For Millennials. By Millennials.
Season 2 has been renewed for good reason. But first, here is the House Of The Dragon Trailer and some of the top episodes from Season 1 ranked for you guys.
Fans waited anxiously to see if this Game Of Thrones spin-off would live up to its predecessor, and it’s safe to say that it did not disappoint. In fact, the season one finale became the most-watched finale of any HBO show since the end of the original Game of Thrones.
One reason for the show’s success was its focus on a captivating family saga and innovative use of time jumps, along with the stunning design of the dragons. While House of the Dragon managed to pay homage to its predecessor, it also forged its own path and stood out in its own right.
Now that the first season is behind us, it’s time to pick and rank the top episodes, from weakest to strongest. Despite the overall quality of the season, not every episode was made equal.
#5. “Second Of His Name” – Ep3 House Of The Dragon Season 1
If the first two episodes of Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon felt like an introduction to a larger story, Episode 3 is where the action really starts to pick up. “Second Of His Name” is a focused episode that is entirely split between a royal hunt in the Kingswood and the war in the Stepstones.
As with the tournament in Episode 1, the hunt is another element of George R.R. Martin‘s works that has never been properly portrayed on screen. However, the sequence is riveting beyond the spectacle. In this episode, the interpersonal drama begins to ramp up, with Rhaenyra Targaryen (from the House Targaryen) struggling to maintain her position as heir after her friend Alicent gives birth to the king’s first living son, Aegon ( aka Aegon the Conqueror). Rhaenyra grapples with the weight of expectations on her shoulders, all the while suspecting that her father will replace her as heir at the first opportunity.
Speaking of Viserys Targaryen: “Second Of His Name” is also where Paddy Considine really starts to demonstrate his Emmy-worthy acting skills. King Viserys simply wants a relaxing day out in the forest, but he is besieged by flatterers and schemers from every side. Just as Rhaenyra is frustrated with her situation, Viserys feels the same way and progressively becomes more intoxicated while shrugging off Otto, Rhaenyra, and newcomer Jason Lannister (from the House Lannister). It’s a chaotic, entertaining episode that does a great job of deepening our investment in the characters.
#4. “Driftmark” – Ep7 House Of The Dragon Season 1
The seventh episode of House of the Dragon, “Driftmark,” is a pivotal episode that brings all the main characters together in one place. Miguel Sapochnik, the showrunner for season 1, directs this episode and brings his visionary style to the fore. The episode is significant for its family drama, and Sapochnik captures it masterfully.
The long sequence where Aemond fights his nephews and cousins and has his eye accidentally slashed out is a standout moment of the season. The tension-filled debate in the great hall of Driftmark that follows is also well done.
Aemond (son of Viserys Targaryen aka dragonrider) took his first flight on the dragon Vhagar. And it is one of the highlights of this episode.
The episode also marks a turning point in the relationship between Daemon Targaryen and Rhaenyra. After losing both of their lovers, they consummate their long-simmering attraction in the ruin of a beached ship. However, the timing is poor as it occurs on the same day as Laena Velaryon‘s funeral and marks the beginning of the end of Rhaenyra’s marriage to Laenor.
Overall, “Driftmark” is an excellent episode that delivers on the family drama and showcases Sapochnik‘s directorial talent.
#3. “The Green Council” – Ep9 House Of The Dragon Season 1
Opinions on “The Green Council” are sharply divided, with some viewers ranking it at the bottom of the list, while others place it much higher.
I was blown away by this episode. The Dragonpit scene is particularly noteworthy. The sequence of Aegon’s coronation did it for me. It was absolutely magnificent. We see an evil and lost boy become king as he feels the power he has with all his subjects cheering him on as he raises his fist, only to be interrupted by Princess Rhaenys Targaryen on the dragon’s back! The grandeur and scale of the sequence alone put this episode at the very top.
#2. “The Lord of the Tides” – Ep8 House Of The Dragon Season 1
Although it may not be the most action-packed episode of House of the Dragon, “The Lord of the Tides” is undoubtedly one of the most emotional.
This episode manages to create one of the most powerful scenes in television history out of a beaten-down king holding on to his pride, as he struggles to walk across the hall where he’s held court for decades. The moment between him and Daemon is also gut-wrenchingly beautiful.
The standout performance in this episode belongs to Considine, who portrays a decaying King Viserys I Targaryen with such mastery that it’s hard to take your eyes off him. If there’s one actor who deserves an Emmy for this season, it’s him.
The plot of “The Lord of the Tides” revolves around a dispute over who will be the next heir of Driftmark, and it also portrays the final day of King Viserys I Targaryen‘s life. The scene in the throne room, where the greens try to strip Rhaenyra‘s son of his birthright, is unforgettable, especially when the appearance of Viserys throws a wrench into their plans. Additionally, the execution of Vaemond Velaryon is a dramatic and powerful moment that underscores the conflict between Rhaenyra and her enemies.
#1. “The Black Queen” – Ep8 House Of The Dragon Season 1
House of the Dragon certainly saved the best for last. God, what a magnificent season finale.
“The Black Queen” impressively covers a lot of ground after the previous episode’s singular focus on the greens. The drama unfolds as Rhaenyra Targaryen discovers her birthright has been stolen at the worst possible moment.
There are numerous highlights of “The Black Queen,” but two stand out in particular.
Rhaenyra’s graphic miscarriage, while disturbing, is handled expertly, and the climactic clash over Storm’s End is an exceptional dragon sequence, with high stakes, as it results in the true start of the Dance of the Dragons civil war.
Prince Lucerys Velaryon aka Luke‘s arrival to meet Lord Borros Baratheon ( from the House Baratheon) at Storm’s End quickly turns into a battle with Aemond Targaryen. The result is one of the best dragon sequences ever filmed, possibly on television. Daemon‘s High Valyrian dragon lullaby moment is breathtaking and hints at even more dragons to come in season 2.
The episode closes with a close-up shot of a fierce and powerful Rhaenyra, out for blood and full of rage at the news of her dead son. I couldn’t help but notice that this was in contrast to the closing of the first episode which ends with a close-up shot of an innocent and vulnerable Rhaenyra, unsure of what her future has in store for her. After all, the season was all about her.