Several episodes into the season and it has become clear that House of the Dragon has a pacing problem. It essentially follows a very similar formula to Game of Thrones, but that series avoided a lot of pacing issues thanks of its vast amounts of characters and storylines. House of the Dragon is a lot more streamlined; the characters and the plot are all integrated. They don’t branch off into different directions. It makes the story much easier to follow, but there’s just not as much material to cover. Game of Thrones might have been confusing at times, but it had to move quickly in order to fit everything in a given episode. House of the Dragon‘s episodes are the same length, but since there’s not as much material to cover, the pacing moves a lot slower and takes its time to develop.
This episode largely dealt with the development of Rhaeynra’s (Milly Alcock) marriage and King Viserys’s (Paddy Considine) failing health. Any actual plot developments in this episode only appeared in its closing moments. For the most part, the episode was largely character-oriented as Alicent (Emily Carey) dealt with her father’s firing and Rhaeynra dealt with her impending wedding. It was a lot of discussion and talking about what to do moving forward without any actual action.
But once the action did come, it came hard and fast in typical Game of Thrones style. The tone of the show tends to do that. Everything is all politics and scheming until there are very brief, yet intense, moments of violence. It was certainly entertaining, but it did little in terms of expanding or adding to the story. In large part, this show’s plot tends to be reactionary. Rhaenyra’s eventual ascension to the throne is much very needed in order to spice things up, but it’s taking a tremendous amount of time to get there. The show is stretching out its pacing to match Game of Thrones, but House of the Dragon has to remember it is not operating with the same tools as its predecessor. In order to be successful, it has to shed those self-imposed restraints and truly try to move at its own pace.
House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO.