House Of The Dragon S2 Episode 1 Review: Son For A Son Depicts Blood Slaying Continuation

House of the Dragon season two's hype surpasses the hype that Game of Thrones received. Is it worth the watch?

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What Happened In The Last Episode Of House Of the Dragon
The second episode of HBO's House of the Dragon will be released on 23rd June 2024. (Source: IMDB)

House of Dragons season 2 made its terrific entry on the screen on June 16, 2024, with a more wicked and powerful start after it ended with a spectacular dragon battle in season 1.

House of The Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s history book Fire and Blood, which tells the intriguing tale of the tug between extreme power and the slow crumpling towards defeat.

Highlights

  • House of the Dragon season one is HBO’s biggest series premiere, leveraging 29 million viewers per episode.
  • The first season’s total budget was approximately $200 million, accounting for about $20 million per episode.
  • Chapter two of the series has 8 episodes, each of which will be released weekly.

The series is a prequel to the most-watched TV show of all time, Game of Thrones, set in the Targaryen dynasty, with more than 10 dragons under their control.

The compelling narrative takes you around two centuries back in time, from the birth of Daenerys Targaryen to the time of Westeros’ history, in the reign of King Viserys I, the fifth ruler of the dynasty.

It commences when King Viserys breaks a centuries-old tradition and names his daughter Rhaenyra as the heir to the Iron Throne.

The events take turns one after another in the fight to claim the Iron Throne and determine the real protector of the realm, capable of carrying the weight of the custom and the kingdom.

But before we dive into the next horrific chapter of the series, let’s quickly recap the ending of the first episode of season 2.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: This review is based on a viewer’s perspective and does not represent any official endorsement or critique.

Diverse Perspectives On House Of The Dragon S2 Adds Up The Higher Score

IMDb

House Of The Dragon (2024)

The Targaryen dynasty reaches its zenith with over 10 dragons. Still, fractures start as King Viserys breaks tradition by naming his daughter Rhaenyra heir, later causing turmoil when he fathers a son while Rhaenyra maintains her claim.

Genres

Adventure Drama Action

Season two of the drama has garnered a Tomatoscore of 92% and an Audience score of 88%. It is very high, considering the platform’s abundance of fault-digging strict critics.

Although its score is high, the prequel has received mixed reactions from Top critics.

One of them mentioned that although the entertainment factor was strong, the series struggled to balance the epic scope and human-scale motivation.

There was a critic called Richard, whose comment was one I could personally relate to.

He stated that the series dazzles the eyes and boggles the mind because the Sophomore season is a visually glorious epic that reminds watching TV shows back in the day.

Some of them appeared to be highly hopeful for the upcoming episodes. Top critic Esther Zuckerman wrote,

For all its issues, there’s still a lot of fun to be had in House of the Dragon, including some deliciously hammy performances, thanks to Mitchell and Smith, and some incomparable production design.

One of the reviewers also suggested that this series could become one of those rare prequels that outshine the original as it evolves into a smart, thrilling, and heartbreaking story.

Here is a short glimpse of the second chapter of the most awaited series,

In contrast to the positive comments, some negative ones can completely turn the perspective upside down.

A top critic contradicted all the positive reactions and wrote,

But the story doesn’t take on a real life. It’s neither interesting enough to pull us consistently into the flow nor weird enough to rattle our chains. The production is solid but static — it has the board-game feel that marks the franchise.

Similarly, another top critic voiced her opinion by saying that writers consistently picked the less interesting and less challenging choice of storytelling. She elucidated that a significant potential was lost in every boring decision.

Likewise, let’s not miss the delusional aspect of the series that Alan Sepinwall highlighted. She said that the show mistakes confusion for complexity and follows the waves of thinly defined, often interchangeable characters at the audience.

She expressed her dissatisfaction with the show’s design and hoped no one would mind because of the dragons’ existence.

The Gruesome Ending Of “Son For A Son” Episode In The Second Season

Season 2 begins instantly, a few days after the ending of Season 1.

The initial glimpse of Winterfell and the North in the series felt like coming home for me, taking the tour of the Game of Thrones stage, which has become a past memory now.

As the storyline approaches season 2, King Viserys Targaryen is dead, and his council conspires to place his son Aegon II on the Iron throne instead of the king’s chosen heir.

Then, the real fight begins as Rhaenrya escapes to Dragonstone and assembles an army to fight back and reclaim her destined throne.

When Rhaenrya reaches Dragonstone, she is informed by a raven that her son is dead and is in mourning.

On the other hand, in King’s Landing, King Aegon II knows about Rhaenrya’s big step and starts planning to ride out himself and strike her to finish the chapter at once.

However, the council’s opinion differs as they fear losing their king and placing their responsibilities upon a woman, which is unacceptable by ethics.

At the end of the episode, Daemon hires two crucial idiots, a turncoat member of the Kingsguard and a rat catcher who loves munching on cheese, to kill Aemond Targaryen by sneaking into the Red Keep.

In George’s book, they are mentioned as Blood and Cheese, despicable human beings who threaten the Royal Palace.

When they ask what they should do if they cannot find Aemond in the palace, Daemon orders them to take a son for a son, thus the episode’s title.

As Blood and Cheese embark on their journey following Daemon’s order, they sneak up the castle through the rat-infested tunnels and find Queen Halaena sleeping with her children, unprotected.

Then, without losing a second, they kill Jaehaerys mercilessly by cutting off his head, to be more precise. And as he does so, Blood repeats, “A son for a son.”

And just like that, the episode ends in silence, leaving the viewers in awe, unsure of what else to expect from the horror series.

Episode 1: A Perfect Start That Builds Higher Degree Of Anticipation For The Upcoming Episodes

My excitement to watch the second season’s first episode had reached seventh skies.

After witnessing the shock of deaths and the looming war in the first season’s last episode, my anticipation was too high for the upcoming catastrophic battles, and the two-year hiatus felt like a lifetime.

The first episode, A Son for A Son, is a brilliant start for the second chapter, keeping the suspense intact, but it was not as gripping as the first season’s climax.

However, it left a promising impact on the story’s continuation in the upcoming episodes.

The authentic performance demonstrated by the cast best fits the fictional depiction of writers under the outstanding direction.

Moreover, the cinematography was breathtaking, and I cannot stop imagining how the series would have turned out if it had been shown in 8D; how close I would have been to the dragons.

The best part was that all the different elements were not sandwiched in a single episode. It focused on some of the crucial parts that were enough to make you want to hop on that seat of binge-watching with a bag of popcorn.

Thus, minimal action was what I loved the most about this appealing headstart with the most appropriate pace, neither too fast nor too slow.

Additionally, the emphasis on Son for a Son had a much more empowering catalyzing impact on season two than on season one. It sets up suspense and preparedness for the bloodbath about to come in the rest of the episodes.

Although the ending differed slightly from the book, I believe the elements were just in place. The third son of Aemond and Helaena was not even introduced in the series; thus, the first episode’s ending totally made sense.

However, the depiction of the civil war’s aftermath that is provided is horrifying. When a family clashes among itself, even the lives of the youngest and the most innocent ones are at stake.

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