REVIEW: ‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 8 — “The Lords of the Tides”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

House of the Dragon Episode 8 - But Why Tho (1)

It’s a new episode for House of the Dragon and well, we’ve got another time jump. The last episode, the Targaryen families were all present in Driftmark to mourn the death of Laena () and it ended with another death, this time of Rhaenyra’s husband Leanor, at least they believe it did. With Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) now wed to her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) and House Velaryon left with no male heirs, there is turmoil in Westeros that is only getting deeper as Alicent is once again put in place behind Rhaenyra. Now in House of the Dragon Episode 8, we’re six years in the future and the political intrigue thickens and the families come together.

In House of the Dragon Episode 8, “The Lords of the Tides,” Vaemond Velaryon is petitioning to become the heir of Driftmark when Corlys is seriously injured in the Stepstones. Hoping to take advantage of a seriously ill King Viserys (Paddy Considine), he appeals to the Hightowers, Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Otto (Rhys Ifans), who are in control while King Viserys as a puppet who lies dying in his bed. To meet the contest to her sons’ legitimacy, Rhaenyra who is pregnant again, and her family including Daemon leave Dragonstone to ensure the decision is made in their favor.

You have to feel for Vaemond, he’s fighting for himself and his house with a truth that everyone knows. Wil Johnson‘s performance as Vaemond is powerful and truthful. Sure, his head leaves his body but like the other Velaryons, he leaves with his honor. It’s hard to root for Rhaenyra’s kids at this moment because we know they are bringing an end to the actual Velaryon line, which is only enhanced when you take into account the racial dynamics of it all. Which is a clear intent from the showrunners in the casting of the house and ultimately makes the talk of Driftmark carry more weight.

Beyond this though, Alicent also showcases what she will do for her sons. While she isn’t the same evil that Cersei was, instead, she’s more insidious. Her hands won’t be bloodied, but she will protect her own by quietly sacrificing the women her son harms in order to preserve order and her power. While we see a small conflict in how Cooke delivered the performance, her choice, despite knowing the morality of it all is still what it is. She doesn’t believe what she is doing is right, but she chooses to do it.

This episode has a lot going on, but surprisingly, it also shows care between family and at moments doesn’t showcase the powerplay running beneath it. Despite the distance created by Daemon, as his ailing brother struggles, he helps him and places the crown on his head. There is love there, and care that extends between the two brothers. Beyond that, House of the Dragon Episode 8 is also dedicated to showcasing a desperate plea from Viserys to be seen behind his crown. He has always wanted his family together and that’s the loneliness of a series in the Game of Thrones world. Family is only as strong as it can be if it stands up against ambition.

That said, the back half of the episode despite the care it shows between family, also shows the rage boiling beneath the surface by the next generation. The scares are still on display and succession is still a reality. That can’t be hidden, especially as Aemond carries a steep resentment towards his nephew that took his eye. Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) has emerged in this episode as a spitting image of his uncle Daemond, in the worst ways. As some wounds heal in House of the Dragon Episode 8, others fester, setting us on a course for the end of the season. This is necessary given how little has actually happened despite the massive number of years we have covered in the series’ short run this far.

When it comes down to it, House of the Dragon Episode 8 brings peace but it also sets up great conflict in its last moments. While Episode 7 was a low mark for the series, House of the Dragon Episode 8 is a powder keg being filled delicately. With stunning performances, the only thing that continues to hold this story back is the constant changing of actors. But with only two episodes left, each word that has been spoken, each deed, and each scheme is about to come to fruition.

House of the Dragon Episode 8 is streaming now exclusively on HBO Max, with new episodes airing every Sunday at 8 pm CT on HBO and HBO Max.


House of the Dragon Episode 8 — "The Lord of the Tides"
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

When it comes down to it, House of the Dragon Episode 8 brings peace but it also sets up great conflict in its last moments. While Episode 7 was a low mark for the series, House of the Dragon Episode 8 is a powder keg being filled delicately. With stunning performances, the only thing that continues to hold this story back is the constant changing of actors. But with only two episodes left, each word that has been spoken, each deed, and each scheme is about to come to fruition.

But Why Tho? A Geek Community
%d bloggers like this: