A missing eye, a rotten tooth, a razor-thin scar standing out livid from pale skin. So significantly of “The Lord of the Tides” is structured close to the injuries House of the Dragon’s solid have accrued all over their troubled life. Even the titular incident, a succession disaster within just Property Velaryon, is prompted by Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) suffering a grave wound in battle. We hardly ever see the wound in reality, Lord Corlys does not surface on display screen at all, but information of it sets into motion a wrestle for electrical power that expenditures a male his lifetime and sets the royal spouse and children once extra at each and every other’s throats. Consider of it like Laura Palmer’s absence in Twin Peaks, the variety of vacancy that makes an entire story just in the destructive space it leaves driving when it disappears.
This is a household that cannot halt hurting alone, and nobody has suffered extra in that regard than King Viserys (Paddy Considine). Even so improper he is to cling to the hope of an impossible standing quo, even so deluded he is as to his ability to make the folks he enjoys accept peace, it’s agonizing to see him so diminished, his body skeletal and sunken, protected in open sores, his head addled by the opium tincture regarded as milk of the poppy. Even drawing breath, he’s as significantly a wound in the material of the kingdom as Lord Corlys.
The psychological wounds dealt back again and forth across the divide between the two courtly camps are as existing as the physical. When Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) initially sees Alicent (Olivia Cooke) upon returning to King’s Landing soon after a 6-calendar year absence, her hand flies at once to the scar on her forearm, mirroring a later scene in which she and Alicent clasp hands with seemingly unfeigned warmth. Alicent rubs Rhaenyra’s arm and wrist as though in apology, and for the initially instant since the time skip it would seem as nevertheless some flicker of the intimate spark that animated their shared childhood could be reignited. Cooke and D’Arcy have an immediate chemistry solid adequate that even the information that this rapprochement is doomed can’t dent the exchange’s power. Their showdown in the Crimson Keep’s throne home is equally charged, the entire of the court on the lookout on as they air their dirty laundry with ever-mounting venom. Rhaenyra’s open up outrage is fascinating, D’Arcy’s hawkish, aristocratic attributes beautifully suited to the towering contempt of a princess who’s under no circumstances experienced to participate in petty online games and so finds repellent the 50 %-truths and evasions by which Alicent conspires to strip her sons of their inheritance.
At the royal evening meal, which Viserys insists on attending in spite of his speedily declining health, the king gets rid of the gilded mask he wears at court to disguise the open up lesions consuming via his cheek down to the muscle. He begs his relatives to see him not as their king but as a husband, a father, and a grandfather, and the social tactic he works by using is the ghastly sight of his wounds, an unavoidable reminder of his mortality. The wound and aged-age makeup utilized to Considine are certainly outstanding, steering distinct of the pitfalls of rubbery latex skin and unconvincing CGI. He seems like almost nothing so much as a medieval leper, entombed in his extensive canopy mattress at the rear of the neglected analyze in which he after toiled so fortunately in excess of his model of Outdated Valyria, now covered in cobwebs.
That ancient freehold is however an additional structuring absence, resource of the dragons the royals covet and of the bloodlines they cling to and wield from a single a further to contest claims of legitimacy. There is an etiquette to the apply, a reliance on invoking these absences without mentioning them by identify. When Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), chafing in opposition to the obvious lie of the parentage of Rhaenyra’s sons, dares to shift past innuendo and into accusation, the hazards of probing at this kind of a wound with one’s fingers quickly turn out to be obvious.
Ironically, it’s only following Vaemond’s dying that we see him dealt with with any tenderness. The arrogant, abrasive gentleman is laid out by the silent sisters to be embalmed, the severed halves of his head laid reverently in line like a thing out of Hellraiser. We revere and memorialize our wounds because to confess they are meaningless is to confront our have powerlessness, our insignificance in the experience of entropy. And as Viserys draws what might be his very last rattling, anguished breath, it’s difficult not to imagine that his lifetime of ache will turn out to be just an additional wound his descendants and widow cannot cease selecting at, yet another absence into which they’ll project their own this means.
It’s like the serving lady Diana, who at the episode’s get started is introduced shaking and in tears to Alicent, the place she recounts her expertise currently being raped by Prince Aegon. Alicent gives her fake sweetness and ease and comfort, then hush funds. Near up that wound. Faux you haven’t obtained it anymore. Other than that when it is dealt, it’s by now too late. You can’t cease tonguing the hole the place your tooth applied to be. You can not prevent selecting the scab. After this week it would seem all of Westeros’ wounds are on the verge of staying torn vast open up.