“You have Baratheon blood from your grandmother, Anise. And Lord Boros is an eternally proud man. You’ll be honored to host a prince of the realm.”
I admit, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit biased in my Pro-Rhaenyra support. I think the Greens being a bunch of scheming evil bastards is one of the things necessary to give any weight to the Dance of the Dragons. I feel like they should be the most contemptible scummy monsters imaginable while the Blacks should be antiheroes who are facing someone worse with just a DASH of a question whether it matters which side is on the throne because the common people will suffer the most no matter what.
However, whether or not you support #TeamAlicent or #TeamRhaenyra, the fact is you’ve been waiting for the civil war to happen between House Targaryen’s three branches. Yes, I’m throwing in the Velaryons there. Everyone knew there was eventually going to be a war between the dragonriders and we all just wanted to see how it would come about. Indeed, HBO executives reportedly wanted to start with the Dance of the Dragons and had to be persuaded by George R.R. Martin to give it a season of build-up.
The premise is that Rhaenys arrived at Dragonstone and tells Daemon and Rhaenyra that Aegon has crowned himself King of Westeros. Rhaneyra is furious but not quite ready to start a war since it’s clear that not nearly the level of support she expects is available and House Velayron is an uncertain ally at best. Corys and Rhaenys decide to throw their lot in with Rhaenyra anyway, mostly because Rhaenyra is showing restraint, but Otto provides an unexpected offer of terms that would allow her to back down with dignity. Daemon, of course, is furious and almost strangles his wife over it.
Speaking of which, the actual beginning of the Dance is interesting to interpret from the perspective that Aemond didn’t intend to kill his nephew. He was clearly interested in scaring the living crap out of him by chasing him down but lost control of the world’s largest dragon. Which is a a nice callback to Viserys trying to warn everyone that the dragons are not really under their control. It’s also still Aemond’s fault, like aiming a gun at his nephew to scare him only for it to go off.
Overall, I’ve had my issues with the season. I’ve felt the time-jumps have absolutely killed the pacing, that some of the plot twists were unnecessary (like Viserys’ delerium being misinterpreted or Criston Cole not getting any punishment for multiple murders), Alicent’s characterization has been all over the place, and way too many deleted scenes. They cut away a lot of scenes that deserved to be in the story. Still, I think we’ve finally reached a point where actions can be properly followed up on.