TV Review | House Of The Dragon (1×04: King Of The Narrow Sea)
“Although it’s slower than last week’s episode, we get a monumental moving of the pieces in the great game. And it keeps us hooked.” We review the fourth episode of House Of The Dragon.
After the dramatic, violent, and gory finale of last week’s episode, we could be forgiven for thinking that this week’s episode of ‘House Of The Dragon’ would continue in the same way. Not so. Once again, the series slows down to build up the storylines that are spread out throughout the show. But it once again shows the writers know exactly what they’re doing. Although it’s slower than last week’s episode, we get a monumental moving of the pieces in the great game. And it keeps us hooked. And one character finally (it’s only taken four episodes!) gets their comeuppance.
HOUSE OF THE DRAGON 1×04: KING OF THE NARROW SEA
We begin as Rhaenyra travels to Storm’s End, where, with Lord Boremund Baratheon’s assistance, she meets with countless suitors. Her tour to find a husband is scheduled to last another two months but, after hating what is presented to her, she decides to return home to King’s Landing. Her return coincides with the arrival of her uncle, Prince Daemon from the Stepstones on his dragon.
Daemon was named “King of the Narrow Sea” after his defeat of The Crabfeeder but surprisingly, he swears allegiance to his brother, King Viserys. The reunited brothers celebrate with a feast. Rhaenyra, knowing of her father’s annoyance at her for not finding a suitable match, tries to ingratiate herself with her father, Queen Alicent, and Daemon, to her utter failure. After walking away and sitting by herself, she is approached by Alicent, who secretly confides her loneliness to Rhaenyra. The two childhood friends are reunited.
DAEMON AND RHAENYRA
Later that night, Rhaenyra, disguised as a boy, sneaks out of her room and travels with Daemon to explore King’s Landing. While there, they drink and attend a play, where Rhaenyra discovers a devastating truth, and both of them visit a brothel. Without realizing it, both of them have set in motion a chain of events that will destroy the peace that is currently over the family, all by committing a terrible sin. And Rhaenyra takes things a step too far when she returns home. The pieces on the board have shifted in a big way. And it will mean one person will pay a price.
The series benefits from this episode. Those who have read the book Fire & Blood will understand what I mean when I say a significant part of the book is begun here. It has varied slightly from George R.R Martin’s original writing. But nothing that will seriously damage the plot threads going forward. The pieces are now in the positions they should be and that is a significant bonus for the series going forward. But for those of us who know what’s coming, it fills us with a sense of dread and foreboding.
The performances are still outstanding, despite certain members of the cast being sidelined somewhat. The episode belongs to Matt Smith and Milly Alcock again. But they are matched by Paddy Considine as Viserys in this episode. His despair at his daughter at the start is replaced by incandescent rage by the finale of the episode. Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole is starting to come into his own and has a vital part to play in this week’s storyline. But the character we feel most sorry for is Emily Carey as Alicent. She is feeling the pressure of being the Queen while balancing her friendship with Rhaenyra. And the needs of the king and the realm. But again, those of us who know what’s to happen realize that she needs to go through this.
Sadly, the next episode will likely be the final time we will see Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as Rhaenyra and Alicent. The story is due to leap forward in time soon. And the characters will be played by Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke from the sixth episode onwards. While we will miss the two young actresses, we are assured that the characters will live on. And we will be left with great memories of the younger versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent. And we also are aware that things will take a nastier turn from here on in.
The preview of next week’s episode is now available to watch. Take a look at what’s to come in episode 5:
With what’s to come, we are in for an exciting, dramatic move forward. But as for this week’s episode; while slower and less violent and gory than episode 3, it is a welcome and gripping episode that blows the lid off the story so far. Just be prepared for the aftermath. Because when it comes, it will be explosive.
“Game Of Thrones: House Of The Dragon” is available to stream now on HBO Max in the United States and on various platforms around the world.
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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!