House of the Dragon Episode Ten, The Black Queen Review: The Dance Commences.

The first season of House of the Dragon has come to a close with its tenth episode, “The Black Queen”, and I do not know how I am going to be able to wait until 2024 for Season Two.
Directed by Greg Yaitanes, “The Black Queen” was a fantastic way to end the season.
The episode begins, rather fittingly, with Lucerys.
He is still having doubts about his future inheritance of Driftmark, yet Rhanerya seeks to console him, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Rhaenys who has brought word of Visery’s death and the Green’s coup.
What follows is a tense scene between her, Rhanerya and Daemon, with Rhanerya being understandably distraught, while Daemon is enraged, believing the Greens have murdered Viserys.
Him coming to this conclusion is natural, given that we saw how suspicious he was of Viserys recieving milk of the poppy in Episode Eight.
There is even some suspicion around Rhaenys, due to both her unlikely escape and the fact that she did not burn the Greens with Meleys.
In the end, Rhaenys advises that Rhanerya leaves Dragonstone, before the Greens come for her and her children.
This is not possible, however, because Rhanerya’s grief and shock causes her to go into a horrific early labor.
Daemon proves himself to be quite the poor husband, as he immediately starts planning for a war, instead of being by Rhanerya’s side.
Although, he is rather smart about it, threatening the two Kingsguard on Dragonstone to swear fealty to Rhanerya or die by Caraxes’ flames.
As for Rhanerya, the stillbirth scene that follows is arguably even more graphic and disturbing that Aemma’s C-Section in Episode One.
First, there is the way that Rhanery’a screams are mixed with Syrax’s, once again showing the connection between Targaryens and their dragons.
Most of all, though, are the horrifying visuals of the stillbirth, with the amount of fake blood and prop of the baby itself being absolutley haunting.
This then leads into the funeral scene for the baby and the devestated feeling transforms into a hopeful one with the arrival of Erryk Cargyll, who stole Viserys’ crown.
And so, with Ramin Djawdi’s epic Rhanerya theme, Rhanerya is finally crowned as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
The planning for the Blacks’ war then begins, with the painted table on Dragonstone being lit up in a fantastic shot.
We can clearly see that Rhanerya and Daemon are on opposite sides, with Rhanerya being more cautious while Daemon wants war.
When it comes to dragons, the Blacks do have the advantage, and if they can sway the other lords of Westeroes to their cause then it will also boost their chances.
Before any decision can be made, Otto arrives with a delegation from King’s Landing to offer Rhanerya peace.
This is clearly Alicent’s gambit, since she won control over Aegon in Episode Nine.
Had Otto won this would have been an assassination attempt rather than a negotiation.
The meeting on Dragonstone perfectly mirrors the one from Episode Two, as Otto arrives to confront Daemon, only to be interrupted by Rhanerya and Syrax.
Only now, she stands with Daemon, and Syrax blocks the Greens’ escape as a serious threat.
Otto offers Rhanerya and Daemon control of Dragonstone, Lucerys of Driftmark, and high places at court for Aegon the Younger and Viserys.
That last one would make them, in effect, hostages and Daemon clearly picks up on this stating, “I would rather feed my sons to the dragons than have them carry shields and cups for your drunken, usurper c**t of a king.”
A classic Daemon line.
Rhanerya is not swayed by Otto’s offer, throwing away his Hand of the King badge.
However, she is convinced to think on it through Alicent’s gesture of good will, the page Rhanerya tore from their book when they were younger and closer, recalling a happier time between them.
The choice of the writers to make Rhanerya and Alicent childhood friends was an excellent one, as it creates much more compelling drama.
Alicent’s touching gesture is enough to get Rhanerya to consider the offer, angering Daemon further.
Rhanerya does make some good points in saying that relenting her claim to the throne would create peace as her father wished for.
She even brings up how this could eventually lead to the fulfilment of Aegon’s dream, thinking Daemon would understand.
Instead, Daemon grabs Rhanerya by the throat while berating Viserys’ obsession with prophecy, stating, “Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did.”
This causes Rhanerya to realise that Viserys never told Daemon.
Essentially, the grief Daemon feels for Viserys’ death makes him lash out at Rhanerya when he learns that his own brother never trusted him with such vital information.
On another note, it is kind of funny that some people were annoyed by Daemon choking Rhanerya, saying he would never do something so cruel.
They seem to be forgetting that Daemon murdered his wife.
Daemon has never been a good person.
Interesting?
Definitley.
A good person?
Absolutley not.
Following Daemon and Rhanerya’s confrontation, a recovering Corlys arrives at Dragonstone and is attended to by Rhaenys.
What follows is a tense conversation between the couple as Rhaenys condemns Corlys for leaving her alone for six years, following the deaths of their children.
Their relationship is much healthier than Rhanerya and Daemon’s, however, as, upon learning of Vaemond’s death, Corlys admits his weakness for ambition, resolving to be a changed man and retire to Driftmark with Rhaenys.
Unfortunately, this has come much too late, as Rhaenys points out that their grandchildren will still be in danger with war looming, and Rhanerya being the only one showing restraint.
And so, Corlys enters the meeting room to decide which side he will choose, if any.
It honestly feels as though Corlys was still considering, right up until he looked upon his grandchildren and saw that they had chosen to stand by Rhanerya and her family.
This makes Corlys side the Blacks, revealing his control over the Stepstones means he can block all trade with King’s Landing.
Once this is done, all that will be needed is to confirm Rhanerya’s allies among the great houses and then they can force the Greens into abdicating power without the need for bloodshed.
At Jace’s suggestion, Rhanerya decides to send her sons to confirm her allies, rather than ravens, sending Jace to the Eyrie and Winterfell, and Lucerys to Storm’s End, making them swear not to fight on their missions.
As this is happening, Daemon is attending to the unclaimed dragons on Dragonstone, among them the Bronze Fury, Vermithor, King Jaehaerys’ dragon.
Singing a High Valyrian lullaby, Daemon soothes the old dragon, as it breaths fire across the room, showing the strength the Blacks could have on their side if they could just find riders to claim these dragons.
They will certainly need it because of what happens next.
Lucerys flies to Storm’s End to treat with Lord Borros Barethon, only to find he is not the first one there.
In an intimidating the shot, the head of Vhagar rises above the castle walls, like something out of a giant monster movie.
Despite the danger, Lucerys enters the castle to treat with Borros, finding that Aemond is already there, having brokered a marriage pact between himself and one of Borros’ daughters in exchange for Borros’ support.
Lucerys gives Borros Rhanerya’s letter (leading to a humorous moment where Borros needs a Maester because he cannot read, which is true to Medieval times) but he refuses to fulfill his father’s oath, since Lucerys has nothing to offer because he is already betrothed to Rhaena.
Lucerys then attempts to leave, only to be stopped by Aemond who wants him to cut his eye out as payment for his own.
Aemond removes his eye patch, revealing that he has stuck a saphire in his eye socket, in a great adaptation from the book.
Before Aemond can attack Lucerys, Borros orders Lucerys removed, not wanting blood shed beneath his roof.
Lucerys is taken back to his dragon, Arrax but, chillingly, sees that Vhagar is gone.
It is at this point that I would like to commend Elliot Grihault for his performance as Lucerys.
He plays the character’s fear well and his High Valyrian is excellently pronounced.
Lucerys takes to the sky but the stormy weather keeps Vhagar out of sight, allowing the massive dragon to fly overhead in a terrifying shot that shows just how outmatched Arrax.
Aemond then ambushes Lucerys with Vhagar, intent on taking Lucerys’ eye.
Thanks to Arrax’s small size, Lucerys manages to manuvere him through a cliff face, allowing them to temporarily escape Aemond.
However, as Viserys said in Episode One, “The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion” and this is proven in the most disastrous way possible.
First, Lucerys loses control of Arrax, as he breaths fire at Vhagar.
This agitates Vhagar to the point that Aemond cannot control her.
In an effort to escape, Lucerys flies Arrax high above the clouds.
Unfortunately, this leads to Vhagar jump-scaring them and the audience, as she flies up out of the clouds and rips Arrax apart with a massive bite, also killing Lucerys.
Aemond clearly did not wish for this happen, as evidenced by his commands for Vhagar to stop.
This is different from the book where Aemond supposedly murders Lucerys.
Although, this version of events was just from second hand accounts, and the only one who would know what really happened is Aemond.
In any case, the horrified look on Aemond’s face shows that he clearly realizes the magnitude of what he has done as he flies back to King’s Landing, fully aware that he has started a war.
This is all but confirmed in the final scene of the episode, which sees Daemon tell Rhanerya of Lucerys’ death.
The hopeful note of Rhanerya’s theme then turns dark as Rhanerya turns towards the camera, her grief and rage obvious.
Emma D’Arcy does an excellent job of portaying Rhanerya’s feelings in this ominous moment.
They do an incredible job across the entire episode as well, from the horrifying stillbirth scene all the way up to this grim ending that has me especially excited for Season Two.
“The Black Queen” is a fantastic ending for the first season of House of the Dragon.
As for where I would rank the episode, it is definitley among the top three, including Episodes Seven and Eight.
However, at this point, I am unsure if I would rank it above or below either and will probably need a few more rewatches to decide.
Nevertheless, House of the Dragon has been a fantastic spin off to Game of Thrones, redeeming the series after the horrible Season Eight, and I cannot wait to see more.


Book Spoiler Section:

In regards to what Aemond will do when he arrives back at King’s Landing, I can definitley see him acting like he meant to kill Lucerys.
Aemond is in a no win situation.
He either claims he murdered Lucerys, which will make him known as a kinslayer, or he admits that he lost contorl of Vhagar, which will make him seem weak.
Given how we saw that Aemond being bullied as a child lead to him compensating by claiming the largest dragon in the world, I cannot see him owning up to weakness.
He would rather be known as a kinslayer than weak so he will act like killing Lucerys was intentional.
Alicent will no doubt be horrifed by her son’s actions as this has ruined any chance for peace between the Greens and Blacks.
Westeroes will be plunged into civil war in Season Two, and I am excited to see many of the events from the book unfold.
I think Season Two will end either with the Battle of the Gullet or Rhanerya taking King’s Landing.
If I am right, this means that we will also see Blood and Cheese, the death of Rhaenys, and the introduction of the Dragon Seeds in Season Two.
Of all these events, I am excited for the Sowing of the Seeds the most.
Characters like Nettles and Addam Velaryon are some of my favourite characters in the entire Dance so I am very excited to see how they will be portrayed.
Although, I have heard theories that the show will replace Addam and Nettles with Laenor and Rhaena.
To be honest, I would absolutley hate it if the writers did this because it could ruin so much of the story going forward or, at the very least, lessen the impact of numerous scenes.
I do not mind if Laenor and Rhaena have more scenes but make their characters seperate from Addam and Nettles.
However, this is just a theory at the moment and hopefully a wrong one at that.
There is no reason to be concerned until there is actually evidence of this happening.
In the meantime, there is so much to be excited for in Season Two.
It’s just a shame that we have to wait until 2024 to get it but I am sure the wait will be more than worth it.
House of the Dragon has pulled me back into the world of Westeroes and I will eagerily await its return.

House of the Dragon Episode Nine, The Green Council Review: Where’s Aegon?

The penultimate episode for House of the Dragon‘s first season, “The Green Council” is an episode full of political intrigue and infighting, as Alicent and Otto fight for control of Aegon during their coup to take the Iron Throne.
Directed by Clare Kilner, the episode begins in the aftermath of Viserys’ death, as a servant quickly relays the news of to Alicent, who is quite distraught.
I think this portrayal of Alicent is great and Olivia Cooke completley sells it.
In the book, I never got the sense that Alicent loved Viserys, since she seemed to fall into the stereotypical evil step-mother character archetype.
The show, however, clearly shows that Alicent did love Viserys, just not in a romantic way.
It makes her much more sympathetic than in the book, along with her reasoning for putting Aegon on the Throne, this being that she misunderstood what Viserys said before he died.
With the possible exception of Otto, clearly no one in the Small Council buys Alicent’s claim that Viserys’ dying wish was for Aegon to be king.
This does not the stop the majority of them from usurping Rhanerya’s throne, as it is revealed that Otto had been spearheading a plan to do this for years.
Alicent is outraged by this but she is not the only one, as the Master of Coin, Lyman Beesbury, is also greatly angered, calling this coup out for the treason that it is.
He is understandably suspicious about the circumstances of Viserys’ death.
Although, his comment that “the king was well last night, by all accounts” is pretty hilarious when you consider that Viserys looked like he was on death’s door constantly.
In any case, Criston does not take kindly to Beesbury suggesting that Alicent poisoned Viserys and murders him by slamming his head into the ball used by Small Council members.
I guess this is why we never saw these things in Game of Thrones.
The members of the Small Council were probably worried about having their heads bashed in with them.
All joking aside, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Harrold Westerling, attempts to take Criston into custody but is talked down.
So this is the second time Criston has murdered an innocent man in front of numerous witnesses and got away with the crime.
It does make sense for him to get away with it this time, though, since Beesbury probably would have been executed for supporting Rhanerya later.
With Beesbury dead, the conversation among the Green Council turns darker, as Alicent realizes Otto means to have Rhanerya, Daemon and their children put to death.
She is angered by this idea and so is Ser Harrold, who quits as soon as Otto orders him to go and kill Rhanerya on Dragonstone.
Now realizing they will have to fight to influence Aegon, Alicent and Otto race to his rooms, only to find Helaena with the children.
“It is out fate, I think,” Helaena tells a servant, before Otto and Alicent walk in. “To crave always what is given to another. If one posesses a thing, the other will take it away.”
This is a perfect reflection on the Green coup.
People really should start listening to Helaena.
Unfortunately, Alicent and Otto just want to know where Aegon is, and Otto departs when he learns he is not there.
For the second time, Helaena warns that “there is a beast beneath the boards” but Alicent dimisses this, although in a caring way.
With Aegon missing, the game to find and control him begins, with Otto sending the Kingsguard twin brothers, Ser Erryk and Arryk Cargyll, and Alicent sending Aemond and Criston.
Erryk and Arryk have the advantage, however, as Arryk is more aware of the places Aegon goes.
This includes a child fighting ring, where some of Aegon’s own bastards fight to the death for the amusement of crowds.
So, Aegon is definitley the worst choice to be king.
Not only is he a rapist but he also allows his children to be sold into fighting rings.
While searching for Aegon at the child fighting ring, they are approached by an associate of Mysaria, who has kidnapped Aegon after Alicent’s handmaiden Talia informed her of the king’s death.
Mysaria now wants a meeting with Otto, who is currently dealing with those who swore fealty to Rhanerya, demanding they now renounce these oaths and swear fealty to Aegon instead.
Many do but some are proud enough to keep their honour and are executed.
One of these is Lord Caswell, who acts as though he has switched sides, only to attempt an escape to warn Rhanerya.
He is sadly caught thanks to Larys spies and executed.
Meanwhile, Criston and Aemond are performing their own searches at brothels Aegon frequented, with Aemond venting to Criston about Aegon and the crown going to him.
When Aemond mentions the way Aegon spoke of women, Criston replies that every woman in an image of the Mother and must be spoken of with reverance.
Well, that’s pretty hypocritical coming from the man who called Rhanerya the C word in Episode Six.
Along with Criston’s hypocrisy, we also get a good look at Aemond’s envy, as he wishes to be king and, honestly, would actually be better suited for it than Aegon.
Yet, as the second son, he is doomed for the support role.
Aemond really has a lot of parallels with Daemon.
Even their names are almost identical.
Despite their lack of success in finding Aegon, Criston and Aemond catch a lucky break when they spot Otto secretly meeting with Mysaria.
Maybe it was the Hand of the King badge he stupidly wore under his hood which gave him away?
As for Mysaria, yep, her accent is still terrible.
I like Mysaria as a character, as her motivation to stop the child fighting rings in King’s Landing is noble, yet it is hard to get into her story when the actress’ accent is so bad it distracts me.
I’m still really hoping they remove this accent in Season Two.
While all this is happening, Alicent meets with Rhaenys, who has been locked up in the Red Keep until now.
Informing her of Viserys’ death, Alicent attempts to convince Rhaenys to side with the Greens, admitting that Rhaenys should have been queen but stating that they can still have power through guiding the men above them.
Rhaenys grows newfound respect for Alicent’s conviction, yet correctly states that, “You desire not to be free but to make a window in the wall of your prison. Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?”
This was an excellent moment for Rhaenys and Eve Best continues to do great work as the character.
Meanwhile, thanks to Otto’s deal with Mysaria to stop the child fighting rings, Erryk and Arryk are able to locate Aegon, only to be ambushed by Aemond and Criston, who followed them.
A fight ensues, during which Criston and Aemond take Aegon captive, as Erryk leaves, disgusted by Aegon, as he now knows he is not fit to be king.
Aegon begs Aemond to let him go, stating that he will find a ship and never return.
Aemond seems to consider this but, before he can do anything, Criston leads Aegon to Alicent.
With Aegon now firmly in Alicent’s clutches, she meets with Otto where he tries to worm his way into Alicent’s good graces.
Alicent is having none of it, however, leaving when Otto says she looks so much like her mother.
Despite his manipulations, I could not help but think that Otto was oddly proud of Alicent in this moment.
Not everything is going well for Alicent, however, as it is revealed that she trades sexual favors to Larys in exchange for information, specifically by presenting her feet to him.
I had heard the leaks for this scene and I was quite concerned about it but, after having seen it, I think it was handled as well as it could have been.
It certainly makes the moment Alicent takes her shoes off when talking with Larys in Episode Six creepier.
The guy with a club foot having a foot fetish is a bit on the nose, though.
Larys informs Alicent of Mysaria’s spy ring, leading to her ordering an attack on Mysaria, pretty much destroying her deal with Otto, which is not exactly a good thing, since Mysaria pointed out to him just how much power the small folk actually have.
Another blow to the Greens is Erryk Cargyll, as he frees Rhaenys, defecting to the Blacks.
He intends to lead her out of the city, leaving Rhaenys’ dragon Meleys behind, only for Rhaenys to be swept up in a crowd that is luckily heading for the Dragon Pit.
It is here that Aegon is crowned as king by Criston and it is also here that I have to mention one of my criticisms, this being Criston’s role in crowning Aegon being reduced.
Sure, he does place the crown on his head but in the book he played a much more important role, since he was actually the one to convince Aegon to take the throne by claiming that Rhanerya would kill him and his entire family if he did not.
This earned him the title of King Maker.
In the show, however, it is Alicent who convinces Aegon and Criston merely crowns him.
I hope they do not downplay any of Criston’s other actions in future seasons.
As for Aegon, we see that he has overcome his reluctance to become king, due to the love he recieves from the crowd in the Dragon Pit.
As messed up as Aegon is, he did want love and affection from his parents and now he is getting that affection from the people of Kings’ Landing.
Or rather, what is left of the people of King’s Landing because Rhaenys chooses this moment to bash through the ground with Meleys killing an untold number of small folk, and fulfilling Helaena’s “beast beneath the boards” prophecy.
She looks ready to kill the Greens until Alicent jumps in the way.
Having gained a newfound respect for Alicent and also sympathising with her as a mother, Rhaenys spares the Greens’ lives and departs in epic fashion to warn Rhanerya of her crown being usurped, bringing an end to the episode.
This moment is entirely show original and has recieved mixed reactions, since some have said it makes no sense for Rhaneys to kill many civilians but then spare Alicent and the rest of the Greens immediately afterwards.
However, I think it works when you take into consideration that the nobles do not really care about the small folk in general.
I mean, there is a literal child fighting ring going on in Kings’ Landing and no noble did anything about that.
So, I think this change does work.
Overall, “The Green Council” is another solid episode of House of the Dragon. 
It is not one of my favourites but it does build nicely into the finale, which I am very excited to see, as a book reader.

Book Spoilers:
I am probably more excited for Episode Ten, “The Black Queen”, than I have been for any previous House of the Dragon episode.
This is because we will get the first dance between the dragons in “The Black Queen”, if you can even call what happens a “dance.”
It’s more of a slaughter, actually, with Lucerys’ Arrax standing no chance against Aemond’s Vhagar.
It will be brutal and, along with the stillbirth of Visenya, will be a tragic way to end the season, with Season Two almost definitley not arriving until 2024.
It will be a long wait but I think it will certainly be worth it to see many of the epic and horrifying events that take place during the Dance of the Dragons.
One of these horrifying moments is the Blood and Cheese incident, where Daemon and Mysaria send hitmen to murder Aegon’s son in retaliation for Lucerys’ death.
Mysaria’s involvement in this act makes a lot of sense after Episode Nine because of how her chance to end the child fighting rings was destroyed by the Greens in this episode.
We also have to take Helaena’s “beast beneath the boards” prophecy into account.
Yes, she was most likely talking about Rhaenys and Meleys but her prophecy could also have a double meaning by referring to Blood and Cheese.
We will have to wait for Season Two to know for sure.
Until then, we can enjoy the final episode of House of the Dragon‘s first season, which airs today.

House of the Dragon Episode Eight, Lord of the Tides Review: Give Paddy Considine His Emmy.

Going into Episode Eight of House of the Dragon, “Lord of the Tides”, I was expecting the Geeta Vasant Patel directed episode to be a pretty standard one but nothing special.
This is why I was surprised when “Lord of the Tides” more than exceeded my expectations, becoming my favourite episode of of the show thus far.
The episode picks up six years after the events of “Driftmark.”
In that time, Corlys has returned to fighting in the Stepstones, only to suffer a potentially lethal wound, from which his life now hangs in the balance.
And so the succession to the Driftwood Throne is now in question.
Ordinarily, it would pass to Lucerys, like Corlys wanted because, even though he is a bastard, “history does not remember blood, it remembers names,” as Corlys said last episode.
However, Corlys’ brother Vaemond wants the throne to stay in the Velaryon bloodline, so he petitions the Iron Throne to hear his claim.
This would not have ended well for Vaemond had Viserys been sitting the throne but, as Vaemond points out to Rhaenys, it is Alicent who is in charge while Viserys is bedridden with his sickness.
Meanwhile, on Dragonstone, we see Daemon retrieving a clutch of eggs from Syrax for his children with Rhanerya.
These are Aegon, Viserys, and the baby soon to be born.
His subsequent meeting with the dragon keepers is quite funny, as Daemon seems like a giddy child, having retrieved the dragon eggs for his own kids.
This giddiness is dulled, however, when he recieves a letter from Baela (Bethany Antonia), whom has become a ward of Rhaenys, warning him of Vaemond’s incoming attempt to have Lucerys illegitimized so he can take the Driftwood Throne.
Upon Daemon going to inform Rhanerya of this, he finds her tutoring Jace (Harry Collett) in High Valyrian.
Rhanerya is understandably distressed by the news of Vaemond’s actions, even more so by the uncertainty of which side Rhaneys will take, due to her believing Rhanerya and Daemon had Laenor killed so they could marry.
In the end, Rhanerya and Daemon travel to King’s Landing, only to recieve a frosty reception, as only one loyal lord greets them, despite Rhanerya being the heir.
Not only this but the Targaryen iconography seen in previous episodes has been entirely replaced by ones representing the Faith of the Seven, which the Hightowers worship, showing just how far their influence has spread.
While Daemon and Rhanerya wish to continue Targaryen traditions, as seen with Rhanerya teaching Jace High Valyrian, the Hightowers seek to replace this.
Even worse is the state of Viserys, whom Rhanerya and Daemon find bedridden, with his leprocy having consumed half of his face.
Daemon’s reaction to seeing his brother like this is a particular gut punch.
The scene turns more heart warming when Rhanerya introduces her father to Aegon and Viserys.
As for why Rhanerya would also name one of her children Aegon, in the book it is most likely a slight against Alicent.
King Viserys is overjoyed to see a grandchild named after him, saying he has a name “fit for a king,” only for pain to overwhelm him, needing milk of the poppy to sooth him.
Meanwhile, Alicent has problems of her own, as Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) has raped a servant named Dyana.
Maddie Evans’ performance as the abused Dyana is gut wrenching and you cannot help but feel sorry for her and disgusted at Alicent’s actions, as she pays her off with gold to keep silent, gives her a tea to prevent pregnancy (which is kind of hypocritical since she judged Rhanerya for this in Episode Five) and then sends her away.
Alicent then goes to berate Aegon over what he did to Dyana, with Aegon grossly saying, “It was just harmless fun.”
When Alicent slaps Aegon and calls him “no son of mine”, Aegon throws a pity party, saying nothing he does is good enough for Alicent or Viserys.
Well, if you want your parents’ love and affection, Aegon, maybe you could start by not sexually assaulting women and be an actual decent human being for a change?
Just an idea.
The argument between Aegon and Alicent is then interrupted by Helaena (Phia Saban), who wonders where Dyana is because she was supposed to dress her children with Aegon.
Alicent then embraces Helaena, clearly regretting marrying her to Aegon.
Helaena seems like the only completley innocent character on the Green’s side, so you have to feel sorry for her being married to such a piece of work.
Afterwards, Alicent meets with Rhanerya and Daemon who both accuse her of keeping Viserys drugged up on milk of the poppy.
Alicent does make a good point, however, as she states that Viserys is in a great deal of pain without it, something we see to certainly be true.
Meanwhile, Jace and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) are looking around the training yard when they see an older Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) training with Ser Criston Cole.
I have to say, of all the aged up actors, Mitchell is particularly great as Aemond.
He gives off the perfect feeling of menace as, after defeating Criston, he calls out to his nephews without even looking at them.
Despite only having one eye, Aemond’s senses are keen, making him quite dangerous.
Any potential confrontation between Aemond and Jace and Luke is interrupted with the arrival of Vaemond, who meets with Alicent and Otto in an attempt to convince them to support his claim, promising his loyalty in the coming Targaryen succession crisis.
Meanwhile, Rhanerya meets with Rhaneys in an attempt to persuade her to her side.
Interestingly, Rhanerya does not reveal that Laenor is alive to win Rhaenys’ support.
This shows just how deep her loyalty to Laenor goes.
As for Rhaenys, Rhanerya suggests marrying Jace to Baela and Luke to Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell), which would make Baela the future Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Rhanerya says this is a generous yet desperate offer, and Rhanerya hits back that desperation does not matter because it would still benefit Rhaenys and her grandchildren.
However, Rhaenys is correct in her next comeback that such an alliance would be worthless if the Hightowers succeed in declaring Rhanerya’s children illegitimate.
That night, Rhanerya visits her ailing father, begging him to help her, bringing up Aegon the Conqueror’s dream about the Prince that was Promised.
This is something that will have both positive and disastrous consequences.
The next morning, Vaemond makes his petition to Otto, who sits the Iron Throne in Viserys’ absence.
Things look dire for Rhanerya until, in what is the best moment of the show so far, Viserys enters the throne room and stumbles to the Iron Throne with his cane.
Much like Alicent’s entrance in the green dress during Episode Five, this epic entrance is accompanied by Ramin Djawadi’s excellent score, hyping up the bravery of this moment.
Viserys is in incredible pain, yet he still struggles to the throne to protect his daughter.
He stumbles twice, the first time refusing help and the second time accepting help from Daemon of all people.
The brothers went from at odds during the beginning of the show to reconciled near the end, and it is beautiful to watch Daemon help Viserys to the throne with gentle encouragement and then place his fallen crown upon his head.
Now upon the throne, Viserys asks to hear Rhaenys thoughts on who should inherit the Driftwood Throne, since she is the only one who would understand her husband’s wishes.
Rhaenys makes her decision, supporting Lucerys’ claim, backing Rhanerya.
However, she also plays the situation in her own favour, by announcing the betrothal between Jace and Baela, and Luke and Rhaena.
Viserys accepts this and reaffirms Lucerys claim, only for Vaemond to angrily denounce this.
Spurred on by Daemon, Vaemond goes on to call Jace and Lucerys bastards but goes a step even further, calling Rhanerya a whore.
And the Darwin Award goes to… Vaemond Velaryon for stupidly calling the heir to the Iron Throne a whore, somehow thinking this would not get him executed!
To Vaemond’s credit, he may have known this would get him killed but he decided to die getting the truth of Rhanerya’s children’s parentage out into the open once and for all.
In the end, his death is pretty quick and brutal, with Daemon cutting half his head off right after Viserys demands his tongue, stating, “he can keep his tongue.”
The reaction to this from the Hightowers are priceless, with all of them being horrified, except for Aemond who appears to be quite impressed with his uncle/brother-in law… man, Targaryen family trees are weird.
That night, after recovering somewhat, Viserys orders a dinner to take place with his family in the hopes of reconciling the two factions.
His speech is heart breaking and it seems to get through to Rhanerya and Alicent in particular who both raise their cups to one another.
Alicent even says that Rhanerya would make a good queen, seemingly accepting her rise to the throne following her own son’s terrible actions.
Aegon attempts to provoke Jace by making a sexual advance on Baela but Jace plays this off, being the better person.
This all prompts Helaena to make her own toast, encouraging Baela and Rhaena in their marriages.
“It’s not so bad,” she says. “Mostly he just ignores you, except when he’s drunk.”
Helaena is just too pure for the terrible world of Westeros.
Her toast leads to Jace dancing with her afterwards, in what is both a noble attempt to cheer her up and also to get back at Aegon for his pot stirring.
Much celebration follows, with the two sides seemingly getting along and Viserys heart is clearly warmed at the sight, as he clearly thinks his family has reconciled.
So, of course, as soon as Viserys departs, due to the pain he feels, fighting breaks out.
A pig is placed in front of Aemond and this clearly reminds both him and Lucerys of “the pink dread” prank he, Jace and Aegon played on Aemond when they were younger.
Lucerys tries not to laugh at the memory.
It was really not a good plan to provoke the guy whose eye you cut out and now definitley has a grudge against you, Lucerys.
This is proven when Aemond makes his own toast to his nephew’s health, calling them “Strong” in a clear reference to their true father.
Jace punches Aemond in retalitation but Daemon steps in before a brawl can break out and someone else loses an eye.
As Jace and Luke go to their rooms, Aemond and Daemon face off silently, before Aemond relents and leaves.
Alicent and Rhanerya then reconcile further, with Rhanerya saying she will return to visit “on dragon back.”
After Rhanerya and her family leave, Alicent puts Viserys to bed, giving him milk of the poppy again for the pain.
Unfortunately, this has the worst of consequences, as it causes Viserys to hallucinate, thinking that Alicent is Rhanerya from the night before, asking about the Prince that was Promised.
Viserys response causes Alicent to think that he is saying Aegon should be king over Rhanerya, when he is actually saying Rhanerya is the heir who will continue Aegon the Conqueror’s line.
I have made it clear that I have disliked the inclusion of the whole Prince that was Promised plotline, given that it never amounted to anything in Game of Thrones.
However, I think this was the perfect usage of it, with this natural misunderstanding between Alicent and Viserys leading to the Dance of the Dragons.
If this misunderstanding never happened then Alicent very may well have supported Rhanerya’s claim over Aegon’s, following Viserys’ death.
And because Viserys dies he can never clear up the misunderstanding that just happened.
Viserys passes alone, in his bed, seeing his dear Aemma in his final moments.
“My love,” he whispers, as he breaths his last breath.
So dies King Viserys Targaryen, the First of his Name, King of the Andals, and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
With Viserys’ time on the show now at an end, I am now going to say what many people have been saying since this episode aired… Give Paddy Considine his Emmy!
Seriously, the guy gives an incredible performance as Viserys, turning the bland character from the book into one of the most tragic characters in the show.
If he is not at least nominated for this role then I do not what the world is coming to.
Viserys’ storyline alone makes “Lord of the Tides” my favourite episode of House of the Dragon thus far.
It is a fantastic episode, which serves as a great goodbye to Viserys and is the final calm before the storm.
And now the dragons dance.

Book Spoiler Section:
Once again for the book spoiler section, I will begin by attempting to guess what Helaena’s prophecy means.
“Beware the beast beneath the boards,” is what Helaena murmers at the dinner party.
I think this is a reference to Blood and Cheese, the tragic event in the Dance of the Dragons, where assassins are sent to kill one of Helaena’s children in retaliation for Luke’s death.
It will certainly be a horrifying moment in the show when this happens in Season Two, considering how sweet Helaena is.
“Lord of the Tides” also has a lot of great foreshadowing for the future of the show.
There is Rhanerya saying she will return “on dragon back”, which she does when she takes King’s Landing during the Dance.
There is Aemond and Daemon’s brief stand off, hinting at their final fight above the God’s Eye.
We see Mysaria has a servant of Alicent as an informer, foreshadowing her future role as a Mistress of Whisperers.
Then, there is Viserys comment about his grandson having a name “fit for a king,” which Viserys the younger will eventually become.
Although, this is decades down the line, so we likely will not see it in the show.
The next book spoiler I wish to discuss is actually not related to the episode itself.
This spoiler concerns the character of Daeron.
In the book, he is Alicent and Visery’s fourth child who has a key role to play in the Dance. However, he has been completley absent in the show.
Many have speculated that he is squiring in Old Town and George R.R Martin has seemingly confirmed Daeron’s existence in the show.
However, him not even being mentioned previously will make it quite strange for show only viewers to meet him in the following seasons.
I just hope he is introduced right and in a way that feels natural, despite him not being mentioned.

House of the Dragon Episode Seven, Driftmark Review: Eye for an Eye.

I was quite excited going into Episode Seven of House of the Dragon, “Driftmark.”
This was because the Miguel Sapochnik directed episode would adapt an event I had been looking forward to seeing ever since the show was announced, this being Aemond claiming Vhagar and then losing his eye.
The end result did not disappoint, with “Driftmark” being my favourite episode, until it was unexpectedly overtaken by Episode Eight, “Lord of the Tides.”
As for Episode Seven, it entirely resolves around the titular “Driftmark”, beginning with Laena’s funeral, after she died by Vhagar last episode, choosing to die as a dragon rider, rather than being ripped open in a medieval c-section.
However, this being Westeros, even a funeral is not safe from political manuvering, as Corlys’ brother, Vaemond Velaryon is clearly unhappy about Lucerys being set to inherit Driftmark, due to him being a bastard.
This leads to him insulting Lucerys, Jacaerys and Rhanerya by subtly calling them out in his funeral speech.
The insults do not go unnoticed, causing Daemon to laugh, potentially because of his incredulity at this happening at his own wife’s funeral; also potentially to draw attention away from Rhanerya and her sons to protect them.
Again, I love the ambiguity the show is painting Daemon’s actions with.
There are multiple different ways you could interpret his decisions over the course of the show so far.
Following the funeral comes a pretty awkward wake for Laena, as the green and black factions all interact, with various disdainful looks being thrown about.
Jacaerys clearly does not understand the severity of the situation, as he complains to Rhanerya about wanting to be at Harrenhal, mourning Lyonel and Harwin, whom he now knows was his true father.
Rhanerya’s concerned look to make sure no one heard Jace talking is well played by Emma D’Arcy.
While the tension is clearly growing at the wake, Helaena remains oblivious to it all; content to play with her bugs and spin prophecies.
“Spools of green, spools of black,” she murmmers. “Dragons of flesh weaving dragons of thread. Hand turns loom, spools of green.”
It is pretty obvious after this episode and Episode Eight that Helaena is a dreamer and I will get into what this specific prophecy may mean in the book spoiler section below.
As Helaena is murmmering her prophecy, she is looked over by Aegon and Aemond.
Aegon has been bethrothed to his sister but is clearly not happy about this,
Aemond, on the other hand, says he would gladly marry his sister.
Targaryens gonna Targaryen I guess.
Aemond does have quite an intriguing moment later on, however; when he walks over to Jace and looks like he might be about to console him over his own loss, only to walk away without saying a word.
This is yet another moment where we can only speculate about whether things could have turned out for the better, if only a different decision had been made by these characters.
While Jace is interacting with Aemond, and also comforting Baela and Rhaena, Lucerys is lectured about inheriting Driftmark by Corlys, only for him to say, “I don’t want it.”
This, I am sure, triggered many PTSD flashbacks for Game of Thrones fans, as they remembered Jon Snow’s most overplayed sentence from Season Eight.
Thankfully, the line that follows this is much more impactful, with Lucerys stating, “If I’m the Lord of Driftmark, that means everyone’s dead.”
More tragic shots follow, including Laenor sitting in the tide, mourning the loss of his sister, prompting Corlys to demand Qarl retrieve him.
Probably the most interesting interactions of the wake, however, are those of Viserys.
First, he tries to convince Daemon to come back to Kings Landing and reconcile, only for Daemon to outright refuse.
In another subtle moment, Daemon appears to almost say he needs Rhanerya before catching himself.
Viserys then goes to bed for the night, informing Alicent but accidentally calling her Aemma, showing just how much he is slipping.
The final shots of the wake see Aemond looking up at the sky as Vhagar flies overhead, foreshadowing what is to come.
That night, Rhanerya meets with Daemon and the two walk on the beach, discussing the loss of their loves, Laena and Harwin.
Daemon is also shown to heavily suspect Otto (whom has since returned as Hand of the King), along with Alicent, of orchestrating the murder of Lyonel and Harwin.
Rhanerya, however, speaks up for Alicent because she does not beleive her to be capable of murder.
In a sense, both are kind of right.
Daemon is right to suspect Otto of benefitting from Lyonel’s death and Rhanerya is right in so far as that Alicent did not actually order Lyonel’s death, rather it was orchestrated by Larys, with Alicent unwittingly playing a part.
Regardless of their disagreements of the Hightower’s involvement in Lyonel and Harwin’s deaths, Rhanerya and Daemon reconcile and sleep togethor.
Targaryens gonna Targaryen, right?
Well, for those of you especially creeped out by the incest in the show, no need to worry because it is so dark you probably will not see anything.
Seriously, the colour grading for these night scenes is quite bad at times.
I had to to turn off every light in the house and squint at times just to see what was happening.
It is a shame too because the night scene where Aemond claims Vhagar as his dragon is excellent.
This episode really showed just how massive Vhagar is, making Aemond’s taming of her even more epic, as he calms her with the valyrian language, climbs into her saddle and then orders her to fly, nearly dying on multiple occasions.
The massive dragon nearly shakes him off and Aemond nearly falls to his death on the ascent, yet he still succeeds in claming Vhagar, or stealing if you ask Baela and Rhaena.
I have seen a lot of debate online about whether Aemond taming Vhagar counts as stealing or not.
Rhaena was supposed to claim her, yet because she was mourning her mother she did not.
This lead to Aemond taking his opportunity and claiming Vhagar before Rhaena could.
Is this in poor taste?
Definitley.
But I would draw the line at saying it’s stealing, since Vhagar did choose Aemond as her new rider.
Rhaena and Baela’s anger is certainly understandable, though, and it is a much better reason for the fight happening, rather than Aemond throwing Joffrey into dragon poop, which is what happened in the book.
What is less understandable is Aemond insulting them all after claiming Vhagar, stating maybe Jace and Luke can find Rhaena a pig to ride.
This insult definitley stems from the bullying Aemond suffered from in the previous episode, directing his anger at Jace and Lucerys.
Unfortunately, this leads to the conflict escalating into a full on brawl, resulting in the best fight in House of the Dragon so far, and it is a fight between literal children.
Again, we have to think of that moment when Aemond almost comforted Jace back a the wake.
If either of them had spoken up, would they have ended up in such a violent showdown?
We will never know.
Instead, the resenment grows into bloodshed as, after threatening Jace with a rock, Aemond gets his eye cut out by Lucerys, before the Kingsguard finally show up to intervene.
Upon hearing of the fight, Viserys is understandably outraged, berating Ser Harold Westerling and Ser Criston.
It is here that we see the difference in standards among the Kingsguard.
While Ser Harold accepts responsibiltiy and apologises, Ser Criston attempts to redirect blame onto Rhanerya’s sons.
Tensions rise when Rhanerya enters the room, with Daemon just observing.
Viserys is focused on learning what happened, until Rhanerya reveals Aemond called her sons bastards.
Viserys then focuses on this, rather than his own son losing an eye.
This is most likely because of his love for Rhanerya but also because he knows that if Jace, Luke and Joffrey are considered bastards by the realm then it could plunge Westeros into war.
So, Viserys focuses on this instead of Aemond, likely increasing his own son’s hatred for his nephews.
In the end, Aemond blames Aegon instead of his mother for spreading the bastard rumor.
Aegon’s following response to Viserys when he questions where he heard this, “everyone knows, just look at them,” is a great line adapted from the book.
Viserys’ following frustration about the infighting in his family is palpable, with Paddy Considine giving another fantastic performance.
Alicent is understandably unmoved by Viserys order that everyone should make ammends.
She is angered by Aemond losing an eye, leading her to demand an eye for an eye from Lucerys.
When Viserys refuses, she steals the catspaw dagger from him and lunges at Rhanerya and her children, a moment that had been especially hyped up in the trailers and does not disappoint, with both calling the other out, leading to Alicent slashing Rhanerya’s arm.
Afterwards, the tension is finally calmed when Aemond reassures Alicent with another excellent line from the book, “I may have lost an eye but I gained a dragon.”
It really would have been better if you said that before Alicent tried to stab the heir to the throne, Aemond.
On another note, I would like to praise Leo Ashton for his role as Aemond this episode.
He was the best of the child actors this episode and perfomed the claiming of Vhagar scene especially well.
As for Alicent, she is confronted by Otto in her chambers and, for the first time, he seems to be proud of her, saying he now sees that she has “the determination to win” the “ugly game” they play.
Alicent takes her father’s support to heart by also embracing Larys’ support on the ship back to Kings’ Landing, further cementing an alliance with a powerful and dangerous ally.
Rhanerya is also cementing more allies, with Laenor committing to helping as her husband in a touching scene between the two.
This is despite the fact that we can see how conflicted Laenor is about the direction in his life.
The second ally Rhanerya gains is Daemon, offering marriage to him, to which Daemon says Laenor would have to die.
I will admit, I was completley fooled when it looked like Daemon hired Qarl to kill Laenor.
I thought Rhanerya had turned down a dark path and helped orchestrate the death of Laenor, and I was quite unsure about it, considering how much Rhanerya had seemed to care greatly for Laenor beforehand.
This is why it was a relief to see that Laenor’s death had been staged, allowing him and Qarl to row off into the sunset togethor.
Laenor did the smart thing getting out of the Game of Thrones.
He will live much longer that way.
Shame about the random guard whose body was used as a stand in for him, though.
Laenor living is an interesting change from the book and I wonder how if it will play into the future of the story?
There is a theory about Laenor’s future role going around but it is one I do not particularly like.
I will have to mention book spoilers, though, so I will explain what the theory is in in the section below.
As for Daemon and Rhanerya, they are finally able to marry, in a scene that is actually kind of funny when you see the disgusted faces of their children, Rhaena and Baela in particular.
I also wish we could have seen Viserys reaction, since he was so against any union between Rhanerya and Daemon in Episodes Four and Five.
All in all, “Driftmark” is one of the best episode of House of the Dragon so far.
It more than delivered on the Vhagar and Aemond storyline I have been waiting to see play out ever since I read “Fire and Blood.”


Book Spoilers Section:

Regarding Helaena’s prophecy this episode, I think it is a clear reference to the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons.
“Spools of green, spools of black; dragons of flesh weaving dragons of threads,” references the division between the blacks and the greens, leading to the Dance.
“Hand turns loom, spools of green,” references Otto’s work in the coup to put Aegon on the throne, and the greens in power, following Viserys’ death.
With my speculation for Helaena’s prophecy out of the way, I can now talk about the theory concerning Laenor’s survival.
This theory states that in Season Two of House of the Dragon, he will take on the role of Addam of Hull, the dragon seed who joins Rhanerya’s cause.
The theory is that Laenor will pose as his own bastard to come back and help Rhanerya, taking on the name Addam.
Personally, I am very much against this theory.
If Laenor is Addam, it would ruin Addam’s entire arc about proving the worth of bastards.
Rhanerya suspects him after Hugh Hammer and Ulf the White’s betrayal, something Rhanerya would never consider of Laenor.
Addam then flees to avoid arrest, only to rally Rhanerya’s supporters in an attempt to take back Tumbleton, dying in the fighting.
Having proven his worth, his brother Alyn then has the words “loyal” carved into Addam’s tombstone.
Laenor just does not fit into this storyline because he is not a bastard and he does not even have a brother to pose as Alyn.
Just keep Laenor and Alyn as seperate characters please.

House of the Dragon Episode Five, We Light the Way Review: The Green Wedding.

After directing the fantastic episode “King of the Narrow Sea”, Clare Kilner returns to direct Episode Five of House of the Dragon, “We Light the Way.”
The episode begins by answering one of the questions I have had ever since reading Fire and Blood, which is what caused the death of Daemon’s wife, Rhea Royce?
In the book, George R.R Martin writes that she died after falling from her horse, however, this always seemed quite a bit convenient for Daemon, so I wondered if he had a hand in it.
“We Light the Way” confirms Daemon’s involvement, depicting him arriving at the Vale in secret, scaring Rhea’s horse, causign her to fall and become paralyzed.
Daemon then bashes her head in with a rock, off screen.
What makes this murder disturbing is how, much like in the battle with the Crab Feeder in Episode Three, Daemon does not speak a single word.
This adds a level of unpreditability to his actions.
Whenever Daemon is silent is when you need to be truly afraid of him.
As for how he scared the horse to throw Rhea off, one interesting theory I have heard is that the horse was scared of Daemon because it could smell Caraxes on him.
We know riders do smell of their dragons after riding, as Rhanerya is told a few times in Episode One.
Another interesting detail is Rhea Royce’s last words, as she mocks Daemon for not being able to “finish.”
In the moment, it seems she is talking about him holding off on murdering her but the subtext appears to imply that she is actually referencing Daemon’s impotence.
In Episode Four, he could not have sex with Rhanerya because he was put off when she began to take control.
Could this be part of the reason he hated Rhea so much?
As for Daemon potentially holding off on killing Rhea, it does seem he is leaving her to die, before Rhea insults him, after which he decides to kill her with the rock.
We do not know if this was his train of thought, however, due to his silence.
I like how the show is portraying the ambiguity of Daemon’s thoughts so far.
It was also sad to see Rhea go as the actress, Rachel Redford, did a good job in her scene.
After the murder, the scene quite literally cuts, as it transitions from Daemon about to kill Rhea to a chef cutting off a fish’s head, implying Rhea’s death.
The scene is now on a ship, where Viserys, Rhanerya and their entourage, are travelling to Driftmark to offer Corlys a marriage between his son Laenor and Rhanerya.
With Otto’s dismissal as Hand of the King, the job has been passed on to Lyonel Strong, a good choice, considering he is the only one in the King’s Council who does not give advice for personal gain.
As for Otto, we get a scene of his departure, with Alicent attempting to apologise for him being removed as Hand, which she caused by telling Rhanerya of his spying.
She says she believes Rhanerya’s claim that nothing happened with Daemon, to which Otto berates her for, telling his daughter that she is no fool but she refuses to see the truth.
He warns her that to become queen Rhanerya will have to kill Alicent’s children, even though she has shown no sign of ever thinking this.
Yet, despite all the manipulation he has put her through, Otto does seem to genuinely love his daughter but does not know how to express it.
His final words to Alicent do leave an impact, however, as we will see later.
For now, Alicent is also influenced by Lyonel’s son Larys, who sneakily informs her of the tea Rhanerya was sent by Viserys to prevent a pregnancy, increasing her doubts.
Meanwhile, Viserys and his entourage finally reach Driftmark but are made to walk to see Corlys, a sign of disrespect from the Sea Snake.
Corlys knows where to pull his punches, though, as he bends the knee when Viserys stands before him.
Rhaneys then arrives and she and her husband announce the death of Rhea, talking about it as if it were an accident, yet it is clear that none of them believe it.
Viserys proposes the marriage between Rhanerya and Laenor, and Corly’s continues to push boundaries, seeking power for his family, wondering if the children they have will bear the name Velaryon.
Viserys concedes this but is adamant that the child who takes the throne after Rhanerya shall be named Targaryen, to which Corlys accepts, agreeing to the marriage pact.
As this arrangement is taking place, Rhanerya and Laenor walk on the beach and come to their own arrangement.
Rhanerya is aware of Laenor’s sexuality so subtly sugests that they marry but then take what lovers they wish, to which Laenor also agrees.
Corlys is in a state of denial about this, however, believing that Laenor will grow out of his preference for men, showing the time that Westeros is stuck in (although that is not saying much since this attitude can be seen today, unfortunately).
On a lighter note, it is funny to see Corlys be so assertive in his negotiation with Viserys and then become more uncertain around Rhaenys, showing his vulnerabilities to her, as he wonders if he pushed Viserys too far.
They truly are one of the happier couples in Westeros.
This happy mood turns darker, however, as Rhaenys points out that Rhanerya’s succession will be challenged, due to her gender, putting Laenor’s life and the lives of any children he has with Rhanerya at risk.
Corlys vows to protect them, leadsingto him saying that Rhaenys should have been queen but Rhaenys tells him she has got over the loss and so should he.
This was a great scene between the couple, with a few interesting details, like the Crab Feeder’s mask on display.
It is followed up by a scene with another couple, as we meet Laenor’s lover ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), the Knight of Kisses
Their relationship is quite healthy, like Corlys and Rhaenys’, as Joffrey is accepting of Laenor’s position and wishes to protect him when he becomes Rhanerya’s king consort.
This is paralleled by the less than healthy relationship between Rhanerya and Criston.
The Kingsguard confronts Rhanerya on their return to Kings’ Landing about their affair, wanting to run away and start a new life with her.
Rhanerya obviously refuses, given the responsibility Viserys has placed on her shoulders with the knowledge about the White Walkers.
She even seems to be about to tell Criston about this, before he interrupts her.
What Criston says shows the unhealthy state of their relationship, since Criston’s main reason for asking Rhanerya to run away with him was so he could regain his own honour after breaking his vow of chastity with her, as the white cloak he wears is the only thing to his name.
Criston’s inner turmoil is put on further display when Alicent calls for him to talk after reaching King’s Landing.
So great is it that he misinterprets Alicent’s questions about Daemon and Rhanerya to be about himself and Rhanerya and admits to their affair.
He even begs her to have him merely put to death, rather than gelded and tortured.
Emily Carey’s face during this plea shows a wide range of emotions, chief among them a feeling of betrayal against Rhanerya, as her worst fears are confirmed.
She is probably thinking of Otto’s warning in this moment and deciding where her loyalties lie.
As this talk is happening, Viserys is having his own with Lyonel after being treated by the Maesters.
Viserys reflects over his life and wonders what the people will say of him after he is gone, since he was never a conqueror.
Lyonel views this as a positive thing, since he continued Jaehaerys’ peace,
As a book reader, it is interesting to see this scene and know how Viserys is remembered, not only by the people of Westeros but by book readers.
I will leave that for the spoiler section, though.
Speaking of Viserys, the guy looks pretty terrible in this scene and I have seen numerous reactors believe that he died here, until he is shown later.
The make-up department for this show is doing an excellent job at detailing the progression of Viserys’ mysterious illness, which Paddy Considine has said is actually a form of Leprosy.
The shot fades away from Viserys’ sickened face to Kings’ Landing on the day of the wedding celebrations.
Laenor and Rhaenys both arrive on their dragons, Sea Smoke and Meleys, the Red Queen.
After this, we see the procession of noble guests gretting Viserys and Rhanerya, including Jason Lannister being a prideful jerk again, and Rhea’s cousin Gerold (Owen Oakeshott), who accepts condolences for Rhea’s death.
The Velaryons then arrive, quickly followed by Daemon, who swaggers in unnannounced.
Viserys reluctantly welcomes him, wordlessly offering him a chair at the table.
Daemon, likewise, does not speak, again making us wonder what his intentions are.
Viserys then begins a grand speech about the future of Targaryen rule, only to be interrupted by the best moment in the episode, as Alicent arrives in a green dress, Ramin Djawadi’s excellent score serving as her entrance.
As a book reader, this was such an exciting moment to see.
The enormity of this moment is translated to show only viewers by Larys, who informs his brother Harwin that the green colour of Alicent’s dress is symbolising her house calling its banners to war.
After Alicent’s dramatic entrance, the celebration continues, with Joffrey noticing Criston eyeing Rhanerya, and Gerold Royce confronting Daemon about Rhea’s murder.
It does not go how he planned, however, as Daemon announces his intention to inherit Rhea’s lands, before going down to join the dancing.
He dances with Laena Velaryon (Savannah Steyn) for a bit, who shows quite an interest in him, before moving on to Rhanerya.
Daemon makes another play for Rhanerya’s hand but she is dismissive of him this time, goading him into stealing her away, which she appears to know he will not do.
While this is happening, Joffrey has a talk with Criston, suggesting they take a vow to protect Laenor and Rhanerya because, if they stay safe, so do they all.
Whether Criston sees this as blackmail, is disgusted because he sees himself in Joffrey, or a combination of the two, the end result is the same.
Criston attacks Joffrey and proceeds to beat him to death in front of dozens of noble witnesses, also assaulting Laenor, while Rhanerya has to be saved by Harwin.
This scene has resulted in a lot of questions about how exactly Criston got away with murdering a knight in front of everyone.
An argument could be made for Alicent speaking up for him but we do not see this happen.
Criston murdering Joffrey in front of everyone is actually a change from the book, where he killed him in a tourney, so he had the excuse that it was an accident.
The change raises the plot hole of how Criston got away with it, so I do wish the murder had been done differently to have Criston going unpunished make more sense.
As least the acting is great here, with Theo Nate’s grief stricken cries over Joffrey being especially tragic.
You cannot have a Westerosi wedding without at least one death, after all, or it is considered a dull affair.
I say we call this one the Green Wedding, after Alicent’s dress reveal.
After the night’s horrifying events, Viserys decides to marry Rhanerya and Laenor right away, celebrations be damned.
Viserys collapses during the wedding, showing just how sick he is getting.
Before this happens,  Criston goes outside to commit suicide, only to be stopped by Alicent who, presumably, wants to form an alliance with him.
It looks like Rhanerya is going to regret naming him to the Kingsguard, after all.
Out of all five episodes, I would say that “We Light the Way” is my second favourite, behind “King of the Narrow Sea.”
My only issue is that Criston getting away with murdering Joffrey is a plot hole.
Otherwise this was a great episode and an excellent farewell to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, who both did a terrific job playing a young Rhanerya and Alicent.


Book Spoiler Section:
About Viserys’ legacy, it was interesting to think about this when the king himself worried about how he would be remembered.
Unfortunately for him, I do not think he is remembered all that well.
Yes, his rule was peaceful but it was the precursor to the Dance of the Dragons, something which started in part because of Viserys’ complacancy.
It makes sense why he was this way, given how he likely wanted Weteroes to be peaceful so they could be united when the White Walkers eventually attacked.
But good intentions do not always result in good things happening and, especially the world of Westeroes.
Bad intentioned actions are the same as well, for Daemon’s efforts to claim Runestone will be for nothing, since Jeyne Arryn will refuse his request.
As for Alicent and Criston, it was interesting to finally see what turned them both against Rhanerya and I think it makes a lot of sense for the both of them.
They will now become huge problems for Rhanerya and it was interesting to see how that played out ten years later in the following episode, “The Princess and the Queen.”

House of the Dragon Episode Four, King of the Narrow Sea Review: Targaryen Sexcapades.

While I consider Episode Three to be the weakest of House of the Dragon so far, Episode Four “King of the Narrow Sea” is definitley the best.
Directed by Clare Kilner, the episode certainly starts off strong, with Rhanerya hearing suitors at Storm’s End, the castle of the Baratheons.
Unfortunately, Rhanerya proves herself to be quite terrible at making allies again, as she insults multiple suitors, despite the attempts of Boremund Baratheon to get her to appease them.
Eventually a young Blackwood boy gives his pitch for her hand, only to be heckled by a Braken man.
This was a nice touch since, in the books, the Blackwood and Braken families have been feuding for generations.
The feud continues in the episode’s opening, with the two rivals coming to blows, leading to Blackwood boy killing the Braken man with his sword.
Rhanerya uses this as an excuse to return to King’s Landing with Criston Cole, however, their return is interrupted by the return of Daemon from the Stepstones atop Caraxes.
Marching into the Throne Room, Daemon wears a crown, announcing to Viserys that Lord Corlys named him “King of the Narrow Sea.”
However, he still bends the knee to Viserys, and is welcomed by him.
In all honesty, this scene was much grander in Fire and Blood, where Daemon flew down on Caraxes in the middle of a tourney to present Viserys with his crown but it still works here.
Celebrations are held for Daemon’s return, where we do get a funny moment between the two brothers where Viserys laughs at Alicent’s suggestion that Daemon of all people would enjoy tapestries.
To my surprise, we then get a moment between Rhanerya and Alicent, where they seem to have made up in the years since Episode Three, wanting to ammend their friendship.
I figured Rhanerya would just stay mad at Alicent for marrying Viserys but it is nice to see their relationship is not as simple as that.
Once the celebration is over, Rhanerya and Daemon have their own discussion, in High Valyrian again, where we have a lot of great lines from Daemon, such as, “You cannot live your life in fear, or you will forsake the best parts of it.”
That night, Daemon leaves a note in Rhanerya’s room, revealing a secret passage to her that leads to the two meeting.
Rhanerya going past the skull of Balerion the Black Dread made me think a lot of Arya.
Daemon shows Rhanerya the streets of King’s Landing, with the two eventually seeing a Shakespeare style play, depicting the current matter of succession.
Rhanerya is portrayed pretty poorly in this play, which was a surprise to me, considering she should be considered “the Realm’s Delight” at this stage.
They even call her this in the play, so it is kind of a weird discrepancy, although nothing major.
After accidentally stealing, Rhanerya makes a break for it, only to run into Ser Harwin Strong, who lets her go upon recognising her and Daemon.
Daemon then takes Rhanerya to a brothel, where he quite clearly organises events so the two of them are noticed.
It appears he planned to seduce Rhanerya and have word spread, sullying Rhanerya’s name in the process, forcing Viserys to marry them.
His plan goes well at first, as Rhanerya is receptive to his advances.
Their passion is intercut with the passionateless reaction of Alicent in King Viserys’ bed chamber, with her having to bed a man who seems to be quite literally rotting, due to numerous cuts from the throne.
This, once again shows the difference between Alicent and Rhanerya’s courting lives, as Rhanerya is pursuing who she wants while Alicent was ordered to seduce the king by her father and bear his children.
Back with Daemon and Rhanerya, Daemon’s plan goes awry, when Rhanerya becomes more assertive, causing Daemon to leave her alone in the brothel.
Why he did this is kept vague.
I have heard theories that he left because he felt guilt about what he was doing and also that he was turned off when Rhanerya became more assertive.
He also may be somewhat impotent, considering he had problems performing with Mysaria in the first episode.
It could really be any of these, or even a combination of them.
What’s so fascinating about Daemon’s character is how much of an enigma his motivations often are.
As for Rhanerya, she returns to her room in the Red Keep but from the outside, leading to a quite hilarious reaction from Criston.
A sexually frustrated Rhanerya then playfully teases him into the room and convinces him to have sex with her.
The two then share a passionate scene which, unfortunately for Criston, he seems to be putting more into emotionally than Rhanerya.
She does not seem to actually love him, at least not in a romantic way.
Meanwhile, Otto recieves word of Rhanerya and Daemon’s escapades in the brothel from a source known as the White Worm, revealed to be Mysaria.
She has a scene with Daemon, where she temporarily helps him recover after a night of drinking.
While it is nice to see how Mysaria’s character is progressing, I am sorry to say that the accent her actress is going for is still terrible.
I honestly have a hard time understanding what she is saying at times.
Back to Mysaria snitching on Daemon, though, Otto does seem a bit saddened by having to reveal Daemon and Rhanerya’s actions to Viserys, even though it is a ploy to get Aegon on the throne.
Otto reports to Viserys that Daemon bedded Rhanerya, something which did not happen but is probably what was reported to him.
Viserys is enraged by this but more so at Otto for spying on Rhanerya, rightly calling him out for trying to get his own blood on the Iron Throne.
Alicent overhears this argument and confronts Rhanerya over the rumors she slept with Daemon.
Their interaction here is one of the most interesting moments of the episode.
Rhanerya tells the truth that she did not sleep with Daemon but lies about her just being a spectator and does not not admit to sleeping with Criston.
Alicent’s demeanor is far more interesting, however.
She seems to be both scandalized by the rumors, concerned for Rhanerya’s image, and jealous of her friend’s sexual freedom.
In the end, Rhanerya manages to convince Alicent that Daemon was entirely at fault and that she did nothing.
Viserys is not convinced, however, and has Daemon brought to him in a drunken state.
Daemon does not deny the accusation, again, all as a ploy to get Viserys to marry Rhanerya to him but this only enrages Viserys further.
One ironic moment is when Viserys says Rhanerya is “just a girl” as if he did not marry a girl her age.
Pot calling kettle, Viserys.
After refusing Daemon’s proposal, Viserys banishes him once more and later summons Rhanerya, showing her the catspaw dagger from the original series.
Aegon the Conqueror had the prophecy of the Prince that was Promised hidden on the blade, something which never panned out in Game of Thrones.
Much like in Episode One, these references to the White Walkers only drag the show down by reminding us of the letdown that was Season Eight.
However, these are also small moments so they are not that big of an issue.
During their following discussion, Viserys informs Rhanerya that she will be marrying Laenor Velaryon, to which Rhanerya agrees, so long as Viserys gets rid of Otto for spying on her.
Viserys calls Otto to the small council room and both praises him for serving the realm well and admonishes him for acting in his own interests, betraying his king.
He has also finally realized that Otto instructed Alicent to seduce him for his family’s power, and removes Otto from his position.
The episode then ends with the Grand Maester giving Rhanerya a drink that will prevent any pregnancies from her night with Critson, which they believe was with Daemon.
The Grand Maester says it was from Viserys but there is the chance Otto told him to do it to create further division.
Either way, the episode ends ambigiously in regards to whether Rhanerya drinks it or not.
Overall, “King of the Narrow Sea” was a fantastic episode of House of the Dragon, with interesting development for Daemon, and especially Rhanerya and Alicent.
Next week is the last episode Milly Alcock and Emily Carey play these two, which is sad to see because they are doing such a good job.
Hopefully, the wedding with Leanor can provide some chances for great acting from the both of them.
Ah, a wedding in Westeros.
What could possibly go wrong?

Book Spoilers Section:
One thing I especially enjoyed about “King of the Narrow Sea” was all of the subtle building blocks to future events.
For one thing, there is the foreshadowing for Rhanerya’s death later in the story, when the fortune teller asks her if she wants to know how she will die, before the shot cuts to dragon flame.
Then there is the settup for how Criston and Alicent will truly become Rhanerya’s enemies.
Like I mentioned, Criston clearly thinks his night with Rhanerya meant more than it did.
He literally gave up his vows of chastity for her, risking his life, so to learn that it was all just a fling to her could cause hatred.
Learning that Rhanerya lied and slept with Criston, along with her being the reason Otto was banished, could cause Alicent to hate Rhanerya as well.
Coming back to Criston, I also wonder if Rhanerya is pregnant with his child at the end.
We know her children are believed to have been fathered by Harwin Strong but what if Jacaerys was actually fathered by Criston?
We do see Harwin in the episode, allowing Rhanerya and Daemon to pass in the streets of King’s Landing, so I like how the show is keeping him in the back of the audience’s mind, so they can later reveal he is the father to some if not all of her children.
I am intrigued to see if either Criston or Harwin is the father of Rhanerya’s first child and how the hatred for Rhanerya from Criston and Alicent will truly form.

House of the Dragon Episode Three, Second of His Name Review: The War in the Stepstones.

Episode Three of House of the Dragon, “Second of His Name” is probably my least favourite of the four episodes so far, however, this does not mean I consider it bad, just the weakest.
The Greg Yaitanes directed episode certainly starts off fantastic, by showing just how badly the war in the Stepstones is going for Daemon, Corlys and the Velaryon fleet, as we see the Crab Feeder and his men nailing captured soldiers to stakes on the beach, so they can be eaten by crabs.
One such soldier is particularly defiant, and his cries of how the Crab Feeder’s time is up seems almost foretold when Daemon launches a surprise attack with Caraxes.
The staked soldier calls out to Daemon for help, certain that he is about to be rescued, and I am sure this is where we all realized this guy was going to be collateral damage.
What was the bigger suprise was him getting stomped to death by Caraxes, rather than burned alive, although I suppose it is the better way to go.
This brutal end is not for the Crab Feeder yet, however, as he and his men hide in caves to avoid the dragon fire, which is how they have managed to drag this war out.
It makes a lot of sense when you think about how this guerilla warfare is one of the many tactics Dorne used to avoid being taken over by Aegon the Conqueror.
Eventually, Daemon is forced to flee when he takes an arrow to the shoulder and we get an interesting moment of Caraxes reacting to this, as if he can feel Daemon’s pain, showing how close the bond is between a rider and their dragon.
After this display of how poorly the war in the Stepstones is going, we cut back to King’s Landing, where a hunt is being planned to celebrate the second birthday of Visery’s son by Alicent, Aegon.
Three years hve passed since the end of the second episode, where Viserys declared that he would marry Alicent, and this is where one of my minor issues with the episode comes into play.
I was a bit disappointed that we did not see Rhanerya’s first interaction with Alicent after Visery’s announcement, nor her reaction to Aegon’s birth, considering now Viserys has a son who everyone wants him to replace her with.
Still, we do get a bit of a display of both in the following scenes, as Otto’s brother Hobert pressures him to convince Viserys to name Aegon the heir, and Alicent then goes to retrieve Rhanerya for the hunt.
She is sitting below the Wierwood Tree where she and Alicent were shown talking in Episode One, only now she is listening to a bard sing about Nymeria and her 10,000 ships.
Interestingly enough, this is what she and Alicent were talking about in that scene from “Heirs of the Dragon” so I am sure that Rhanerya listening to this, rather than talking about it with Alicent, is an indicator of how far their friendship has fallen.
Further proof of this is how cold Rhanerya is to Alicent now, wanting the bard to keep singing over the queen, but Alicent outranks her so she sends him away.
Alicent seems much more confident than she did in the first few episodes, now commanding people as opposed to constantly being ordered around by Otto.
She convinces Rhanerya to come along, although reluctantly, and throughout the journey Rhanerya does an honestly bad job of making allies, something she will need in the years that follow.
That said, she is not exactly wrong either, criticising Lady Redwyne for complaining about the War in the Stepstones when she just eats cake all day.
Well, well, it seems Rhanerya really does jest about cake, the little liar.
On another note, did anyone find the random pug Lady Redwyne was holding to be weirdly funny?
Out of all the animals I expected to see in a Game of Thrones show, a pug was not one of them.
Rhanerya’s next interaction is with a new key character, Jason Lannister.
What is funny about this character is that he is played by Jefferson Hall, who played Hugh of the Vale in Game of Thrones.
Not only that but Hall also plays Tyland Lannister, Jason’s meek twin brother.
Jason is much more assertive than his brother but also pompous and arrogant.
Hall honestly does a great job of making us dislike the character based on his attitude alone.
His attitude certainly does not impress Rhanerya, who immediately spurns his marriage proposal and storms off to argue with Viserys about him planning to have her married off.
It is here that neither royal proves very smart by taking their argument to a private area.
Instead, they argue loudly in full view of everyone, displaying a loud amount of weakness, something you must never do in the game of thrones.
Thankfully, Otto is there to break it up but only to further his attempt to persuade Viserys to name Aegon heir by declaring that a White Hart, a sign of royalty, has been spotted in the area, indicating Aegon’s legitimacy as heir to the various lords.
In frustration Rhanerya storms off, leaving Criston Cole to pursue her.
The two have some good banter and we see how Cole appreicates Rhanerya for granting him a place in the Kinsguard, a high position for the son of steward.
Their stay in the woods goes on into the night, while Viserys continues to entertain various lords at camp, among them Jason, who presents him with a spear and uses it as a means to offer to marry Rhanerya.
Unfortunately for him, he chooses his words very poorly, thinking that it is a fact that Viserys will name Aegon heir, replacing Rhanerya.
This causes Viserys to grow a backbone and his verbal beatdown of Jason was excellent to watch.
The next marrige proposal Viserys gets for Rhanerya comes from Otto and it is a suprising one.
Otto wants Viserys to betroth Rhanerya to Aegon.
Viserys, naturally, laughs at this idea because Aegon is a toddler.
When you think about it from Otto’s perspective, however, it is interesting to see why he makes this proposal.
He has just been pressured by his brother to convince Viserys to name Aegon heir, however, given how smart Otto is, he likely knows Viserys is reluctant to supplant Rhanerya.
So, he suggests marrying Rhanerya to Aegon, which would make Aegon the future king so, even if Rhanerya remains heir, the lords of Westeroes would still acknowledge Aegon more as the rightful ruler because of the patriarchal society they live in.
As I said, though, Viserys thankfully shoots this idea down, growing more displeased with every proposal of marriage for Rhanerya.
The final lord to make a suggestion is Lord Lyonel (Gavin Spokes), who proves himself to be the most honourable man in Visery’s small council.
Rather than propose that Rhanerya marry his son Harwin for his own family’s power, Lyonel instead proposes that Rhanerya marry Laenor Velaryon, the son of Corlys, since this will help mend the broken relationship between the crown and House Velaryon.
It is rare to see a lord outside of the Starks give advice to the king that is good for the realm rather than just for their own political ambition.
Lyonel reminded me a lot of the show version of Varys in this moment and Viserys also seems to have appreciated the good advice, patting Lyonel on the shoulder as he drunkenly stumbles out.
Meanwhile, Rhanerya and Cole are still out in the woods and have made camp and Rhanerya asks him if he thinks the realm would ever accept her as queen.
Cole answers that they will have no choice but to, which is not exactly a good answer.
Before the two can continue their discussion, they are interrupted by an attacking boar.
Their luck is far better than Robert Barethon, however, as they slay the boar, with Rhanerya getting blood all over herself.
While this is happening, Viserys is standing drunk at his own campfire, when Alicent approahces him and Viserys goes on a drunken rant about the dream he had of his son becoming king, leading to Aemma’s death and how the guilt from it resulted in him naming Rhanerya heir.
It is here where I once again have to give praise to Paddy Considine.
Every episode his performance is fantastic and he has turned the one dimensional ruler from Fire and Blood into a sympathetic, yet flawed and complicated character who is incredibly investing to watch.
This continues in the following scene, where a stag is captured in the hunt, rather than a White Hart, the animal that was supposed to signify Aegon’s right to rule.
It is difficult to tell if the look on Viserys’ face at the sight is one of disappointment or relief.
Knowing how complicated Viserys is, it’s probably a mixture of both.
In the end Viserys’ kills the stag, although he does a poor job of it, displaying yet more weakness while his men applaud.
It is Rhanerya who shows true strength, as she and Cole come across the White Hart, signifying to the audience that she is the rightful heir, yet Rhanerya chooses to let the animal go.
I have to wonder what the lords’ reactions would be if Rhanerya actually walked back into camp with a dead White Hart, though?
I am sure they would have found some mental gymnastics to explain how it was still a sign of Aegon’s right to rule but I feel it would have brought quite a few allies to her side, not that Rhanerya does not do that already when she walks into camp.
As we can see, a few people are impressed by her walking in, covered in the blood of the boar, in particular Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), who throws her an impressed grin.
After the hunt, the royals and lords return to King’s Landing, where Otto turns to plan b for convincing Viserys to name Aegon heir… have Alicent do it.
Although Otto is still manipulative with his daughter, it is interesting to see the shift in the power dynamic, as Alicent fights the idea a lot more, having gained confidence as queen.
It was bit distracting to see the orgy art in the background of this scene though.
Wonder what the High Septon would think of that?
As for Alicent, she does go to talk with Viserys but, as proof that she is still a good person, rather than attempting to convince him to name Aegon heir, what she actually does is convince Viserys to help out in the Stepstones by sending support.
Another interesting detail in this scene is Viserys’ hand, as when he removes his gloves we can see that he has lost two of his fingers from the cuts he recieved when sitting the Iron Thone, yet another sign of his weak nature as a king.
The next morning Viserys summons Rhanerya to speak of her future marriage and the two argue again, with Rhanerya making a lot of good points like that if Viserys had married for political reasons then he would have just married Laena rather than Alicent.
Viserys concedes to this but does make good points for why Rhanerya needs to marry because it will help build alliances and any children she has will strengthen her line and claim to the throne.
However, he does allow Rhanerya to make her own choice in husband, just like he chose Alicent.
He ends the conversation by revealing to Rhanerya that he did waver about keeping her as heir but swears on Aemma’s memory that he will not replace her with Aegon, temporarily bridging the gap between father and daughter once more.
The episode then cuts from this touching moment to the war in the Stepstones, where Corlys and his advisors, including his brother Vaemond (Wil Johnson) and son Laenor (Theo Nate), are planning their next move.
Laenor has an ambitious plan to draw out the Crab Feeder using Daemon as bait but Vaemond is against this, leading to Laenor dubbing him “the master of complaints” in a funny moment.
As the argument progresses, Daemon arrives, followed by messengers, who deliver Daemon a letter from Viserys, promising his brother aid.
Rather than react joyfully, Daemon reacts violently, beating the messenger, since the entire reason he entered this war was to gain recognition for himself, and Viserys sending him help now would make him weak.
This causes Daemon to go on a suicide mission, appearing to surrender to the Crab Feeder’s men, before killing them and going on a mad dash to reach his opponent, dodging multiple arrows before being struck.
Then, right as Daemon is surrounded and about to be killed, Corlyss’ forces arrive, with Laenor on his dragon Seasmoke.
United, Corlys’ forces defeat the Crabfeeder’s, while Daemon chases the prince down and cuts him in half off screen, emerging from the cave blood soaked.
The episode then ends on Daemon having proved himself with blood, just like Rhanerya did on the hunting trip earlier.
Oh, and Daemon does all of this without a single word, making it even more awesome.
As for the Crab Feeder, I was a bit disappointed not to see their fight since Episode Two’s cliffhanger hyped it up but the Crab Feeder is pretty much a footnote in the book so I suppose it makes sense.
Although, I do have quite a few criticisms of this battle, mainly Daemon’s plot armour.
Sure, it is can be argued that a group of archers would find it difficult to hit a lone man at a distance, but Daemon still seems to recover from the arrow wounds he does get very quickly.
Then there’s the fact that the Crab Feeder’s army surrounds Daemon first, rather than immediately kill him, allowing Laenor and Seasmoke to blast them with fire, which also somehow avoids hitting Daemon.
Finally, there is the fact that Corlys’ army is somehow able to completley sneak up on the Crab Feeder’s with no one noticing.
Admittedly, had this been in any other show then it would not have been as much of an issue.
But, since House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones show, this did break my suspension of disbelief slightly and reminded me of the absurd plot armour seen in Seasons Seven and Eight of the original show.
It was these issues that made “Second of His Name” the weakest episode of the show so far, for me, although it is certainly by no means a bad episode.

Book Spoiler Section:

For Episode Three’s spoiler section, I do not have much to discuss, other than some of the minor characters introduced who will later go on to be important, like Harwin and Larys Strong (Mathew Needham).
Harwin smiling at Rhanerya when she walks into camp is a great touch, subtly hinting at their future relationship.
As for Larys, I did not catch that he deliberately sat himself amongst the women so he could gather information until someone pointed it out online.
Already, he is setting himself up to be a Varys or Littlefinger type of character and most of the show only audience do not even realise this yet.
I look forward to seeing how these two characters will be portrayed in future episodes.

House of the Dragon Episode Two, The Rogue Prince Review: Medieval Matchmaking.

House of the Dragon‘s first episode was a great start for the series, bringing many fans who were burned by Game of Thrones‘ final season back into the fold.
The second episode “The Rogue Prince” is just as fantastic, in my opinion.
Directed by Greg Yaitanes and written by Ryan Condal, the episode begins in gory fashion, showing off the victims of Craghas Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith), the Crab Feeder, on one of the beaches of the Stepstones.
The Crab Feeder’s method of murder is particularly brutal, as he stakes his enemy’s to posts and then leaves them for the crabs to eat alive.
His actions naturally anger Corlys Velaryon, since a ship with his banner has been hit and his men slaughtered, however, King Viserys and Otto Hightower seem reluctant to do anything about it.
Viserys because he wishes to avoid conflict and Otto because, well, House Velaryon is the richest house in Westeros and I suppose them falling in stature could put the Hightowers higher up in the pecking order.
Rhanerya, however, is team attack the Stepstones, along with Corlys.
Unfortunately, she is not taken seriously, even though Viserys named her his heir last episode, and she is instead religated to choosing a new member of the Kingsguard, since one of their number recently died.
Rhanerya has a lot of noble knights to choose from but instead chooses Ser Criston Cole, the only knight among the lot with any experience in combat.
Otto advises against this, wanting someone from a noble house in the Kingsguard but Rhanerya argues her case well.
After all, someone whose job is to protect the king should be selected on their fighting skills, not for political reasons because that is just asking for the king to get assassinated.
Following this scene, we then get one between Viserys and Alicent, showing that her father is still directing her to try and seduce the king for power.
However, Alicent is still certainly not comfortable with this, as shown by her numerous expressions across the episode.
Along with this, she proves herself to be a kind and caring person by using her influence with both Viserys and Rhanerya to try and bring the two to talk again after Aemma’s death.
The scene between Alicent and Rhanerya is also particularly great, with Milly Alcock giving a great performance as the Realm’s Delight, which she does across the entire episode really.
As for Viserys, even though it has only been six months since his wife died, various lords are insisting he get remarried, and I don’t just mean Otto subtly shoving Alicent his way.
Corlys and Rhaenys take a more direct approach with Viserys, bringing up all the signs of weakness his rule over Westeros has, before suggesting he marry their daughter Laena (Nova Foueillis-Mose) to show strength in the realm.
Unfortunately for Corlys and Rhaenys’ attempt at medieval matchmaking, Viserys brings up this marriage proposal to Otto.
Rhys Ifans did a fantastic job portraying Otto’s inner panic here, as he realizes the Velaryons may get one over on him, first bringing up Laena’s youth as an excuse before going in more subtly, comparing the loss of Visery’s wife to his own.
This may have planted the idea of marrying out of affection more firmly in Visery’s mind.
Frankly, I’m just surprised Viserys could continue the conversation normally while those maggots were eaten the rotten flesh around the finger he cut on the Iron Throne.
The wonders of medieval medicine.
Speaking of medieval times though, the next scene showcases one of the most uncomfortable things about those times, this being underage arranged marriages.
When Otto said Laena was young it may have been an excuse but that does not change the fact that she is only twelve years old, making the whole planned speech from her about joining their houses and not having to bed Viserys until she turns fourteen deepy disturbing.
Thankfully, Viserys seems just as creeped out about the idea of marrying a child as the audience is.
He is far happier to discuss anything else with Laena, other than the prospect of the marriage, like Vhagar, the oldest and largest living dragon.
Vhagar was a dragon who lived during Aegon’s Conquest and was ridden by Visenya Targaryen but her location, something Laena is interested in, is unknown.
As Laena and Viserys walk togethor, Rhanerya and Rhaenys are watching them and have a discussion, which is one of best dialogue exchanges in the entire episode.
Watching these two throw shade at each other was great.
Rhaenys was harsh but, in the end, she said many things that Rhanerya needed to hear.
If she wants to sit the Iron Throne, it will be an uphill battle.
As Rhaenys says, “men would sooner put the realm to the torch, than let a women assend the Iron Throne.”
But, while the shade throwing between Rhanerya and Rhaenys was great, there is one character who can throw shade better: Daemon.
He makes his return in Episode Two in a big way, stealing a dragon egg off screen to give to Mysaria, who is pregnant and he intends to marry.
Daemon did not just steal any dragon egg, however, but the one Rhanerya chose for her brother Baelon, the child Daemon titled “the heir for a day.”
As I said, major shade thrower Daemon is.
Yet, this reveal does lead to the first moment Rhanerya commands a small council meeting, as she demands to know which dragon egg Daemon stole, the answer of which causes Viserys to act, wanting to bring Daemon to justice, before Otto offers to go instead.
Leading a group, including Criston Cole, Otto journeys to Dragonstone, where he confronts Daemon on a foggy bridge.
This confrontation is excellent, even though no blood is shed.
The banter of the episode continues to be great, as Daemon and Criston share barbs, Otto demands Daemon return the dragon egg and send Mysaria away, and Daemon remains entirely flippant about the situation.
Eventually, swords are drawn but this was a bad call on Otto’s part because it alerts Daemon’s dragon Caraxes, the CGI for which is fantastic.
Lucky for Otto and the rest, Rhanerya then arrives to prove her worth as the heir by convincing Daemon to hand over the egg.
Their discussion in High Valyrian is another great moment and its interesting to note how respectful Daemon suddenly becomes when talking with his family compared to everyone else.
Even more interesting is how Rhanerya quickly deduces that Daemon’s claims about Mysaria being pregnant and marrying her were lies just to get Viserys to come see him.
Essentially, what we are seeing here is the equivalent of a child throwing a tantrum to get their big brother’s attention.
In any other show, this would be incredibly obnoxious but the writing for Daemon is so great it makes him all the more compelling.
Daemon hands the egg over to Rhanerya, in the end, and she and the others depart, leaving Daemon with Mysaria, who is none too pleased about Daemon’s lies, since they put her in danger.
And, it is here that I have to talk about Sonoya Mizuno’s accent.
I’m sorry but it is flat out terrible.
I did not talk about it in my review for the first episode because I wanted to see if it would get better but her accent was just as bad here and I have no idea what she’s trying to go for.
Hopefully, her accent gets softened or she ditches it entirely in future episodes because otherwise it is going to be incredibly distracting.
Upon returning to King’s Landing, Rhanerya receieves an initially frosty reception from Viserys, who is understandably angered that she would risk her life like that.
However, the conversation eventually evolves into a moving moment, when the two finally reconnect for the first time since Aemma’s death, promising not to become estranged, even if Viserys remarries.
Well, maybe Viserys should have been more clear with Rhanerya about who he was going to marry.
Honestly, did he really think Rhanerya would take it well when he announced that he was going to marry her best friend?
Maybe he was too worried about Corlys’ reaction to notice, since the guy is extremely angered that his daughter was passed over, the second time his family has been passed over for the Iron Throne, in fact.
No matter what Viserys thought Rhanerya’s reaction might be, however, the end result is almost certainly the destruction of her friendship with Alicent.
I would not be surprised if Rhanerya now thinks every single interaction she had with Alicent was all a ploy for her so-called friend to get into her father’s pants.
As the audience, we know this is not true, but it would be understandable for Rhanerya to come to this conclusion.
On another note, Otto’s smug face during this whole scene is particuarly funny.
The man is an expert at manipulating Viserys, at this point, while Corlys was far too direct.
Having been denied by one Targaryen, Corlys turns to another, extending an invitation for an alliance with Daemon.
The final scene with the two of them is also excellent, with the slow reveal that it is Daemon Corlys is talking to.
Corlys suggests that Daemon help him conquer the Stepstones, insulting Viserys as he does so.
Daemon’s response to this is epic.
“I will speak of my brother as I wish… you will not.”
Again, Daemon’s attitude toward his family is very compelling.
He has no qualms speaking ill of them if he thinks they have screwed up buts gods help you if he hears you doing it.
Despite this, Corlys apparently still manages to persuade Daemon to help him, as the final intercutting shots tease a fight between Daemon and the Crab Feeder.
On a final note, I would like to talk about the new opening.
I think it is pretty decent with nice visuals.
The theme itself is great, of course, what with it being the one from Game of Thrones. 
My biggest criticism is that the symbols shown are a bit vague and flash across the screen so fast, meaning that many viewers may not even know what the symbols mean.
I was one of the these people until I looked up exactly what was happening in the opening afterwards.
Still, a good opening, I think it just should have moved a bit slower with the visuals and been a bit more clear about what it was displaying.
“The Rogue Prince” is another great episode of House of the Dragon with various compelling character interactions that set up the future of the story.
Speaking of…

Book Spoilers:
I said in the spoiler free section of the review that Rhanerya is probably questioning her entire friendship with Alicent.
Since we have now seen the beginning of Rhanerya’s grudge against Alicent, I wonder what exactly will be the start of Alicent’s against Rhanerya?
Despite seducing Viserys under Otto’s command, Alicent clearly still cares about Rhanerya, proven by the attempt to help her reconcile with her father, so I wonder what will drive her to that point?
Another thing I am interested to see is Laena taming Vhagar.
Or rather, I am hoping to see it.
Unlike Alicent growing to hate Rhanerya, Vhagar becoming Laena’s dragon might not be something we see.
We might just see that she has tamed her off screen later on.
Still, Laena seemed interested in finding Vhagar during her talk with Viserys, so I hope we get to see this happen.
Finally, I am excited to see the war in the Stepstones next episode with the innevitable fight between Daemon and Crab Feeder.
It will be the first big battle of House of the Dragon and it will be interesting to see how the show handles it.