This discussion and evaluation includes spoilers for Household of the Dragon episode 7, “Driftmark,” on HBO.
1 of the structural positive aspects that Dwelling of the Dragon has about Video game of Thrones is that the show’s storytelling would make it simpler to create total episodes close to particular themes and strategies. As the scope and scale of Match of Thrones expanded, the demonstrate featured a extensive ensemble scattered across various plot threads jogging in parallel across several continents. Unique episodes could often come to feel like brief anthology movies, amassing four or 5 mini-episodes every single 7 days.
In contrast, the tighter target and far more contained nature of Property of the Dragon enables the show’s installments to truly feel additional like common television episodes. They are structured all-around particular situations from this chapter of the history of Household Targaryen, with “Second of His Name” joining King Viserys (Paddy Considine) on a royal hunt when “We Gentle the Way” was mostly designed all over the royal wedding ceremony of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) to Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate).
This isn’t to propose that these episodes are self-contained or standalone. “Driftmark” picks up specifically right after the end of “The Princess and the Queen.” The full episode focuses on the funeral for Leanna Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), who burned herself alive at the finish of the former episode. In fact, the faked demise of her brother Laenor Velaryon (now played by John Macmillan) at the conclusion of “Driftmark,” his body burning in the relatives hearth, delivers a haunting echo of Leanna’s passing.
However, the show’s construction allows just about every episode of House of Dragon to have its have thematic considerations. At the finish of “The Princess and the Queen,” two households are wrecked by flame, the energy that holds House Targaryen together. Leanna burns herself alive with dragonfire. Larys Solid (Matthew Needham) burns his brother Harwin (Ryan Corr) and his father Lyonel (Gavin Spokes) alive in the loved ones fortress of Harrenhal, to protected the favor of Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke).
Both of those Video game of Thrones and Residence of the Dragon derive from author George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga, A Track of Ice and Fire. Understandably, ice has been mainly absent from House of the Dragon. There have been a couple references to “the Wall,” but Dwelling Targaryen is obviously uninterested in what is taking place to the severe North of Westeros. The show’s iconography has been additional autumnal than wintry, concentrating on slipping leaves instead than falling snow.
“Driftmark” suggests that the reverse of the fireplace that powers Household Targaryen is not ice. Instead, “Driftmark” returns time and once more to drinking water imagery. The entirety of the episode will take location on the eponymous island, as Home Velaryon mourns the passing of Leanna. It is bookended by scenes in and about water, with Leanna’s physique consigned to the depths of the bay at the commence and with Ser Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan) fleeing throughout the h2o with a disguised Laenor.
As a person may possibly be expecting for a exhibit titled Dwelling of the Dragon, Household Targaryen procedures by fireplace. Within just the world of the clearly show, hearth is a metaphor for incredible energy, specifically that utilized (often unwisely) by human beings in pursuit of electrical power and dominance. Household of the Dragon has not been subtle in utilizing fireplace as a metaphor for atomic ability, particularly in episodes like “The Rogue Prince.” Then yet again, fireplace has normally served as a metaphor for humankind harnessing untold (usually godlike) electrical power.
“Driftmark” returns consistently to the thought of drinking water as a force that stands in opposition to fire. This is most apparent in the episode’s late dialogue among Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith). “Fire has these kinds of peculiar electric power,” she admits. “Everything that Residence Targaryen possesses is owed to it, nevertheless it has value us both what we liked.” Daemon replies, “Perhaps the Velaryons realized the real truth of it: The sea is the very best authentic ally.”
Fire offers Property Targaryen the electricity to literally reshape the globe to their whims and to minimize their opponents to ashes. Even so, “Driftmark” implies that even this kind of amazing ability have to inevitably surrender to more primal forces. As the eulogy at the start off of “Driftmark” reminds the assembled nobles, “From the sea we came. To the sea we shall return.” Leanna’s sarcophagus tumbles into Blackwater Bay, joining centuries’ well worth of caskets containing her ancestors.
Martin has been pretty candid that he initially wrote A Track of Ice and Fireplace as a metaphor for weather adjust, a cautionary tale about the way in which political squabbling can protect against societies from reckoning with additional existential threats. Just one of the even larger threats posed by local climate improve is the danger of rising sea stages, the plan that the water could rise up and reclaim the globe that men and women have crafted. 1 are not able to negotiate with the tides. Drinking water requires back again almost everything in time.
H2o clearly drowns fire, and the emphasis on h2o in “Driftmark” only deepens the episode’s funereal tone. It underscores the feeling of grand tragedy that operates via Residence of the Dragon. Following all, the initial episode of Activity of Thrones recognized that whoever wins the looming battle for the throne does not truly issue, as Home Targaryen will be overthrown. In fact, the stop of Dwelling of the Dragon was relatively casually exposed in a throwaway line from Sport of Thrones.
“The Velaryons are of the sea,” Rhaenyra appeals to Daemon. “But you and I are produced of fireplace. We have generally been intended to burn off with each other.” Of training course, all flames are extinguished in time. In the conclusion, there is only ash and h2o. The sea will keep on being. Rhaenyra herself would seem to grasp this, confessing to her uncle that “fire is a jail the sea features an escape.” Just after all, water washes and absolves. It baptizes. It cleanses in a substantially fewer destructive manner than fireplace.
Of course, “Driftmark” doesn’t just contrast drinking water and hearth. Fire is only 50 percent of Home Targaryen’s declare to ability. After all, the exhibit is an adaptation of Martin’s record of the royal relatives, titled Hearth & Blood. The old cliché argues that “blood is thicker than water,” even if the phrase’s modern day meaning is the specific opposite of the original assertion that “blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb.” “Driftmark” implies that even blood ties can be diluted and weakened.
A great deal of the drama in the 2nd half of “Driftmark” derives from the rigidity concerning actual blood lineage and community notion of those people ties. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Finest) and her spouse Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) argue over how ideal to shield their loved ones. Rhaenys argues that they should allow Daemon and Leanna’s daughter Baela (Shani Smethurst) to inherit Driftwood, fully bypassing Rhaenyra and Laenor’s sons Lucerys (Harvey Sadler) and Jacaerys (Leo Hart).
Rhaenys’ argument is that Jacaerys is not truly Laenor’s son. He was conceived as element of a extensive-working affair among Rhaenyra and Harwin Potent (Ryan Corr). As this sort of, there is no blood relationship between Corlys and his grandson. In distinction, Baela is Corlys’ granddaughter by blood. In some techniques, this is a clever extension of Property of the Dragon’s fascination with the gender politics of feudal energy buildings, wherever basic biology implies that lineage is usually clearer from mother to baby.
“Rhaenyra’s little ones are not of your blood, but Laeana’s are,” Rhaenys warns her partner. “They are her legacy.” Of program, acknowledging the fact of the circumstance would obstacle the patriarchal ability buildings of Westeros, mainly because it would indicate that identification could only be certain from mothers fairly than fathers. As these types of, it is no surprise that Corlys pushes back again strongly against this idea. “History does not keep in mind blood,” he insists. “It remembers names.”
James Hibberd argued that Dwelling of the Dragon was about how “patriarchy would alternatively wipe out alone than see a lady on the throne.” “Driftmark” pushes that thought to its absurd extreme, in which Corlys would somewhat disinherit his own family members members than admit his daughter-in-law’s sexual agency. The illusion of patriarchal electrical power should be taken care of, even if the charge of that lie is the entire erosion of any real electrical power to shield and maintain that relatives unit.
This performs out all over again in the massive loved ones argument adhering to the decline of Aemond Targaryen’s (Leo Ashton) eye. Viserys finds himself caught in the middle of an argument involving his spouse Alicent and his daughter Rhaenyra, with Alicent publicly voicing accusations relating to the parentage of Rhaenyra’s sons. The resulting spectacle is humiliating for all people involved, with only Alicent taking care of to attract blood from her outdated mate Rhaenyra.
“Driftmark” cynically suggests that, even with the rules of the realm, blood doesn’t in fact mean nearly anything in the globe of Westeros. People ties can be diluted and washed away. In that sense, the drinking water imagery is also evocative. Daemon conspires to persuade Correy to transform on his lover Laenor with the guarantee of a fresh new start off. “There are destinations throughout the Slim Sea exactly where it doesn’t issue what a man’s title is, only how much gold he possesses,” Daemon urges. That, it appears, is sufficient.
In fact, “Driftmark” implies that there is some truth in Rhaenyra’s being familiar with that “the sea delivers an escape.” When Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) supplied Rhaenyra a way out of the politicking in “We Mild the Way,” he created the supply on a boat and promised to consider her across the ocean. Likewise, when Daemon explained to Leanna about how free he felt in “The Princess and the Queen,” he was talking from the convenience of Pentos throughout the Slim Sea.
In the closing times of “Driftmark,” getting faked Laenor’s dying, both Correy and Laenor get that escape, as the relaxation of the forged locate themselves drawn nearer to the flames.