House of the Dragon episode 7 review: Three funerals and a creepy wedding

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Laena Velaryon, her brother Laenor, and a person whose identify we by no means be informed. Whilst Space of the Dragon’s 7th episode does a super deal to turn Westeros sliding uncontrollably towards what's going to no doubt turn out a calamitously bloody struggle, its personal frame rely is relatively modest by means of the sequence’ requirements.

Its unmarried on-screen demise, that of the anonymous guy whose neck is damaged as a part of a sophisticated gambit to faux Ser Laenor’s (John Macmillan) demise, is a case find out about within the episode’s preoccupation with social rituals as a method of concealing and revealing reality. Laena’s funeral supplies her uncle with an opportunity to release a veiled barb at Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) over the parentage of her sons. Rhaenyra’s secret marriage to her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) serves to inflate her popularity as a ruthless energy participant, and sir Laenor’s duel together with his lover Qarl (Arty Froushan) supplies duvet for his or her bittersweet break out from the bloody energy video games of the royal courtroom. Far and wide we flip, the rituals and ceremonies which bind the folk of Westeros right into a society are being subverted by means of non-public agendas.

That the episode helps to keep such a lot of plates within the air without delay whilst additionally managing to decelerate after the breakneck tempo of closing week’s installment is one thing of a minor miracle, however director Miguel Sapochnik and author Sara Hess pull it off with aplomb. From the somber however politically charged opening funeral scene to the darkly majestic and aggravating claiming of the dragon Vhagar by means of the younger prince Aemond (Leo Ashton), “Driftmark” strikes at a simple clip. Its surroundings, the maritime seat of Space Velaryon the place the royal circle of relatives has accrued to mourn, provides the entire affair a way of the Gothic, as does the go back of gaunt, cadaverous Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, hand of the king. It’s greater than a bit of harking back to The Masque of the Pink Dying, those inbred nobles scheming, trysting, and dueling of their far flung palace as the area teeters getting ready to the abyss.

Corlys looking incredulous at someone off-screen, while Rhaenys clutches Rhaena and Baela to her and looks at Corlys concerned

Photograph: Ollie Upton/HBO

Alicent holding Aegon’s lapel in profile, while they both look to the side at the camera and seem concerned

Photograph: Ollie Upton/HBO

At no level does the long run appear a bleaker prospect than right through the episode’s centerpiece motion scene, a scuffle between the royal kids that is going from unhealthy to worse in — ahem — the blink of an eye fixed. When Prince Aemond returns victorious from mounting Vhagar, Rhaenyra’s sons and Daemon’s daughters waylay him within the dungeons of Driftmark. The scene is lit and shot like one thing out of Neil Marshall’s The Descent, torchlight flickering over the faces of the younger heirs to the Targaryen dynasty as their infantile squabble unexpectedly turns bloody, fists and ft giving solution to rocks and knives. It’s sufficient to make Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) plea for a go back to the circle of relatives’s established order appear virtually comically out of contact, a referee seeking to forestall International Warfare II with a whistle. Ashton makes a powerful appearing as Aemond, his each glance and gesture freighted with the sullen resentment of his standing as a dragonless 2d son, and he’s as ugly a winner as he's a sore loser, brutalizing and insulting his more youthful cousins with towering contempt.

It’s simple sufficient, observing Olivia Cookie as Alicent, to look the place Aemond will get each his mood and his perspective. The brittle, dysfunctional girl Rhaenyra’s one-time adolescence buddy has turn out to be as an grownup reveals her time to polish within the aftermath of the childrens’ squabble, dissolving right into a hysterical rage and significant one among Rhaenyra’s son’s eyes in trade for Aemond’s. Once more the episode chooses a ritual — probably the most elementally fundamental, the actually Biblical custom of an eye fixed for an eye fixed — as the point of interest of its struggle.

In the course of the ritualistic call for we get a glimpse of the true Alicent, a perplexed and nervous girl left in an enduring state of panic by means of her father’s abuse. The overall dialog between father or mother and kid is an instantaneous parallel to the instant of honesty between the princess Rhaenys (Eve Absolute best) and her husband Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) after their daughter’s funeral, with Rhaenys repudiating her husband’s ambition to seat his personal descendants at the throne. Otto as a substitute encourages his daughter’s unbalanced conduct, pronouncing it displays preventing spirit. His pride at her obtrusive unwellness is in all probability the episode’s maximum sickening sight, an additional deception hid at the back of his somber façade and the arcane traditions of the royal courtroom.