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House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 3- They Misunderstood the Assignment

hello world!
Michelle Holstine
| July 3, 2024
hello world!

That’s right! Due to the title of the episode, which was called The Burning Mill, one would assume there is combat, battle, fire, or at least a dragon being told “Dracarys!” But alas, we end up with a field full of bodies and no way of knowing how they got there. Let’s get into it.

First up,  here’s a quick reminder to catch our show, “Decoding Dragons,” where my wonderful and passionate co-host Liza Phoenix and I break down all things House of the Dragon (also available on YouTube and podcast format) every week. We dive deep into lore, symbolism, easter eggs, and even more of Westeros and Game of Thrones. If you don’t have 40 minutes to listen or watch, but you do 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 third episode before being hung by Aegon II!

Harrenhal is Important

One thing that happens in this episode is that Daemon does, in fact, take Harrenhal after getting in a fight with his wife, jumping on his dragon and peacing out. He approached Harrenhal with full armor and caution and was met with an incredibly intense wave of….nothing. Daemon walks through the castle expecting to be overtaken, only to be met with rain and a few saps enjoying dinner. We did get to meet Alys Rivers, who is important later due to her potential Witch in the Woods persona, but that is still yet to come.

After Daemon takes Harrenhal, he gets what appears to be a vision or a dream with a young Rhaenyra cameo. Milly Alcock reprises her role from season 1 in a gruesome way. She is sewing little Jaehaerys’ head back onto his body, and Daemon has a definite look of regret, guilt, and fear. Does Daemon feel remorse? In the show, maybe.

Rhaena is now a surrogate

Due to the attempt on Rhaenyra’s life in the last episode that led to Cargyll-bowl, she is understandably fearful for her family’s life. While Baela is patrolling on Moondancer and scaring Criston to hide in the woods, her twin Rhaena is asked by her Aunt/stepmother to take her nephews/cousins to Pentos.

Rhaenyra giving Rhaena custody of her children to be shipped off to Pentos

Rhaenyra fears they will not get the attention and love they need while there is a battle brewing (I can’t even call it a war right now) and asks Rhaena to accompany them and protect them as if they were her own. Rhaena takes this as a slight because she has yet to claim a dragon. However, Rhaenyra ensures the dragons she is sending with them will be grown enough to ride and provide comfort and protection for whoever takes them in. Now, Rhaenyra does send four dragon eggs with her.

EASTER EGG: These are not Daenerys’ dragons! I am talking about book canon. If the show is making this canon, ok, but book canon implies that the three eggs that become Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion are already in Essos. Almost 50 years prior to episode 3, a former Rhaena had a disagreement with her girlfriend, who ended up stealing three eggs from a clutch of Dreamfyre’s eggs. These were sent to Essos and lost in Asshai, where Melisandre comes from. This is also inferred due to the similarities Daenerys’ dragons have to Dreamfyre and not Syrax.


Dragonseed Ulf

Ulf the White comes back and casually throws out that he is former King Viserys and Daemon’s bastard brother…while he’s sitting in the middle of a pub in enemy territory in King’s Landing and right before ‘King’ Aegon arrives. And that’s it. So here is the explanation of a Dragonseed and why they are important.

In the period we are in Westeros, it was common to have affairs. Everyone knows there are some royal bastards, meaning the King had children outside of his marriage to his Queen. I’m talking about any Targaryen King. This means there are children (now grown men) wandering around Westeros that have Targaryen and Valaryon blood in their veins and could potentially bond with a dragon. This is important later in the dance because as folks begin to battle, there is a need for more dragon riders. Thus, Dragonseeds.

What King’s Landing Security?

While Rhaenyra is feeling sad about sending her children away, she reads a previously unopened scroll sent from Alicent a good bit of time ago. This gives her the idea to run off to King’s Landing to meet up with her. Yep, it’s as nutty as it seems. She dresses as a Septa, so her hair is covered, and works her way into the Sept at a time she knows Alicent will be going. She finds Alicent at Balerion’s skull, lighting candles to pray. She sidles up next to her and pulls a knife, then apologizes as soon as Alicent looks terrified. They share some chit-chat until Alicent finally reveals the words her late husband and former King shared on his deathbed about the Song of Ice and Fire. Rhaenyra, after thinking her father didn’t want her to be Queen after all, shows a brief shadow of relief before turning to look at Alicent in disbelief. You mean this is all for nothing?!

Alicent slowly realizes that, yes, this is, in fact, all for nothing, and she effed up big time. She sticks to her guns, however, and realizes that the wheels are too far into motion to change them. Criston is off to battle, Aegon is being fitted for armor, and Aemond is about to jump on Vhagar after showing us…. everything. The wheels are turning, people don’t listen to Alicent, and she’s the definition of doubling down on wrong (and stupid), and misunderstanding the assignment.

The definition of misunderstanding the assignment.

What Even Happened?

Was this an episode to remember? No. Did anything significant happen other than the audience learning that King’s Landing’s security kind of sucks and Aemond is skinny…everywhere? No. Moving on.

The next episode is almost confirmed to be Rook’s Rest, and it better be. So far this season, the politics are outweighing the combat, but not in a Cersei way. We have too many apologies and feelings and restraint. The book is literally called Fire & Blood. Where is the fire, and where is the blood?! The next episode needs to be a Hardhome or Battle of the Bastards type of episode to pull me back in.

If you want to hear more salt, be sure you check out Decoding Dragons, where we really get into it. How are you feeling about this season so far? Let’s get into it in the comments!

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