‘House Of The Dragon’ Timeline Jumps Unavoidably Affects Characterization
by Frank Martin
It’s pretty clear that everyone watching House of the Dragon will have a different experience and opinion on the show’s pacing. The source material, a supplementary volume called Fire & Blood, is not depicted the same way as the original Game of Thrones story. Consequently, the narrative pacing of the show is drastically different. It covers many decades and is told more of as a historical recollection than a novel with access to the characters’ thoughts and opinions. This means that there are, sometimes, huge time gaps between episodes. Some might not care about the gaps, and they may view the show’s pacing as rather brisk. Other viewers may look at the pacing not in terms of the action on the screen but the overall timeline. In which case, the show can be viewed as extremely slow and ignores a lot of the drastic characterization that the players undergo.
Again, this episode features a pretty big time jump as the children involved in last week’s episode are now much older. The families come together once again and King Viserys’s (Paddy Considine) health is now in an extremely dire situation. As Daemon (Matt Smith) and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) begin to produce their own line of children, the succession of the throne is now even more in question. The rivalries between theirs and Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) family is growing ever stronger. Nevertheless, the king hopes to unite these two sides so that there may be peace when he is gone. Of course, the episode ends with his death and a possibly senile confession to Alicent that is sure to throw a wrench in whatever happens in the next episode.
The problem with these huge time jumps is that there is so much of the story that is left untold. Between these years when the families get together a lot happens. These characters, especially the children, grow and evolve. The show never depicts what happens in these moments. So many years pass, and the versions of the characters that we see from one episode to the next are completely different. Because of this, so much characterization is missing. Viewers are supposed to connect with these characters, but it’s incredibly difficult when only snapshots of their entire life is depicted rather than a straightforward and timely sequence of events. All this is surely going to come to a head in violent fashion, but it is still up in the air on whether or not the climax will hit home after so much time jumping.
House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO.