Based on how episode 7 looked on my TV, and these side by side images that seem to compare and contrast how lighting looked during production vs. on-screen, it appears as though that may have been what happened. Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk also argues this, and uses the promotional press stills to show that many of the night scenes in this episode were shot in broad daylight, not at night.
Even though House of the Dragon thankfully didn’t look like a dark screen of nothing for everyone, it certainly did for me on my TV and laptop. I’m all for creative freedom and standing by your choices, and I’m totally willing to adjust my brightness, contrast, etc. as long as I don’t have to change it again between episodes or shows (who has time for that?). With such an emphasis on staying home and streaming over the last few years, it’s strange that there isn’t a standard setting for TVs that ensures that everything is equally watchable for everyone regardless of how old or new your screen is.
It’s such a shame that Sapochnik’s creative vision continues to clash with the realities of at-home viewing. This episode of House of the Dragon features great performances by its lead actors, especially Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke in their second outing as Princess Rhaenrya and Queen Alicent, respectively, while also pushing the conflict between the two to its breaking point. So much happened in this episode, and it would have been nice to be able to see it all.