We Light the Way laid many foundations for the second half of the season. It seems that Rhaenyra made more enemies than allies with her marriage to Ser Laenor, and you can see the innocence of the first few episodes peel away with each heartbreak for both the Princess and ex- best friend. To say that the episode was stressful would be an understatement. Still, it was a great set up for the excitement that is to come with each faction declaring war.

Can I just say how much I love the dynamic between uncle and niece? And I also love how despite his jealousy and own ambitions for the Iron Throne, Daemon obviously loves his brother and niece very dearly. Its a sappy way to look at it but Matt Smith effectively conveys these conflicting emotions. Its hard to hate Daemon fully although he is being portrayed as a heel when he easily reneges a position of advantage because he could not bear hurting his kin. And when Lord Corlys starts to badmouth his brother, even though just an episode ago he was doing the same, he puts him in his place and says that only he is allowed to talk badly about the King. It was so much fun to watch.

I liked how the world was consistent with that of GoT, from the costumes to the characters. Knowing that these events transpired before the Long Night truly adds a new layer of appreciation for GoT. It was also bittersweet because House of the Dragon very clearly underscored the importance of the role of the Targaryens in the prophecy, none that really materialized in the end of Game of Thrones because showrunners were too busy wrapping things up to work on their Star Wars deal with Disney.

The key to liking this drama, actually is to manage your expectations. Expect the ridiculous because it will happen. Expect the cringey scenes because there is a lot. At some point, you may want to question your sanity over your decision to soldier on but once you let your guard down and turn your brain off completely, it won’t be so bad. Once you accept it, it actually grows on you.

All in all, the pacing was just right for 12 episodes but I must admit that I was a bit worried when there were still plenty of loose ends by the last one. Thankfully, the ending was worth the stress. I wasn’t a big fan of the soundtrack though.

Happiness was definitely one of the better dramas of 2021. It begs the question of who the real monsters are when humanity is tested by crisis. Clearly, there were plenty of monsters in this series but not just the neck biting variety.