House of the Dragon restores Game of Thrones magic to Targaryen history

House of the Dragon restores Game of Thrones magic to Targaryen history ...

In episode 3 of House of the Dragon, there isnt a lot of agreement on who should be the next ruler of Westeros. Many want Aegon to be the next in line (he is the firstborn son of King Viserys), while others insist the throne is still Rhaenyras (he is the actual firstborn), and he gets the promise of a white stag running around the Kingswood.

When Viserys (Paddy Considine) is called to a stag, it isn't what he imagined, although it is, as one of the helpers notes, still a big lad, but the animal isn't white. This moment, which is staged, is underwhelming, and lacks the clear symbolism he so clearly seeks, provides no clarity about who the gods are seeking favor towards.

Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) is the one who spots the enormous white stag on a cliff in the morning. By design, she stares it down, prevents Ser Criston (Fabien Frankel) from killing it, and lets it gallop away. The whole episode does feel a bit mystical, tapping into the type of magic Game of Thrones used to employ to keep its high fantasy characters guessing about the future.

The magic in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire is unpredictable and randomly spread throughout the world. No religion had a clear grasp on magic, yet none of them had a clear grasp on it. There were changing faces, reanimation, and ghost demon babies, all of which existed with the same predictability as lightning or a vision from looking into a fire.

House of the Dragon is based on Fire & Blood, which is a fairly dry account of the events as told by three people who witnessed (or witnessed) them. While George R.R. Martin brought whole characters back to life in the shows that were left dead, Fire & Blood reads more like a textbook, eliminating the more otherworldly elements of Martin's world.

The stag hunt in episode 3, like the Aegon the Conquerors' dream from episode 1, is a step back toward a more alternate reality. This time around the story may be one we know the end of, but the signs along the way are more ambiguous than others. The Iron Throne appears to some who might be worthy, and the white stag appears to those who might be worthy.