It’s an understatement to say that weddings not often go nicely in George R.R. Martin’s world, and the Recreation of Thrones prequel collection Home of the Dragon is not any exception. The primary season of Home of the Dragon strikes way more rapidly than Recreation of Thrones: 5 episodes in, and we’ve already coated a half a decade within the lives of King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) and his backstabbing royal household. And episode 6 will see one other time leap, this one taking viewers ahead one other 10 years.
Alliances are shifting, factions are forming, and animosities are deepening. E-book readers, as ordinary, know the place that is all heading. However “We Mild the Means” offers its viewers an elegantly constructed recap anyway, to assist preserve all the things straight as we transfer ahead — whether or not they notice that’s what they’re seeing or not.
One space the place Home of the Dragon excels is in laying a visible groundwork that clues observant viewers into what’s coming subsequent. Queen Alicent’s (Emily Carey) inexperienced costume on this week’s episode is a good instance of this visible storytelling, as are the rats slurping up the blood on the dance ground on the finish of the episode. (Lookup “Blood and Cheese, Dance of the Dragons” if you happen to’re curious.) These hints level towards the place the story goes. However episode director Clare Kilner’s most elaborately constructed machine reminds us the place it’s been, organising the throne room at King’s Touchdown, outfitted for a weeklong wedding ceremony celebration, to have a number of sight strains, every of them trying down and/or throughout the room towards the middle aisle the place the “Dance of the Dragons” is about to happen.
Kilner alternates between these views, reducing between medium pictures of various characters — Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Greatest), the groom’s dad and mom; the bride’s father, King Viserys, and his second spouse, Alicent; Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), the bride’s uncle and jealous suitor; and the bride’s and groom’s paramours and sworn protectors — who all have a stake within the final result of this marriage. The glad (or a minimum of content material, with an understanding that their marriage is a political association) couple stays on the middle of the body because the assembled lords and women rise up to hitch the dance.
Right here, Kilner cuts away to Alicent’s uncle, Lord Hobert Hightower, who will get up from his seat to inform a departing Alicent, “Know that Previous City stands with you.” Because the dance continues, the digital camera cuts again once more to Rhaenyra’s bodyguard and lover, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) — a little bit of foreshadowing of his last moments within the episode — then cuts to Ser Gerold Royce of the Vale, who has developed his personal causes for opposing Targaryen rule. Extra gamers have joined the dance, each actually and figuratively.
Though, in the interim, these realizing glances and unstated slights stay throughout the rarified realm of courtly manners, these tensions will inevitably spin out into greater conflicts that may imply life and demise for 1000’s of individuals in Westeros, noble and customary alike. The characters perceive the significance of such small, symbolic gestures. Alicent strolling in late to Rhaenyra’s wedding ceremony banquet is not only the top of their friendship; it’s a declaration of conflict between them. And by blocking and enhancing this scene to permit for such a detailed studying of posture, gesture, and sight strains, the present acknowledges their significance as nicely.
Even Viserys, who typically prefers to disregard the tensions in his court docket, can’t assist however discover the following confrontation between Ser Gerold and his boastful brother Daemon. However then he seems to be again out over the dance, concentrating on his daughter on the middle of the swirling materials and outstretched limbs. That is Viserys’ deadly flaw: He solely has eyes for Rhaenyra and his dream of protecting Targaryens on the throne for the following hundred years, failing to see the rats scurrying across the edges of his grand plan. Laenor and his bodyguard/lover, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, are extra observant, nevertheless, noticing Ser Criston’s forlorn expression and accurately surmising that he’s the explanation why Rhaenyra is content material with an “association” together with her betrothed. Daemon, who’s used to (and good at) sneaking beneath his brother’s nostril, manages to slide right into a spot as his niece’s dance companion as nicely.
From right here, the reducing will get quicker and the extensive pictures of a full dance ground extra frequent, and Kilner brings the digital camera’s focus again on the Targaryens and Velaryons, by now absolutely distracted by their very own inner dramas. We don’t see how the struggle on the dance ground begins; all we hear is a scream, which lastly attracts the royal households’ consideration again towards their company. The view of the motion is obscured from the excessive desk — a potent visible metaphor for the Targaryens’ myopia — and Rhaenyra will get shoved apart amid the jockeying of the group. The struggle is glimpsed in fragments, and we lose observe of Rhaenyra and Laenor amidst the chaos.
As quickly because the physique is dragged away, somebody (presumably Viserys) decides that it will be finest to get this wedding ceremony out of the way in which as quickly as potential, earlier than anybody else dies. The key ceremony that follows is held amid the scraps of an deserted feast, decaying and nibbled on by rats. For now, it’s a symbolic loss and a short lived humiliation. However as private grudges proceed to escalate, the “Dance of the Dragons” will remodel from a literal dance right into a symbolic one: The dance of swords and knights on the battlefield. Recreation of Thrones, and now Home of the Dragon, are inclined to get loads of consideration and credit score for his or her meticulously deliberate battle scenes; “We Mild the Means” approaches the present’s political facet with an identical filmmaking sensibility, brilliantly underlining the connection between the 2. At this time, a ruined social gathering; tomorrow, a ruined home.