The Blacks and the Greens have found their footing in the latest episode of House of the Dragon. ‘Driftmark’ is undoubtedly by far the darkest episode of the series, not only are the Targaryens and Velaryons mourning their dead but in these dark times, a dragon is claimed with a price paid in the form of an eye. And while it looks like it’s a dangerous play of politics – a more dangerous alliance is formed in Rhaenyra and Daemon’s marriage. In a new featurette, the cast and showrunners of the series speak about the chemistry between the two and the effects of it in the times to come.
The episode begins at a somber note of Laena Velaryons’ funeral and soon turns into an uncomfortable family affair. As we see many characters interacting with each other, director Miguel Sapochnik reveals that the multitude of conversations is really about a family that has been blown apart, trying to find solace in each other. He adds that they are “trying to sort of, in a sense, to forgive each other for all their past wrongdoings. And yet in the center of that is Rhaenyra and Daemon. Here they are together both having lost someone both grieving. And the chemistry between them is as strong as before.”
The series has been building on Daemon (Matt Smith) and Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) chemistry right from the start. The former is introduced as the Princess goes to the throne room and finds him sitting on the Iron Throne. Later, King Viserys’ names Rhaenyra his heir to keep the throne from falling into Daemon’s hands. Despite the political power plays that should separate them, the two have an incredible fondness for each other and notably almost became intimate in Episode 4 ‘King of the Narrow Sea.’ Finally, they come together after losing their significant others to fire. D’Arcy explains that abandonment is something that just seems to happen on repeat to Rhaenyra, “It happens with her mom, dad, Alicent, Daemon. And looking that wound in the eye, I think is what happens in this scene.” They further add that the two are “made of the same stuff which is why they’re a terrible match.” Adding, “I think there’s a dangerous chemistry.”
As co-showrunner Ryan Condal puts it “It’s all fun and games till somebody loses an eye.” We see all the young kids getting into a fight which inevitably leads to Aemond losing an eye which prompts Alicent to attack Rhaenyra with the dagger, as in the heat of the moment she wants an eye for an eye. Sapochnik says, “Alicent loses her shit and it’s a joy to watch.” On the other hand, Rhaenyra takes a stand for her children after their legitimacy is openly questioned. For the first time, we also see Blacks and Greens taking sides very prominently. While Otto Hightower and Alicent are on one side, Rhaenyra, Daemon, and Corlys Velaryon all are on the other. D’Arcy states, “that place of abandonment is healed. Rhaenyra is found by Daemon, and it allows her to back herself and back her family. And sort of walk straight at the accusations, as opposed to trying to shield from them.” At the end of the episode, we finally see Rhaenyra and Daemon bond together and make a marriage pact. Sapochnik explains,
This consummating of their relationship brings with it all the obstacles. Suddenly, with Daemon by her side, Rhaenyra becomes more formidable. It tells us that Rhaneyra is not going away.
New episodes of House of the Dragon drop every Sunday. You can check out the featurette below: