House of the Dragon Episode 2 Review: The Rogue Prince
Princess Rhaenyra seeks to assert herself. But there are those on the council who would see her silenced and powerless because of her youth and gender.
Meanwhile, King Viserys’ position grows weaker as he meets the perfect storm. Daemon flaunts his ability to take whatever he wants whenever he wants. The Crab Feeder senses Westeros’ current fragility and acts with impunity. On top of it all, Viserys’ inability to make sound decisions contributes to his own undoing.
Both the cinematography and animation for this episode are stunning. Coupled with a jaw-dropping setting, they all make for a back-drop fit for a prince that looks to make his mark.
That aside, some of the plot points for this episode are a little too predictable. There is a danger in making things so predictable. The story can become stale. But the writers seem to sidestep this trap by offsetting the predictability with immense payoffs that drive action, propel the story forward and reveal character.
Rhaenyra shows the problem-solving skills of a true leader. She picks her moments with great wisdom. And she doesn’t ask for permission. If you have your own dragon to ride why would you?
Rhaenyra may prove to be one of the greatest political minds in Westeros. Her calculated moves are able to diffuse a situation that could have ended in a full-scale war. But it also manages to embarrass Lord Otto Hightower. And he doesn’t strike this viewer as a man that forgets a slight. There may be a price to pay later. We shall see.
But at the moment, the Hand of the King is weak. The Hand of the King is the power behind the Iron Throne. And when the Hand is weak the King’s power is weak. This viewer has yet to see a great king sit on the Iron Throne and be successful without an intelligent and capable Hand. King Viserys’ actual hand is weak. It’s a feast fit for maggots. And it's a metaphor for the decay of his power. Daemon is right about Otto.
The most remarkable illustration of Otto’s ineptitude is his inability to think critically. Anyone possessing even an ounce of intellect should be able to foresee the result of threatening someone that has a powerful weapon. Never bring a sword to a dragon fight.
Viserys’ decision to let Otto anywhere near that situation just proves that he is not fit to sit upon the Iron Throne. Apparently, the Iron Throne agrees. And Viserys' decision concerning his brother is just one in a host of terrible decisions that Viserys makes in this episode. He is governed by his heart. A king led by such a frivolous thing in that evil world will not remain king for long.
Writers, cinematographers and animators bring the audience another excellent episode this week. Even if some of it is predictable, it produces some titanic confrontations and sets the stage for epic payoffs in the future. As for the characters, the Iron Throne constantly shows its disdain for Viserys. He is unfit. Princess Rhaenyra should seize it quickly while she still has a kingdom left to inherit.