'House of the Dragon' Episode 2 Recap and Review: "The Rogue Prince"

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It's nearly 200 years before Game of Thrones, and the "wheel" that Daenerys Targaryen would one day speak is stronger than ever. The events of House of the Dragon have shown us that no matter who is on top, the ways in which someone remains on top will be violent, treacherous, and, in this particular case, very creepy (but more on that later.)

This week's episode, "The Rogue Prince," sees the series jump six months into the future, the first of a few times the show will do that, according to the showrunners. King Viserys is trying to pick up the pieces, Rhaenyra is still coming to terms with being named heir, and the court is squabbling over the remaining scraps of power.

Spoilers for House of the Dragon ahead.

We're Crab People Now

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"The Rogue Prince" begins on a beach in the Stepstones, but this shoreline is anything but beautiful. It's covered with the dismembered bodies of numerous dead sailors that have fallen victim to "The Crabfeeder," the pirate whom Lord Corlys Velayron mentioned in last week's episode. We get an idea now of why he's named that because he, well, feeds people to the crabs.

And boy, are those crabs hungry.

Back in King's Landing, the Small Council is discussing who will be the new member of the Kingsguard, bringing their numbers back up to seven. Corlys storms in and demands to know why nothing has been done about the Crabfeeder, with Otto saying he will be reimbursed for anything lost. Corlys doesn't care about what has been lost, only what will be done in the future. His ships are now being targeted, and he wants justice.

Viserys says that since the Free Cities are likely aiding the Crabfeeder, he doesn't wish to risk open war with them. A fight between Westeros and the Free Cities has never happened before, and it would have the potential to be the most violent conflict the world has ever seen.

"What reason does the Crabfeeder have to fear us? The King's own brother has been allowed to seize Dragonstone for over half a year with an army of gold cloaks," Corlys says. It's an indictment of Viserys and the power of his reign, saying that his inaction is causing more problems than he thinks.

Viserys informs Corlys that he has already sent messages to some of the Free Cities and hopes to find common ground with them to settle this dispute. Rhaenyra, present in the meeting as the council's cupbearer, interjects and says that the King's Dragonriders (of which she is one) could head to the Stepstones as a show of force and get the Crabfeeder to back down. Corlys praises her for her plan, but Otto and Viserys quickly shoot her down.

Rhaenyra and Harrold Westerling, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, head to pick the next member of the order. Viserys says that since this knight will one day also protect her, she should choose.

As Rhaenyra and Harrold look over the potential candidates, Otto arrives, and Rhaenys looks on, with both observing her actions. Rhaenyra wants to know if any of these knights have combat experience, with the only one being Ser Criston Cole, the man with whom Rhaenyra shared a moment at the King's tournament.

Criston served as a footsoldier before becoming a Knight, and Rhaenyra has picked him to be the new member of the Kingsguard. Otto protests this, explaining that choosing a member of houses that are closer allies to the Crown would be the wiser move. Rhaenyra overrules him, to which Otto relents and agrees.

We cut to Alicent visiting Viserys in his chambers again, where he goes into detail over his model of Old Valyria that he worked on in the previous episode. She asks if he wants to help turn Westeros into another Valyria, but he knows that isn't possible. Viserys asks if Rhaenyra is upset with him since she doesn't visit him all that often anymore. Alicent says that Rhaenyra still needs her time to greave for her mother, much like Viserys. They share a moment when Alicent suggests that Viserys should visit her. He asks if she mentions their conversations to Rhaenyra as he worries that she wouldn't understand, to which Alicent says now.

Rhaenyra meets Alicent in the Great Sept of Baelor, with Rhaenyra worrying that since the royals already want Viserys to marry again, she will be replaced as heir. Alicent and Rhaenyra pray, with Alicent saying that when she prays here, she feels closer to her own deceased mother. Rhaenyra laughs it off at first, but it does help her as she prays and sheds a tear remembering her mother.

Alicent comforts her, and Rhaenyra confesses that she wants Viserys to see her as more than just his daughter. Alicent knows that Otto also doesn't see her as anything more than his daughter, and Rhaenyra should speak with Viserys so that he knows what she desires.

The World's Worst Engagement

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Viserys meets with Corlys and his cousin Rhaenys in the gardens, where Corlys apologizes for his attitude at the Small Council meeting. Corlys tells Viserys he worries that their enemies are now focused on the Red Keep, running through all the things that appear to make the Crown weak, such as Daemon's seizure of Dragonstone and the conflict in the Stepstones.

Corlys' plan to fix this is to have Viserys marry his daughter Laena to unite the two great houses of Old Valyria and portray strength. They tell him that he needs more heirs besides Rhaenyra, and Laena would give him many.

Rhaenyra and Viserys share a bit of an awkward dinner, where he explains that he loved her mother very much (which seems to be a rarity in Westeros), and Rhaenyra shares his feelings. Rhaenyra tells Viserys that Ser Criston will become the next member of the Kingsguard, and she also tries to apologize for her suggestion at the Small Council meeting.

Later on, as the Maesters work to treat some of Viserys' injuries, he asks for Otto's advice on what to do about Corlys' marriage proposal. Otto says that Laena is young, but the Grand Maester says that unity will project strength throughout the Realm, and Otto agrees. He tries to comfort the King by expressing his shared grief over his deceased wife and says that though Viserys is the King, he doesn't envy what he must do.

As Corlys looks on, Viserys meets with the "Lady" Laena, who is 12 years old (told you it was creepy!), and she asks him about dragons. She says "it would be a great honor to join our great houses as it was in Old Valyria" and that she'd give him many heirs. He knows this is what his father told her to say, and he asks what her mother thinks. Laena responds by saying that she wouldn't have to sleep with him until she turns 14 (even typing that makes me feel weird.)

Rhaenyra and Rhaenys also look down on their conversation and have a discussion of their own. They both are concerned about this potential marriage, albeit for different reasons. Each of them understands the order of things, with Rhaenys condescendingly saying that Rhaenyra doesn't. If Viserys has a male heir, the court will conspire to ensure he is the next King and that Rhaenyra will never become Queen.

Much like another woman who will be born hundreds of years from now, Rhaenyra says she will change things when she becomes Queen. Rhaenys explains that, despite the opportunity to name a Queen at the High Council, the men of the Realm did not, even though she had the better claim.

Rhaenyra fires back, "They denied you, Rhaenys, the Queen Who Never Was, but they bent their knee to me."

"Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman sit atop the Iron Throne, and your father is no fool," Rhaenys says.

A Showdown at Dragonstone

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Viserys meets with Alicent again, and he tells her his feelings about the proposal. He knows it is morally wrong but also knows it is the smartest match for the Realm. Alicent gives him a repaired model of a dragon he had dropped during their last meeting when Otto arrives, saying he's called an emergency Small Council meeting.

Daemon has stolen one of the Dragon Eggs from the Roost in King's Landing, and as it turns out, it was the egg that initially was to accompany Viserys' son when he was born. (Targaryens place dragon eggs in the cradles of their newborns.) A note was left by Daemon, where he announces he will take Mysaria as his second wife and that he lays claim as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. He also says that Myssaria is pregnant and the King is invited to the wedding in two days.

Viserys announces that he will go to Dragonstone with a detachment of soldiers, but Otto interrupts that he will go there and bring Daemon back to be punished. Before he leaves, he meets with Alicent again and asks her if she will see the King tonight. Otto has been maneuvering to have Alicent marry Viserys and secure his and his family's seat of power for the future.

At Dragonstone, Otto has a less than cordial meeting with Daemon, who has brought his own soldiers with him. With Mysaria at his side, Daemon welcomes Otto to Dragonstone. Otto lays out his demands:

  • Relinquish the Dragon's egg.
  • Disband his army.
  • Banish Myssaria.
  • Leave the island by order of the King.

Daemon sees this as him simply taking on the traditions of his house, and his marriage to Mysaria will produce an heir as is tradition. With his soldiers behind him, Daemon offers for Otto to come and take the Dragon's egg, and both sides pull swords. Suddenly, Daemon's Dragon, Caraxes, appears, and Otto knows that, for the moment, he is outmatched.

Suddenly Rhaenyra, on the back of her Dragon Syrax, appears and lands behind Otto and his men. It seems as if the two sides are now even. Otto asks Criston and the Kingsguard to bring Rhaenyra to safety, but she marches past him to Daemon, telling Otto and his men not to startle Syrax.

Speaking with Daemon, Rhaenyra demands to know why she's here, and she says he's in her castle. Despite saying she's already pregnant to Otto, Daemon explains that he will one day have a child with her and wants the Dragon's egg for his heir. Myssaria leaves in anger, surprised at what Daemon said.

Daemon and Rhaenyra have a not-so-relaxed discussion about what is to come next, with Rhaenyra saying that if he killed her right here and now, most of his problems would be solved. With her dead, Daemon would, by necessity, be named heir again. He relents and tosses the dragon egg back to her, and the peace is maintained for the time being. Otto watches her leave, and he doesn't seem happy that it was her who brokered the peace and not him.

Myssaria and Daemon sit in Dragonstone, and she's less than thrilled to see him. She says that he knew she didn't want to have a child despite what he said to Rhaenyra and that she is worried about her safety. The King will try to reclaim Dragonstone at some point, and while he, as a prince, wouldn't be harmed, she would likely be killed.

A Line Too Easily Ended

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In King's Landing, Viserys meets with Lord Lyonel Strong, his Master of Laws, regarding his predicament about the marriage proposal. Despite his moral misgivings, Lyonel advises that a marriage with Laena would be the right move. He explains to Viserys that rejecting Corly's proposal could devastate realm stability, especially as a potential war in the Stepstones looms. Lyonel also says that there is a chance that Coryls, who possesses the largest fleet in the Realm, could withhold his ships rather than send them to war.

Viserys is surprised to hear that Rhaenyra went to Dragonstone without his knowledge and that she has returned. He demands to know why she went, that she disobeyed him, and that she acted without the Crown's permission. As a father, he also is terrified over what could have happened to her in the face of violence.

Rhaenyra and Aemma were more alike than she realizes, Viserys says, and that they will never be the same after her passing. His genuine care and grief comfort Rhaenyra, knowing that he actually loved her mother and it wasn't simply for politics. They both know that he must remarry and produce more heirs since Rhaenyra is currently the only one, and if she were to be killed, the line is ended.

She will remain the heir no matter what, but they need the line better protected. He hopes this plan will not harm their relationship, but Rhaenyra reassures him that she understands his duty to the Realm and that there are no hard feelings.

At a meeting of the Small Council, Viserys has made that he has decided to take a new wife. With Rhaenyra, Otto, Alicent, and the rest of the council watching, he announces his intention to marry Alicent, not Laena. Alicent and Rhaenyra exchange glances as Corlys stands up, furious at this decision proclaiming this to be an absurdity, and storms out, as Otto gives him a smug look. Rhaenyra begins to tear up at this decision, and Viserys attempts to explain, but she leaves before he gets a chance to.

In Driftmark, Corlys has arrived, where he speaks with Daemon, they discuss the histories of both the Targaryen and Velaryon houses. Corlys explains that he genuinely built the prestige of his own house through his strength and that he and Daemon share more in common than he thought.

Corlys has had Daemon come to Driftmark to help him end the troubles in the Stepstones once and for all. Powerful entities in the Free Cities are backing the Crabfeeder, and if the shipping lanes of the Stepstones fall, Corlys' house would be devastated. Corlys mocks the rule of Viserys, but Daemon, in defense of his brother, threatens that while he can talk about the King as he wishes, Corlys cannot.

It seems like an alliance of sorts has been broken between the two, for now, at least.

Final Thoughts

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We might only be two episodes into House of the Dragon, but it has certainly reminded me of what made Game of Thrones such an incredible show. It's a testament to the writers of both shows that they can take something as potentially dull as things like cabinet meetings and turn them into must-watch television.

I also loved the decision to reuse the theme of Game of Thrones for House of the Dragon. It's so iconic that it's hard to imagine any show taking place in this world beginning an episode without that music. Despite some looking for a fresh take on it, I welcomed that familiar tune with open arms.

The acting on all sides has been stellar, with Paddy Considine, Milly Alcock, and Matt Smith being particular standouts. It's a shame that, with a time jump, Alcock will only get so much time in her role as Rhaenyra because she steals practically every scene she is in. Despite playing a teenager, she towers over those with more experience than her, much like Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen once did.

House of the Dragon has gotten off to a great start and has plenty of momentum to carry itself to a fantastic first season potentially. Here's hoping the speed with which they began can continue for all ten episodes.

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