House Of The Dragon Review: Season 1, Episode 5 “We Light the Way”


House Of The Dragon

In George R.R. Martin’s universe, it would be an understatement to suggest that weddings are rarely happy occasions, and the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is no different.

In comparison to Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon’s first season moves much faster: Five episodes in, and we’ve already covered a half-decade in the lives of King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) and his scheming royal family. Another time jump will occur in episode 6, this one moving viewers forward another 10 years.

Alliances are changing, new groups are emerging, and tensions are rising. As usual, book readers are aware of where this is all going.

But “We Light the Way” gives its viewers an elegantly constructed recap anyway, to help keep everything straight as we move forward — whether they realize that’s what they’re seeing or not.

Read Also: House Of The Dragon Review: Season 1, Episode 4 “King Of The Narrow Sea”

Kilner alternates between these perspectives, cutting between medium shots of different characters — Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), the groom’s parents; the bride’s father, King Viserys, and his second wife, Alicent; Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), the bride’s uncle and jealous suitor; and the bride’s and groom’s paramours and sworn protectors — who all have a stake in the outcome of this marriage.

The happy (or at least content, with an understanding that their marriage is a political arrangement) couple stays at the center of the frame as the assembled lords and ladies get up to join the dance.

The characters understand the importance of such small, symbolic gestures. Alicent walking in late to Rhaenyra’s wedding banquet is not just the end of their friendship; it’s a declaration of war between them.

And by blocking and editing this scene to allow for such a close reading of posture, gesture, and sight lines, the show acknowledges their importance as well.

But as personal grudges continue to escalate, the “Dance of the Dragons” will transform from a literal dance into a symbolic one: The dance of swords and knights on the battlefield.

Game of Thrones, and now House of the Dragon, tend to get a lot of attention and credit for their meticulously planned battle scenes; “We Light the Way” approaches the show’s political aspect with a similar filmmaking sensibility, brilliantly underlining the connection between the two.

Today, a ruined party; tomorrow, a ruined house


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