Movie Reviews

I'm Convinced House Of The Dragon Season 2, Episode 3 Is The Closest We'll Get To One Part Of GRRM's ASOIAF Books

Summary

  • House of the Dragon’s attention to minor details, like food and military strategy, sets it apart from Game of Thrones in certain ways.
  • One scene is reminiscent of George R.R. Martin’s detailed food descriptions in A Song of Ice & Fire, serving as a crucial aspect of world-building and character development.
  • Food scenes in ASOIAF highlight the lifestyle of leadership and the divide between the haves and have-nots in Westeros.



One scene in House of the Dragon season 2, episode 3, distinctly reminded me of George R.R. Martin’s novels in a subtle way neither TV series has accomplished so far. House of the Dragon and its parent show, Game of Thrones, are based on Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire books, which are regarded as some of the fantasy genre’s most prolific works. Martin constructs his world with immense detail, establishing entire cultures, languages, and histories to the degree that readers like myself can truly dive into and analyze. But there’s importance to the little things, too.

An aspect of House of the Dragon’s second season that I’ve appreciated so far is its attention to the minor houses and castles that make up Westeros. This was an area I found that Game of Thrones, particularly in the later seasons, greatly overlooked. Despite House of the Dragon’s book changes, I find that the show embraces its source material in ways Game of Thrones never had time to, with an apparent focus on subtle details like military strategy and, in one scene, food.



House Of The Dragon’s Harrenhal Scenes Remind Me Of GRRM’s Food Descriptions

Simon Strong’s Introduction Involves A Discussion About Harrenhal’s Venison & Peas

Image via Max

In season 2, episode 3, Daemon captures the cursed castle of Harrenhal, and we’re introduced to Ser Simon Strong, played delightfully by the great Sir Simon Russell Beale. He welcomes Daemon to his table and invites him to dine, speaking of his venison, the chef’s peas, and the lack of redcurrant. It’s a charming scene, and it reminded me of George R.R. Martin’s lengthy, detailed food descriptions in the A Song of Ice & Fire series.


I find Martin’s writing style to be compact and easy to read, with a focus on sharp dialogue. As much as I admire fantasy authors like J.R.R. Tolkien or Robert Jordan, I’m partial to ASOIAF in that I’m spending a majority of my reading examining conversations, as opposed to lengthy descriptive text to build the world. But if there are two things that Martin will spend a good number of words describing in detail, they’re sex and food. His descriptions of feasts are enough to make the mouth water, and they serve a purpose in his text.

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Why The Food Scenes In A Song Of Ice & Fire Are Important

Food Is Crucial To Character And World Design In ASOIAF

King Robert Baratheon

Food in A Song of Ice & Fire is vital to world-building and character-building. There’s a clear line distinguishing the haves and have-nots in Westeros, with food often demonstrating the gluttony and ignorance of the nobles. Passages in A Game of Thrones show Lord Commander Jeor Mormont complaining about eating the same venison meal for days in a row, showing the dire straits of the Night’s Watch. Meanwhile, King Robert Baratheon sends the realm in debt for feasts, parties, and tournaments.

Food speaks to the lifestyle of leadership. During a siege, Stannis Baratheon eats horses, dogs, and rats with his men to survive, while King Joffrey Baratheon holds feasts while the people of King’s Landing starve to death. It will be fascinating to see this dynamic change even more during winter in The Winds of Winter when food becomes even more scarce. House of the Dragon’s subtle detail with Simon Strong exemplifies this aspect of the novels, and I appreciate the show all the more for it.


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