Movie Reviews

House Of The Dragon Season 2's Opening Episodes Reviewed By George R. R. Martin

Warning! Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon season 2, episodes 1 & 2.


Summary

  • George R. R. Martin praises
    House of the Dragon
    season 2’s strong direction and acting performances, particularly those of Rhys Ifans, Emma D’Arcy, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Phia Saban.
  • Martin reveals that he thinks the show made Helaena a more interesting and nuanced character than his book did.
  • House of the Dragon
    season 2 has earned positive reviews from critics and audiences for its more focused storytelling, impressive performances, and intensity.


George R. R. Martin reviews House of the Dragon season 2, episodes 1 and 2. Adapting the events of Martin’s Fire & Blood, the popular Game of Thrones spinoff recently returned for its sophomore outing on HBO, continuing the story of the Targaryen civil war. House of the Dragon season 2 has earned rave reviews from critics thus far, but Martin, who serves as an executive producer on the show, largely remained silent as the first three episodes aired.

In a new post on his blog, Martin now shares his own review for House of the Dragon season 2’s first two episodes, and his words are overwhelmingly positive. The author draws attention to the strong direction, but also the impressive performances from the show’s cast. Check out an excerpt from Martin’s blog below:


What a great way to start the season. The directing was superb. GAME OF THRONES veteran Alan Taylor directed the first episode, and Clare Kilner the second. Both of them did a magnificent job. And I cannot say enough about the acting. Emma d’Arcy has only one line in “A Son for a Son,” but they does so much with their eyes and their face that they dominates the episode; her grief for her slain son is palpable.

Tom Glynn-Carney brings Aegon alive in ways we have not seen before; he’s more than a villain here, he shows us the king’s rage, his pain, his fears and doubts. His humanity. Rhys Ifans has been splendid as Otto Hightower every time he has been on screen, but he exceeded himself in “Rhaenyra the Cruel.” His scene with King Aegon and Criston Cole after the ratcatchers are hanged just crackles with wit, tension, drama, a performance that cries out for awards attention.

Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Fabien Frankel, Eve Best, and the other regulars were wonderful as well. The Tittensor twins were terrific as the Kingsuard twins, and their climactic swordfight is right up there with the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorne, and Brienne’s fight with Jaime Lannister.

And Phia Saban gave a wrenching, powerful, heart-breaking performance as Helaena Targaryen, Aegon’s doomed, haunted queen and mother to his children.

Saban’s performance is especially noteworthy; very little of what she brings to the part was in my source material […] In the book, she is a plump, pleasant, and happy young woman, cheerful and kindly, adored by the smallfolk. A dragonrider since the age of twelve, Helaena’s greatest joy in life is to take to the skies on the back of her dragon Dreamfyre.

None of the strangeness she displays in the show was in evidence in the book, nor is her gift for prophecy. Those were born in the writers’ room… but once I met the show’s version of Helaena, I could hardly take issue. Phia Saban’s Helaena is a richer and more fascinating character than the one I created in FIRE & BLOOD, and in “Rhaenyra the Cruel” you can scarcely take your eyes off her.



House Of The Dragon Season 2’s Reception Explained

What Critics Are Saying About The Game Of Thrones Spinoff’s New Season

As of writing, House of the Dragon season 2’s Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score and audience score both sit at 90%. Season 1’s critics’ score is also 90%, though the audience score for the show’s debut outing is lower at 83%. While season 1 did face some criticism for its time-jumps and recastings as it set the board for a larger conflict, season 2 is now fully diving into its story in real time, and this approach is evidently working.


The season 2 reviews have praised the show for its more focused storytelling this time around, with the narrative now able to play out unburdened by the need for vast amounts of setup. The House of the Dragon season 1 finale saw the show jump into a new gear with Aemond’s (Ewan Mitchell) murder of Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) and season 2, thus far, has been exploring the consequences of this event with energy and thoughtfulness. The opening episodes have managed to balance the immense grief of characters like Rhaenyra and Alicent with moments of great intensity.

Related

Every Death In House Of The Dragon Season 2

House of the Dragon season 2 is already racking up its death count. After the first two episodes, here are the characters who have already fallen.

The performances from the House of the Dragon cast have also been a major high point of the show, but the new season hasn’t been without criticism. The show makes some key changes to the Blood and Cheese storyline from Fire & Blood, and not all viewers found the changes entirely successful. That being said, it’s clear that House of the Dragon season 2 is off to a strong start and that Martin himself approves of the show’s direction.


New episodes of House of the Dragon season 2 air on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

Source: George R. R. Martin

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