Well, we certainly had quite the House of the Dragon premiere.


In the first episode, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) was devastated to lose his wife Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) after she went into labour with their son. After a brutal caesarean, both mother and child were lost.

In the aftermath, the behaviour of King Viserys' brother, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), saw him strip his younger sibling of any potential of being his heir and ordered him to leave King's Landing – which he did with his lover Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) on the back of his dragon, Caraxes.

Following this, King Viserys shocked his beloved daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) by naming her the heir to the Iron Throne and Princess of Dragonstone, as had been suggested by the shrewd Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans).

However, as the lords of Westeros swore fealty to Princess Rhaenyra and vow to protect her rights to the throne, Ser Otto pushed her friend and his daughter Lady Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) to comfort the King in his grief.

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So, what happened in House of the Dragon episode 2?

**Spoiler warning for House of the Dragon episode 2**

House of the Dragon episode 2 recap: The Rogue Prince

Rhys Ifans, Paddy Considine, Gavin Spokes, David Horovitch, Milly Alcock, Bill Paterson, Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon
Rhys Ifans, Paddy Considine, Gavin Spokes, David Horovitch, Milly Alcock, Bill Paterson, Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon HBO

We start off this week as Velaryon ships are seized by pirates in the Stepstones, financed by the Triarchy of the Free Cities of Lys, Myr and Tyrosh. Craghas Drahar aka the Crabfeeder (he literally feeds sailors to crabs... they're inventive with names in Westeros!) is leading this war in the Stepstones for the Triarchy and Lord Corlys Velaryon is insisting on action being taken or risking the trade his family cares for.

However, in the Red Keep, the Small Council warns against war despite Lord Corlys’ insistence. The cupbearer and heir herself Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen wants to show force atop dragons but Ser Otto patronisingly suggests she busy herself with choosing Kingsguard members including a guard of her own. After asking if any of the knights have real-world combat experience, the rather dishy Ser Criston Cole is presented and chosen by Princess Rhaenyra. Ser Otto advises she makes allies with greater houses instead but Princess Rhaenyra holds firm and is watched by Princess Rhaenys. Do we spy a romance here for the Princess?

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton

Later we see King Viserys teaching history to Lady Alicent in his chambers, showing her his models of Old Valyria. King Viserys asks Lady Alicent about Princess Rhaenyra and she suggests that they speak to each other. Lady Alicent is asked to keep their conversations quiet for fears that Princess Rhaenyra may not understand. We certainly understand that Ser Otto is using his daughter for political gain and we also know that Alicent must be a good actress to feign interest in model making.

In the Great Sept, Princess Rhaenyra tells Lady Alicent that she fears her father will remarry and councillors want heirs to come from this marriage and replace her. Princess Rhaenyra fears she was only chosen to spurn her uncle Prince Daemon. Lady Alicent and Princess Rhaenyra pray side by side to feel close to their mother at the former’s suggestion. Princess Rhaenyra breaks down in tears and is comforted by Lady Alicent, with Princess Rhaenyra wishing to be seen as more than just a little girl. Lady Alicent pushes Princess Rhaenyra to reach out to her father too. Milly Alcock and Emily Carey are a really sweet pairing together and it's a shame we can just feel the impending doom for their characters' friendship.

Paddy Considine, Eve Best, and Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon
Paddy Considine, Eve Best, and Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon HBO

In the rather luscious gardens, King Viserys meets with Lord Corlys and the fabulous Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best as The Queen Who Never Was but Queen of Our Hearts) and wants to make peace. A stubborn Lord Corlys reveals his fears that recent events have empowered foreign powers to come for the Red Keep. Princess Rhaenys supports Lord Corlys’ suggestion of an incursion in the Stepstones. The couple suggests uniting the Targaryens and Velaryons further with the monarch wedding their daughter, Lady Laena Velaryon. Medieval age gaps all over the place this week!

At an awkward dinner, King Viserys and Princess Rhaenyra finally freely discuss the loss of the late Queen Aemma. The Princess discusses her selection of Ser Criston to the Kingsguard and she apologises for interjecting in the council but he reminds her of her youth and that she will learn. Maybe don't have her serving drinks then, eh, Viserys?

We soon see that King Viserys' finger is rotting (could it be Greyscale or another disease?) and needs treatment. The King discusses the proposal of marriage from Lord Corlys, with Grand Maester Mellos supporting the union despite Ser Otto’s uncertainty. King Viserys worries about Princess Rhaenyra’s reaction, while Ser Otto empathises with the King’s duty to take another wife after the death of Queen Aemma.

Later, King Viserys goes for a walk with the young Lady Laena Velaryon (she is literally a child) who sells to him the importance of uniting their houses and that she will give him many children – which is rather grim. The lines given by her father and her mother warn Viserys that they would not wed until she’s 14. Viserys looks troubled – as do we.

Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

Princess Rhaenyra watches the meeting while discussing the order of things by gender with Princess Rhaenys. Princess Rhaenys notes that when King Viserys remarries and has more children and one is a boy then he will be expected to inherit the Iron Throne and that Princess Rhaenyra will be discarded. Herein lies the true conflict of the series, and it would do well to feature Rhaenyra and Rhaenys having further discussions considering the parallels in their lives. Also, Eve Best is just the Best.

Following this, King Viserys discusses his marriage prospects with Lady Alicent and she encourages any worthy match before showing him a gift – a mended stone dragon. Can we guess where this is going?

They are interrupted as Ser Otto calls an emergency small council session. It is revealed that mischievous Prince Daemon has stolen a dragon egg from the Dragonkeep for his paramour Mysaria, who is now with child and who Daemon hopes to take as a second wife in the tradition of Old Valyria and name her Lady of Dragonstone. Prince Daemon stole the egg Dreamfyre which Princess Rhaenyra had chosen for the late baby Prince Baelon – was that really necessary, Daemon?

Matt Smith as Daemon draws a sword in House of the Dragon
Matt Smith as Daemon draws a sword in House of the Dragon HBO

King Viserys wishes to head to Dragonstone himself but Ser Otto says he should go instead. Ser Otto leaves after pushing Lady Alicent to approach the King again (creep). Ser Criston attends Dragonstone with Ser Otto and other knights.

On the causeway at Dragonstone, Prince Daemon and Mysaria meet Ser Otto. The Prince is told to banish Mysaria and his army, give up the egg and leave Dragonstone (as if!). Prince Daemon holds out the egg for Ser Otto, suggesting violence will occur and be taken as treason and end in war. Prince Daemon’s dragon emerges atop the fortress of Dragonstone. This prompts Ser Otto to order his men to stand down. Good thing they're not stupid!

Then, all are surprised as Princess Rhaenyra then emerges through the clouds on her dragon Syrax and lands among them. Princess Rhaenyra – giving full Daenerys energy – ignores Ser Otto’s commands to stand down and approaches Prince Daemon and calls out his behaviour and challenges her uncle to kill her. Prince Daemon then throws Princess Rhaenyra the egg and returns to Dragonstone after Mysaria who had already left. Princess Rhaenyra flies away and Ser Otto is clearly displeased – do we spy a further conflict here for the young princess?

Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon
Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon HBO

Inside Dragonstone, Prince Daemon approaches an upset Mysaria who is revealed to not be pregnant and had no knowledge of his plans. In some affecting work from actress Sonoya Mizuno, Mysaria reveals her fears of dying and has no desire to be sold again and be left powerless in the world once more. Mysaria wants liberation from fear by being with Prince Daemon. Can't say she isn't honest!

In the Red Keep, Viserys meets with Lord Lyonel Strong and asks his opinion of his marrying the 12-year-old Lady Laena Velaryon. Lord Lyonel suggests that rejecting this will upset Lord Corlys and reduces effectiveness if there is a war in the Stepstones. Lord Lyonel suggests that King Viserys weds Lady Laena for the good of the realm. Lord Lyonel genuinely seems like a sound guy!

They are interrupted by Princess Rhaenyra’s return from Dragonstone and her actions have angered the King. Princess Rhaenyra remains strong and confident in her actions and the results, noting Ser Otto’s failure without her – true! King Viserys notes how similar Princess Rhaenyra is to the late Queen Aemma and he shows his grief for her mother, with some great work from actor Paddy Considine. King Viserys notes that he can never replace her mother but he will also never replace Princess Rhaenyra as an heir – he better not. King Viserys just needs another marriage to better protect the family. Princess Rhaenyra supports her father in whatever he needs to do for the good of the realm.

Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

Afterwards, the Small Council gathers with Princess Rhaenyra in attendance as the cupbearer (still?!). King Viserys announces his intention to marry again but shocks the council when he announces that he will marry Lady Alicent, who is present for the meeting. Princess Rhaenyra is shocked (who can blame her?) and Lord Corlys is angered before departing. Princess Rhaenyra then also leaves the room. Can you imagine if your best friend/crush married your old dad? You would not be happy either. It seems Ser Otto's plans are paying off.

We then cut to a scene on the Driftmark, the home of House Velaryon. A regal Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys sits and discusses the importance and power of House Velaryon – including that with which he seized himself – with an unseen figure. The person he is speaking is then revealed to be Prince Daemon. The pair find a common cause in being passed over despite their strength when it comes to taking power. Lord Corlys refuses for House Velaryon to be crippled by the Crabfeeder on the Stepstones. Lord Corlys suggests they take on the enemy themselves to find their glory. We spy further conflict with King Viserys here!

What did House of the Dragon episode 2 change from the book?

Emily Carey as Lady Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon
Emily Carey as Lady Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon HBO

There have been a number of adaptational changes from the book Fire and Blood by George R R Martin.

  • Mysaria was actually pregnant in the book and after King Viserys intervened, Prince Daemon sent her back across the Narrow Sea to Lys but she miscarried on the way due to a storm, causing Daemon’s heart to harden even further with Viserys. Prince Daemon also then returned to the Vale of Arryn and to his estranged wife, Lady Rhea Royce.
  • In the books, Princess Rhaenyra was not noted to have been responsible for Prince Daemon standing down and returning the egg. The series has given her more involvement in this story.
  • Princess Rhaenyra and King Viserys remain older in the show than in the books. Rhaenyra was still a young girl in the book, while Viserys was still considered 'The Young King', not yet 30!
  • The series has certainly fleshed out the discord over the dragon egg but kept much of the detail of how King Viserys passed over a chance to mend bridges with House Velaryon to instead marry Lady Alicent.
  • The impact of King Viserys’ engagement to Lady Alicent and the shock and horror of Princess Rhaenyra is original to the show as the two young women have been brought closer in age and with a deeper friendship with the series adaptation.
  • In the book, Ser Criston rose to his post among the Kingsguard before the death of Queen Aemma.

We'll have to wait and see how the conflict on the Stepstones continues next week and just how Princess Rhaenyra will behave now that her old friend Lady Alicent is set to become Queen.

The next instalment is titled 'Second Of His Name' – could there be that new heir on the way?
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