House of the Dragon started last Sunday in an explosive way! We had the introduction of the timeline, characters, and certain events that took place that foreshadows coming issues. Episode 2 aired this past Sunday and brought us...peace? Save from some gruesome shots at the beach (which we’ll get into), the realm seems a little too calm, and the Rogue Prince decided it was time to spice things up!
First up, don't miss our new show, "Decoding Dragons," where my talented co-host Liza Phoenix and I break down all things House of the Dragon (also available on YouTube and podcast format)! If you don’t have 20 minutes to listen or watch but have a few minutes to read, continue forth, my Lords and Ladies. If you don’t want to get burned by spoilers, I suggest watching the second episode before continuing on!
Now, let’s go ahead and get into what happened in Episode 2, “The Rogue Prince.”
Let’s start with the timeline jump
At the beginning of the episode, we learn it has been “half a year” since the events of Episode 1. We once again hear about the crab feeder, whose name is Craghas Drahar, and is more or less a pirate conquering the Stepstones (a chain of islands between Westeros and Essos on the Narrow Sea). They are looking for a replacement for the Lord Commander of the Kings guard, who has since passed, and Rhaenyra is still cupbearer for her Father’s High Council. One might think this is to sharpen her political skills, but when she tries to speak up, she is met with skepticism and distrust (let’s be honest, she’s disrespected due to her being a young female). She then gets to go choose the new Lord Commander, in which she does a promising job, wanting a knight who has actual battle experience to protect her father. This is difficult to find at this point since the realm has been at peace since King Jaerhaerys’ reign. The handsome Cristen Cole makes his appearance, and that is whom Rhaenyra chooses. You may remember Cristen Cole as the knight who bested Daemon in the jousting tournament in Episode 1.
Easter Eggs: there are several house banners in this scene, and most are unfamiliar. This is a nod to the book readers, as even in the Game of Thrones series, there were a lot of smaller houses from the books that didn’t get publicity. There are also nods to Daenerys here as Rhaenyra begins to find her voice and doesn’t listen to the political structure of things. She does what she feels is right. You go, Glen Coco!
The need to marry
The main push of this episode is for King Viserys to remarry. Talk about no time to grieve. Give the man a minute! As the King’s Hand mentions in one scene, he must ‘replace [his wife] for duty,’ and he does not envy his position. We later find out that Otto, the King’s hand, was only doing that to ensure the King doesn’t forget about Otto’s daughter, Alicent, who has been spending a lot of time with the King and who is also Rhaenyra’s best friend. Awkward! Unfortunately, as the King of the 7 kingdoms, the realm is looking for their King to wed (and bed) a new wife. With only having one heir, and that which is a woman, duty calls for King Viserys to seal his family’s place on the throne. Corlys Valeryon, who has felt snubbed by the King in his non-response to the crab-feeder troubles, approaches King Viserys with a proposal to wed his daughter, Laena. Corlys approaches the King with his wife, Rhaenys, whom you may remember as the one the realm passed over in favor of Viserys at the Great Council of 101 AC. She has the strongest claim to the throne but must sit on the bench and watch her cousin get a starting lineup. Marrying her daughter to the King ensures the bloodline stays pure from old Valyria and gets her one step closer to the throne she will never sit on.
The Rogue Prince
In what King Viserys knows is a grab for attention, Daemon, his brother whom he cast out to Runestone in Episode 1 to return to his wife, returned to the Dragon Pit in King’s Landing in the dark of night to steal a dragon egg. Ballsy, dude. He leaves a note claiming to have impregnated his mistress, whom he apparently intends to marry, inviting the King to the ceremony. He has also laid claim and taken over Dragonstone. We know Dragonstone as where Stannis Baratheon plans his war moves in the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones and where Daenarys lands and takes over in later seasons. Dragonstone is left to the heir of the Iron Throne whilst Targaryens sit on it, similar to Casterly Rock being handed to the heir of the Iron Throne when the Lannisters sit atop it.
After learning the dragon egg he stole was to be Prince Baelon’s, the son who died in Episode 1, King Viserys decides Daemon needs to be confronted (thanks to Rhaenyra). Otto decides he will do the deed and takes members of the Kings guard with him. Otto and Daemon come face to face and irritate each other in the beauty of Dragonstone. As bloodshed is sure to ensue, Rhaenyra comes in riding Syrax, rippling through the clouds in one of the coolest scenes yet, and challenges Daemon to slay her standing to avoid the issue of her being the heir and not him. She knows he will not and calls his bluff. He then tosses the dragon egg back to her and leaves the confrontation. We find out later he was lying about what he mentioned in the letter, and even his mistress, Mysaria, didn’t know he had written those words. Sketchy rogue man.
Easter Eggs: The title of the episode itself, The Rogue Prince, is a call to a short story in the world of Fire & Blood. It is what the realm calls Daemon. It is similar to what we know the realm calls Jamie Lannister, which would be The Kingslayer. There is also a beautiful shot of Otto and Daemon on the walkway/stairs of Dragonstone that we know as the walkway Jon Snow and Ser Davos duck and hide from Daenarys’ dragons flying over.
In a tense moment after the confrontation, Daemon and his mistress Mysaria are in the castle, and we see the intricate, beautiful war table is NOT there yet! It is a dining room at the moment. We may get to see the war table being commissioned and placed…how cool!
At the end of the episode, we get King Viserys’ decision of whom he will wed. After much deliberation, conversations with multiple people, and courting of a few *young* options, he stands before his high council and continues to snub Corlys Valeryon. He announces he will marry Alicent Hightower, accompanied by a lot of sighs of relief from the audience. However, he didn’t even tell Rhaenyra he wanted to marry her best friend, even with the heartwarming discussion they shared in his chambers. This decision is ultimately a crux of events to come, as it really causes the drama to heighten.
Following this announcement, Corlys calls Daemon to Driftmark, which is a larger island to the southwest of Dragonstone, and his home. He has decided to take matters into his own hands in regard to the crab feeder, as he has started raising tolls to an unaffordable level. Corlys, being Lord of the Tides, has been most affected by these expenses and wants to partner with Daemon to take the Stepstones back for the realm. We see the beginnings of war sure to come!
All in all, while it was a quiet episode of little bloodshed or action, it was very loud in intense conversation, tension, and drama. Let me tell you, I am HERE for it. I cannot wait to see next week’s episode!
If you’re wondering where House of the Dragon fits into our Game of Thrones world and timeline, be sure to check out Liza’s article “House of the Dragon: the main Who’s Who” to get your questions answered!
What did you think of Episode 2? Are you enjoying the series so far? Let me know in the comments!