Episode eight opens with dialogue conveniently informing us of House of the Dragon’s latest time jump. Turns out, it’s been a good six years since last week’s tedium—because that’s how long it’s been since Mrs. Sea Snake says she last saw her husband. Sea Snake has apparently been wounded and not doing so hot, and his brother is already chomping at the bit to take over the throne—not wanting one of the bastard boys to fill the seat. And Brother Snake sends a little scrap of paper declaring as much to Doctor Who.
Ian McShane famously said Game of Thrones was “only tits and dragons,” but more so it’s only disgruntled brothers, incest, illegitimate children, and ever-dying kings begging to be replaced by shrewder women. That becomes more evident than ever here.
Matt Smith is nice enough to pick up some eggs on his way home to his family, and then they’re all off to King’s Landing for a meet-up with the most ever-dying king of them all.
Yes, King Paddy is still kicking—and good on him. Though the time dilation makes it, to us, look like he’s aging like a banana on a countertop, he’s really been holding in there given that his rotting has been broadcast since the first episode. He has survived many a re-cast younger actor. With the new Darkman look he’s sporting, he doesn’t look great, though! It may be time for him to be cooked as banana bread.
This episode is titled “Lord of the Tides,” and it indeed lives up to that title even in the shift to King’s Landing. Everyone is just going on about who should inherit Sea Snake’s Marina and Boating Supplies. That’s like 90% of all conversations.
Oh, but wait; sorry—Game of Thrones is also sometimes about entitled little tow-headed rapist princes, so we also get that here. Turns out, Prince Jackoff has escalated his sexual deviance from masturbating out a window to full-blown rape of a girl. Queen Thoroughbreds confronts him on it, and Jackoff uses the “I didn’t ask to be a prince! Why not commit terrible offenses?” defense for his sex crimes. Guess it worked well enough for Prince Andrew, but it’s not cool.
Rhaenyra’s brown-haired boys head to the keep’s training grounds, where we finally see how Eyepatch has been aged-up: into a composite of Venture Bros. chums Pete White and Billy Quizboy. He’s apparently shaping up to be quite the fighter, and looking equal parts angular model and Brian Bolland’s Joker, he is unquestionably leaning into the villainous turn of his youth.
Bro Snake and his entourage show up soon after, and yes, we get even more dramatic debate about who should inherit Sea Snake’s Marina and Boating Supplies.
Rhaenyra then meets up with the Queen Who Didn’t Happen, who accuses her of murdering her son. This would be a great time for Rhaenyra to just admit, “Look, he’s fine. He and his boyfriend took a rowboat to Fire Island, and they are loving it.” Instead, we get some sort of failed bargain that would require knowing actual character names to discern.
Shortly after, ugh, we actually have to hear the whole trial to determine the new Manager of Sea Snake’s Marina and Boating Supplies. It’s like the back end of a Law & Order: SVU episode, except here the rapist has already gotten away with it, so now we’re just hearing this bizarre final argument about who should own some boats.
But! Right on cue, a surprise witness bursts in! Well, surprise king in this case.
King Paddy, now having switched from the Bloodsoaked Mask to a modified, bisected version of the Ruler’s Mask from the likewise George R. R. Martin-inspired Elden Ring, makes his way to his throne. Really takes his time with it, too. Like, yeah, that he’s all sickly and plodding with his cane is part of the point, but yeesh. As if this show needed to be more of a slog. It’s really putting a hat on a hat of his feebleness, except he already has the “hats” of a weird, gold half-mask beneath a crown.
Finally, King Paddy arrives at his seat and delivers his stand-up routine: What’s the deal with this succession debate??? He defers to his sister or cousin or whatever—who can keep track?—and Mrs. Sea Snake pulls a modest surprise out of her white wig. She doesn’t attempt to take the Boat-Throne for herself but indeed takes Rhaenyra’s offer to give her son that realm in exchange for marrying whoever-the-hell to whoever-the-fuck.
Bro Snake is not having this at all, so he makes a whole scene. Doctor Who eggs the guy on to “say it,” and dude indeed does, saying the boy is a bastard. This is a pretty indisputable fact at this point, so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but he then decides to go for the stinger and also drops how Rhaenyra is a whore. Soon after, things go anime-style as the Doctor takes revenge by cutting this guy’s fucking skull in half with a single swipe.
Eyepatch is like, “Wow, this dude rules.”
Anyway! Time for a terrible family dinner!
In this case, it’s not fucked-up racism from the family patriarch that gets weird but that, for some reason, the guy decides to pop of his half-mask to reveal how he’s a Gus Fring, Two-Face situation going on.
Everyone still has to eat, asshole! Wait until after dessert!
Toasts are called upon, and we get a few instances of both bitterness and apologies. Then the music starts, and King Paddy basically passes out from how incestuous it’s getting in there.
Finally, King Paddy returns to his chambers and tells his queen how these insane premonitions of Martin’s books that he’ll never finish are real. OR ARE THEY???
Regardless, it seems like we’re finally done with this guy. Rest in Paddy.