House Of The Dragon Finally Embraces The Weirdest Parts Of The Game Of Thrones Universe

If there is one big, lasting legacy to "Game of Thrones," it's how it made fantasy popular and mainstream on TV. Sure, we've had plenty of fantasy shows and movies before — Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy made a ton of money and won a bunch of awards — but HBO's series made knights, dragons, and ice zombies appointment TV. All the sex, political backstabbing, council meetings, and trial by combats were window dressing to make audiences fall for the epic story of a kingdom in disarray as it discovered the return of magic.

Yet, as much as "Game of Thrones" pushed the boundaries of what fantasy could be in prestige TV, it reeked of "early '00s comic book movie" with its muted palette and designs. This helped sell the idea that this was not just a fantasy show like "Xena: Warrior Princess," but a prestige drama in the vein of "The Sopranos." Take how they turned Daario Naharis from a cool dude with dyed blue hair and a golden mustache (as he's described in George R.R. Martin's novels) into just another pretty boy with a sword. And let us never forget the crime — the atrocity! — of turning the great rogue pirate Euron Greyjoy into an emo boy.

Thankfully, that seems to no longer be a problem. One of the many things "House of the Dragon" is doing right is embracing the weirdness of the source material and its more fantastical elements — including its pirates. Heck, especially its pirates. 

Enter the Crabfeeder

After a pretty good premiere made the world realize they will always be suckers for more Westeros, the second episode doubles down on everything people liked about the original show. That means more Small Council meetings and political scheming, showing the cost of playing the game of thrones and how it usually means marrying off literal children for political gain.

Then there's the standout of the episode: the introduction of one Craghas Drahar, also known by the much better and surprisingly accurate name, Craghas Crabfeeder. We first hear of the Crabfeeder in the "House of the Dragon" premiere, where Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) talked about a pirate from the Triarchy (the Free Cities of Myr, Lys and Tyrosh) attacking the Stepstones. Though the other lords paid no attention to Corlys' warnings, we get to see the gravity of his concerns in the second episode.

Now, a title like the Crabfeeder could mean various things. After all, we've heard plenty of cool nicknames in "Game of Thrones" over the years, but none have been so literal. Sandor Clegane may have been called The Hound, but he wasn't a literal dog. Davos Seaworth's name was the Onion Knight, but he was not made out of onions and he wasn't an ogre (because they've got layers, get it?), and Aemon Targaryen the "Dragonknight" wasn't an actual dragon wearing armor. So why should a Crabfeeder be literal? And yet, we are all much better for it.

Be afraid, be very afraid

Indeed, the second episode of "House of the Dragon" literally opens with a gruesome, visceral montage of people getting slowly eaten alive by crabs. We learn that this is the work of Craghas Crabfeeder, a name that apparently is rather apt and literal. The pirate is known for staking people by the beach and watching them either drown or get eaten alive by crabs. Not even the book "Fire & Blood" is this literal and specific in its description of Craghas, but that just makes "House of Dragon" better for it.

You see, The world of "A Song of Ice and Fire" is full of strange, weird magic and characters. From "The Last Airbender"-esque mages that manipulate the elements to adventurous alchemists, Old Valyria was filled with wizards that used blood and fire for magic. Does this mean Crabfeeder is magic? No, but wouldn't it be cool if he could speak to crabs and that's why he feeds them humans? Would it be that surprising?

Let the Crabfeeder be for a few more episodes. Let him slowly conquer Westeros one crab at a time, until he arrives in King's Landing with a giant army of crabs at his disposal. What are dragons when you can send a thousand crabs to slowly eat them away?

Now, let's go further. Let's really dive into the weird piracy aspect of the franchise. If we got robbed by Euron Greyjoy, let's explore his ancestors and the weird things they did. There is a spin-off in development focused on the exploits of young Corlys Velaryon that sounds like Westeros' Sinbad. Let that show get weird, HBO! Let us see Velaryon meet cyclops and mermaids. Let the Crabfeeder be but a minion of an even cooler and more menacing villain that controls the creatures of the sea. Bring Aquaman to Westeros! Don't be ashamed to be a fantasy show. Embrace it. Let the Crabfeeder simply be a sign of things to come.

"House of the Dragon" is streaming on HBO Max.