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House of the Dragon Episode 8: “The Lord of the Tides”

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I was absolutely riveted to my comfortable sofa the entire episode. There was so much action – so many undercurrents, abuses of power, heartbreaking moments, and the rare triumph of the human spirit. Of course, this is House of the Dragon, so there were some bloody moments too. Another time jump takes place, with another six years passing.

HouseOfTheDragon-Ep08Pic2We find out that Corlys has been missing for 6 years; he had sailed into an ambush and took a horrible wound to the neck, with the added threat of fever. His brother, Vaemond, is chomping at the bit to claim Driftmark as his own – and in his conversation with his sister-in-law Rhaenys, we see the two struggle for who the legitimate heir actually is. Vaemond knows that Rhaenyra’s three sons by the (late) Laenor are not legitimate. We all know it – but Coryls accepted how his son was, accepted that his daughter-in-law had three children with another man and it all served a purpose. Corlys has three grandsons and he loved them enough to claim them as his own blood. If you ask me, that makes Corlys a modern grandfather and father. Lucerys Velaryon is set to inherit Driftmark – which leads to a petition going forth to King’s Landing.

Daemon and Rhaeyra are married with two children and another one on the way. With Vaemond’s petition in the works, Daemon and Rhaenya know they must travel to King’s Landing to stand their ground. It is getting pretty tiresome for Rhaenyra, but she knows she must go and show her face. Before the petition takes place, Princess Rhaenys and Rhaenyra speak in the Godswood. Rhaenys is no fool; she is pretty upset that both her children have died, and she has fiercely protected her granddaughters. She is a keen study in court politics, as is Rhaenya. The war between the Greens and the Blacks is coming…. it is just a matter of when. Rhaenyra proposes a double betrothal – her sons to Rhaenys’ granddaughters. It makes sense from a financial and practical perspective.
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In the throne room, we see Otto Hightower looking cozy sitting on the Iron Throne, listening to petitions and matters of state, while Queen Alicent and her brood of offspring stand nearby. When the matter of the Driftmark succession comes up, both Rhaenyra and Vaemond are about to make their respective claims – and that’s when King Viserys makes his entrance into the throne room. He is a sight to see – hunchbacked, atrophied and worn down by the stress of ruling, the stress in his family circles and from leprosy. Viserys makes his entrance, much to the chagrin of Otto and Alicent. And can we just talk about his walk to the throne – to make it up by himself, only to falter – and it is Daemon who not only picks up the fallen crown but escorts his brother back to the Iron Throne. And this is where it gets REAL. Not only does Vaemond insult Rhaenyrs’ sons, but both Viserys AND Daemon threaten Vaemond. A smart man would shut his mouth, back down, beg for pardon and tuck tail. Nope, not Vaemond. Well, he found out the VERY HARD way that you do NOT insult the heir to the Iron Throne. Anyone in that crowd who saw Daemon make quick work of Vaemond knows that the Rogue Prince does NOT mess around.

Both Rhaenyrs’ sons are betrothed to Rhaenys’ granddaughters, thus solidifying the Blacks versus the Greens. Things are looking good for Daemon, Rhaenyra and their clan.

A cause of disagreement here – the fact that Aegon is a disgusting monster who goes around sexually assaulting and raping female servants in the Red Keep – and that Alicent knows about this, and nothing is ever done – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! That poor servant girl. She deserved better treatment. And as for Haelena, being married to that disgusting bastard brother is just distasteful. Aegon is NOT fit to rule. Period, end of story. Aemond wants to be Daemon so badly. Bro, sit down before you get hurt. Yes, you have a HUGE dragon, but you are NOT Daemon.

HouseOfTheDragon-Ep08Pic4-300x239Viserys continues to decline in health. He arranges his family to dine together, as he knows his time is limited. Death is coming for him on swift wings, and he wants to desperately set all the wrongs right – he wants to die in peace, knowing that Rhaenyra will be the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and that nobody will attempt to discredit her, her family or her claim to the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, we all know that war is afoot and if you have read the books, you know just how bad it is going to get. I digress – so during this family gathering, we see the younger generation dining with their elders. What a difference in mannerisms and breeding. Alicent’s two sons are vipers: rude, filthy and conniving. Poor Haelena, to be lumped in with that pathetic lot. Rhaenyra’s sons take some insults from Aegon and Aemond, but things get a little too heated. Just when it looked like there was a faint ray of hope that things would be patched up between Alicent and Rhaenyra, the younger boys allow their tempers to flare up – and what is House of the Dragon without some fisticuffs? Daemon manages to quell Aemond with a look – Daemon is the man. Aemond wants to be him so bad – sit down, pal. You are the knockoff. The younger folks are either sent to their chambers or left of their own accord. Alicent and Rhaenyra have a polite if restrained goodbye – and this is where we see that pivotal scene in the end.

The prophecy – the Song of Ice and Fire – is the secret that has been passed down from Ruler to Heir – and it has been protected for so long. Viserys is in his chambers, on his bed – and he looks close to death. Alicent comes in to dutifully nurse her husband to sleep. Viserys is so wasted away that he thinks he is HouseOfTheDragon-Ep08Pic5speaking to his daughter. He reveals the prophecy again – and we are all shouting for him to stop talking!!! It is not Rhaenyra! His mind, so clouded by milk of the poppy – and Alicent listens to her husband. She completely misinterprets what Viserys is saying. It is not Aegon – their son – who is the Prince that was Promised. (That’s Jon Snow). Due to this selective hearing on Alicent’s part and Viserys believing that he was actually speaking to his daughter, guess what is going to happen? Aegon the rapist, the filthy, the scumbag – is going to be crowned. All this horror will come to pass because Alicent completely misunderstood what King Viserys was saying. In the end, Alicent leaves his chambers, stunned at what she thinks he’s just proposed.

Viserys is alone, in the dark, with some pretty laboured breathing – when he starts to ramble on. He points upwards – believing he is actually seeing Aemma, his beloved first wife. A lone tear slips down his rotted and wilted skin. “My love,” is the last thing we hear the great King whisper. Fade to black. The King is dead. Long live the King.

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