This week the physical action fell to the wayside as a more significant focus on the family dynamics, mainly what King Viserys Targaryen will do about not having a wife, took center stage.

That opening…

But before we talk about the week’s events, can I just mention that opening for a moment? We didn’t get an opening theme the first week; the creators did that on purpose. I felt that the lack of one fit with the show just go right down to business. After seeing the one they came up with, I’m still unsure how to feel.

I love the theme for Game of Thrones, but this is House of the Dragon. Does it need to be brought back? Musically it did nothing for me. I love the tune, but it feels out of place with the visuals they show. Since House of the Dragon focuses on the Targaryens, most of the time is spent at King’s Landing; there’s no need to show us where the action is taking place this week. There’s a good chance it’s at King’s Landing. Instead, they show off visuals of what I assume is King Viserys’ model of Valyria. It is unique, but I am unsure if it fits the song. I feel like the opening is trying to do too much, showing off icons of the players, but I don’t have enough time to see who is who. It’s hard to top yourself, but not attempting might be even worse.

Paddy Considine, Nova Mosé-Foueillis as King Viserys Targaryen and Laena Velaryon.
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO

Moving right along

Six months have passed since the first episode, and not much has changed. Princess Rhaenyra is still the cupbearer for the small council, her ideas and thoughts holding no water with her father. The first twenty minutes or so of The Rogue Prince felt slow, especially since we don’t see the prince himself until well after the halfway mark of the episode. Not sure if the title fits the show itself this week. I do commend the creators for moving at a hare’s speed, right up to the good parts of the story; no need to be a turtle here.

Subjects like shipping lanes under attack, Daemon taking Dragonstone for himself, and marriage proposals take up most of the episode’s runtime. I enjoyed the stories being built up before the inevitable civil war. My biggest issue was the lack of Deamon in an episode named after him. Most of The Rogue Prince does not involve the prince himself. With such a heavy focus on what King Viserys Targaryen will do about being an unmarried widow, instead something like, Viserys is about to make another mistake. Even those who haven’t read the book that the show is being based on the show had to have seen he was never going to make the right choice. There was no way he was going to marry the super-young Laena Velaryon.

It seems like a no-brainer that the match between Viserys and Laena would have given the best outcome to the entire cast. This brings me to this conclusion. King Viserys is the bad guy of the show. Why name your daughter the heir and not set her up for success? If her best friend is old enough to be wed, so is she. Why focus on re-marrying? Perhaps it’s his desire for Alicent or his fear that he cannot wait two years because of his weakening health. His brother, Prince Daemon is correct; Viserys is constantly being played.

Milly Alcock’s young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen comes to take back the dragon egg stolen by he runcle.
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO

Rhaenyra Targaryen flies in

The other two big highlights for me both involved Rhaenyra. The scene she shares with Rhaenys, the queen who never was, is pure Game of Thrones. Give me more of that, please. You can almost hear the distaste coming through their words. The two Princesses throwing shade at each other was such a great scene. The second, involving Rhaenyra showing up to Dragonstone and showing up Otto and calling Daemon’s bluff was excellent.

Overall the plot was pushed further than I thought; it seems the show has no problem moving time forward at an accelerated pace compared to the original show. But with all the plotting, scheming, and political intrigue taking center stage, the action was sacrificed, more of a dull roar. Matt Smith stole the show the first week, and he comes close to doing it again this week; I can’t deny that Milly Alcock knocks it out of the park. Even though his time was brief, his story continues to be the most exciting part of the show. The relationship between him and Milly Alcock’s young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen is the most fascinating part of the show.

Also, crab bad guy. I didn’t know I needed this in my life. Please tell me he can talk to crabs.

The crab man from House of the Dragon.
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO