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House of the Dragon episode 2 review: After a violent pilot, show takes a necessary slow break

Published on Aug 29, 2022 07:06 AM IST

House of the Dragon episode 2 review: In a slow-paced second episode, the Game of Thrones prequel takes a necessary breather.

House of the Dragon episode 2 review: Milly Alcock in a still from the show.

The second episode of the newly launched House of the Dragon takes a much-deserved and much-needed break from violence after that crazy pilot last week. While the first episode was an unsubtle bait to reel in viewers with some stomach-turning scenes, the second one is spent mostly chit-chatting and strolling in lush CGI gardens. It might get a bit boring at times but this is also where pawns and knights and kings take their places on the chessboard for an interesting and complicated game of thrones over the season.

Episode two shows the young Princess Rhaenyra vying for her dad, King Viserys' and his men's respect and attention as the Heir to the Iron Throne. Sadly, her young age and the fact that she is a girl, means she's little more than a fancy cup-bearer to them still. With her hardened face with a soft smile lurking right underneath, actor Milly Alcock does a fine job of endearing us to Rhaenyra. A few tender scenes with Viserys and Alicent that she shares, give her the centre stage in this episode.

Even her father Viserys gets to make a difficult choice about marrying again, and this time, either choose for his heart or for his kingdom. In Game of Thrones, Robb Stark was faced with a similar dilemma and we all know what that ended up like. If only there was a way to learn from ‘future’ mistakes. Paddy Considine also does justice to the king's confusion with his act. It's difficult to hate him even after the way he sacrificed his wife in the first episode, the ultimate purpose of which, I have still not understood. The showrunners clearly want us to like him.

Still from House of the Dragon episod 2.

Also this time, the action moves to the very familiar Dragonstone for a couple of scenes. While one was full of tension and suspense, the other one was too distracting for a stray accent that came out of nowhere. Prince Daemon makes Dragonstone his new home and brings his girlfriend from the brothel along. Her very thick accent made me pray once again for subtitles on media screeners. To add to the thick accent, the words didn't match her mouth either, in a curious case of shoddy dubbing, a rare oversight in production this massive and expertly curated.

As for the better, more tense Dragonstone scene, it can bring back memories of some of the most impressive Daenerys Targaryen scenes from Game of Thrones. The thrill of screeching dragons is only complemented by the snappy dialogue between warring parties.

Overall, the second episode brought a much-needed respite from terror and mayhem, setting the stage for more to come in the future. One good thing about House of the Dragon is how well it has been managing to show the passage of time, depicting months going by in a single episode, without anything feeling rushed. People down for long chats, take multiple strolls in the garden, pray, cry, and plot. And yet, it all fits in within the 60-minute runtime. The showrunners have been managing their time well and it shows.

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