House of the Dragon Episode 7 Is Taking Generational Trauma to a Whole New Level

The kids are not alright.
IMAGE HBO

Since House of the Dragon premiered, we knew it would be more than a power struggle for the throne. Underneath the political intrigue is even more layers that make House of the Dragon more nuanced, and perhaps even better, than its predecessor. 

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In the first six episodes, the show established its patriarchal environment, setting up Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) as antitheses to each other. On the one hand, we have Rhaenyra, a Targaryen princess and proud dragonrider who dares show independence, autonomy, and a modicum of individuality. On the other hand, we have Alicent, Rhaenyra’s former friend who plays by the rules of this patriarchy, only to grow bitter that Rhaenyra doesn’t play by the same rules. Their animosity comes to a head in a single exchange that is another testament of House of the Dragon’s exceptional writing. 

Alicent: “What have I done but what was expected of me? Forever upholding the kingdom, the family, the law, while you flout it all to do as you please. Where is duty? Where is sacrifice? It’s tramped under your pretty foot again. And now you take my son’s eye, and to even that you feel entitled.” 

Rhaenyra: “Exhausting, wasn’t it? Hiding beneath the cloak of your own righteousness. But now they see you as you are.” 

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Photo by HBO Go.

Even the framing of this episode deserves its own praise. When Alicent slashes Rhaenyra’s arm with the same Valyrian blade that appears throughout Game of Thrones, it’s Corlys Velaryon who catches her and cradles her bleeding hand. A tactical frame that foreshadows Velaryon’s future role as her Hand of the Queen.  

Photo by HBO Go.
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The division and hate festering in the hearts of the older generation are so potent that it inevitably reaches the children. Generational grief is another layer of House of the Dragon, one that’s becoming more evident with the time jumps. As Rhaenyra and Alicent rage at each other, so do their children.

After Aemond, second son of Alicent and Viserys, claims Vhagar in an epic dragonriding scene, Aemond comes across Daemon’s daughters and Rhaenyra’s sons and immediately insults them. Remember that they are only children at this point, aged 6 to 13, but their childhood friendships are already crumbling in the shadow of their parent's conflict. In response to the insults, the children fight amongst themselves with fists, kicks, stones, and at its climax, a knife. It’s a Lord of the Flies moment that ends with Aemond losing an eye, which could possibly be a metaphor for Aemond’s father, the weak King Viserys, turning a blind eye to Rhaenyra’s bastard children. Clearly, the kids are not alright. 

While this episode was slow-going, it served a purpose. The tension was built to perfection, and the symbolism of each shot was exquisite. More proof that House of the Dragon knows how to weave a story. 

Read more about House of the Dragon:

Here’s When Each Episode of House of the Dragon Will Be on HBO Go

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Don’t miss House of the Dragon on HBO GO with new episodes weekly, every Monday at 9 a.m. Philippine time.   

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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