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After last week’s season debut, which featured the death of Queen Aemma during childbirth, it was inevitable that King Viserys was going to end up needing to take a new queen. Leave it to George R.R. Martin to give him only two choices in the entire kingdom — a 12 year old girl who couldn’t sleep with him for two years until she turns 14, but just so happens to be the daughter of the richest man in the kingdom and of the woman he beat out to sit on the Iron Throne — or his daughter’s teenage best friend.
Seriously, he’s the king!
These are the only two options available to him in the entire kingdom?!
Ah, don’t you just love a great love dilemma.
Okay, as we get rolling here with week two’s review, I’m still learning everyone’s names so it’s possible I’ll screw up here and there. Also, unlike with last week where I felt like everything in season one was explained fairly well, it feels like we sort of got thrown in the deep end of the House of Dragon pool a bit with this episode.
Last week felt like a movie, but this week felt like a show, if that makes any sense.
With that in mind, let’s dive right in to episode two.
1. The map is back!
Sure, it’s being filled in with blood and it’s confusing to know what in the world is being shown — to be fair I never really could keep up with the old map either — but it’s nonetheless great to have our music back and a standard opening montage.
This felt very much like old school Thrones, especially when it led us straight to the opening scene where guys who you think are dead suddenly move their bodies as they are getting eaten alive by crabs. It seems there’s trouble afoot in the kingdom.
The free cities are threatening the shipping lanes of the seven kingdom and Lord Corlys Valaryon demands some retributive justice be meted out in his meeting with Valerys in King’s Landing.
Oh, and he also wants to pimp out his daughter to the king.
But that’s still to come.
2. First, Princess Rhaenyra is reviewing knights to consider them for promotion to lead her father’s security detail after Daemon’s departure.
And, spoiler alert, she likes the best looking knight for the job.
This new knight might as well be named Jon Snow.
He’s positively dreamy.
I still haven’t learned this guy’s name, but I would wager a pound of Valyrian steel that soon he and the princess two will be rolling around in a steamy embrace by a fire somewhere.
3. King Viserys is spending his time building models inside his castle, while Lady Alicent Hightower continues to put the moves on him.
They discuss whether the kingdom can ever be as powerful as it was in the Valeryian era and Alicent is so interested in bedding the king that she’s even able to pretend to be interested in his indoor modeling set.
But she can’t let her best friend, the would be queen know anything about what’s going on between her and the king. That doesn’t stop the two of them from discussing the difficulty of the king talking with his daughter however.
Alicent, who also lost her mother, seems to be serving as a default stand-in, at least in some way, for Rhaenyra.
As if all this isn’t enough, the king has an issue with his finger now and they plunge it into the maggots to heal.
The king then goes for a nice stroll with Lord Coryls’s 12 year old daughter, who informs the king that she wants to marry him because she comes from Velaryon and Targaryen stock and the two of them would make a great and powerful pair.
Which is the speech her father told her to make to the king.
There’s just one additional catch, since she’s still a little girl, she informs the king that she can’t sleep with him until she’s 14 years old.
4. Princess Rhaenyra witnesses this beautiful courtship and engages in conversation with Rhaenys Targaryen, aka the “The Queen Who Never Was.”
The QWNW tells Rhaenyra that her father will remarry and “Men would rather put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend to the Iron Throne. And your father is no fool.”
Last week I wrote that I was concerned this woman chasing the throne would wokeify Thrones, but my wife pointed out this was a recurring theme with Daenerys too. That’s certainly true, but it didn’t feel as overwhelming with Daenerys because there were so many other people contending for the throne as well.
Everyone who wants to sit on the Iron Throne has obstacles, Rhaenyra’s appear to be similar to Daenerys’s issues. Only unlike with Daenerys’s pursuit of the throne, so far there aren’t that many contenders for the throne.
5. Not to be outdone, Prince Daemon, banished from the kingdom and now living at Dragonstone, announces he’s marrying a second wife, his mistress Mysaria.
To be a nice guy, he’s invited everyone to the wedding, but he’s also stolen a dragon egg, the same dragon egg that was in the crib of the baby prince who died.
An outraged King Viserys sends his hand, Otto Hightower, to retrieve the egg and resolve the issue with his brother.
6. We’re back at Dragonstone.
When last we were here — which is almost two hundred years in the future, but was a few years ago in story time — Dragonstone was the home of Stannis Baratheon and later where Jon and Daenearys mine dragon glass to fight the white walkers and also engage in incestuous love making.
But that’s still a couple of hundred years into the future.
Back in the past in our current story, there’s a baby dragon egg, a mistress, and an insult fight between Hightower and Daemon playing out on the Dragonstone ramparts. Hightower says Daemon’s “bastard fathered by a common whore” has no claim on the throne and Daemon retorts that his love does not know titles.
A battle between the two men is only stopped by the sudden appearance of Princess Rhaenyra who arrives on her own dragon, hops off and tells her uncle to kill her or give her the dragon egg back.
This all feels, frankly, very Daenerys, and right now Rhaenyra feels like a much less interesting version of Daenerys.
I know they are both Targaryen’s, but there needs to be more distance created between their characters. We’ve already experienced the brave, dragon riding blonde badass storyline.
Anyway, Daemon, who so far is by far the most interesting character on the show, tosses her back the dragon egg, the same dragon egg that had been destined for her baby brother’s crib, and then Daemon has to convince his mistress that he still loves her.
We still haven’t seen Dameon’s actual wife, which I’m hoping will be pretty entertaining.
7. Back at King’s Landing, Viserys is counseled that the smart move is to take Lord Corlys’s young daughter as his bride.
Gripped with uncertainty over his next wife, Viserys makes peace with Rhaenyra — “your mother’s absence is a wound that won’t heal” — and she acknowledges that he must pick a new queen.
The King’s Council meets and Valerys, evidently not having told his daughter his choice, picks her best friend, Lady Alicent as his next queen.
From daughter’s best friend to step mom in an instant, it’s like a PornHub storyline brought to life!
Both Lord Corlys and Rhaenyra storm out of the palace chambers as the king’s choice for queen has managed to alienate everyone but the Hightower’s.
8. Lord Corlys meets with Prince Daemon and we can see the plan to overthrow Viserys is in the works.
Would Daemon be above marrying Corlys’s 12 year old daughter and sitting on the Iron Throne?
It seems unlikely.
But Daemon does seem to have a loyalty to his niece, which is one of the most intriguing storylines so far through two episodes.
Thus ends episode two.
9. In the previews, which I don’t generally spend much time writing about here, we have flashed ahead a couple of years potentially to what looks like a one year old son having been born to Viserys and Alicent.
At least six months passed between episode and episode two and if the baby is born and appears to be nearly a year old, we’re talking about nearly three years passing in three episodes.
For anyone who remembers the plodding travels of Arya Stark — remember how she spent what felt like years of the show traveling from one place to another? — the pace of this show, at least from a time covered perspective, has been rapid.
It also calls into question, at least a bit, how dire the king’s health situation might actually be if he’s capable of living for years with his maladies and continues to sire new children.
Overall, I thought this episode was somewhat predictable. The death of the queen necessitates a new queen be named. I was a bit surprised we didn’t spend more time discussing this in episode one, particularly because the naming of Rhaenyra was treated as such a compelling moment. But this story line felt inevitable.
I’d also point out that episode one, perhaps befitting a pilot, felt grand and cinematic in its plotting whereas this episode felt more pedestrian, a bit of a breather after a frenetic debut.
And I still feel like Lord Corlys has been a major character, but that he and his family, as well as their story, remains an exceedingly empty vessel. We know he’s rich and powerful, married the near queen, and has two children. But we know very little else about him.
If he’s going to emerge as one of the king’s top challengers, we need to learn more about him soon.
Here was my discussion immediately after the show ended, as you can see, I’m still learning as much as you guys are.
House of Dragons Reaction Show https://t.co/xBMO1cJueZ
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 29, 2022