'House of the Dragon' Episode 4: The Return of a 'Game of Thrones' Icon and More

The return of a famous 'Game of Thrones' dagger, incest, and someone is fired...
by Amber Dowling — 

Milly Alcock and Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon'


Warning: This story contains spoilers for the fourth episode of  House of the Dragon, titled "King of the Narrow Sea." Read at your own risk!   

If the third episode of House of the Dragon, "Second of His Name," was about winning the war no one asked for, the fourth episode was all about Prince Daemon King of the Narrow Sea (Matt Smith) and his incestuous homecoming.  

Following Daemon's win on the Stepstones, he got a much-needed haircut and returned to the Keep to pledge allegiance to his brother, King Viserys (Paddy Considine). The family reunion was short-lived, however, as Daemon set a chain of events in motion that will have irreparable damage to the Targaryen rule in the weeks to come — particularly in terms of Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and her future. 

Read on for five of the biggest moments from the episode, including that unmistakable Game of Thrones tie-in.  

An incestuous night out  

If you were questioning whether House of the Dragon would go there, you got your answer on Sunday night when Daemon and Rhaenyra escaped the castle to get their jollies on with the common folk. The night began innocently enough, with the uncle-niece duo taking in a salty show and drinking in the alley. But then Daemon brought his niece to a brothel and things got wild. 

While Daemon didn't go all the way with Rhaenyra, he certainly lit a fire before ditching her to fend for herself. Whether he's after her power and title (as Viserys later suggested), or he is in love with his niece isn't clear. Perhaps it's a mixture of both. However, Viserys wasn't into the idea of marrying his daughter off to his brother as a second wife, and sent Daemon packing to the Veil. For now, at least. 

The backup plan 

For her part, Rhaenyra wanted to go there with her uncle. Having seen her future during her tour for a husband and finding nothing worth her interest, Daemon offered something fun and dangerous — two things the Princess was desperately craving. Add in the fact that she's been starved for real attention ever since her father married her best friend, and it was the perfect storm.  

So, when Daemon disappeared without fully scratching that itch, Rhaenyra went to the next best thing: Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). It was an impossible situation for the Kingsguard — an offense punishable by death — but the slow and methodical way he and the Princess undressed made it clear there was consent on both sides. The man clearly regretted his choice the next morning, but after a subsequent conversation with her father, Rhaenyra may be focusing her attention elsewhere in the weeks to come (more on that below).  

Alicent the Queen 

There was another slight time jump this week, which meant Alicent (Emily Carey) was no longer pregnant. Furthermore she and Rhaenyra appeared to have rediscovered some of their former friendship, which led to a candid discussion about marriage and duty. While Alicent tried to convince her former best friend about the merits of a good match, Rhaenyra pointed out how being imprisoned in a castle and being forced to birth heirs was her worst nightmare. As it turns out, that situation is also Alicent's waking nightmare. 

The episode drove that point home by juxtaposing flashes of Rhaenyra's night out with Alicent bathing the King, caring for a screaming baby, and then reluctantly going to her husband's chambers because he summoned her. For now Alicent is doing what she has to because it's her wifely duty, but once she learns Rhaenyra lied to her about Daemon it seems quite likely some bitterness will set in. 

The return of Aegon the Conqueror's dagger 

When House of the Dragon debuted, eagle-eyed fans realized the dagger that sits on Viserys' hip is none other than the one Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) used to kill the Night King in Game of Thrones. This week in another bonding moment with his daughter, Viserys confirmed the dagger belonged to Aegon the Conqueror. Not only that, but the piece is etched with his song: "From my blood comes the prince that was promised and his will be the song of ice and fire."  

It's the second time the show has brought up the prophecy fans saw play out in Game of Thrones. The initial reference came in the first episode, when Viserys revealed it to Rhaenyra after naming her heir. 

"That was a detail George R.R. Martin gave us early in the story break," co-showrunner Ryan Condal told Metacritic and other outlets during a roundtable interview. 

"It really changed a lot of the way we saw the Targaryen reign and what it was all about. The fact that Aegon had this perceived knowledge and that he pursued the conquest thinking it was an imminent problem. As we now know, we have the dramatic irony that it took 300 years for this prophecy to come true," he explained. 

A royal firing 

The dagger (and the reminder of the story behind it) was instrumental in giving Rhaenyra newfound purpose as heir. However, it also solidified her place as a political player no one in the realm should underestimate. She agreed to marry the son of Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) to unify the kingdom and present a front of strength. But only if her father opened his eyes to the political maneuvering of the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). 

In the episode's closing moments, Viserys let his No. 1 go citing (valid) trust issues, which leaves an important job opening in King's Landing. Questions heading into the next episode include who will take the job and how it will shift the King's rule, as well as how this decision will affect things for Alicent and her varying relationships with those involved.   

House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO and also streams on HBO Max.