The second episode of House of the Dragon wasn't nearly as brutal as the first, but it set up major storylines for the rest of the season. In last week's "The Rogue Prince," Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) agreed to wage war against the Crabfeeder, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) named Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) as the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and King Viserys (Paddy Considine) decided to marry his daughter's best friend, Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey).
Those narratives continued in the third episode, "Second of His Name," as Viserys and his crew headed out for a hunt, Rhaenyra struggled to find her place in the world, and Daemon turned silent but deadly. Read on to dig deeper into five of the biggest things that happened in the episode.
Ahead of the series, co-showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik promised they would play with time throughout the series and that one of the things they wanted audiences to do was guess how much time had passed between episodes. When Episode 3 kicked off, viewers saw that roughly three or four years must have passed since Viserys and Alicent had been married.
They'd also had a son, Prince Aegon, who was celebrating his second name day. The child's birth immediately divided the realm, as many who swore loyalty and allegiance to Princess Rhaenyra assumed the king would now name his firstborn son the new heir. The only one who seemed surprised by that assumption was the king himself, whose royal duties clearly weren't any less stressful than they had been several years ago.
Prince Aegon's birth, coupled with Rhaenyra's father marrying her best friend, led to plenty of negative emotions throughout the episode. The Rhaenyra viewers saw in Episode 3 was more sullen and withdrawn than the one from the first two episodes. With no one to turn to, her palpable feelings of betrayal and anger grounded her moves throughout the 63-minute installment.
The only person the Princess seemed to connect with was Ser Criston, a bond that was further solidified during the wild boar incident. Not only did Rhaenyra prove capable of handling herself, it was a bloody scene that allowed some of that anger to finally seep out. Unfortunately, a lot of her anger was directed at Alicent, who has been in a no-win situation since the moment her father ordered her to go to the King.
For now, the character continued to defend her former friend (perhaps out of guilt, loyalty or maybe a mix of both), but with pressure from her father and another baby on the way, she will inevitably come to a point where she turns on Rhaenyra if Rhaenyra doesn't give her something back.
The disaccord wasn't lost on King Viserys, who seemed to be looking for some peace. For so long, he had assumed when he had a son many of his duties would be fulfilled. Then it all went sideways.
Pressure mounted from everywhere: his brother had pulled him into war whether he wanted to acknowledge it or not, his daughter was lashing out in unexpected ways, and his advisors were pushing him to marry off his daughter and rename his heir.
Add in the hunt itself, which was another royal farce in which Viserys' men physically tied down the deer for him to kill, and it was all too much for the king. He turned to wine and questioned his decision to name Rhaenyra as heir. By the end of the episode he came around and doubled down on his heir stance while promising his daughter she could pick her own suitor, although whether the Seven Kingdoms will actually back him remains to be seen.
If you thought the Lannisters were arrogant in Game of Thrones, it appears as though the Lion house came by it honestly. Episode 3 introduced viewers to Lord Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall), a man after Rhaenyra's heart — or power. Jason was quick to talk about having enough money to build dragon pits and even a dragon, all while sucking back wine and flashing that signature Lannister grin.
While the character was presented as a minor one for now (one who will probably not be marrying into the royal family), he is an important one to note. Hall has been cast to play not only Jason, but also his twin brother Tyland. In Fire & Blood, on which the series is based, both initially vie for Rhaenyra's hand but both wind up in different yet significant places down the road.
While all this disaccord and family drama was going down in Westeros, Daemon and Corlys were busy fighting the Crabfeeder at the Stepstones. War there had been raging for years, and although Daemon brought his dragon Caraxes to the fight, those battling on behalf of the Crabfeeder had managed to fend off the attacks. They were losing before Alicent convinced Viserys to send help.
Through it all, Daemon didn't speak one single word. It was a powerful choice, especially at the end when he feigned surrender in order to draw out the Crabfeeder and end the war once and for all. Although the Prince took a few fire arrows in the process, in the end he killed the Crabfeeder offscreen, establishing himself as the new King of the Stonesteps.
How that will fare with his brother is sure to be dealt with in the episodes to come, especially now that Corlys and Daemon are side-by-side as two of the oldest — and therefore most powerful — families.
House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO and also streams