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House of The Dragon: Episode Two Review

by Amanda Starks 3 months ago in tv / review · updated 2 months ago
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The Rogue Prince shows the Dangers of Rebellion and Change in a World Steeped in Tradition

Screenshot from House of the Dragon; image edited by Amanda Starks

The second episode of House of the Dragon returns us to form with a familiar and brand new cinematic opening. While the strings play in the background, the camera pans over a replica of Old Valyria with the crests of individual Targaryens engraved onto gold plates. The blood represents new generations, with one, in particular, splitting off nine times in one shot. It sure was a nostalgic trip to hear the Game of Thrones theme song, and it was a perfect way to start off the new episode.

From the blood that flows on screen between the sigils of old Targaryen family members, it can be assumed that the royal family shares more traits than just their white hair, and this episode aims to prove that. Titled aptly, "The Rogue Prince", we are given three different perspectives on the possible outcomes of 'rogue actions' through Rhaenyra, Daemon, and King Viserys.

After the opening, we are immediately beset with the threat of the crab feeder who has only grown in power in the Narrow Sea. It seems the perfect opportunity for our stubborn blood of the dragon characters to prove themselves, but as we saw in the last episode, politics and traditions dominate every decision.

Rhaenyra attempts to speak up at the council meeting, offering a sound solution to the crab feeder problem: send dragon riders. It is a small act of 'rebellion', especially given that she was recently named heir and should logically start participating in the council meetings instead of just bearing the men their cups. Yet, she is quickly dismissed by Otto Hightower and her father, and sent off to do something "more suited to her talents".

But even in the next scene featuring her perspective, she once more goes against tradition and political ideology to choose Sir Cristen Cole as the new member of the royal guard. Once again, it is a logical choice on her part, though it could have been partially motivated by his charm and good looks. Here she is not stopped, though still slightly scolded.

Rebellion and change appear to be the common thread as the episode rolls on. We see the foreshadowing of what will come from the character's actions, from Rhaenyra's bold claim that when she is Queen she will "create a new order" when speaking with Rhaenys, to Visery's stone dragon replica that breaks in half when dropped.

Speaking of Rhaenys, did anyone else get chills when she spoke the hard truth to Rhaenyra?

"Men would sooner put the realm to the torch, than see a woman ascend the iron throne."

In this episode, Rhaenys more than anyone serves as a stern warning that change is not just hard but can upheave an entire kingdom if done wrong. On top of that, change cannot happen if the majority of people do not wish it to occur. Sound familiar?

Change can be good too, but as we know from the opening of the first episode, "the only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon, is itself." And what is more dangerous than change in a world steeped in tradition?

We see this foreshadowed in several key moments in the episode. The most notable being King Visery's frank conversation with Lord Corlys Velaryon and his wife Rhaenys. Here, Corlys lists out all the problems the King has, including naming Rhaenyra the first girl heir since the kingdom's founding, and gives him a message of warning:

"To elude a storm, you can either sail into it, or around it, but you must never await its coming."

And this 'storm' is of course going to be of Targaryen make, as shown by the more subtle foreshadowing that happens when Viserys drops a replica of a dragon, the symbol of the Targaryen family, and it shatters on the floor in two pieces.

If you've read Fire & Blood, the book on which the show is based, you will know the significance of it breaking into two pieces, as later on characters will divide themselves into two groups known as the greens and the blacks, and will fight each other to put who they believe to be the rightful heir to the kingdom on the throne.

In a nice after-touch though, Alicent brings back the stone dragon repaired to Viserys as a gift...could it be a nod from the showrunners that these characters could still find a way to mend the oncoming rifts between the family members? Only time will tell.

But maybe we don't need to wait to see the outcome, as the episode ends on the Rogue Prince himself, Daemon Targaryen. Here, he tries to enact change for himself in true 'Daemon fashion' that was more of a declaration of war than anything else.

He sits in the Targaryen ancestral seat, Dragonstone, and claims to be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. To add insult to injury, he also claims he will be married to his concubine, and that she is pregnant with his first child. Oh, and he also steals a dragon egg meant for the dead infant prince, Baelon.

This was a way for him to get a rise out of Viserys, but instead of the king himself showing up, it is Otto Hightower, much to Daemon's disappointment and annoyance. In this, we can see that, like Rhaenyra's attempts before him, he is dismissed by both his brother and the council.

But, Rhaenyra takes another chance and steps in on dragon-back to quell the bloodshed before it can occur. This is the only time throughout the entire episode that an act of rebellion goes well, and change, though small, is made in both the outcome of the confrontation between the rogue prince and the crown and also in Rhaenyra herself.

But the rebellious nature of the two younger Targaryens is also present in Viserys, as in the final scene, he declares Alicent Hightower as his next wife, going against the political expectation to wed Laena Velaryon, the sea snake’s young daughter, to fortify the royal family. This in turn sparks further problems down the line which we will see take root in episode three and beyond.

So in the end, from the three perspectives, we see success, failure, and portents of destruction...After this excellent episode, I feel like House of the Dragon's future is looking very bright and chocked full of fire and blood.

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Did you miss the first episode review? You can read it here!

Read the next episode review here!

If you enjoyed my insights into this fantastic series, feel free to leave a like, comment, or insights of your own to tell me what you thought! A tip is also highly appreciated as I recently began writing full-time!

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About the author

Amanda Starks

Book hoarder, fantasy author, gaming goblin. I love all things fantasy and have a lot of thoughts on today's stories in anime, books, tv, and games. Subscribe to my free newsletter at amandastarks.com for monthly updates!

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