Memorable moments in House of the Dragon
Staff Writer | On 12, Oct 2022
While the long-awaited Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon is only partway into its first full season, it has already been packed with moments that linger in the memory. It is a different beast to the action-packed and wide-sweeping initial series, instead focusing on the woes experienced by the Targaryen dynasty in the centuries preceding the infamous happenings in Game of Thrones.
The plot moves fast with time jumps aging characters from kids to teenagers to adults, while the Targaryen’s incenstuous adventures makes things a tad complicated when deciphering who’s related to who. A Targaryen family tree can help, but pay close attention during the show as the normal dating barriers don’t exist. With more intrigue and less outright gore, it is still packed with shocks, surprises, and moments that get viewers talking.
Here are just a few of the moments so far that have left a powerful impression on the watchers.
Warning: Contains spoilers
We were promised from the start that this series would put a lot of focus on the risks of women giving birth in this medieval-like fantasy setting, and the series has more than delivered on that promise. The very first episode brings us a powerful statement of the brutality of birth, with some medieval medical procedures highlighted in all their disturbing detail and a tough glimpse into how few women could feel confident about surviving bringing new life into the world. In an attempt to save the male heir born breech – and thoughtless as to the fact it will kill his wife – the King orders an unmedicated, unsafe C-section that takes both their lives. They manage to handle difficult subject matter like this altogether better than Blonde did.
There’s a second powerful scene in later episodes as the spite of Alicent forces Rhaenyra to present herself and her brand new, hours-old infant in suitable fashion to the monarch.
Beware the Dragon
The show is quite literally titled House of the Dragon, so we want to see some of those famous dragons we remember from Game of Thrones, right? While the three that floated along with Daenerys were the last three of their kind, the prequel is set far enough back in time to tantalize us with promises of dragons galore. In the second episode, The Rogue Prince, we get a beautiful introduction to them. Rhaenyra enters Dragonstone on her very own dragon in this powerful moment. We’ve learnt, along with the Small Council, that Daemon, convinced he is the true heir, has stolen a precious dragon egg and now wants to take his mistress, Mysaria, as a new spouse. So Ser Otto and a small detachment of troops head off to stop him and reclaim the stolen egg. Unhappy with being sidelined for her femininity, the chosen heir, Rhaenyra, makes a sweeping statement by arriving on Syrax, her dragon.
Would it be Westeros without some gore and blood? Of course we need some sweeping and dramatic battles to enjoy. Episode 3 gave us a great one, if on a small scale. Conflict in the Stepstones has been escalating wildly. Crabfeeder, or Craghas Drahar, have been running their own pirate fleet without the support of the Iron Throne, and there’s a tense face-off between Crabfeeder and Daemon. This scene doesn’t just bring us swashbuckling antics, however. It’s also a big reveal for the depths of Daemon’s character, making us root for him to win, and shows he’s willing to face serious danger and not just posture around court.
It’s a nice contrast to another memorable scene. For reasons that make no sense to a modern audience, the council decides to make Daemon the Commander of the City Watch – something we all know is going to have gory results. The resulting city “clean up”, which sees his Gold Cloaks roll into the city and start hacking up criminals while loading the body parts into a wagon, is designed to send a clear message to the criminal underworld and those who do bad things. But it’s also a brutal reminder to us, the watchers, about the type of world Westeros really is.
Another part of what made Game of Thrones so popular among certain audiences was its no-holds-barred approach to sexuality, including scandalous incest scenes. While we don’t have anything quite as squick-inducing in House of the Dragon, we do have a scene where Prince Daemon attempts to seduce his niece, Princess Rhaenyra, in a pleasure den.
However, we see an empowered Princess Rhaenyra, abandoned by Prince Daemon as he returns to the Red Keep, instead seduce Ser Criston. It highlights a lot of strength in Princess Rhaenyra herself, and shows how Prince Daemon can’t handle a strong woman with her own emotions.
You wouldn’t think a mere green gown could make such a statement – but in this world it does. You are supposed to show your household and family allegiance in the colors you wear, and the Targaryens wear red and black. So there’s a startling power in seeing Alicent Hightower arrive for her wedding in a regal green gown, flaunting her family of origin and not meekly sinking into the Targaryen power mold. Not only is green the Hightower color, it’s also a call to arms and a signal of war. And she’s about to wage war between herself and her former friend, now scandalously her stepdaughter and heir to the throne (eventually). Alicent seemed meek and naive until this point and it’s a subtle, but powerful, scene that transforms her into a force to be reckoned with.
The jousting scenes are also worth a watch. It’s rare to find this dangerous and violent sport accurately portrayed in medieval-themed fantasies, but House of the Dragon delivers a good look at it that is mostly authentic, too. We see gory injuries, wounded pride and a lot of authenticity in this celebratory, if wild, sport.
Is there a shocking moment from the House of the Dragon we missed? Which of these scenes made the biggest impact on you? Be sure to let us know below!