House of the Dragon: Season 1/ Episode 8 “The Lord of the Tides” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Viserys sitting on the Iron Throne

It’s Viserys’ last episode, and with all that beats in his heart, he wants peace in the realm and with his family. But all he was ever good at doing was prolonging the inevitable.


It’s Viserys’ last episode, and with all that beats in his heart, he wants peace in the realm and with his family. But all he was ever good at doing was prolonging the inevitable.

Aired (HBO) 10/9/2022
Director(s) Geeta Vasant Patel
Writer(s) Eileen Shim
Introduced This Episode
Aegon Tom Glynn-Carney
Aemond Ewan Mitchell
Baela Bethany Antonia
Jacaerys Harry Collett
Lucerys Elliot Grihault

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Recap

Just Trying To Get My House In Order – Vaemond, Rhaenys, Alicent, Aegon

Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) being chastized by his mom, like usual
“Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) being chastized by his mom, like usual,” House of the Dragon, “The Lord of the Tides,” directed by Geeta Vasant Patel, 2022, (HBO)

Once again, the Triarchy has decided to rage war in the Stepstones, but, unlike in the past, Lord Corlys didn’t have Daemon and his dragon or notable figures assisting. Thus leading to the potential of his death as Corlys isn’t the spring chicken he once was. With that, Vaemond notes to Rhaenys that he wishes to petition those who currently rule the Red Keep, Alicent, and her family, as he expects they will fix the line of succession in his favor.

He’s not wrong, but as Vaemond tries to set himself up for ascension, Alicent has to worry about her boy, who she expects to be next in line. He is raping women now and completely ignoring his sister-wife, and being that Alicent wants so much for her boys and the kingdom, she finds herself frustrated. After all, there is so much a mother can do.

Pity That We Must Be Reunited Like This – Otto, Alicent, Rhaenyra, Rhaenys, Vaemond, Daemon, Viserys, Baela

Baela (Bethany Antonia) standing next to Rhaenys
“Baela (Bethany Antonia) standing next to Rhaenys,” House of the Dragon, “The Lord of the Tides,” directed by Geeta Vasant Patel, 2022, (HBO)

While Rhaenyra is terrible at politics, this doesn’t mean she is stupid. Vaemond’s petition could be a major blow, and considering Otto and Alicent are ruling in Viserys’ steed, since he is often under a cloud of the milk of the poppy, it isn’t looking good for Rhaenyra. However, as one final request before he dies, she asks her father to defend her and while he can barely walk, is in massive pain, and missing an eye, he drags himself out of bed and makes his way to the great hall to end the petition to Vaemond’s dismay.

Thus leading to Vaemond to speak the unspoken and call Rhaenyra’s children not only bastards but her a whore. Which leads to Daemon cutting his head off. But, to truly end all questions of what Lord Corlys desired, Rhaenys is brought forward. Now, as always, Rhaenyra tries to use her kids as bargain chips, as her father tried to use her to strengthen the line and bring about peace. Rhaenys, who has Baela as her ward, could grant this. After all, it isn’t like Daemon is doing a father’s job. But, the desperation isn’t masked well.

And yet, she agrees to her daughter’s children marrying Rhaenyra’s sons with Ser Strong and reaffirms Lord Corlys’ desires to have Luke take his throne. After all, this arrangement is the closest to making sure someone with Valryon blood eventually inherits that throne.

You All Will Be The Death Of Me – Viserys, Alicent, Otto, Rhaenyra, Aegon, Jacaerys, Lucerys, Aemond

After helping Rhaenyra save face, all Viserys wants is one last and peaceful supper with his wife, children, and grandchildren. At first, it seems like he may get this. He gives an impassioned speech, the most passionate he has ever given, asking, wanting, perhaps even demanding the families come together. This triggers both raised cups from Rhaenyra and Alicent, and with this, Viserys’ heart, full more than any fluid could ever make it, finds peace.

But while the fully grown adults in the room find peace, with Alicent even recognizing Rhaenyra to be the future queen, Aemond and Aegon have different plans. Aegon teases Jacaerys about his ability to have sex, and Aemond? He takes the giggles of Lucerys as a slight, potentially against the damage done to his eye, so he praises them, with accentuating that they are “Strong” to reference their father.

A fight breaks out, and it becomes clear that while their mothers may have made peace, that will not be possible amongst them. Though, to make matters worse, in his dying moments, Viserys speaks to Alicent, thinking she is Rhaenyra, for he mixes the two up, and as he talks about a prince and destiny and mentions Aegon, wheels begin turning in Alicent’s head. The kind which may make it so, despite what she said less than an hour ago, she might renege.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. While I get Vaemond was her brother-in-law, why didn’t Rhaenys show up to what likely would be Viserys’ final supper?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Any peace that Rhaenyra and Alicent seemingly had being ruined because of Vaserys’ final words, and the men

Review

Highlights

Vaemond’s End

Vaemond calling out Rhaenyra and her children
“Vaemond calling out Rhaenyra and her children,” House of the Dragon, “The Lord of the Tides,” directed by Geeta Vasant Patel, 2022, (HBO)

While it took nearly a whole season, we got two satisfying deaths. The first was Vaemond’s, who showed us why his house doesn’t exist in 200 years with his tone and audacity. For with political prowess that makes Rhaenyra seem like a genius, he got what should be expected. Now, it is sad that, like so many deaths that happened in that hall, there won’t be justice. But, while his death wasn’t shocking, it was the perfect end for a character who refused to shut up, even when given a warning, by Daemon of all people, that he is approaching the line of no return.

The End Of Viserys

It has long been made clear that Viserys didn’t like conflict. He came to power during times of peace and wanted to exit this life just the same. Of course, Rhaenyra, being tainted by Daemon, didn’t allow such to be, never mind the misogynist and patriarchal customs that plagued her since she was named heir. That aside, there is nothing like seeing an old person who just wants their family to be loving and together.

And for Viserys to die under the impression he did good, after questioning his legacy for decades, it was an emotional moment. Granted, he still screwed up in the end, but for a moment, he thought his legacy was intact, and that is all that matters.

On The Fence

The Desperation of Rhaenyra

At times, there is a need to question why didn’t Viserys better prep his daughter for politics, but then you are reminded Viserys wasn’t taught himself. He was chosen by the court, over Rhaenys, and only chosen due to being a male. And throughout his entire reign, how did he handle conflict, how did he handle disagreements amongst his court? He placated people. Viserys may have raised his voice at times, but he was never a ruler that did well with confrontation.

So with that in mind, did Rhaenyra ever stand a chance? Her only knowledge of making allies and playing politics was marrying off children to strengthen your house or claim. Hence, she offers to pawn off her sons anytime she is on the ropes. Also, as shown by her apology, she is her father’s daughter. In trying to show strength in vulnerability and being willing to admit she was wrong, we see her grand gamble. One she has done many times in which it is made clear she isn’t in a power position and isn’t afraid to admit it. So, she shows her belly to avoid having to fight or bite.

Which is going to make when the Dance of Dragons start rather interesting. For either we’ll see a side of Rhaenyra that will make up for what we’ve seen thus far, especially from her adult counterpart, or else we’ll get more of the politically inept Rhaenyra who would barely survive a year in “Game of Thrones.”


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