House of the Dragon Episode 4 Review

This week’s episode of Dragon House took on quite a different tact than every other installment in the HBO Max series and that particular approach worked very well for a series that certainly charts its own path from the series it originated from. At this point in the first season of game of thrones, there were already all kinds of people being killed and thrones being fought over. In Dragon Housethe show continues to be a slow burn as people gently and carefully position themselves in a place where they could eventually take over the earth.


Of course, one of the things that made this HBO show stand out so well so early on is that the pacing seems to be perfect so far. It feels like the show has been going on for a little longer than four episodes now. Obviously, that’s partly because there just aren’t as many characters to get to know, so when someone is introduced to Dragon Housethe audience gets to know them – except for the Crab Feeder – and what kind of person they are.

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There’s also the fact that there are only really good actors on this show and people like Matt Smith and Paddie Considine add a level of seriousness to a show that’s a bit more dialogue-driven than movie-driven. ‘stock. That doesn’t mean that game of thrones didn’t have very good actors at times, but there were also people who were mostly pretty and seemed proficient in wielding a sword. Some scenes from this episode of Dragon House were staged in such a way that it felt like every actor was delivering their lines just to show how talented they were.

One particular scene with Paddie Considine and Rhys Ifans was impressive because the two actors played each other so well. Having been introduced to Ifans as the drunken, smoking kicker in The replacements, it was shocking to see him play the hand of the king and behave with such great importance. He feels like someone to be reckoned with at all times and yet when he speaks to the Viserys of Considine he is clearly uncomfortable and even small. Given the topic of the conversation, there’s a reason he should be uncomfortable and it’s really a testament to both men that they sound like two guys talking about something neither of they don’t want to talk.

The scene where they are discussing what Rhaenyra was doing when she went out on the town doesn’t sound like it’s staged. It really looks like they’re discussing a man’s daughter and that man is getting some very, very bad news. It was the kind of attention to detail you can afford when the show slows down and really dwells on the details. It’s like feeling game of thrones could have handled this same scene by having the Ifans walk into the room, saying “Monsignor, we need to discuss your daughter”, and then a fade to black. Instead, the audience takes a longer look at the discussion and, by extension, what goes through their heads when the trust between the two longtime friends and the cohorts crumbles.

Speaking of Rhaenyra, Milly Alcock at this point questioned her ability to carry her weight at rest. While she spent the first or the first two episodes of Dragon House feeling and acting quite wooden, it’s not quite obvious that was exactly what was asked of him in those two episodes. It’s like the character and actor are feeling a little more confident in their own skin these days and the character and actor are having a little more fun, too.

Of course, this is the first episode of the HBO Max series where Rhaenyra seemed to be genuinely enjoying herself. She started off feeling rather annoyed that there were men (and boys) who wanted to explain why they should marry her and she ended it by “living a bit” outside the palace and realizing what it really means when someone is of royal upbringing. She’s also able to really feel like she has some control over her own life and that plays out in a couple of interesting ways. This includes lying to his best friend or the girl who was his best friend.

When it comes to Aycock’s character as well as Considine’s Alicent Hightower and Emily Carey, there’s a very interesting growth of all the characters and how they interact with each other. There’s also the transformation of two women who used to be closest friends (and at least some hint that they could have been more if given the chance) into two women who not only aren’t friends anymore, but are almost enemies. There’s not that kind of hate there yet, but Carey and Aycock have an edge when talking to each other that, like Considine and Ifans, doesn’t feel contrived.

We really have the impression that these two women are rather disappointed to no longer be friends and that neither really understands why they are no longer what they used to be. Dragon House gives both actresses some really great lines and lets them deliver some zingers. And then it allows a character to take over in a way that almost certainly amounts to biting it.

When things are moving in this fourth episode of the HBO series, it’s nice to be really invested in what’s to come next, while not feeling like audiences have to research to keep up. Dragon House is a bit easier to follow, but in a way that also makes it fun to follow. The show continues to keep audiences on the edge of its seat and does so without leaning into action or supernatural creatures like its predecessor did.

Dragon House airs Sundays on HBO.

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