The following comprises spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 5, “We Light the Way,” which debuted Sept. 18, on HBO.

As the previous saying goes: Be cautious what you would like for, you simply may get it. On House of the Dragon, all of the characters not named “Targaryen” are the place they’re as a result of they’re vying for a station that places them near the seat of energy. Yet, for individuals who efficiently marry into House Targaryen, the “game of thrones,” turns into not about attaining extra energy however merely survival.

Twice on “We Light the Way,” characters fear if their Targaryen-related heirs will survive the passing of King Viserys (Paddy Considine). First, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) tells his daughter Alicent (Emily Carey) that if his grandson is not named the inheritor, he can be killed by his half-sister. Later, Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) tells her husband Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) that these loyal to Prince Aegon II would kill their grandchildren to clear a path to the throne for Aegon II’s heirs if not himself. In reality, the council that began the collection and named Viserys king was achieved to stop this type of bloodshed. Despite King Viserys doing the identical factor in naming Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) his inheritor, the daggers are all popping out, simply craving for a again to stay in.

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The title Game of Thrones is itself a reference to the royal politics of Westeros, usually with attendant wars. For some gamers, like Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and even Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), it was one thing of a game. High stakes, positive. Yet, they at all times believed they’d exit methods ought to they lose the game. Tyrion even needed to pull the (crossbow) set off on his, after killing his father. For of us like Otto or Rhaenys, who’ve achieved the peak of their private station, the “game” is not about energy and even actually historic legacy. Their goals are one thing a lot less complicated. They need their grandchildren to reside.

As with all good fictional irony, it’s these very fears that may kick off the form of battle and bloodshed they hope to keep away from. The scheming and choosing on the weak point of King Viserys left festering wounds in his authority, not less than amongst these closest to him. If they merely trusted the King’s bannermen to maintain their oaths, all concerned may reside to ripe previous ages. Instead, the volleying for energy and strike-first mentality in each of King Viserys’ sub-houses will deliver solely tragedy.

There is one character, nonetheless, for whom the game is most actually life-or-death, however he treats it like a game nonetheless. Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) is below no menace from his brother, the king. However, he’s most at-fault for chipping away at his brother’s authority. If he’d merely publicly accepted Rhaenyra, everybody’s positions can be safer. If he tried to undermine her from the shadows, he in all probability may’ve gotten her to give him the Iron Throne. Right within the thick of it, Daemon has solely ever been at risk from his personal carelessness.

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The motivations for Houses Hightower and Velaryon could seem, at first, to be the everyday political energy performs in tales like these. Only, from their perspective, they aren’t inflicting hassle, however merely making an attempt to safe the survival of their children and grandkids. They are ruthless as a result of they count on their enemies to be. Their worry and quickness to violence can be their undoing. A lesson, if a narrative like House of the Dragon is even alleged to have such issues. Part of what makes this present nice is that it is about terrible individuals doing actually cool, violent issues.

For a collection so centered on its characters, it is shocking that it took till halfway by way of the season for them to talk this fear aloud. It’s glorious that they did, as a result of it places these characters’ actions in an entire new gentle. They aren’t screwing with the realm simply to fill their pockets with coin, however merely making an attempt to ensure that their household will get to reside full, secure lives.

See how miserably the dad and mom on House of the Dragon fail when new episodes debut Sundays at 9 PM Eastern on HBO and HBO Max.

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