It’s an understatement to say that weddings hardly ever go nicely in George R.R. Martin’s world, and the Sport of Thrones prequel collection Home of the Dragon is not any exception. The primary season of Home of the Dragon strikes rather more rapidly than Sport of Thrones: 5 episodes in, and we’ve already lined 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. Guide readers, as typical, know the place that is all heading. However “We Mild the Approach” offers its viewers an elegantly constructed recap anyway, to assist hold every part 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 flooring on the finish of the episode. (Search for “Blood and Cheese, Dance of the Dragons” should you’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, establishing the throne room at King’s Touchdown, outfitted for a weeklong wedding ceremony celebration, to have a number of sight traces, every of them wanting 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 mother and father; 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 consequence of this marriage. The comfortable (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 girls 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 Outdated 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 remaining 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 intervening time, these realizing glances and unstated slights stay inside the rarified realm of courtly manners, these tensions will inevitably spin out into larger conflicts that may imply life and demise for hundreds 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 tip of their friendship; it’s a declaration of struggle between them. And by blocking and enhancing this scene to permit for such an in depth studying of posture, gesture, and sight traces, the present acknowledges their significance as nicely.
Even Viserys, who usually 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 appears 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 subsequent 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 appropriately surmising that he’s the rationale 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 associate as nicely.
From right here, the reducing will get quicker and the broad pictures of a full dance flooring extra frequent, and Kilner brings the digital camera’s focus again on the Targaryens and Velaryons, by now totally distracted by their very own inner dramas. We don’t see how the battle on the dance flooring begins; all we hear is a scream, which lastly attracts the royal households’ consideration again towards their friends. 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 gang. The battle is glimpsed in fragments, and we lose monitor of Rhaenyra and Laenor amidst the chaos.
As quickly because the physique is dragged away, somebody (presumably Viserys) decides that it might be finest to get this wedding ceremony out of the best way as quickly as doable, 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 rework from a literal dance right into a symbolic one: The dance of swords and knights on the battlefield. Sport 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 Approach” approaches the present’s political side with the same filmmaking sensibility, brilliantly underlining the connection between the 2. As we speak, a ruined occasion; tomorrow, a ruined home.