“When dragons fly to war,” Rhaenyra cautions her spouse, Prince Daemon, “everything burns.”
Throughout the period finale, only the recently crowned queen by yourself appears to have an understanding of the gravity of choosing to force again towards the usurpation of her crown. She by yourself weighs diplomatic options up to and like capitulation fairly than chance plunging Westeros into a war as opposed to something it is at any time regarded. Versus the warmongering of her bannermen and consort, the provocations of her outdated enemy Otto Hightower, and even the temptation of the godlike damaging power her faction’s dragons afford to pay for her, Rhaenyra stands business. Emma D’Arcy provides a remarkable subtlety to Rhaenyra’s struggles all through the episode, from their wry, questioning smile at Lucerys’ worry of his foreseeable future duties to their expression of mingled loss and hope at getting proof of Alicent’s ongoing really like in the form of a childhood memento. Peace holds the promise of appreciate, of small children, of honoring her father’s tranquil legacy and perception in the Conqueror’s Desire. War hazards all.
But the entire world, as Rhaenyra tells her middle kid, has no regard for our options. Initial, a painful and draining miscarriage expenses Rhaenyra her unborn daughter. Watching the sweat-soaked and bloody female cradle the deformed entire body in her arms, it is hard not to consider of it as an omen of things to appear, a shadow solid by all the innocents whose lives a war among the rival monarchs would certainly cut quick. The war also drives a wedge between Rhaenyra and her husband, exposing Daemon’s violent insecurities as he confronts the two his very own immaturity and his jealousy around his wife’s closeness with his late brother, the king. The scene in which Daemon assaults his queen is a person of the season’s most upsetting, a showcase for Matt Smith’s capability to at the same time seethe and dissociate from his environment. It’s an ugly contrast to the warmth amongst Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys, who even in conflict share an apparent warmth and solidarity. No this kind of comprehension is forthcoming from Daemon, and it seems Rhaenyra hazards her relationship by keeping again from the bloodshed he craves.
Director Greg Yaitanes frames this parade of decline and unrest with painterly precision, and the episode’s shade grading is among the the series’ ideal so far, with prosperous, dark reds and sickly grays predominating versus backdrops of dramatic black and bleach-light-weight blue. “The Black Queen” takes treatment to right associate the Targaryens with their dragon via suave framing and intercutting. Through Rhaenyra’s difficult labor we see flashes of Syrax bellowing in sympathy with her rider. When Daemon menaces the knights of the Kingsguard, Caraxes’ large head fills the body powering him, a scene echoed by a later sequence in which Daemon rouses the ancient dragon Vermithor and the two show up reflected in just about every other’s eyes, twin incarnations of heedless ability and destruction.
The episode’s visual language asks us to take into consideration who exactly is contacting the shots in this article. Is it the Targaryens, driven as substantially by previous grudges and infatuations as by any larger sized sense of responsibility? Is it the dragons by themselves, which, like the proverbial blade, incite to violence by their quite existence? The response, as significantly as a person can be extricated from the tangle of guts and screaming that closes out the episode’s centerpiece action scene, is that the worst of both events has the rudder. The venal pettiness of the royal loved ones, the outsize power their dragons afford them, and their full absence of practical experience with true violence and its repercussions come alongside one another in a literal lethal collision. Observing Aemond and Lucerys scream in terror as their dragons, pushed also challenging by Aemond’s cruel activity of rooster, change on a single a different is a gut-wrenching sight, and Yaitanes builds rigidity all through their airborne come across with brutal, really hard-hitting precision and a bodily harrowing feeling of pace. When the remaining explosion of blood and gore hits household it is nearly a reduction, until eventually you start to believe about what will come up coming.
Rubber satisfies highway, the plan of a tranquil resolution to the succession crisis goes to shreds in the room of an immediate, and Rhaenyra is remaining gutted by betrayal and grief. She’s lost not only her son, but her sense of security in her relationship and her likelihood at any kind of rekindling of her link with Alicent. At the exact same time she’s attained bannermen, the essential guidance of Property Velaryon, and the allegiance of a even more knight of the Kingsguard. Even just before she learns of Lucerys’ dying, marching to war has grow to be much more plausible. D’Arcy’s final appear into the digital camera is haunting, a surer portent of points to occur than any prophetic dream or lofty speech about the great of the realm. During the episode we see Rhaenyra push again and all over again for peace, for the uneasy and often disappointing route of compromise. But what lies waiting around under Dragonstone, its ragged wings furled in the dim, its furnace breath scorching the cavern walls? What beast by firelight shines mirrored in Daemon’s eyes even as he shines in its very own?
We know what’s coming. Vengeance. Justice. Fireplace and blood.