Men in power conspiring, plotting, and planning for the Iron Throne while gross battle scenes make for the start and end of the episode, House of the Dragon episode 2 reminds you of GoT, but something seems a miss.
With the last episode, my only hope was that while House of the Dragon relied on reminiscing in the nostalgia of GoT, it tries to find its footing standalone. Though it's quite early to judge an entire show or season just on the basis of its second episode, it seems like House of the Dragon episode 2 can't seem to get out of the chasm of GoT while finding it's own rhythm. It's quite possible that one or more things in the show will always remind us of GoT or make us go back to it for comparisons or a storyline. Episode 2 picks up from episode 1 to set up some ground for the rest of the story to unfold, but you can't help but be reminded of the themes of GoT that were actually carried out brilliantly but not so much here. Gross battlegrounds, men in power making stupid decisions to prove their mettle while the politics for the Iron Throne ensues with women in the stereotypical backseat. (SPOILER ALERT!)
Men in power are all compiled in a single room, making the rules, plotting, and planning for the Iron Throne, while gross battle scenes from the start and end of the episode hint that a bloody battle is awaiting. And as it's six months after Queen Aemma's death, King Viserys I is expected to remarry, but no doubt, since this is a prequel of GoT, a marriage proposal of a twelve-year-old kid to a 50-year-old king is proposed. While Rhaenyra is hell-bent on proving her value as the true heir as she understands that she is only picked by her father to spite her uncle, Daemon. On the other hand, Alicent Hightower is busy getting close to the king on the order of her father. Daemon, after being banished from the palace, has taken refuge in Dragonstone and steals a dragon egg for his apparently pregnant "Lady" Mysaria.
After the interesting new intro sequence where blood flows through the making of the realm, the episode starts with a bloody sequence (trademark GoT) where a man is being eaten brutally by crabs. While episode 1 in a smart move shows the sharp contrast between the genders in a realm, it seems like women can't seem to find a place that's controlled by men even after giving one of them a seat at the table. The insufferable men are still busy making stupid decisions like King Viserya I not realizing that dragons are his biggest asset, while the women suffer like Rhaenrya needing to prove her worth even after being named heir.
But the astonishing factor in this episode is that while it mirrors the early arcs of GoT where the game was set through politics and dialogues worthy of being remembered and conversations running heavy, in HOTD, while they're trying to recreate the same, the impact is nil. Except for two scenes, one that takes place between Daemon and Rhaenyra with the dragons and another one where Rhaenys (The Queen Who Never Was) keeps a truthful fact in front of Rhaenyra. Other than this, important pieces of the plotlines have been set afoot (a possible romance for Rhaenyra, an unusual joining of hands between Daemon and Lord Corlys, an announcement of marriage) that will change the course of this game of fire and blood. Yet, all in all, the whole episode of "The Rogue Prince" is not as powerful as the “The Heirs of the Dragon.”
More than anything, Rhaenyra's struggle in trying to take her rightful place in a man's world and starting to become and think more like a man reminds me of a scene from Madmen where Peggy is advised that rather than being a man, be a woman in a man's world; there is more power in that. And I sincerely hope that HOTD tries to do this instead of creating a badass boss bitch who becomes a man. And since there are many episodes yet to come out which could change the game altogether, there is still hope for the season to have a different take on feminism and deep dive into the minds of women, and the relationships they have with each other rather than just some petty jealousy and being pitted against each other, implying that most men don't know how to write a woman.
Given that it is a prequel of GoT, the least we expect is for powerful women to be written and seen who can create an impact and not just become a side piece in a large scheme of things or a driving force behind men and battles! Though much is left to be seen and there is hope to do better as many episodes are bound to be released. As to what's gonna happen in the next? My guess is as good as yours!
Here's a preview of episode 3 here!
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