It’s time for House of the Dragon Episode 7 review, and I’m calling this one the bad lighting episode. Now what I could see, which wasn’t much, was really good and I still enjoyed it. This week no major time jumps. Instead this is around the same period as we were in with Episode 6. There’s quite a lot to get through this week, so better get started.
This will be as where possible a SPOILER FREE review. I might have to mention one or two details, but for the most part I feel like I can express my thoughts without getting into the weeds. So here we go.
Mr. Magoo Loved It
I have to start with a criticism this week, and that’s a shame because there is a lot great about Episode 7. However the lighting is awful. Remember the Game of Thrones episode The Long Night, where thousands complained that they could not see anything? Well in some ways this actually worse. at least in that episode there was a lot of action and fire effects which would light things up occasionally.
Without spoiling, let me explain how this episode works. After last week’s most dramatic death, it’s now funeral time. The episode takes place across one 24 hour period. We start the day with the official funeral of Laena, who sadly took her own life (in a way). The main players are all gathered to see her off, that means we have Viserys (Vizzy T), Allicent, Rhaenyra, Daemon, Otto, Corlys, Larys, Laenor and all the kids in the same place. As the day progresses, dramatic thing happen of which I was very much a fan. I’ll get to that more below.
However as the day begins to wane, so does the lighting. There is a sequence of events which take place in the dead of night and outside of doors. Honestly there are at times you cannot see a thing. Whatever they spent on VFX for these shots was wasted, they could have pretended to have dragons just by their sounds and I wouldn’t have known the difference. Once we get nearer sunrise, or indoors, things get back to normal. However there are some very important events take place during the pitch dark and it’s just lit terribly.
This is filmmaking 101, when at night, you kinda have to suspend disbelief because you need to light the actors so we can see them. This felt like they just took the cameras out at 2 am and never bothered with any lighting. The static image you can see above is how the Episode should have looked, but I promise you that very moment is almost unwatchable it was so dark on TV.
Maybe it would work in a darkened cinema screen? However this is a TV series, and I’m watching it on 4K TV after work on a dull Monday evening where it’s almost dark outside. You should never have to change your brightness settings on your TV for a few scenes. That’s two episodes of horrible lighting we’ve had in Westeros, let’s not have a third HBO.
A Unique Adaptation?
Is Episode 7 bad then? Not at all, in fact I loved it, when i could see it and the sounds when I could not were at least pleasant. I’m starting to realize that what we have on our hand here is a quite unique adaptation. The books on which this show are based, are the in universe histories and therefore written with subjectivity. What HotD is able to do here is tell the ‘true’ story that would later be recorded after the fact. The involvement of creator GRRM ensures this fulfills on that promise.
We’ve already seen mysterious deaths become murders, or rumors become fact, fires become arson and all sort of other little details. In this area Episode 7 was jam packed full of little nuggets like this. For example we even get someone reported as dead in the books who in reality survived. It’s actually a really fun way of exploring this material. Sadly the absence of many original creators would prevent this being as effective in other fantasy series.
The Rings of Power is trying something similar, however as much as I like it so far that one still seems like fan fiction to me. Whereas House of the Dragon feels like the true canon because of GRRM’s involvement.
I’m going to be sad to see Viserys (Vizzy T) go. However, I think we all know that Paddy Considine won’t be joining the rest of the cast coming back for Season 2. It feels like Viserys does not have long left, and from the promo’s it seems we will have another 6-7 time jump next week. At some point the death of Viserys is going to happen and this will be the catalyst for the carnage that will follow.
The writing is on the wall, and despite his best efforts Viserys is going to leave a legacy he would have hated. There’ll be Fire and Blood to claim the pointy chair after he finally succumbs to his weariness.
Viserys has been such a great character I do feel a little sad to see him go, despite the inevitability of it. Was Viserys a great King? No, probably not. There are fans debating all his actions and what he could have and should have done to prevent the events that are to come. However Viserys cannot know the extent of his failures until after his death, so he makes the decisions he thinks are right.
Sadly I think Viserys is a good man, but perhaps not best suited to be the King. Vizzy T is not ruthless enough, he takes the easy road too often, and isn’t suspicious enough of those manipulating him instead of supporting him. Still the most morally sound Targaryen we have seen on screen yet in the TV world of Westeros. I suspect we may lose Vizzy T in Episode 8 or 9, that allows for the 10th episode to be the set up for Season 2 and that’s how Game of Thrones always finished their seasons.Paddy Considine, you’ve been great.
I also want to just say I am becoming more and more impressed with Steven Toussaint as each episode goes by. That man has a presence that belongs in front of a camera and I love his on screen wife played by Eve Best. Those two are just electric together for some reason of entertainment magic.
Overall, I’m still enjoying House of the Dragon Season 1. Episode 7 felt like it was a match being set to the fuse, we just need to wait for it to end its path. However I would really like to see some of the visuals in future. I think House of the Dragon is a better TV show than it is a radio show. Thing is, with better lighting this might have been one of my favorite episodes to date. Should be higher than an A-.
What did you think of my House of the Dragon Episode 7 review? What did you think of the episode itself? Leave your own review below if you can and let us know what you think. There’s space below if you can