House of the Dragon’s Crabfeeder gives Game of Thrones power struggles

The third episode of Dragon’s House sure put “flame” In A Song of Ice and Fire. The episode starts with a scene with equal parts But the pirate of the Caribbean and Texas Chainsaw Massacrelike wounded foot soldiers loyal to Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) lies howling in the mud at low tide. A grotesque figure, masked and sluggish with a stooped gait and long, sticky buns of hair, approached one of these writhing men.

That masked man’s name is Craghas Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith), also known as as “Crab Feeder” because of their tendency to abandon their enemies to bloody shores so they can suffer a long painful death when eaten by sea creatures. The defeated soldier defies this monstrous form, telling him to just wait until his prince arrives with a dragon to burn them all to ashes. And Daemon Targaryen did indeed pass in a blaze of glory – but not before his poor loyal swordsman was nailed to a driftwood and left to die.

At the risk of having to be clearly strategic, war and militancy are as essential to A Song of Ice and Fire as palace intrigues and erotic depictions of groaning tables with food. yummy. The battlefield is where legends are born, alliances are tested, and the reputations of kings and queens are made and not destroyed. Game of Thrones takes place in an age of great upheaval, where everyone is always watching and the dynamics of power can be cut at any time. Drago’s houseWOMENon the other hand, takes place in an environment more like our own: The Last Days of a Decline Dynasty, where those in charge have become complacent enough that they feel that they can simply ignore any threat to their power, no matter how violent, until they disappear.

Viserys talking to Otto Hightower on a chair

Photo: Ollie Upton / HBO

There was a popular notion that guerrilla warfare was not practiced in medieval Europe, the basis for Westeros and A song of ice and fire. And Game of Thrones, more often than not, defaulted to official clashes with long lead times. But just as nomadic bands of Vikings and Mongols used disorganized tactics and the element of surprise to attack castle towns across Europe, Craghas and his army of mercenaries is waging a guerrilla war against the city of Targaryen. They ostensibly did so to gain the right to charge merchant ships that passed through this rocky chain of islands en route to the further Free Cities. But they fight with a ferocity and brutality that shows that there is more going on here than mere greed.

The Targaryens’ dragon fleet made them the most powerful force the world is known for, and their centuries-old strength made them arrogant. But despite possessing this ultimate trump card – not to mention more ships, weapons and soldiers than the opponent – the battle in Stepstone lasted three years. The key to Crabfeeder’s strategy was to neutralize the Targaryen’s most valuable weapons by retreating into the caverns that dot the rocky shores of the Steps, eliminating the Targaryens’ ability to wipe out the entire planet. his forces with a whisper of “Dracarys”.

And yet, King Viserys (Paddy Considine) declined to cover the war in celebration of his son’s naming day, telling the emissaries involved that “it’s been three years. Surely this can wait three days.” He was sure that the military might of the Targaryens (i.e. fire dragons) could never really challenged, he dismissed the seriousness of this threat without. And, to be fair, the Targaryens are pretty good at tearing themselves apart from the inside, too – there’s a lot to keep a king, especially a soft hearted person who tries to please everyone, busy in court. But if a handful of pitches and a self-proclaimed prince with a rudimentary fashion mask and nothing to lose could hold two of Westeros’ great houses (not to mention a handful of dragons). ) over the years, how could a larger and better organized adversary do with similar tactics?

The armor-clad daemon gestured to someone out of the frame with a scroll, with Corlys and his son in the background looking at him

Photo: Ollie Upton / HBO

For comparison, Proud Prince Daemon there is much to lose. His title, wealth, fame and perhaps most importantly, his pride are all in the line. This entire war is fueled by Targaryen pride, the result of an alliance created out of defiance (another Targaryen flaw) when Viserys marries Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) instead. for her 12-year-old second cousin Laena Velaryon (Nova Fouellis- Mosé). And despite that prompted Daemon to end the fight himself before his brother’s forces could arrive, leading to the chaotic impromptu skirmish that closed the episode. And, at least this time, Daemon became the victor, driven to victory by Valyrian steel and his fiery Targaryen blood.

But even though his intestines were being pulled through the mud, Crabfeeder and his guerrilla force were weakened. House Targaryen and House Velaryon in ways that have yet to be fully demonstrated. They exacerbated existing tensions within the rulers, and demonstrated a method for combating what appeared to be an invincible force. And Old Valyria’s rulers are too busy fighting each other to think for those who are dying for them – not a great strategy for winning long-term loyalty. Take the loyal soldier at the beginning of the show: Fighting with relief, he cheers Daemon as the prince swoops down the battlefield incinerating Craghas Drahar’s allies and ships. “Save me, my prince!” he wept – only to be crushed under the mighty paws of the prince dragon.

Blinded by their own arrogance and complacency, the Targaryens viewed this war, those who fought and died in it, and much of the wider world as disposable. Their only allegiance is to petty grievances and wounded pride, and they lack the imagination to envision a world where someone else might one day sit on the Iron Throne. . Whether they tore each other from the inside, or were ambushed by the enemy from the outside, it didn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter that Crabfeeder is no more. It was the Targaryens who sowed the seeds of their final downfall on the banks of the Steps.

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