Home Television Recaps ‘House of the Dragon’ – ‘Second of His Name’ – Review
‘House of the Dragon’ – ‘Second of His Name’ – Review

‘House of the Dragon’ – ‘Second of His Name’ – Review


The banners of House Targaryen are flying high, but episode by episode we’re learning that they’re not a very happy family, and now in Episode Three of House of the Dragon, ‘Second of His Name’ the tension is about to boil over.

Daemon and the Sea Snake battle the ‘Crab Feeder’. The realm celebrates Aegon’s second nameday. Rhaenyra faces the prospect of marriage.

Three years have passed since the events of ‘The Rogue Prince’ and now we are at the anniversary of Prince Aegon’s second nameday. King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) now has the male heir he’s always wanted, born to him by his new wife Queen Alicent (Emily Carey), but any sense of pride or glory ends there for the King, and age, pain and infirmity have made him a bitter and withered man. His lady wife, Queen Alicent has grown contemptuous of him during this time, and she only desires some form of happiness. Then there’s Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) who has grown bitter in these last three years, feeling betrayed by the advancement of her best friend due to marriage and having to deal with the prospect of being married off at her father’s whim. Yes, the Targaryens are not a very happy family, and the drama and conflict are very real in this latest episode.

Noted action filmmaker Greg Yaitanes continues in his directing duties and ‘Second of His Name’ allows the filmmaker to split the narrative between two epic events. While King Viserys I, his family and the entire royal court depart on a Royal Hunt, his bitter, violent and now scorned brother, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) wages a bloody and brutal war alongside Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) for control of the Stepstones. And the tension, scope and conflict are rife in both events. Yaitanes and his crew again crank up the lavish scale and opulence of House of the Dragon, and the visuals on display in ‘Second of His Name’ are incredible to witness.

The Royal Hunt makes for a bountiful event from which to observe the jagged politics of the ‘game of thrones’ at play. While a bloated and drunk King Viserys I loses himself to mead, wine and ale, Queen Alicent is left to the unpleasant gossips and feigning attention of the ladies at court, while Princess Rhaenyra must bat away the fawnings of lesser lords who desire her hand for power. Here we meet earlier generations of the Baratheons and the Lannisters, along with the appearance of the mighty Strongs, and their presence adds to the tension. The prospect of marriage and pregnancy is a daunting and ill-fated choice for Princess Rhaenyra and she snaps back at her bloated father and races off into the Kingswood. Milly Alcock again channels the princess’s fierce independence in the episode and she undergoes much growth in it.

The focus of the Royal Hunt in ‘Second of His Name’ lends itself to the presence of The White Hart, a mighty white-coated stag who reigns as King of the Kingswood and whom King Viserys I desires to bring down as his mighty prize. However, this bloated and drunk ruler can only settle himself by dispatching a chained stag, held for him in place by his court. And with all the odds in his favour, the King still makes a mess of it. His inability to show any kind of courage or skill displays how inept King Viserys I is as a ruler and all the court are present to see. This is contrasted with Alcock’s Princess Rhaenyra who fends for herself out within the Kingswood and comes face to face with the mighty and noble White Hart herself. This symbol is an omen of great fortune to come for the princess and under Yaitanes direction it is one of the episode’s most powerful moments.

‘Second of His Name’ has much character development at its heart and over time, we see how King Viserys I rule has impacted the land of Westeros. Through the impressive performance of Paddy Considine, we are coming to witness a man whose own incompetence is in a way not of his own making, but rather just an action of his nature as a man. This is contrasted with the fierce independence of his daughter Princess Rhaenyra and star Milly Alcock solidifies her presence in the series and the power she holds over the narrative.

But the most exciting part of ‘Second of His Name’ follows the murderous and bloody battle of the Stepstones where Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon battle against the infamous ‘Crab Feeder’. Director Greg Yaitanes’s stance as an action filmmaker is amplified as he constructs a vicious battle of pure medieval combat and Matt Smith goes to work, blade in hand as Prince Daemon and displays the ruthlessly superior warrior that Daeman is known to be. The combat is intense, the action big, and plenty of blood and guts are left on the sands in what is one of the coolest feats of action filmmaking ever brought to the television canvas. Add in a few ferocious dragons and the thunderous score of Ramin Djawadi and you understand why House of the Dragon is just an EPIC!

House of the Dragon is the must-watch television epic of the year, and it’s only about to get more monumental as we continue to move forward within this narrative.

House of the Dragon is available to watch on SKY SOHO and NEON.

Image: SKY TV