If The Dragons Have to Fight Make Their Distress Sounds Less Distressing

If The Dragons Have to Fight Make Their Distress Sounds Less Distressing


Like everybody else I'm watching House of the Dragon and strongly adore the Rhaenyra and Alicent actors and all of that. But like many others, I suspect, I find the way the show does dragon fights HORRIFYING.

The latest episode, for example, showed brave auntie going undaunted back into battle again and again on her trusty Melys, who seemed on board with the whole thing. But they did not react the same way to getting trounced. Blonde aunt went down with grim resignation and palpable knowledge that this was probably always going to happen.

Melys? Melys screamed and thrashed like a kicked puppy who has never heard of violence. I mean, I get that it's a big lizard being hurt, and the drama is important. There's absolutely an argument to be made that their suffering makes palpable what bombs and trebuchets and swords do not: Those mute objects deal out just as much pain, and there's sense in having the deathdealer feel pain itself. But if there is a person out there who can watch it happen without smashing the mute button then I'd like to meet them and learn how to harden a heart so.

Why do they have to scream so heartrendingly? Why did the light in Melys's eyes have to go out while making unblinking contact with blonde auntie's? Why would they do this to their sweetie pets? Why am I watching this?

The original Game of Thrones series sort of set this dynamic up by making the baby dragons that hatched in the funeral pyre so cute, and Daenerys their lovely mummy. But, frankly, this is a different kettle of lizard. It's impossible to retain sympathy for the characters or for the makers of the show (God, and I hate those explainers at the end that just recount the whole story) and I can't watch this horrible television program any more.

If I think about the dragons of medieval literature, it strikes me that they're always the bad guys. One gets Beowulf, and you're supposed to like Beowulf. Saint Margaret explodes one, and you're supposed to like Saint Margaret. In short, they're antagonists that provide opportunities for heroism, not World War I horses shrieking in the mud.

Kill as many fictional sleeping kids as you like: Even though that does happen in real life, and happens all the time, the show has the good taste to protect you from the sound of it. The sound of animal suffering is a constant presence in real life in every part of the planet and very few people, I think, can protect themselves from its effect. It symbolizes pure helplessness rather than violence, exactly, and no real meaning can come out of it, except the sudden certainty that I'd rather watch any other images move than these.