On the surface, it might seem like both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are both about larger forces fighting for the throne. However, upon closer inspection, it seems like the prequel series is more about an ever-escalating family feud rather than an absolute lust for power. And it only gets more personal and uglier as the story unfolds.

The first season of HOTD ended on a grim note, with Aemond Targaryen brutally murdering Lucerys Velaryon, the son of Rhaenyra Targaryen. As allegiances start to solidify and the news of Lucery’s death fanning the flames of the war even further, season two is lathered with grief and rage, and it seems to have an effect on every single character.

Matt Smith, who plays Daemon Targaryen in the series, says that his character always had a tough time dealing with grief and that it is only going to affect him worse this season. “Even in season one, the death of his brother Viserys (Targaryen) forced him into a dark period of self-reflection and he is walking towards a deep dark hole, which is quite mysterious.”

While grief might have pushed Daemon into a period of brooding introspection, it had the opposite effect on others. Ser Criston Cole, who started off as an amiable, charming knight at the beginning of the series, turned into someone full of rage and vengeance towards the end. Fabien Frankel, who plays Ser Criston Cole, reveals that there is more to Cole than what we see on the screen.

“The way that the show is structured, you are only seeing what the story wants you to see. How you see a character reacting to grief in a scene is not necessarily what is going on internally. For example, in real life, people lose their family members and still go to work on the same day. You would have no idea what would happen when they go back home. It would be a completely overwhelming experience for them.” He then adds, “It might seem like Criston Cole has a handle on his emotions and that he only expresses his grief as anger but there are a bunch of other ways he is affected, which we don’t get to see.”

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