Grief and rage fuel season 2 of 'House of the Dragon' as Aegon II's depths unfold

Grief and rage fuel season 2 of 'House of the Dragon' as Aegon II's depths unfold

Mumbai: On the surface, it might seem like both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are both about larger forces fighting for the throne. 

However, upon closer inspection, it seems like the prequel series is more about an ever-escalating family feud rather than an absolute lust for power. And it only gets more personal and uglier as the story unfolds.

The first season of HOTD ended on a grim note, with Aemond Targaryen brutally murdering Lucerys Velaryon, the son of Rhaenyra Targaryen. As allegiances start to solidify and the news of Lucery’s death fanning the flames of the war even further, season two is lathered with grief and rage, and it seems to have an effect on every single character.

Matt Smith, who plays Daemon Targaryen in the series, says that his character always had a tough time dealing with grief and that it is only going to affect him worse this season. “Even in season one, the death of his brother Viserys (Targaryen) forced him into a dark period of self-reflection and he is walking towards a deep dark hole, which is quite mysterious.”

While grief might have pushed Daemon into a period of brooding introspection, it had the opposite effect on others. Ser Criston Cole, who started off as an amiable, charming knight at the beginning of the series, turned into someone full of rage and vengeance towards the end. Fabien Frankel, who plays Ser Criston Cole, reveals that there is more to Cole than what we see on the screen.

“The way that the show is structured, you are only seeing what the story wants you to see. How you see a character reacting to grief in a scene is not necessarily what is going on internally. For example, in real life, people lose their family members and still go to work on the same day. You would have no idea what would happen when they go back home.

It would be a completely overwhelming experience for them.” He then adds, “It might seem like Criston Cole has a handle on his emotions and that he only expresses his grief as anger but there are a bunch of other ways he is affected, which we don’t get to see.”

While Criston Cole and Daemon are at the peripheries of the effect of Lucerys’s death, the one who is at the centre of the storm, along with his mother Rhaenyra, is Jacaerys Velaryon. On how the death of his brother changed Jacaerys, Harry Collett, who plays the character, says, “Grief can do a lot to a person but for Jacerys, the only good thing that came out of it, is that it matured him.

All he wants to do now is take revenge and in order to do that he cannot be childish. He has to be level-headed and do things the right way and make good decisions. It enabled his transition from boy to man.” While all eyes are on the throne, the one currently on it is King Aegon II Targaryen, played by Tom Glynn-Carney. A young king, brattish in countenance, and with questionable claims to the throne, would easily evoke the memory of Joffrey Baratheon, the infamous tyrant from the Game of Thrones series.

However, Tom assures us that Aegon is very different from Joffrey. “I think Aegon is an empath, which is not what Joffrey was. I think he has the potential and capability to love. He is a product of his own nurturing.” He then declares, “Aegon is way more complex than Joffrey.” However, the actor agrees that it is fun to play a cold, calculated psychopath like Joffrey.

Fans of the show, who caught up on the first episode of the season, which was released on Monday in India, might realise that Aegon goes on to be at the receiving end of overwhelming grief towards the end. While the second season might have started on a sombre note, everything points towards grief turning into anger, and from the embers of rage, it seems all but likely that war might spread like wildfire across Westeros.