They say grief makes a family stronger. But not so in the case of House Targaryen, and the knives come out in Episode Seven of House of the Dragon, ‘Draftmark’, making it an incredibly intense and chaotic watch.
As the families gather on Driftmark for a funeral, Viserys calls for an end to infighting and Alicent demands justice.
Episode Seven of House of the Dragon, ‘Driftmark’ is an altogether sombre affair following the horrific death of Prince Daemon Targaryen’s (Matt Smith’s) wife, Lady Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), with her funeral being held at her ancestral home of Driftmark, seat of House Velaryon. And the now aged King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) and his entire family and retine are in attendance. But the grief is not only present for Lady Laena, but Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) is also secretly mourning the loss of her lover, and father to her children, Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), while her husband and claimed ‘father’ to her children Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) loses himself to drink and despair. It’s not a very happy occasion, and the bickering of their extended family now falls onto the growing brood of royal children. And no one will come out of Driftmark unscathed.
Director Miguel Sapochnik again returns to helm this episode, and his attention and focus on the growing narrative of House of the Dragon will keep audiences on their toes. While there are some shocking blood-letting moments in this episode, it’s the dramatic tension and venomous back and forth of ‘Driftmark’ that will grip audiences’ attention, and Sapochnik pushes his characters to the edge in this episode. There are plenty of intense moments, along with some spectacular visuals, and nothing is off-limits in ‘Driftmark’. This is particularly seen through a brazen and shocking romance that occurs between Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon, and things get very hot and heated as their passions burn, and Rhaenyra finally submits to Daemon’s dangerous advances.
Fans who have long wanted to see more dragons will also be pleased with the importance that Sapochnik gives to these mighty beasts within the episode. Their presence has some incredible narrative critical moments. Chief among them is the scorned second son of King Viserys I, Prince Aemond (Leo Ashton), who has been denied a dragon and mocked because of it, finally claims the mighty Vhagar, the dragon once belonging to Lady Laena Velaryon as his own. It’s a decision that leads to the episode’s critical event and makes for some epic aerial scenes that are sure to have audiences in a rush.
That critical scene you might ask? That scene is in fact a scuffle that turns into a violent scrap that leaves Prince Aemond scarred and eye-less from the blade of his cousin, and the son to Princess Rhaenyra, Prince Lucerys Valeryon (Harvey Sadler) and leads to a royal showdown for the entire Targaryen dynasty. It’s a moment of trauma, blame and bitter violence as Emma D’Arcy’s Princess Rhaenyra faces the full wrath of Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), and it’s a bitter twisted moment that signals the failings of King Viserys I’s rule, and the hostility that is rotting away at the core of his family. Both Cooke and D’Arcy are incredibly fiery and passionate in this scene, and the trauma and savagery of this third act will have you on the edge of your seat with bated breath as you wait to see what happens next.
Nothing ends well with ‘Driftmark’ and at this moment House Targaryen is torn into two factions, ‘The Blacks’ consisting of Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon and Rhaenyra’s children, and ‘The Greens’, consisting of Queen Aliencent, her father Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), and Alicent’s children, with both faction now facing each other. It’s a shocking ending to an incredibly intense episode of television and proves why House of the Dragon is one of the medium’s best watches.
House of the Dragon is available to watch on SKY SOHO and NEON.
Image: SKY TV