House of the Dragon: a slow season 2 (review)

If it sometimes struggles to ignite, the sequel to the civil war between the Rhaenyra team and the Alicent team remains a burning political work, where the war of succession blows hot and cold to better catch the viewer in mid-flight.

No need for dissolution to make this season 2 of House of the Dragon devilishly thrilling. Even more political than the first, the rest of the battle between Alicent and Rhaenyra for the Iron Throne takes place mainly in the restricted councils and alcoves of fortresses. Exhilarating, but also a little frustrating. Warning spoilers!

Because in the first episodes of this new season, it’s the race to de-escalate! While everything seemed to be pointing towards a huge fight of dragons in all directions, after the end of season 1, Ryan Condal and his authors resisted the temptation of the big air show, to install an unexpected Cold War climate. A war of position where both camps hold back their animals, to avoid putting the kingdom on fire. After the death of her son Luke, Rhaenyra is devastated and demands Aemond's head, but refuses to descend into total vengeance. She prefers to slowly but surely place her pawns, rally her bannermen and organize the blockade of Port Réal, thanks to the fleet of Corlys Velaryon. Meanwhile, the capital is suffocating, counts its supporters and the young king Aegon II tries to gain respect from the great families of Westeros, from his mother and his grandfather Otto, who is the true leader of the shadows


Each camp refuses the igniter and spends a good part of the first 4 episodes (those visible to the press upstream) justifying this inaction. Dragons are presented as a weapon of massive deterrence, a nuclear arsenal that must not be used at the risk of tipping the 7 kingdoms into an apocalypse without a winner. Clever. House of the Dragon thus finds all the political scope of the first seasons of Game Of Thrones – before the original series ran towards blockbuster like a headless chicken. It is enjoyed with scathing replies, intense emotional stakes, delicious low blows and delicious moments of tension. The best sequences play out within the restricted councils of both camps, where advisors of all stripes try to tip the scales.

A resolutely political season, and therefore frankly talkative too. Quite cold and austere in form, this new chapter regularly emerges confused, as it multiplies the references to the litany of Houses that make up Westeros. Who is who ? Who is with who? Unless you know your illustrated George RR Martin like the back of your hand, you would have to watch each episode with a trombinoscope to remember precisely each character, which side they are on and which hero of the Game Of Thrones he is the grandfather! As a result, we sometimes lose the thread watching lords of elusive importance, muttering about people whose names don't tell us much…

House of the Dragon 2

But we reassure ourselves by saying that the same feeling was born at the time of the first seasons of Game Of Thrones… And then the saga always has the gift of rekindling the flame at the moment when our attention wavers. This season 2 of House of the Dragon goes crescendo in violence and confrontation, but each time she takes the sword out of the sheath, it is not to butter the toast! From hyper-shocking retaliations and spectacular fire shots, to dragons that hurtle through the air in fiery deadly twists, it offers its share of moments which will create a buzz and which will make Monday mornings chat at the coffee machine. Even if, ultimately, what makes the success of House of the Dragonit is undeniably his humane and brutal study of the exercise of power.

House of the Dragon, season 2, to watch on Max from June 17 in France.


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