HBO’s House of the Dragon Reveals the Tragedy of Hating Our Enemies

***Warning: This report consists of spoilers for Home of the Dragon***

A palpable feeling of decline runs by way of each individual episode of HBO’s Residence of the Dragon. In the opening narration, we learn this series can take location a century ahead of the activities of Recreation of Thrones. The Targaryen dynasty is at its peak and the Seven Kingdoms are making the most of an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity. In the meantime, dragons—which keep a close to legendary status in Activity of Thrones—fly freely as a result of the skies of Westeros. It is a stunning sight to witness, but we know it is all going to come crashing down, ruined in a sea of hearth and blood.

It commences with a succession crisis. The ruling King, Viserys Targaryen, has no male heir. So, breaking with prolonged held tradition, he selects his daughter Rhaenyra to thrive him as Queen of the 7 Kingdoms. Factors get challenging nonetheless when Viserys takes a 2nd spouse, Rhaenyra’s childhood mate Alicent Hightower, who then provides birth to a son whom lots of sense has a far better assert to the Iron Throne. The ensuing ability battle success in “The Dance of the Dragons,” a bloody civil war in which the dragons die, the kingdom burns, and the destiny of Residence Targaryen is sealed for good.

Like most prequels, Property of the Dragon is not intrigued in telling viewers what transpires. We presently know how the story finishes. Instead, the sequence chooses to aim on why it comes about. Each week, audiences are very carefully shown how the hatred of a number of people dooms the lives of lots of. It’s an old and tragic parable, but 1 which carries deep significance for Christian viewers.   

Home of the Dragon offers us a glimpse of a environment devoid of grace.

Higher than almost everything else in scripture, Christians are commanded to appreciate. We are informed to appreciate the Lord with all our coronary heart, soul, intellect, and power (Mark 12:30). We are informed to adore our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). And finally, we are told to appreciate our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). In accomplishing so, we share God’s presence with people close to us although getting to be extra like him in intellect and spirit. But what takes place when we fall short to live out Christ’s last command? What value do Christians pay back when we opt for to detest our enemies?

House of the Dragon delivers us with an response.

Hatred Will make Us Considerably less

Fantastic tragedies normally have small beginnings and House of the Dragon is no exception. Virtually all conflict in the series can be traced back again to two figures: Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the Heir Apparent, and Alicent Hightower, the New Queen. At first, the two ladies reside as good friends, and each reveal appreciable talent and virtue. Rhaenyra is intelligent, bold, and powerful-willed. Alicent, meanwhile, is affected individual, faithful, and selfless. Every woman possesses the potential to develop into a great queen, and their friendship lets them to carry out the most effective in 1 a different.

Sadly, a sequence of painful blunders brings about their friendship to stop abruptly, and each individual female commences to nurse a sullen hatred for the other. As their animosity grows, their guarantee and possible progressively shrinks. Equally even now possess notable characteristics, but now they are inspired by their worst instincts. Rhaenyra gets egocentric and reckless, a slave to her personal appetites, while Alicent’s kindness is smothered by her jealousy, resentment, and rage. Hatred diminishes them both, and the 7 Kingdoms are lesser for it.

The unsightly reality about hatred is that its very first casualty is typically ourselves. 1st Corinthians 13 warns Christians that with out like, even our greatest items will be rendered useless. Adore is demanded to establish and maintain the items of God, and while some Christians have tried to argue that it’s doable to mock our enemies and nevertheless really like them, their excuses slide aside virtually immediately. Jesus may perhaps have named the Pharisees a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 12:34-36), but he died for their sins as effectively as ours. Appreciate can be stern, even indignant, but really like hardly ever rejoices in petty malice or gleeful ridicule. These matters only lessen us when providing the seeds of hatred room to expand. And make no slip-up, they do expand.

Hatred Would make Us Compromise

As time passes, the rivalry concerning the two gals continues to escalate, and each individual seeks out allies to support consolidate their energy. For Alicent, this indicates allying herself with the royal spymaster, Larys Sturdy. Larys’ diminutive look masks a chilly and sadistic nature. When the New Queen angrily remarks that she wishes her father would be reinstated as Hand of the King, Larys grants her ask for by murdering the office’s current occupant: his individual father. Later on, following Alicent’s son loses an eye in a fight with a further boy, Larys casually provides to protected an eye from the offending boy or girl as recompense. Alicent understands that Larys is evil, but she chooses to keep him close in any case. He’s an evil that she can use.

As for Rhaenyra, she opts to bind herself to her uncle Daemon. Performed by Matt Smith, Daemon has immediately turn out to be a preferred character amid Residence of the Dragon followers, and it is uncomplicated to see why: he’s dashing, charismatic, and a little bit of a rebel. But Daemon’s magnetic temperament makes it possible for Rhaenyra (and viewers) to dismiss just how hazardous he actually is. In the very first episode, we witness him slaughter a group of alleged criminals to enforce get through the town. Later, he brutally murders his have wife to free himself from an disappointed marriage. For all his glamor, Daemon is however a monster, and even Rhaenyra isn’t safe and sound from his wrath.

It doesn’t acquire a great deal self-consciousness to realize how usually Christians make these similar problems. Life provides us with an abundance of perceived enemies—in politics, in society, even within the Church by itself. So, in the title of shielding the greater fantastic, we be a part of forces with folks who embody all the things that Christianity really should be towards. We compromise the gospel to defend bullies or empower tyrants. As with Larys and Daemon, these alliances might supply us electricity in the shorter phrase, but they always arrive back again to haunt us. Cooperating with evil only produces far more evil and any bond solid in hatred inevitably gets to be just an additional chain for our possess self-produced prisons.

Hatred Spills Over

Previously mentioned everything else, the worst part of hatred is how it spreads. We see this truth of the matter engage in out in Home of the Dragon’s most tragic scene, a supper occasion. Through his final night alive, King Viserys brings his spouse and children with each other for a single last meal and implores them to make peace with a single yet another. He reminds them that they are all of a person dwelling and that the Crown can’t stand powerful although they stay divided. Miraculously, his words appear to take root. Rhaenyra makes a toast to Alicent, thanking her for her tireless devotion to the old King and apologizing for her aspect in their estrangement. In return, Alicent toasts to Rhaenyra, acknowledging her as their long term queen.

For a short second it seems as if peace is probable. The table is surrounded by audio and laughter. A person of Rhaenyra’s sons asks Alicent’s daughter to dance. The night time is going well. Then Alicent’s son would make an insulting toast towards the other boys. Voices are lifted, blows are exchanged, and all people in the room immediately falls again to their aspect of the conflict.

No matter if they recognized it or not, the non-public war between Alicent and Rhaenyra has spilled more than onto their children. Even if the two select to make peace now, items have gone outside of their management. The up coming technology was raised with their hatred and has adopted it as their possess. As a outcome, each women of all ages are doomed to look at their kids battle and die even though the 7 Kingdoms burn up all over them. Hatred has not just taken their peace it is stolen their future.

These very same penalties await us if we pick to reject Christ’s command to appreciate our enemies. When we cling to hatred, it finally spreads to the men and women we’re closest to. Small children, close friends, siblings, and even strangers can grow to be contaminated if they’re in just our circle of influence. This malignancy also limits our means to repent and forgive, considering the fact that we can only apologize for our possess mistakes. In this way, hatred manages to persist very long just after we’re gone, exacting its toll on just about every new era.

Deciding upon to Really like

Dwelling of the Dragon gives us a glimpse of a planet with out grace. It displays us how very easily matters that are great and stunning can grow to be shed in the fires of pride and recrimination. At the very same time, we’re reminded that we have a decision. This doesn’t have to be our tale.

The Dutch priest Henri Nouwen as soon as wrote, 

I have discovered in my very own life that men and women I do not like have electricity more than me due to the fact I am constantly considering about them. They preoccupy me and have management in excess of my contemplating. I discover myself jealous, resentful, and vengeful. I shed peace. I am keeping on to these folks as my enemies. Loving our enemies is the way of getting to be absolutely free of our enemies. We no cost ourselves by letting go, by loving them, by caring for them.

Henri Nouwen, Pursuing Jesus, Pg. 69 Convergent Publications, 2019

Loving our enemies is by no means uncomplicated. We normally truly feel entitled to our bitterness and damage. Choosing to permit go of it can come to feel like an act of surrender—probably due to the fact it is. But it is via acts of really like and surrender that God finally brings about our liberation. When Jesus died on the cross, he was not submitting to the will of the Pharisees or the energy of Rome, he was surrendering to the love of God (Matthew 26:39). In next his instance, we make it possible for God to consider the ugliness we have and set us free.

Hatred tempts us to an iron throne that will usually depart us wounded and bleeding even though Christ invitations us to his table exactly where we are requested to really like and forgive for his sake. All we have to make your mind up is which seat we choose to assert.