserys’ heir.

Ryan Condal, House of the Dragon’s co-showrunner, explained why the series’ creative team chose to use such a fractured structure for its first season.

“This is how you tell this story correctly,” Condal said.

“We’retelling a story of a generational war. We set everything up so by the time that first sword stroke falls, you understand all the players.”

This House of the Dragon detail is surprising, especially considering how differently Game of Thrones approached its timeline issues.

That said, the show’s source material does encourage it to embrace a segmented structure.

Unlike Game of Thrones, which is based on a series of largely linear novels, House of the Dragon is based on Fire & Blood, essentially a fictional history book detailing the various highs and lows of House Targaryen.

While Fire & Blood still features more than its fair share of compelling stories, it also explores its conflicts from a pulled-back, historical perspective.

So, it’s easy to see why Condal and company chose to stay true to the time jumps presented in Fire & Blood when adapting House of the Dragon.

The Dance of the Dragons, which is the Targaryen civil war that House of the Dragon will depict, was a conflict many years in the making before it finally broke out.

Viewers will need some background information, but no one wants to get buried in minutia.

As is the case with many of the conflicts that have unfolded in George. R. R. Martin’s fictional world, the Dance of the Dragons is a war that pulls in members from multiple families and generations.

It’s a conflict that could lose some of its dramatic power if the build-up were shortened.

By allowing the series’ timeline to stay true to Martin’s original source material, House of the Dragon not only has a strong chance of nailing its depiction of the Dance of the Dragons, but it could end up feeling even more comprehensive and dramatic than Game of Thrones.

The Series so far has been pretty slow and in places a bit boring, but it is building up to something and battle lines are being drawn and sides are already being taken.

In Episode 5 we get a wedding and as we know weddings in George RR Martin’s universe are often dull affairs where nothing ever happens, no spoilers but is it a Westeros wedding if no one dies?

A lot of the story was in the episode was told through looks and nods rather than dialogue which I did find very effective, although sometimes it did feel a little comical.

This has worked in earlier episodes.

In Episode 6 we are going to get a time jump of around 15 Years by the look of it in the trailer.

Milly Alcock and Emily Carey will be replaced with new actresses Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke which for me is a strange decision as we have watched the other two actresses in the first 5 episodes, and they have both given good performances and now we must become used to them being played by two different actresses.

My Rating for the Series so far is 8/10.