George R.R. Martin on ‘Brilliant’ Addition to House of the Dragon Season 2 5

[This story contains spoilers for House of the Dragon season two, episodes one and two.]

George R.R. Martin has nothing but high praise for season two of HBO’s House of the Dragon so far, especially a new four-legged character.

The author and producer recently took to his personal blog to share his review of the initial episodes of the Game of Thrones prequel series’ new season. He also recalled touring the show’s “spectacular” set at England’s Leavesden Studios in November.

“I have visited real castles that did not look half as imposing as the Red Keep and Dragonstone did. And they were HUGE,” Martin wrote. “I also got a sneak peak at the first two episodes of season 2 [“A Son for a Son” and “Rhaenyra the Cruel”]. What a great way to start the season. The directing was superb. Game of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor directed the first episode, and Clare Kilner the second. Both of them did a magnificent job. And I cannot say enough about the acting. Emma D’Arcy has only one line in ‘A Son for a Son,’ but they do so much with their eyes and their face that they absolutely dominate the episode; her grief for her slain son is palpable. Tom Glynn-Carney brings Aegon alive in ways we have not seen before; he’s more than a villain here, he shows us the king’s rage, his pain, his fears and doubts. His humanity.”

The prolific author continued to commend the performers, adding, “Rhys Ifans has been splendid as Otto Hightower every time he has been on screen, but he exceeded himself in ‘Rhaenyra the Cruel.”’ His scene with King Aegon and Criston Cole after the ratcatchers are hanged just crackles with wit, tension, drama, a performance that cries out for awards attention. Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Fabien Frankel, Eve Best, and the other regulars were wonderful as well. The Tittensor twins were terrific as the Kingsuard twins, and their climactic swordfight is right up there with the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorne, and Brienne’s fight with Jaime Lannister. And Phia Saban gave a wrenching, powerful, heart-breaking performance as Helaena Targaryen, Aegon’s doomed, haunted queen and mother to his children. Saban’s performance is especially noteworthy; very little of what she brings to the part was in my source material.”

However, it was a new character that showrunner Ryan Condal added into the second season that notably stuck out to Martin: a dog.

“I am… ahem… not usually a fan of screenwriters adding characters to the source material when adapting a story. Especially not when the source material is mine. But that dog was brilliant,” he said of the canine companion that didn’t appear in the show’s source material, Fire & Blood. “I was prepared to hate Cheese, but I hated him even more when he kicked that dog. And later, when the dog say at his feet, gazing up… that damn near broke my heart. Such a little thing… such a little dog… but his presence, the few short moments he was on screen, gave the ratcatcher so much humanity. Human beings are such complex creatures. The silent presence of that dog reminded us that even the worst of men, the vile and the venal, can love and be loved. I wish I’d thought of that dog. I didn’t, but someone else did. I am glad of that.”

The first three episodes of House of the Dragon season two are currently streaming in Max, with episode four set to debut on HBO Sunday.

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