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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

House of the Dragon 1.5-1.6: Brutal

Amanda Whiting had a provocative essay in The Independent yesterday -- "The battle for the Iron Throne is pointless when everyone in House of the Dragon is this evil".  I don't know if I'd agree that everyone is evil.  I think King Viserys is a little better than that, though in episode 1.6 it's clear that Ser Criston and Queen Alicent are headed to the bad side.  But I will say that the violence and gore and sheer number of deaths are beginning to wear on me.

At the end of episode 1.5, one of the producers remarks that you have to have murder at a wedding, because that's Game of Thrones tradition.  Part of the charm of House of the Dragon is indeed its many anticipations of Game of Thrones, but when it comes to the unbridled brutality, maybe some divergence would be nice.

We also probably don't need to see the harrowing fatality of child birth in every generation, though the suicide by dragon of Daemon's wife in 1.6 was innovative.  I have no idea, of course, what lies ahead in the remaining episodes of this season, but I can only hope that this dearth of happiness is remedied, at least a little.

I suppose at least part of my reaction is a reflection of the horror of our world off-screen, in our reality.  The rise of fascism in the U.S. and around the world, the pandemic, Putin threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, all have filled up my tolerance for depravity.   I'm not saying I'm suddenly longing to see sitcoms on the screen -- though I wouldn't mind some new episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm right now -- but I am saying that the sheer ugliness of human nature is not something I'm especially in the mood to see more of, even if it's dressed in a riveting historical fantasy narrative, brilliantly acted and powerfully produced.

See also House of the Dragon 1.1-1.3: Drawing Me In ... House the Dragon 1.4: Lust and Tea

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