House of the Dragon S1, Ep 4 Review
Have you ever seen an TV show episode that makes you go ‘uggghhh’? Like, every character makes the wrong decisions and digs deeper into the hole they’re trapped inside? It’s frustrating to watch, especially when you like being straightforward like me. However, Westeros doesn’t care about truth. It cares about the chaos of the Game of Thrones. And, as Littlefinger will say centuries later, chaos is a ladder.
As of this week, most major characters fall down one ring on the ladder of chaos.
Daemon Returns to King’s Landing And Brings Chaos With Him
After crushing the Crabfeeder and the Triarchy pirates, Daemon got crowned King in the Narrow Sea. However, he doesn’t want that title since the Stepstones are worthless rocks. So it’s back to King’s Landing and the arms of his Brother, who forgives him thanks to winning them the Stepstones.
Sadly, he returns at the exact same time that Rhaenyra does. She’s been on a tour at her father’s behest, trying to find a husband. But like a bad Tinder experience, she swiped left on all of them. Even if she didn’t compare them to Daemon so much, though, they weren’t impressive. She’s happier with Daemon back…and even more so when he sneaks him out for a night of fun in King’s Landing.
It’s clear that Dameon’s tone away hasn’t changed his need to cause chaos. And chaos is what follows in his stead.
The Chaos of Daemon Targaryen
When people first heard that Matt Smith would be playing Daemon Targaryen, they panicked, thinking he’d be a bad fit. However, it seems that the chaotic energy he brought as the Doctor serves him well. He’s a perfect fit for Daemon.
Daemon may cause chaos in his family, but he does know what he’s doing a lot of times. Besides serving as a means to give Rhaenyra the freedom she can’t get in the Red Keep, Daemon’s night out’s meant to teach her something important. A few important things, truthfully.
Firstly, the street-play satirizing the issue of succession is meant to be a brutal truth to Rhaenyra. That truth being that even the smallfolk don’t want a woman to be Queen. And if the smallfolk don’t approve, then how can she hope to rule? This is where Daemon has an advantage over the other elite: unlike many of them, he understands the need to be loved and respected by the people. Sadly, Rhaenyra fails to learn that.
It also doesn’t help that the second of Daemon’s lessons takes her to a brothel.
Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is. But, surprisingly, Daemon doesn’t go through with doing that. He leaves at the last second!
Too bad for everyone. The chaos has already spread.
Rhaenyra Takes Charge of Herself…and Causes More Chaos
People who’ve gone through puberty knows that when most teens see others engaged in intimate acts, it’s going to affect their hormones. And getting blue-balled by the man she’s into (Daemon), Rhaenyra’s understandably frustrated. However, what she does next might be just as bad. She…sleeps with Ser Criston Cole.
Viewers would be hard-pressed to deny the romantic chemistry between Rhaenyra and Ser Criston. I saw it from a mile away. However, I didn’t expect her to act on it so soon into the show!
As much as I applaud Rhaenyra for taking charge of her love life, I wish she’d given this some more thought. Because what she does, no surprise, causes more chaos
Otto Hightower Falls Off the Chaos Ladder
From the outset, Otto Hightower’s been hated by viewers. Despite King Viserys trusting him, viewers see him for what he is: the schemer who gave up his daughter to an older man so he could put his grandchild on the Iron Throne. As such, Rhaenyra rightfully despises him, and those feelings only worsen in this episode.
After hearing from spies about where Rhaenyra and Daemon went, Otto wastes no time in bringing slanderous rumors to King Viserys. While we know nothing happened behind making out, Otto doesn’t care. He sees this as the chance to get rid of Rhaenyra he’s been waiting for.
It backfires. Big time. Rhaenyra learns about this from Alicent in a tense confrontation, and while her Dad’s rightfully pissed at her, she uses this to her advantage. As a result, Otto Hightower’s fired as Hand of the King.
It’s the smartest decision that Viserys’ made this far, but sadly, it likely won’t stick. While Rhaenyra, and now her Dad, see him as the threat to order that he is, Otto won’t go quietly. He’ll be back, one way or another.
What Chaos Has Wrought
So, despite finally winning back his brother’s favor, Daemon’s penchant for causing chaos costs him his standing. Again. His plan to force Viserys to let him wed Rhaenyra (and get the Throne) sees him sent back to the Vale.
As for Rhaenyra, she’s forced to fave the consequences of her actions. Her Dad orders her to marry Laenor Velaryon, Lord Corlys son. And take a contraceptive tea. So, despite choosing her first time, Rhaenyra still loses in the end.
Basically, chaos reigns in House Targaryen this week, and everyone’s miserable. Rhaenyra for her lot in life, Daemon for his second exile, Viserys for the headache that is his daughter, and Alicent for being a pawn of her Dad and stuck in a loveless marriage.
Westeros is fun to watch, but it sucks to live in. And, honestly, this was the show’s weakest episode thus far. And I’m not saying that because it relied on sex for drama again. Next week marks the halfway point for the series. They need to keep up the momentum.