One scene from Episode 9 improved upon “Hearth and Blood.” As to the opposite, nicely…
In true “Sport of Thrones” trend, “Home of the Dragon” Episode 9 packs a helluva punch.
“The Inexperienced Council,” written by Sara Hess and directed by Claire Kilner, picks up proper after the loss of life of Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine), together with his spouse and council planning methods to move the crown to son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) as an alternative of his named inheritor Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy). All of this roughly follows George R.R. Martin’s “Hearth & Blood,” which tells the historical past of Home Targaryen, however not less than two main scenes are distinctive to the present.
The primary of these is early within the episode, when Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) speaks with Larys Sturdy (Matthew Needham) about occasions transpiring within the fortress and the capitol at that very second. Larys loves his whispers (like Varys in “Sport of Thrones”) and loves drama, so he’s already feasting on this scene — but it surely will get worse.
Watching a queen in Westeros do one thing as mundane and relatable as take away her socks is jarring sufficient for a “Home of the Dragon” viewer, and will function warning: This isn’t a present the place individuals wash themselves, eat meals, or take away their garments with out express narrative function. When the digicam cuts between an in depth up of Alicent’s naked ft and Larys’ hungry expression, the connection turns into crystal clear — and nonetheless will get worse.
The scene ends on Alicent turning away from Larys, who begins to masturbate to the sight of her naked ft. Larys’ kinks are his personal and definitely not outstanding in a present characterised by numerous ranges of incest, however the added layer of his incapacity modifications the context of this scene. “Sport of Thrones” prominently featured a personality with dwarfism and a paraplegic teenager, but it surely was by no means notably elegant when it got here to dealing with incapacity because it pertains to the fashionable world. Larys is called “Clubfoot” as a result of he was born with one foot curved inward, and his foot fetish appears pushed extra by this than by any Rhaeinterest in Alicent herself (although he did kill his complete household for her). This is perhaps a part of the present’s bigger push to offer Larys clear allegiance, when his motives in “Hearth & Blood” weren’t all the time identified. In “Home of the Dragon,” Larys is distinctly aligned with the Hightowers and Targaryens, and Alicent acquiescing to him on this method solely strengthens his loyalty to her.
The second new scene is extra of a crowd pleaser. Hundreds of small folks line the Dragonpit for Aegon’s coronation, and because the reluctant usurper swings his sword in entrance of the cheering lots, a dragon swoops in to wreak havoc. It’s Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Finest), The Queen That By no means Was, and her silent flight couldn’t communicate louder: She rejects the false king and helps Rhaenyra, and she or he’s totally carried out with the etiquette and ceremony of King’s Touchdown now that the Greens are committing open, proud treason. She flies dragon Meleeys proper as much as the dais the place Alicent, Aegon, and their quick household stand, positioned completely to incinerate all of them and finish this conflict earlier than it begins in earnest.
As a substitute, she flies away.
Rhaenys’ dramatic flight and merciful sparing of the Greens is nowhere in “Hearth & Blood,” and although it makes for as cinematic a sequence as any, it reframes quite a lot of what’s to return in “Home of the Dragon.” No matter occurs within the finale and future seasons would definitively not have come to move if Rhaenys yelled “Dracarys” and ended this conflict earlier than it even started. And now the Greens owe her their lives, which may make for very compelling pressure transferring ahead.
On some stage, Rhaenys’ second looks like justice for Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) in “Sport of Thrones,” whose closing dragon flights in Season 8 had been criticized for shoddy character growth that rushed the plot. Right here is Rhaenys, a lady of unimpeachable character (surrounded by the extremely impeachable), using a dragon for example the energy of her convictions. She dangers being referred to as a traitor and virtually changing into a kinslayer, and doesn’t hesitate for a second to doubt herself. She stands out as the queen who by no means was, and this second proves it: The realm didn’t deserve her.
“Home of the Dragon” has improvised scenes not in “Hearth & Blood,” simply as “Sport of Thrones” earlier than it expanded upon “A Track of Ice and Hearth” (to blended reception). Episode 9 epitomizes the vary of those artistic decisions, from charged and disturbing to badass fan service. With a second season within the works (and sure extra), these gained’t be the final plot twists for “Hearth & Blood” readers — not with a finale on the best way.
“Home of the Dragon” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.