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House of the Dragon Episode 7: Driftmark

Source: HBO

Overall: 9.2

Story: 9.3/10

Daemon and his daughters head back to Driftmark to lay Lady Laena to rest. The politics and court intrigue don’t stop. The world of the House of the Dragon continues to turn. Battle lines are drawn as a theft ignites a family feud. And for the first time, the audience sees clearly who everyone is.

The writers’ motto for the pacing seems to be, "More Speed." So far, it hasn’t impacted the plot in a negative way. It’s been captivating, even through the time skips. The writers seem to relish things that lead to the rift in the House of the Dragon and jump to the events that cause the rift to widen the same way a teacher would during a history lesson.

The focus is the main event and what leads to it as the audience bares witness to the fall of the greatest house.

Though this viewer doesn’t see how much more the chasm can open before outright war begins. At this point, the only thing preventing it is a monarch, whose life hangs by a thread.

Character: 9.1/10

Surprisingly, the character development hasn’t been hampered by the pacing either. With that said, here are this week’s standouts.

Daemon’s character seems a little off to me in this episode. In the previous one, he seemed sober—mature. He also seemed to love his wife, the late Lady Laena. But they did not show him grieve. They didn't show him comfort his daughters. He doesn't in this episode either. People grieve differently. And Daemon has always been a little difficult to figure out.

But what Daemon does the same day of the funeral, though not as unbelievable as what Jaime does in Game of Thrones, is still quite puzzling. This viewer understands that Daemon has always loved Rhaenyra. But how could he behave in such a manner on the day of the funeral if he ever had any love for Laena? But perhaps I give Daemon far too much credit.

Rhaenyra’s back is against the wall. The older version (character not actress) is somewhat disappointing in the decisions she has made. She's nearly a laughingstock. Even Ser Vaemond Velaryon, while presiding over his niece's funeral, throws a jab at Rhaenyra and her children. When Rhaenyra was young, she made a poor decision. That can be blamed on youth. But what about her decisions as an adult?

Rhaenyra has given her enemies ammunition they didn't need. The very thing she was accused of in her youth has dogged her footsteps into adulthood. She makes a calculated decision to keep her and her boys from annihilation. It’s a shame that she hasn’t always kept her wits about her. She’s pretty smart when she does.

Viserys is only strong in one element of his reign. He has unwavering support for Rhaenyra. In everything else, he has proven himself to be weak and inept. Aside from being a terrible king, this week he proves, he can't even lead his own family.

The queen openly defies him and commits two acts of treason to his face. What Viserys allows to go on in front of his face would be laughable if not so shameful. There are no consequences. So there is no need to go behind his back. He has no spine. And he is content to let things go as they are. At the very moment of his death, this viewer predicts there will be an all-out war. Viserys is the Sword of Damocles.

What can be said about Otto that hasn’t already been said? The man bleeds green. His intentions are known. Yet he is brought back into his old position because Alicent is the true ruler. Viserys is just a figurehead at this point.

Alicent has taken power from the king. She behaves with impunity. But she’s still weak and naive even though she has gained a violent streak. Alicent still finds herself not only under the thumb of Larys Strong but her father as well. So she still doesn’t make her own decisions. They make them for her and make her think they’re her own. All the while, she has her yes man in tow as he fills her head with pomp and bluster.

Larys Strong is the devil incarnate. Enough said.

Lord Corlys is consistent. The man has always been about legacy. That’s why he went to war alongside Daemon against the Crabfeeder: for name and glory. That is why he says, "History does not remember blood. It remembers names." And that is why even though, he can see with his own eyes that Rhaenyra's spawn do not share his blood, he will not disinherit them.

Prince Aemond Targaryen was the only one on the green side of the board this viewer thought was good. The writers and the actor are so good that they make viewers root for him initially. But he has a heel turn that would make any WWE wrestler envious. When you put that aside, his character possesses an intestinal fortitude that wins an incredible weapon for his side. And even though he loses something important in the process, he doesn't even bat an eye. Too soon?

Final thoughts

The speed of the story gives no quarter. Yet character and plot don't suffer from the relentless pacing. Viewers are treated to a history lesson in the fall of the greatest house. And what a spectacular fall it will be.


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