Just like that, we are BACK in the fantasy world, created by George R.R. Martin. Back to Westeros, for House of The Dragon, a show based on a book by GRR, called “Fire and Blood”. However if you are reading this, you know all of this already! Being that we have discussed a few episodes of the original series, Game of Thrones, it is only right we attempt to review this new show.
Starting with Episode One: Heir to the Throne.
I love that they gave us a ‘cold open’ that got right to it. We are about 200 years before the original series, the current King, is about to die soon. Needing an Heir, after all of his had been killed in the violent world of Westeros, a great council was called to Harrenhall. We visited this location a few times before, and it looks a lot grander this time around.
Maybe it was a different area of the castle we just did not visit. By now, it had already been burned to the hilt, back when the original occupants, refused to bend that knee. Out of two candidates, an heir is chosen, and the stage for House of the Dragon, is set.
After setting the stage, the players emerge, and we get an introduction to the new ‘game’ that is about to be played.
Rhae Rhae and Dae Dae, as black twitter has already named them, are the forenamed, heirs to the throne. As we ‘also’ saw before, if a King dies, and has no ‘heir’, the crown is passed to the next oldest sibling. In this story, that’s Dae Dae, the brother of the King.
Meanwhile, the daughter of the King, Rhae Rhae, wishes her father saw her as a capable successor. He has failed to have a son, but as this show begins, he is expecting his first! His wife however, informs him, this will be her last baby! Little did she know, that statement would absolutely come true.
Using the violence of a jousting tournament, we learn the Queen is not going to survive childbirth. The two scenes, cut together, were highly dramatic and metaphorical.
Earlier in this episode, the Queen told her daughter, that childbirth is a woman’s battlefield. Men, in this world, fight on the actual battlefield, but women provide those men with children, to live on, and build their legacies. As the violence unfolds on the ‘battlefield’ of the tournament, we see the Queen, battling to bring new life, into the world.
However, things are going too good! If you now anything about game of thrones – not every story ends on a positive note! In fact, very few do!!
The King, is asked to make the tough decision of letting both die, or attempt to save the baby, which will kill the Queen in an excruciating way. Just as many Knights are losing their lives, in a ‘celebration’ for the expected heir. Many audiences, took this as a nod to Roe vs. Wade, which was recently overturned. Feeling that scene outlines the real dangers of childbirth for women, and why they should always have a choice in the matter.
Set in a Medieval time, they didn’t know how to perform a C-section the right way – yet – So, the Queen did not survive.
A boy was born, however, like his siblings before him, he also did not survive …
Dae Dae, decided to get ultra disrespectful, after this emotional funeral, and in the prescence of whores, referred to his now deceased nephew as, Heir for the Day. Otto Hightower, the hand of the King, who we also meet in this opening episode tells the King. The King, who is grieving as it is, learns of the disrespect and calls his brother to the throne room. I respect that, cause, hearsay is hearsay. Go to that person, and ask them what they said.
Also, respect Dae Dae for admitting that he said it. Hightower, however, is playing ‘the game’ early, and has been moving to make sure Dae Dae does not get the throne. Making his moves early, sending his daughter to ‘comfort the King’ after his Queen died. Telling the King, directly, that his brother cannot ascend the throne. With this ‘nail in the coffin’, Otto moved Dae Dae out of throne contention. The King, names his daughter as his heir, and banishes his brother to his home, in the Vale.
All the ‘men of the realm’ come to King’s Landing, to pledge fealty.
Many, with begrudged expressions on their faces. Rhae Rhae, looking proud, confident that she will be the first Queen of Westeros …
End of episode one.
The House of The Dragon has brought us back to Westeros!
Read: Review for Episode Two, The Rogue Prince – (coming soon here)