Each week, Tarek @tarek_wm will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon.
Ahead of “Second of His Name,” HBO announced a massive shakeup. Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik has stepped down after helping develop, direct, and produce this series for several years. Ryan Condal will serve as the prequel’s sole leader and he’s going to keep working closely with George R.R. Martin. It’s not like things soured between the studio and Sapochnik; he’s agreed to a first-look deal with HBO and will develop new projects while still serving as an executive producer on House of the Dragon. Alan Taylor, another Thrones alum, will join the crew to direct multiple episodes in season two.
The third episode, directed by Greg Yaitanes, is the best to date. There is an amazing action set piece that bookends it, meanwhile we have amazing politicking throughout. I was on my toes from the second it started until it faded to black. I’m loving where we’re headed. Spoilers ahead!
“Second of His Name” takes place three years after Viserys wisely decided to marry his daughter’s best friend, Alicent Hightower. In that time, they managed to have a son, Aegon, who’s two years old and Alicent is also pregnant with another baby. We spend a lot of this episode at Aegon’s birthday party, which basically becomes an episode of the Bachelorette for Rhanerya. Many people throw their names into the ring to court her, including Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall). Rhanerya and Jason shared a brief moment when Jason tells her he’d “do anything for my queen…or lady wife.” Rhanerya wanted no part of that. Even her two-year-old brother Aegon is brought up as a potential suitor, which Viserys laughs off, but I wouldn’t have been shocked if he didn’t.
Now that she’s a little older, Viserys is chomping at the bit to marry her off. Between that and him marrying Rhanerya’s underage best friend, Viserys has managed to alienate her. It’s so bad that Rhanerya isn’t even at the small council meeting where the war at the Stepstones is once again brought up and cast aside by Viserys. She doesn’t last long at the party itself after getting into another argument with her father about being wed and running off with Criston Cole. Alone together in the forest, Rhanerya vents to Criston about her predicament and how her father has treated her, stating that she knows deep down he’s going to be displaced as heir by Aegon. The chemistry between Criston and Rhanerya is palpable throughout their time together.
A symbol of royalty called the White Hart has been spotted milling about near Kingswood where the party is. If Viserys were to kill it, that would serve as a good omen for the king. However, after his huntsmen searched endlessly, all they found was a stag which Viserys killed just for the hell of it. The White Hart ends up with Criston and Rhanerya who decide not to kill it. Instead, they drag their kill back through the party as a huge FU to all around to see it.
In Kingslanding, Viserys and Rhanerya sit down after what was a disastrous party, an event that Viserys was drunk for the majority of. Viserys reassures Rhanerya that he won’t supplant her as heir and she should marry whoever she wishes. A touching scene, but a huge 180.
Viserys lost the trust of his daughter and Lord Corlys Velaryon in a short amount of time. The war that Corlys and Daemon started at the Stepstones is going terribly and they’re on the verge of defeat. Daemon is brought a message from Viserys saying he’s decided to send ships to aid him. Daemon receives this news well and beats the messenger to a pulp. Soon after he brings a white flag down to the Crabfeeder’s hideout. However, he double-crosses him and starts taking out the opposition one by one in a thrilling scene. Blood is spilled and Daemon is dodging arrows left and right while making a beeline to the Crabfeeder. Before getting there, he’s cut off and winds up surrounded. For a second, I thought he was done for. Before certain death, a dragon spews fire at the Crabfeeder’s army. This frees Daemon and he eventually gets what he was chasing. We don’t see Daemon kill the Crabfeeder on screen, but he emerges from the other side of a cave after he gutted the Crabfeeder and has his torso in his hand.
Come back next week after Episode 4!