The seventh episode of House of the Dragon contains a sequence of sequences in which two illegal, significant events take place. In one, Rhaenyra Targaryen engages in sexual activity with her uncle Daemon, and as a result of the encounter, the two decide to wed. Aemond Targaryen slips across the sand and scales Vhagar, a very ancient and strong dragon that belonged to his now-deceased aunt, in the other scene, which is cut with all the passionate incest. After a successful dragon flight, Aemond captures Vhagar for himself instead of leaving the dragon to his grieving relatives.
I’m explaining this to you because it’s probable you couldn’t see a single item on the screen even if you watched this episode yourself, even if you sat in front of a big television in a dark room, carefully ignoring your phone screen, and closed the shutters to block out any street glare.
This episode was distributed to journalists as a screener, and when I viewed it, I was confused by what I saw. It occurred regularly in episodes supplied before publication, so I figured it was a color-correction issue that hadn’t been finished. I had trouble seeing for around 18 minutes of the hour-long show. Surely that couldn’t be intentional, I reasoned.
So, on Sunday night, I re-started the program to check, first using the HBO Max app on a big, roughly six-year-old TV in my workplace. It was completely incomprehensible. In other instances, I could tell just from the sound that someone was moving across the terrain, but I didn’t know who, where, or why. In some situations, I could see the silhouette of persons but couldn’t tell anything about their facial expressions or performances.
The funeral scenes, the moment in which Aemond claims Vhagar, and the scene in which Rhaenyra and Daemon interact were all most likely shot during the day. If you can see it on your screen, little Aemond may be seen gazing up at Vhagar soaring past as everyone departs the burial. Even though the environment is intended to be almost completely black, he is squinting at the brilliant sky:
The shots were all darkened to appear like deep midnight using a mix of camera exposure settings used during filming and postproduction tweaking. Add a few sparkling stars to the sky, scatter some torches to let the characters know it’s growing dark, and presto: night has arrived!
Here are the choices I think are available. First, it’s possible that this was a genuine and perplexing error. Director Miguel Sapochnik somehow failed to consider if the day-to-night postproduction would render properly on a standard Samsung from Best Buy, even after “The Long Night” received harsh criticism.
Furthermore, it was just careless. The fact that actors are squinting into the light and that the flaming torches that emerged throughout the funeral scenes received little attention is a big indication of this. They are burning, so why don’t they glow? They don’t produce any light or shadows?
Third, and I’ll be sticking with this hypothesis going forward: The whole day-to-night postproduction sequence was purposefully made extremely gloomy to conceal a crucial secret that was looming in the distance and that would completely shatter this franchise! Not a fantasy set in the Middle Ages! Only attentive viewers will recognize the hints that everything is truly happening inside of a bubble representing the modern world! It was a coffee cup in the last season of Game of Thrones. In this episode, contemporary safety fence!