The Crimson Chronicles: A Plunge into the RED-Hot Depths of House of the Dragon Season 2

On the riot of colour that comprises most of the television series that we consume, watch, follow, love and lose ourselves in, it is arguably the colour red that most dangerously and delightfully swings and sways like creepers from the branches running through the tapestry. This is perhaps most evident in the spectacular infernos of ‘House of the Dragon’ season 2, whose red simultaneously denotes the blood relationships of the Targaryens family from which the show is derived and hints at the fire, drama and disaster in store.

When Dragons Soared under a RED Sky: A Recap of Season 1

When we last visited the domain, the sky was red – the colour of dragonfire and Targaryen blood, the colour of power, danger and passion – and the Season Finale was red against a stormy black, and we were left to expect red for future installments of the story of thrones.

The Dawn of a New Strife

With the edge of Winterfell’s cold wind at their necks, the smell of blood has been slickening the air for Winter is Coming. Thus, most of the Episode 1 reminded me of the slow proceedings of the last two episodes of Season 3. It began with a flash forward of Tyrion’s slow march to his death sentence, proceeded to cut back to the events that started this whole mess, and then it cut back to the present day with a vengeance. That style served not only to bridge the past and the present, but also to remind the viewer of the characters’ fire that was extinguished the last time around.

A Mosaic of Mourning and Machinations

Near the centre of Dragonstone, over the sound of the waves and the wailing women: the colour red was duller now. Rhaenyra sat and stared out at the sea, perhaps praying, or perhaps gathering herself for the green vengeance that was closing in around her. Meanwhile, Daemon was still trying to worm his way through the grey fog of politics and power, burning and scheming in his red eyes – a reminder that it’s not just the colour of the banner you wear but the words and the ways you fight that carve out a path to power.

The Velocity of Vengeance

Blood flows, hearts are torn by unforgivable decisions, and the intricately plotted story reveals itself in the subtlest nuances of betrayal, the most hesitant whisper of kinship, even as the screen suffuses with crimson: a virtual flood of literal and metaphorical blood. It’s a reminder of the sophistication of storytelling that, even as war approaches its most brutal denouement, viewers find themselves wracked with equivocations about the many quiet conversational moments of loss and of what might have been.

In the Shadows of Spies and Spectres

In the snake’s angle-strewn labyrinth and lightless chambers, where red is a beacon, of hope and of hate, of everything in between, every character is no more than a blood-drenched pawn in a highly organised game filtered through the strings of red fate and passion, with shifting alliances and deepening shadows, as the resilience, ruthlessness and raw humanity work their magic.

The RED Resonance: A Reflection

And this episode, and the series as a whole, is rooted in the very nature of red; it’s a dance of the heat and cold, life and death. Red is the lens through the characters’ souls – the passion, the rage, the tender moments – that frames the meaning of the story.

Understanding RED

To summarise, the colour red in House of the Dragon has multiple symbolic meanings – from the Targaryen bloodline to the fire of the dragons surging through the family’s veins, red is all about power, lust and the danger of trying to control both. It is the colour of love lost, but battles won, a visible marker of the cost for power in Westeros.

Thus we remain, with the Targaryens and their serpentine gold, caught in the unbidden pattern – of fate, of family, of fire – that burns on the red horizon of Westeros, our voyeuristic watchword, as we watch the show.

Jun 17, 2024
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