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House of the Dragon season 2 episode 3 review: Reason is thrown out the window as battle bells toll | Web Series

House of the Dragon season 2 episode 3 review: Reason is thrown out the window as battle bells toll | Web Series

The first two episodes of House of the Dragon Season 2 made it abundantly clear that reason could no longer make sense of this series of conflicts, when there is already so much blood that has been spilled. It is going to be a war for war’s sake. Such is the case with both Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke), who have been witness to bloody consequences, heavily influenced by the men surrounding them, all hungry for power and position. Episode three takes a cautious look at both sides, with the Greens and the Blacks proceeding steadily towards a dangerous face-off. (Also read: House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 2 review: Vengeance runs wild as tragedy evens out)

Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in a still from episode 3 of House of the Dragon Season 2.

Who started the war?

It is the foolishly myopic actions of the men, where both Daemon (Matt Smith) and Criston (Fabien Frankel) take things into their own hands and start things off in a direction that can only move towards more violence and bloodshed. Rhaenys sums it up best when she says, “The young men have taken the bit in their teeth. They wish to punish, to avenge. Soon they will not even remember what it was that began the war in the first place.”

She is beside Rhaenyra as they stand near the grave after the aftermath of the second episode. If that was all plotting and action, then the meditative and pensive third episode, adapted by David Hancock and directed by Geeta Vasant Patel, is more interested in the processing the shared hurt and regret at both ends, embroidered in scenes involving dialogues and impressions.

What is Daemon upto?

Amid these shifts, this episode is also able to provide the most fascinating arc to Daemon, who finds himself in Harrenhal, an eerie and dark castle in the Riverlands, straight out of a horror film. It fits perfectly for Daemon, who gets a morbidly funny sequence where he walks through the dark chambers of the new place only to find the entire clan at dinner, unperturbed by his presence. In this space, there is a superb callback to young Rhaenyra, whose presence takes account of how Daemon still ponders upon his past actions. Smith is a treat to watch. There is also a standout sequence that takes place in a brothel between Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) and King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), which effectively mines out the toxic dynamic between the two.

It all culminates into a flawlessly acted sequence at the very concluding moments of this hour-long episode which gives space for the two women to finally make a case for themselves in front of each other, devoid of the influence of men. This family feud has traced a lot of blood to now spare a solitary second in order to look back.

But these two women have their shared hurt and regrets, and as Alicent goes on to recall a previous conversation with Viserys, Rhaenyra realizes, at last, how it was all a matter of willing miscommunication. Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy are incredible to watch here, feeding off their own personal history as the contrasting intrigue between them takes shape through shifting body language and delivery. There will be war and plenty of blood will be spilled. One has given up hope. The other does not care, she cannot resist now. The voice of reason is faint.

House of the Dragon Season 2 is available to stream on Jio Cinema.

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