Review | House Of The Dragon (1×02: The Rogue Prince)
“Although the pace slows down completely in this second episode, it still has enough to keep the audience hooked.” It is time for our second visit to the House Of The Dragon.
Last week’s opening to ‘Game Of Thrones: House Of The Dragon’ set the tone for what will come to significant effect. The characters were introduced, the pieces were placed firmly on the board, and we prepared ourselves for the game to start. This second episode of the series is a more restrained affair. While there are some remarkable instances during its run time, it is more concerned with setting the stage for what is to come further in the season. Thankfully though, it does enough to keep us on our toes. Although the pace slows down completely in this second episode, it still has enough to keep the audience hooked. And it starts to maneuver the pieces for the game ahead.
EPISODE 2: THE ROGUE PRINCE
Game Of Thrones fans can celebrate. The opening to the second episode gives us our customary tour through Westeros and the islands and places on the map, accompanied by the main theme from the original show. It feels right and we feel safe on familiar ground. The episode is set six months after Rhaenyra has been named as heir to the Iron Throne. Prince Daemon has taken control of Dragonstone alongside his Goldcloaks. Meanwhile, Prince-Admiral Craghas Drahar is continuing to menace the Stepstones at the Triarchy’s behest. The Small Council continues to exert pressure on King Viserys to remarry and continue his royal lineage. Rhaenyra suggests a show of force against Daemon on Dragonstone but this is ignored.
Lord Corlys, The Sea Snake, offers his 12-year-old daughter to the king as a suitable bride, something Viserys is urged to consider. To do so would merge the two Houses into a powerful alliance that would show any would-be conquerors the strength of what they would face. Daemon steals a dragon egg to goad Viserys into a confrontation on Dragonstone. However, Otto Hightower goes in his place. The face-off threatens to spill over into bloodshed until Rhaenyra flies in on a dragon to confront Daemon. Viserys makes his decision regarding remarrying, angering one important figure. And the pieces start to move into their various positions, ready for what will come.
Far from being a filler episode, the second chapter of this opening season sets the scene up nicely. The various lords and ladies begin to reveal their true desires and aims. And we get the sense that at least one of the Small Council is playing the king for a fool. It reminds us of the original series and the various power moves instigated throughout the eight seasons. We can see that some of the players are deceitful or move the pieces for their own nefarious ends. We can see and understand the king’s reluctance at some of the decisions he has to make. But we also can see that if he doesn’t get his head into the game, he is in serious danger from all concerned. And not only to his kingdom but to his life as well. Alongside his subjects and family.
The principal cast all again makes their marks this week. Despite being confined to a cameo appearance, Matt Smith as Daemon is still someone we follow, hanging onto his every word. Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys is fast becoming someone we can go either way. He will either come down on the side of Paddy Considine’s King Viserys or Matt Smith’s Daemon. Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower is an enigma. Is he completely on the side of Viserys or is he positioning his pieces to attack the king? We can get a sense of his true intentions during the episode. And our suspicions are raised.
But without a doubt, the series so far belongs to young Australian actress Milly Alcock. Her performance as Rhaenyra is what is holding everything together. We can see and feel every emotion the character is going through. We can sympathize with her at every turn. We can agree with her ideas on how to deal with certain situations. And that is all down to the acting prowess of Milly Alcock. Exactly how much longer she will be appearing on the show is up for question. We know that the series will be making a time jump somewhere during the season. It will be here where Emma D’Arcy will take over as the older Rhaenyra. But until she does, we can marvel and enjoy Milly Alcock as the character.
While slowing things down and developing the story, the second episode fills us with dread about what is sure to come. And that is a redeeming feature this week. We can see the pieces are slowly being positioned, ready to make their move. And we can see that everyone has their own thoughts and motivations about the kingdom and the future. By slowing things down and allowing the story to breathe, it starts to prepare us for the possible bloodshed and death that are starting to loom on the horizon. And that is a good thing. Although not as good as last week’s opening episode, there is more than enough to keep the fans happy and interested in the show. And I’m looking forward to episode 3 already.
“Game Of Thrones: House Of The Dragon (1×02: The Rogue Prince)” is available to watch now.
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Carl Roberts is the News Editor of The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!