The seventh episode of House of the Dragon titled Driftmark has aired and the mess Westeros finds itself in only seems to be deepening. A proper debacle, is it not? The episode began with the somber funeral of Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell) with all her family gathered around. Even the solemnity of a funeral didn’t mask the tension that exists between the warring parties in the family. As the episode progresses, Prince Aemond (Leo Ashton) bonds with Vhagar but loses an eye which leads to a stand-off between his step-sister, Rhaenyra (Emma D’ Arcy and his mother, Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke).
Driftmark ended with the Rhaenyra and Daemon (Matt Smith) being wed while Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) ditches his duties in pursuit of happiness across the Narrow Sea. Now though, the preview for the series’ eighth episode, The Lord of the Tides has been released by HBO and it shows the ramifications of those decisions by all involved. The preview shows the ever-scheming Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) playing king presumably with King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) health failing him significantly. Rhaenyra is by no means pleased that her enemies effectively control the realm, and she seeks the aid of her husband, Daemon to return to King’s Landing and fight the “vipers”, as she calls them.
The series will also take yet another time jump, presumably its last as it sees the introduction of older versions of Princes Aegon and Aemond played by Tom Glynn-Carney and Ewan Mitchell. And yes, Carney’s Aegon is already giving off King Joffrey vibes. Ser Laenor’s decision to bail on his birthright now seems to offer a significant challenge and a new power tussle in Westeros. His father, the Sea Snake, Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) has been gravely wounded in battle. It’s not clear if he has passed, however, it seems the tussle for his successor is on. With his heir somewhere across the Narrow Sea, Corlys’ brother Ser Vaemond (Wil Johnson) will stake his claim with Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) in defiant opposition.
The significance of who becomes Lord or Lady of the Tides is significant to the overarching storyline. Vaemond is seemingly not a fan of Rhaenyra and her sons as seen at Laena’s funeral with his snide comments. Rhaenys on the other hand, though not the biggest fan of Rhaenyra might be persuaded to side with her based on kinship in the war to come, and make no mistake it is coming. Viserys’ voice reckons that a house divided against itself cannot stand and this episode might mark the physical renewal of the rivalry between Ser Criston (Fabien Frankel) and Prince Daemon.
The preview will end with Rhaenyra noting a trap of some sought while Vaemond makes a power play of his own. The rivalry between the young princes will return both within the training courtyard and at the dinner table. It’s practice for the real deal, and as Ser Otto warns, “The threat of war looms.”
House of the Dragon airs on Sundays on HBO. Episodes are also available to stream on HBO Max. Check out the trailer below: