House of the Dragon Episode 9 is a weightless, thoughtless mess - Winter is Coming

House of the Dragon Episode 9 is a weightless, thoughtless mess – Winter is Coming

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House of the Dragon Episode 9 is a weightless, thoughtless mess – Winter is Coming

For my money, the eighth episode ofu00a0House of the Dragon, “The Lord of the Tides,” is easily the best of the series so far. Its finest moments we…

House of the Dragon Episode 9.

For my money, the eighth episode of House of the Dragon, “The Lord of the Tides,” is easily the best of the series so far.

At the end of this week’s episode, “The Green Council,” a dragon bursts through the floor of a royal coronation and I felt pretty much nothing, save for some slight confusion.

There were several empty action scenes, and little of the sort of nuance and character drama that has marked the show’s best moments..

“The Green Council” starts about as you’d expect: King Viserys is dead.

The Small Council is convened and immediately start planning to crown Viserys’ son Aegon king, despite the king’s oft-stated wish that his daughter Rhaenyra inherit the Iron Throne..

As a fan of George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, I was looking forward to the moment where Lyman Beesbury, who’d been serving Viserys as Master of Coin since the series premiere, raised the lone voice of objection, an act of bravery Criston Cole punishes with death, so little does Criston want to hear the plain truth that what they are doing is treason.

Having watched the whole episode, I know now that they didn’t focus on it because they had other, much sillier acts of violence planned for later..

Things started to go sideways for me when it is revealed that Otto Hightower and several members of the Small Council (not Lyman Beesbury, obviously) have been planning to crown Aegon king behind Alicent’s back.

Otto orders Ser Harrold Westerling of the Kingsguard to take some knights, go to Dragonstone and kill Rhaenyra, the better to head off a war before it begins.

In the book, after Viserys dies, Otto immediately sets about consolidating power by writing lords he thinks might be sympathetic to Aegon’s cause, marshaling forces for the conflict with Rhaenyra he knows is inevitable should they crown her half-brother.

In the show, he orders knights to Dragonstone to murder Rhaenyra (and presumably her family), despite the facts that: 1) Dragonstone is a fortress garrisoned by knights and protected by dragons and surrounded by ships, not remotely the kind of place one can be taken “quickly” or “cleanly,” and; 2) killing Rhaenyra would inflame those loyal to her, leading immediately to war.

On the page, this is something that the rash young Aegon wants to do, but not the methodical Otto, and frankly, it’s hard to believe him advocating for something so artless..

Basically, the show has taken Otto Hightower, a character we are supposed to believe is intelligent, and turned his intelligence down a few degrees.

The show wants us to see Alicent as marginally more sympathetic than her father, and if that means he comes off as an idiotic brute, then so be it..

It’s black-and-white, dualistic thinking forcing its way into a story that is supposed to be about shades of gray; it takes characters written as complex individuals and flattens them to paper cutouts representing “good” and “bad.” I don’t like it, and it gets worse.

Otto and Alicent both draft different members of the Kingsguard to go find Aegon, who is MIA; the twin brothers Arryk and Erryk Cargyll go hunting on orders from Otto, while Criston Cole and Alicent’s son Aemond act on behalf of Alicent.

When the Cargyll twins finally find Aegon hiding out in a sept, they chase him into the open where they come into contact with Criston and Aemond.

When I first watched this, I think I audibly said, “What?” Over what are they fighting, exactly?

The right to take Aegon to see either his mother or grandfather first?

The whole section about looking for Aegon feels pretty weightless..

Later, Alicent tells Otto that she “has” Aegon, which…again, what?

Aegon will be king soon; he can talk to both his mother and grandfather as he pleases.

There’s opportunity to deepen Aegon as a character by exploring his reluctance to sit the throne, but it goes mostly wasted; instead he runs from the Cargyll twins shouting about how he’s not fit for rule, bleary eyed and desperate.

The scene between him and Alicent in the carriage, where she advises him to offer Rhaenyra terms rather than kill her (which, again, is really the only option; killing Rhaenyra is a ludicrous course of action the writers shoved into the mouth of Otto Hightower to make Alicent look better by comparison), at least includes hints of character drama, since it suggests a complicated mother-son relationship beyond, “Alicent good, Aegon bad.” I also liked how all the guards lowered their swords as Aegon walked through the Dragonpit on his way to be crowned king.

Let’s talk a bit about Rhaenys’ journey in “The Green Council.” She hadn’t left King’s Landing since the events of “The Lord of the Tides,” and the greens lock her in her room while they sort out what to do in the aftermath of Viserys’ death.

She is eventually released by Erryk Cargyll, who is sworn to protect Aegon and knows what a terrible king he will make, something his twin brother doesn’t yet have first-hand knowledge of.

I thought that perhaps Rhaenys would steal Viserys’ old crown, which makes its way to Rhaenyra in Fire & Blood and could have made for some fun cloak-and-dagger bits.

Instead she heads to the Dragonpit, steals beneath, mounts her dragon Meleys, and bursts through the floor of the place during Aegon’s coronation, killing an undetermined number of smallfolk in the offing, before flying away..

It feels like another action scene forced into the episode, this time because the writers wanted a big finish and didn’t trust Aegon’s coronation to serve by itself.

It feels more like they just wanted an explosive finish and didn’t care about the details.

In the book, the greens are very careful to make sure not to draw any unnecessary blood because they want to be able to argue they’re just being good stewards for the crown (they tell everyone that Lyman Beesbury is in the dungeons to avoid looking too bloodthirsty); if Rhaenyra acts out upon discovering that they’ve stolen her birthright, the thinking goes, then she’ll be the aggressor and they the victim, which means they can feel morally justified in waging a war they were going to fight anyway.

In the book, the greens are careful to make sure anyone who might know that Viserys died is locked up lest loose lips sink ships.

We see Otto announce to a roomful of lords that the king is dead and demand their supplication to Aegon.

Even if they’re loyal to Aegon, people talk and word spreads.

No one’s being very careful here, which makes things feel way less tense than they should.).

I’ve had some issues with the writing on House of the Dragon, but generally the show has been pretty good about treating its characters as real people capable of good or evil depending on the situation, and as thinking human beings who look before they leap, even if their passion can lead them to act rashly.

I know all these characters are being written by people in a room and performed by actors in costume, but when the drama is working, I don’t think about it; I don’t see the strings.

In “The Green Council,” I didn’t just see the strings; I saw the hands pulling them, I saw the seams and the stage lights.

bit feels, twin brothers, thinking forcing, immediately start, things started, dying man,

Read Article: Winter is Coming

House of the Dragon Episode 9 is a weightless, thoughtless mess – Winter is Coming

House of the Dragon Episode 9 is a weightless, thoughtless mess – Winter is Coming

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