Ten years later (in the story), and what a shock, nothing has gotten better, no matter that people have moved on, and the general idea is that the line of succession is still up in the air despite what’s been put into place. Daemon has become a family man with Laena Valyron, Rheanyra and Laenor have their own kids, and of course, Alicent and Viserys have their own children. Are any of them worth more than Tommen or Joffrey Baratheon? Not much, and this is proven when they each decide to pull a prank on one of their number, who hasn’t bonded with a dragon yet. Their prank? Putting wings on a pig and gifting the young boy the animal so that he can be mocked. Yeah, so far, it would appear that no one in the Valyron/Targaryen clan has really shown that they’re worth that much since they can’t help but snipe and pick at each other continually. There was hope for Rhaenyra and Alicent, but as their first interaction during the episode shows, the gap has only widened between them and shows no sign of closing.
Daemon doesn’t come off as the family man type.
Despite having children at this point, with another one on the way, Daemon appears as though he’d like to take up the offer given by the rulers of Pentos, as moving from place to place is obviously grinding on him. There’s one location that he would probably love to return to, but seeing as he’s not entirely welcome in King’s Landing, it’s not hard to see why Daemon would want somewhere he could be secure. But as far as his family goes, he appears loving enough to pass muster, but upon the death of his wife, after her pregnancy forces a choice between dying to birth to the child or immolating herself using her own dragon, Laena decides to go out on her own terms and ends her life with the help of her own mount, who just happens to be the oldest dragon in existence.
Rhaenyra has been busy, but not with her husband.
It’s very easy to tell that there’s no real secret as to who fathered Rhaenyra’s children, as their dark brown hair points to the Strong family and the captain of the City Watch, who doesn’t exactly hide his amorous gaze toward the princess. Laenor doesn’t appear to care since, despite their true parentage, his children are his, and that’s what matters, right? But the secret that’s not a secret has apparently already been whispered through the halls of King’s Landing and likely in the streets to anyone who will listen. While others, such as Alicent, would love to hear the words spoken aloud, the practices of the royal court appear to be the same as our politicians of today, which means deception is key, even when the truth is plain to see. The dogged determination of Alicent to see Rhaenyra shamed is kind of surprising since the queen calls upon Rhaenyra only moments after she’s given birth to her third child. Literally moments, no joke. What does Rhaenyra do, though? She guts it out, and with a bit of help from Laenor, she manages to heed the queen’s summons. Okay, so maybe there’s a little hope for Rhaenyra.
It almost feels as though Alicent could be an earlier form of Cersei in the making.
For as much as she speaks of decency and how things should run, Alicent is certainly not following her own advice as she appears to be every bit as conniving as anyone within the royal court, and the desire to see her father return as King’s Hand is a little too evident at one point. With her new Spymaster that may very well happen in the coming episode since the current Hand has been burned alive within his keep, along with his son, when he tried to excuse himself from the position. The king is about as useful as he was before this ten-year time jump, which is to say that he’s more blather than wisdom and doesn’t appear up to doing much more than playing with his models and listening with half an ear to what’s happening within his kingdom. Leaving matters to Alicent to sort out feels like a bad idea, however, as the young woman is already making decisions that feel less than wise for the kingdom as a whole.
If season 8 of Game of Thrones felt rushed, this season already feels like it’s been shoved along at warp speed.
Yes, season 8 did feel rushed, which is the point being made, but this first season appears to be going even quicker since there’s already a new batch of children to deal with, a few of the characters that might have lasted for a while are now gone, and one has to wonder how many more will follow in the episodes to come. No one expects any character to last that long in a George Martin novel, but at the very least, it feels as though the series could have taken the time to show the development of a few characters over the span of a decade.