Saturday, May 18, 2024

“House of the Dragon” Jumps 10 Years without Explanation, Actors Change, Plots Fly By Like…Dragons


At the end of Episode 5 of The House of the Dragon we kinda knew what happened and where everyone was. In any other series, it might be time to slow down and explore relationships, show something of Westeros, let everything settle down.

But no. Episode 6 begins and you have no idea who half the people are, or what’s happened to them. We only learn from listening that ten years have passed since the last episode. New actresses are playing Rhaenyra and Alicent, even though we loved the young women who were playing them. They’ve been aged — Rhaenyra’s case I’m not sure so successfully. They also each have children. Alicent had them earlier, by Viserys, Rhaenyra’s father.

When we start this episode, a now much older looking Rhaenyra has two kids and is giving birth to another. Their father is not her gay husband (also played by a new actor) or her lover Cristin Cole, but a guy we barely know and who is killed (along with his own father) by the end of the episode.

People are literally coming and going now faster than you can learn their names.

How and why did Rhaenyra hook up with Harwin “Breakbones” Strong? We have no idea. She really dug Ser Cole, but he turned out to be a little nuts. And why has the gay husband gone along with all this? He knows these three little boys aren’t his because Rhaenyra’s cousin (or is it her aunt?) — reminds me, snidely. (He’s Black, by the way.)

And what of Daemon, Rhaernyra’s uncle, who she slept with in Episode 5? He was evil, and married. But now he’s married to someone new — Laena, the grown up version of the 13 year old who almost married the King. They have kids, and she’s pregnant. But Laena, who we’re supposed to feel something for (I liked the actress) doesn’t make it out of the episode.

Daemon? He’s no longer the villain? That role has been transferred to a newish character, the brother of Harwin, Larys Strong, who seems to be the Rasputin of this gang, confidant of the Queen (now played perfectly by Olivia Cooke).

Confused? At least on “The Crown” they wait until a new season before introducing all new actors. Here we now have some leftovers, some new, and no real reason for anything that”s happened. I think getting rid of Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra was a mistake. Also, Paddy Considine has been made into a lame King Lear as Viserys. I’d have like to see him a little more before his nose started bleeding and he was asking for tissues.

No, I have not read this book. But “Game of Thrones” was fun. “House of the Dragon” is not. (I’m sure no one appreciated seeing the now teenish Aemon, son of the King and Queen, wildly pleasuring himself naked in a window — except his mother.)

Oh well, it’s fiction. But what happened to Steve Toussaint as Laena’s father? And Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower. DId they cost too much?

Lesson learned: don’t get attached to anyone in this series. They may be used for grilled cheese before the hour is up!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News