5 Things We Learned from ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Episode 2

House of the Dragon Title Card

The second episode of House of the Dragon, which aired on HBO on Sunday June 23, delivered a gripping portrayal of a kingdom plunged into mourning and turmoil following a shocking assassination. The episode explored the complex web of grief, political manipulation, and difficult decisions faced by its characters. Here are our five main takeaways from the episode.

Mourning and Fury
The episode opens with a grim scene: the aftermath of young Jaehaerys’ assassination. King Aegon II, portrayed by Tom Glynn-Carney, struggles to cope with the realization of his own vulnerability, lashing out in anger and grief. His impulsive behavior leads him to order the execution of all pest control workers in the castle, believing them complicit in the murder.

Political Manipulation and Funeral Politics
Ser Otto Hightower, played by Rhys Ifans, manipulates the tragedy to shift public opinion against Rhaenyra. He orchestrates a state funeral, exploiting the grief of Queen Helaena and Alicent to turn the people against Rhaenyra, who is appalled by the notion that she could be implicated in the murder.

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Alicent’s Inner Turmoil
Dowager Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke), is torn between family loyalty and her conscience. She is concerned that her daughter, Queen Helaena, may reveal the presence of her lover, Ser Criston Cole, which would create further scandal. Despite her guilt, Alicent prioritizes her family’s legacy, staging the funeral procession to paint Rhaenyra as a “baby killer.”

Rhaenyra’s Isolation and Mysaria’s Freedom
Rhaenyra, played by Emma D’Arcy, confronts Daemon, questioning his loyalty and acceptance of her rule. Their strained relationship leaves Rhaenyra isolated as she navigates the political fallout. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra honors Daemon’s promise to grant Mysaria her freedom, setting the stage for potential future alliances and betrayals, given Mysaria’s complex loyalties.

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Ser Arryk’s Reluctant Mission
Ser Criston Cole, the new Hand of the King, dispatches Ser Arryk Cargyll to Dragonstone on a tragic mission: to pose as his twin, Ser Erryk, and assassinate Rhaenyra. The honorable Ser Arryk reluctantly obeys, leading to a duel between the twins that ends in Ser Erryk killing his brother and then taking his own life.

The episode also introduces Alyn of Hull’s brother, Addam, portrayed by Clinton Liberty, and explores the economic struggles of the blacksmith Hugh’s family as the kingdom teeters on the brink of war.

House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9:00 pm on HBO.

Andrew Martins, reviewer, recapper, deep diver, scifi specialist. Thinks Blakes 7 is better than Star Trek. Yes I do go to fan conventions and no I don't dress up. Well okay maybe I do a bit.