lunes, octubre 3, 2022
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Home of the Dragon, episode 7, “Driftmark” passes enmity from dad and mom to kids

All season lengthy on Home of the Dragon, we’ve watched the adults of the Targaryen clan slowly circle into two factions — the Greens, led by Alicent, and what’s going to ultimately change into the Blacks, led by Rhaenyra. We solely simply met their kids correctly within the earlier episode, midway via the season — however on this episode, “Driftmark,” the youthful technology abruptly takes middle stage.

This episode offers us a pivotal second in our build-up to what already looks like an inevitable civil conflict — and one twist involving a fake-out and a shocking destiny for one minor character. But it surely additionally offers us a significant shift from specializing in Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke) to specializing in their kids, those who will inevitably have to hold out the battle they’ve every up to now skirted round. “Driftmark” exhibits us a courtroom that’s change into so utterly entrenched in its personal in-fighting, mistrust, and paranoia {that a} single spark may ignite the powder keg.

As a substitute of a tiny flame, nevertheless, the catalyst is an entire fire-breathing dragon.

The youngsters aren’t all proper

It should have royally sucked to be a child rising up on this courtroom. At Driftmark (the seat of Home Velaryon), the place Viserys (Paddy Considine) and his courtroom have assembled to mourn the dying of Girl Laena, Rhaenyra’s youngsters have the disorienting expertise of being unable to mourn their very own father and grandfather, who additionally died within the earlier episode — however who Rhaenyra can’t permit them to acknowledge as household. So on high of getting shunned, whispered about, and mocked by everybody else at courtroom, their very own mom gaslights them, insisting that they’ll’t go to Harwin Robust’s funeral as a result of he’s not their father.

She and Viserys each appear to imagine that if they simply preserve insisting on this apparent lie, they’ll bend actuality to their will. As a substitute, the years of mendacity, all whereas Rhaenyra has had three illegitimate sons who’re clearly not her husband’s bloodline, have set Jace (Leo Hart) and Luke (Harvey Sadler) up for a horrible, vicious awakening to their actual roles at courtroom.

They get it when their rival, Alicent’s bullied second son, Aemond (Leo Ashton), tries to regain his dignity as the one prince and not using a dragon. Whereas Laena’s daughters are nonetheless in mourning for his or her mom, he sneaks all the way down to the seaside and bonds with Laena’s dragon Vhagar, one of many oldest, largest, and mightiest dragons within the realm. Whereas Aemond is flying round and having his large coming-of-age second, Laena’s daughters are watching in horror as this upstart steals their birthright. Once they confront him, together with Jace and Luke, issues instantly get bodily. After Aemond calls the boys “Strongs” — after, you recognize, their precise father — they learn it because the insult it’s meant to be and assault him, with Luke in the end slashing him with a knife and taking out Aemond’s eye.

Till now, the youngsters of each homes have appeared utterly uninvested of their dad and mom’ fights. That’s partly as a result of they’re oblivious youngsters, but additionally partly as a result of till now, their dad and mom’ fights have been performed primarily via the rumor mill and passive microaggressions.

Viserys, once more making an attempt to make his distorted halcyon view of his courtroom into actuality, has all the time considered the battle between Rhaenyra and Alicent as petty. Even now when it’s spilled over into open battle, he refuses to see the preventing as something greater than disruptive squabbling. Luke’s violence is an unlucky accident; Aemond’s sin of overtly difficult the boys’ parentage is by far the larger transgression. After Aemond says he heard the rumor of the boys’ illegitimacy from older brother Aegon, Aegon bluntly confronts his grandfather with the reality: Everybody is aware of Rhaenyra’s youngsters are illegitimate — simply have a look at them.

Thus far, each main ceremonial occasion of this present has been disrupted in a roundabout way by an outburst of violence, however that is the primary time the youthful technology has participated, not to mention instigated any of it. Though Aemond appears to be prepared to let the hostility go for now, the rivalry this struggle has created, between Aemond and Lucerys particularly, will go on to gasoline open hostility and violence for many years. Whereas the youngsters might not have began the conflict that started with Alicent’s inexperienced gown, they’ll be those to complete it.

It’s most likely no coincidence that Laena’s daughters, the twins Baela and Rhaena, will ultimately play a significant position in peacekeeping and in binding the dominion again collectively whereas their Targaryen counterparts tear it aside. They’re, in any case, the one set of children who’ve grown up away from Viserys’s courtroom. They lack the particular model of indoctrination that has led to 1 faction being the occasion of actuality distortion and the opposite faction being the occasion of power-hungry paranoia.

(Essentially the most touching second of the episode, in reality, entails the twins being the one individuals within the room who can precisely learn the room. In the midst of a tense and awkward funeral gathering, the twins, rising from their very own grief over the lack of their mom, acknowledge that Jace and Luke are additionally mourning their very own father. Though they’ll’t give them phrases — as a result of nobody is allowed to acknowledge that the boys are in mourning — the twins silently transfer to consolation them. It’s the primary and solely time within the episode that anybody acknowledges that Jace and Luke have a motive to grieve. )

In the meantime, the taking of Aegon’s eye has not solely given the Targaryen kids a motive to take up their dad and mom’ vendettas; it has served to validate all of Alicent’s years of paranoid suspicions concerning the hurt Rhaenyra and her clan may do to her and her kids.

The paranoid model in Targaryen politics

Aside from its ongoing deconstruction of the patriarchy, Home of the Dragon hasn’t actually embraced full-scale political allegory, however on this episode we start to see an overview of extremism taking maintain of Alicent’s facet of the Pink Preserve. Alicent has warned her kids for years, as her father has warned her for years, that they gained’t be secure if Rhaenyra takes energy, and that the one technique to stop the encroaching menace to their well-being is to arrange for conflict themselves. Alicent has change into subsumed by this concern, regardless of Rhaenyra repeatedly looking for reconciliation and displaying each look of goodwill.

The struggle between Aemond and the Velaryon (Robust) youngsters appears to briefly jolt her out of the cloud of suspicion she’s created. After she grabs a knife and tries to take considered one of Luke’s eyes in retaliation for her son’s, impulsively slashing Rhaenyra’s arm within the course of, the king rebukes her so strongly that she’s chastened. Ultimately, she appears to be reconsidering all her life selections.

However simply when she’s doubting whether or not a flip towards violence is admittedly the trail she needs, her father steps in. After Lyonel Robust’s dying, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans, my gleefully deadpan love) has been restored as hand of the king, and he appears to have resumed his plotting and power-hungry scheming precisely the place he left off. As a substitute of chastising her for nearly stabbing one of many king’s grandkids throughout a funeral in entrance of tons of of distinguished courtiers, he appears positively delighted, and tells her that that is precisely the form of mettle she wants to indicate if she’s going to be able to struggle within the coming conflict. There’s by no means been a second when Otto hasn’t anticipated a conflict; he’s all the time trying forward in direction of the violence he’s satisfied is inevitable, just like the Westerosi equal of a conspiracy zealot erecting a bunker.

Lest we predict he’s simply power-hungry and paranoid, nevertheless, he brings it again round to what’s, a minimum of ostensibly, the fabric level: Due to the struggle, everybody at courtroom now is aware of what sort of girl Rhaenyra actually is — an adulterer. Recall, too, Alicent’s actual dismay when she discovered Rhaenyra had lied to her about dropping her virginity. The Hightowers as a unit have discovered to justify their obsession with self-preservation — which essentially is about preserving energy — by fixating on what they see as Rhaenyra’s immorality.

One thing the present hasn’t addressed however which I discover extremely fascinating is that the Hightowers appear to have a protracted historical past of being fixated on each energy and morality. That’s, within the books, the Hightowers have lengthy had a strict ethical code which they’ve wielded as their major weapon within the recreation of thrones. The clan is thought for being deeply non secular, and so they’ve inexorably interwoven their fortunes with the nation’s dominant faith, the Religion of the Seven.

The reign of King Aenys (three kings earlier than this one on the Targaryen household tree) and later his merciless successor King Maegor noticed a decade-long rebel led by a sect of utmost non secular leaders, an armed drive often called the Religion Militant. In idea, the Religion Militant Rebellion occurred as a result of the non secular leaders of Westeros determined Maegor was an immoral polygamist from an immoral household of incestuous perverts. (Please get pleasure from this temporary second in Westerosi historical past when incest was a cultural taboo.)

However the ethical outrage was actually only a cowl. The actual motive was that the Excessive Septon, the chief of the Religion Militant, was offended that Maegor married his niece however then solid her apart and remarried another person. The Excessive Septon was a member of Home Hightower; like Otto, he too had advised the king’s marriage as a means of consolidating energy and papering over a dispute about succession. And, like Otto, when issues didn’t go his means, he fell again on accusing the offending occasion of immorality. In each instances the immoral offender occurs to be standing instantly in the way in which of a Hightower’s path to energy. (Maegor and Rhaenyra parallel one another as nicely, however happily that’s most likely not on the syllabus till season two.)

We all know that Otto’s insistence on taking the ethical excessive floor is all only a decoy as a result of he doesn’t bat a watch at his personal ethical quandaries, together with pimping out his teenage daughter to the king or letting his daughter marry her youngsters to — sigh — one another. Morality to the Hightowers is simply a masks for his or her actual aim of achieving and sustaining energy. However due to the aesthetic cowl that their non secular views present, they’re adept at discovering methods to border Rhaenyra as their religious enemy in addition to an existential menace. It’s not clear if she even realizes what a distorted model of her they’ve created by this level: To them she appears to be free, immoral, impure, corrupt, and hungry for energy.

This all issues drastically to the form of faction the Greens will change into, as a result of in the event you’ll recall, Alicent’s supporters aren’t simply standing behind her son Aegon’s declare to the throne for his sake or her sake. They’re additionally resisting the entire thought of a lady being certified to say the Iron Throne. So, once more, the extra the Hightowers can efficiently unfold the concept Rhaenyra is spiritually unfit, the extra they serve themselves.

That sadly implies that Rhaenyra’s fateful determination on the finish of the episode, which she makes with a purpose to strengthen her personal ties to the throne, is destined to backfire. The plan permits Rhaenyra to eliminate her husband, Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan), and wed her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith), in order that she will consolidate their facet of Home Targaryen and mix their sources. It’s not solely clear whether or not they intend to straight-up homicide Laenor or simply assist him pretend his dying and abscond to the Free Cities together with his boyfriend, which he in the end does. Both means, she and Daemon work out a plot which does consequence within the homicide of a anonymous expendable guard, and which permits everybody to assume Rhaenyra murdered Laenor.

Rhaenyra’s aim — aside from attending to bonk her uncle — is to intimidate everybody along with her energy and ruthlessness. However with the accusations that Rhaenyra is immoral, the Hightowers have already laid the foundations to undermine no matter features she’s produced from this transaction. And on condition that in gaining Daemon she’s alienating the whole lot of Home Velaryon, Rhaenyra gained’t have issues straightforward from right here on in.

True, she’s acquired two newly woke up youngsters on her facet. However Alicent’s youngsters are waking up, too.

And due to Aemond, as Otto factors out, as they barrel headlong into the made-up soon-to-be-real conflict they created solely in their very own minds, they’ve acquired a significant benefit: One huge-ass dragon.

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