It’s time for House of the Dragon Episode 4 review, and this one will be called the sex episode I’m sure. However don’t let that fool you, because this might be the best episode yet. Powerful, thoughtful, and uncompromising.
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.
The Sex Episode
As you might guess, there is a lot of sex in this episode, far more than we have had so far in House of the Dragon compared to Game of Thrones. Yet, this is at times extremely uncomfortable sex and it’s not there to represent shock value. Instead, questions are being asked here which represent the human condition within this Westerosi society.
We see both sides of the dichotomy between how men and women approach sex and are jugged by society. A man, can of course spend there life living in brothel’s and fathering illegitimate children without much more than a distaste from others of their lifestyle. However in this society, that is not the same for a women, even the most powerful women of the realm.
There’s also lots of morality discussion to be had here. Where are you from and what are their customs on age of maturity, and sexual maturity etc? Right now there’s differences across the globe. I’m entrenched in the Western vision of how we should morally view this. We use an age (differs per country) that defines when someone is legally allowed to explore their sexuality with another. Westeros has it’s own rules, but they differ from ours whilst still bringing up these same moral questions around sexual maturity and ‘duty sex’.
Perhaps the most disturbing sex scene was one between a man and his wife who has already borne him 2 children by this point. I won’t get into details because “eww!” and Spoiler avoidance.
The full episode isn’t just people having sex by the way. However that does constitute the first solid 10-20 minutes. The rest of the episode deals with all the various consequences. Exploring how the rules are different for men and women, and a stark reminder that due to biological fate, there is a valid reason that in a pre-contraception world, women could not afford the freedom they enjoy today. At least not in heterosexual relationships.
Writing is always at its best when dealing with the human condition. Ergo, bravo whoever wrote this script.
Foreshadowing and Execution
To move on slightly there is a ton of foreshadowing seen within Episode 4. If you know, you know. If you don’t, it’ll become clear later on this season, or in re-watches. Again, due to spoilers I won’t get into details, however we are seeing actions which will have consequences being played out. Some boulders are already falling. Yet there remain avalanches to come where only the first pebble has tumbled.
I praised the script above, so I also want to give praise to everyone else who worked on this show. The episode is shot fantastically. Especially in the sex scenes which are both erotic where the crew choose them and vice versa. Some of the sweeping shots following a few characters as they move through a brothel give that sense of hedonism and allure that is enticing to many. This effect is juxtaposed against the harshness and cold of another sex scene. It’s remarkably well done.
The performances from all the main leads are in my opinion the best we’ve seen so far. Everyone is absolutely outstanding here. The fact the dialogue in this episode is so minimal, on consideration, makes the performances even more impressive.
Ambition and Desire
Outside of all the morality of sexuality we also have two other strong human emotions which are ever present, ambition and desire. Episode 4 deal with and ambitions and desires of each character and how sometimes the two match, and sometimes they do not.
Ambition can manifest itself in a duty. When does duty outweigh desire? Is ambition really the prime driver behind most of these characters? These are some of the questions I find myself musing over after finishing Episode 4 and when a story makes you think about the head-space of it’s characters then it is doing a great job.
Ambition, desire and duty are all going to get mixed up to hell as this story progresses. And when that happens, drama is created, and in Westeros, drama leads to real consequences.
Fantastic story telling. As always with this universe, the less action, and more drama, the better. Well, 8 times out of 10 maybe. Some of my very favorite episodes of Game of Thrones were action heavy, however, not many.
Best Episode yet.
What did you think of my House of the Dragon Episode 4 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.