‘House Of The Dragon’ Season 2 Episode 2 Recap, Key Highlights And Takeaways

Dynasties are forged in blood and steel, but it is always the wisdom and guile of strong minds that lay the foundation and hold it together. In the second episode of the second season of House of the Dragon, the foundations of the Blacks’ reign, the usurper faction of Westeros’ high seat, get shaken when emotions overpower wisdom following the heinous tragedy of the death of the prince. The first episode of the much-awaited second season began with a bloody retribution, with the Greens’ attempt to exact vengeance for Lucerys Velaryon’s death, as Daemon had employed a Gold Cloak and a ratcatcher, Blood and Cheese, to eliminate Aemond Targaryen. After all, the son-for-son approach was supported by Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen as well. However, in the absence of Aemond, the assassins made the heir to the throne, Aegon II’s son Jaehaerys, their target and killed the young prince in the presence of his mother, Helaena Targaryen. Needless to say, with royal blood spilled on both sides, and that too in most gruesome manners, there’s no looking back now, and the only way forward is through conflict. The second episode hints at just how much worse the war is going to be, not only for the involved factions but for people who get caught in their futile war as well.


Spoilers Ahead

Otto’s Plan for Disaster Management: Dragging Rhaenyra’s Legacy Through Dirt

The immediate aftermath of the death of the prince was utter chaos and confusion. Suspects are dragged, quarters are emptied, and hounds are unleashed—in search of the killers. The outburst of Aegon’s fury and grief is wreaked upon Viserys’ model of Old Valyrian freehold, and as he destroys the replica, the act conveys what dreadful future awaits Viserys’ legacy. Alicent is more concerned about her daughter, Helaena’s condition, and Otto tries to console her the best way his cunning mind can—by planning to use the death of Jaehaerys to bolster the Blacks’ position. 


In the small council meeting, a furious Aegon throws accusations at anyone whom he finds in his sight, cursing Rhaenyra with all the bitterness pent up in his heart. Larys Strong notifies the council his spies have gotten a hold of the Gold Cloak – Blood, one of the killers who was apprehended with the prince’s head in his sack. Otto directs Larys to extract information from Blood and somehow stops Aegon from exacting vengeance upon the killer. The Blacks have been seen in a miserable state ever since Aegon’s coronation, and the death of the king’s heir right inside the ‘secured’ premises of Red Keep is a major blow to the confidence of the people of the realm who put their trust in the crown. Otto, the ever-scheming mastermind, shares his plan to win back that confidence by making a very public funeral procession for Prince Jaehaerys, garnering the masses’ sympathy in the process and demeaning Rhaenyra’s legacy by branding her as a ‘child killer’. Alicent and even Aegon are against such a despicable idea, as using a child’s death for political advantage is beneath them, but Otto knows which strings he needs to pull at the right time to manipulate the masses and the noble houses. To add even more dramatic flair to the procession, he arranges for the mourning mother figures, Alicent and Helaena, to be part of the procession. 

Speaking of Helaena, the innocent girl has become a hollow version of herself within the span of a few hours. The loss of her son has crippled her frail mind, and during the funeral procession, she suffers from a panic attack as the clamoring crowd of smallfolk tries to reach out to the mother of the late heir. However, Otto’s plan has succeeded, as the rumors tainting Rhaenyra’s image have reached the small council of Dragonstone as well. 


Rhaenyra and Daemon Have a Falling out, and the Queen Finds a New Ally

During the meeting with her small council, Rhaenyra is surprised to hear about the accusations circling about her regarding Jaehaerys’ death, and after a while, she reads Daemon’s smug look to realize what has actually happened. In private, Rhaenyra absolutely lambasts Daemon for stooping to such lows to exact revenge, an act that has tarnished the image of Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne forever. Daemon tries to convey that the entirety of the situation was a mistake and the killers took it upon themselves to improvise upon his command, but Rhaenyra is in no mood for understanding this time around. She hits Daemon with a low blow by insinuating that Daemon is a selfish, untrustworthy, impulsive braggart who is using Rhaenyra’s name to settle personal scores with the Hightowers. Daemon hits back by mentioning Viserys’ decision to choose Rhaenyra was simply a ploy to keep his brother out of the throne’s reach, and the entire conversation soon derails to blame shifting and bickering. At the end, after listening to enough of Rhaenyra’s disapproval, Daemon storms outside to reach Dragonpit and flies away with Caraxes. His destination is possibly Harrenhal, to gain support from the Riverlands. 

Daemon’s daughter, Baela, is summoned by Rhaenyra, who asks her to get close to King’s Landing with Moondancer and keep a watch, as she expects retaliation from the Greens in the aftermath of such a tragedy. Afterwards, Rhaenyra speaks with Mysaria, initially blaming her for conspiring with the Hightowers and then with Daemon to orchestrate the killing of Jaehaerys. However, as Mysaria comes clean about her past, Rhaenyra recognizes that she used to be Daemon’s mistress, whom Daemon tried to use for his rebellious stint all those years ago. As rightly remarked by Mysaria, she has remained a tool all her life, and whether Daemon or Otto Hightower use her for their personal vendetta ultimately bears little to no importance to her own self. Rhaenyra could relate to the truth of the White Worm’s statement and recognize her as another victim of circumstances. As promised by Daemon previously, Rhaenyra agrees to free Mysaria in exchange for her services and arranges her a seat on a ship to Pentos. However, despite having a chance to gain her freedom, Mysaria looks the other way at the end, more on that shortly.


An Update From The Dragonseeds (Major Spoiler From the Books)

Like the first episode, the second one dedicates to runtime for Alyn of Hull and Hugh the Smithy as well, and in the context of the upcoming Targaryen civil war, these characters are going to play a crucial role. Alyn meets with his brother Addam, who advises him to build a fortune for himself while assisting the Sea Snake, Corlys Velaryon, and also mentions the Lord of Driftmark ‘owing’ something to the brother duo. The secret will be unraveled in the upcoming episodes, but for now, all we can state without spoiling much is that the brothers share Valyrian blood due to their parentage and can bond with dragons as well. Alyn and Addam are among the illegitimate children whom Targaryens and Velaryons sired during their illicit affairs with the commoners, who are known as Dragonseeds. The bastard children of Valyrian descendents will be a part of the power conflict in the near future. 

At King’s Landing, Hugh tends to his ailing daughter and learns about the worsening situation in the capital. He still has faith in the crown, as Aegon had promised monetary aid to the Smithys. Hugh, much like the sailor brothers of Driftmark, is one of the Dragonseeds as well. On the other hand, Corlys and Rhaenys discuss the recent falling out between the Targaryens and Dragonstone. Daemon is free-spirited, and his allegiance to Rhaenyra doesn’t signify her complete command over him. Although Rhaenys doesn’t think that it will be reason enough for the rogue prince to turn his back against the queen, she believes that securing Harrenhal’s allegiance will be enough for Rhaenyra to forgive his transgressions. 

Ser Criston Cole’s Genius Move

At King’s Landing, Larys gets to know about Daemon’s orders from a captive Blood and learns about his ratcatcher accomplice as well. Afterwards, Aegon takes his revenge by bludgeoning Blood to death. On the other hand, the hypocritical lord commander of Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole, starts feeling guilty after looking at the late prince Jaehaerys’ empty crib, after all his and Alicent’s misadventures led to such a monumental security lapse it allowed two assassins to enter the royal quarters. With his guilty conscience acting up, Cole blames Kingsguard Arryk Cargyll for plotting against the king along with his twin brother Erryk, who had previously gone to Dragonstone to swear allegiance to Rhaenyra. Cole uses Arryk’s regret for his brother’s decision to forcibly assign him to a quite nonsensical plan: he commands the Kingsguard to go to Dragonstone in the guise of his twin brother and kill Rhaenyra. Without knowing where Arryk will be or proper details about the situation over there, this is as foolhardy a move as someone with the brains of Cole can think of, but Arryk has no option but to adhere to the command of his superior. 

Otto Hightower Steps Down, Again

With Cole’s help, Aegon rounds up all the ratcatchers and hangs them to death from the palace wall. During his interrogation, Blood couldn’t specify the identity of the ratcatcher, so Aegon and Cole made the best decision their combined low intellect could have come up with and made a public display of the cruelty the king is capable of. Otto becomes furious and chastises his grandson for such a brainless act; after all, the sympathy that he had managed to garner from the smallfolk for the crown during the funeral procession has been squandered in an instant as the families of the deceased ratcatchers wail outside the Red Keep. As Aegon defends his crimes in the pretense of a decision to ‘act,’ Otto learns about Criston Cole’s genius move of sending Ser Erryk alone to kill Rhaenyra. Honestly, it was a treat to see Otto go off on Aegon, who has no idea about the basics of diplomacy, bureaucracy, or tactics whatsoever. Additionally, as Otto mentions the judiciousness of late King Viserys, it feels good to see that despite scheming treacherously behind his back, Otto had the integrity to acknowledge and respect the king he served the longest. 


Otto laments, stating Viserys was right about his first son being an impetuous, mindless fool who was not fit to be a ruler. Aegon retorts, stating that his father had chosen him as his heir, which prompts Otto to let out a mean, cruel snicker in response. Aegon II’s ascension to the throne was a farce, and aside from the king himself, everyone knows it. However, Aegon acts rashly once again and relieves Otto from his duty as his Hand. As if he hasn’t made enough stupid decisions for a day, Aegon claims Criston Cole to be his new Hand, much to Otto’s regret and disgust. During Visery’s reign, Rhaenyra managed to convince her father to get rid of Otto, and Aegon II followed his stepsister’s decision, with the only difference being the differing results for each of them.

Aemond’s Guilt Over The Deaths of the Princes

In the aftermath of Jaehaerys’ death, Aemond had realized that the assassins were sent after him, and in his absence they killed the heir to the throne, the young prince. While spending time with his mistress at the Flea Bottom, a remorseful Aemond expresses his regret over the death of two prince of the opposing factions – even Luke’s as well. At the same time, he is proud of himself considering his uncle, Daemon, thinks himself worthy enough to be a threat, which is why he thinks that the Blacks had sent the assassins. 


How Did the Cargyll Brothers Die?

Following Cole’s orders, Ser Arryk reaches Dragonstone, and Mysaria takes notice of his arrival as she leaves for Pentos. The twin situation is confusing to the former mistress of whisperers as well, so she isn’t quite sure whether her assumption about an upcoming mishap is accurate or not, but Mysaria chooses to stay. Through sheer luck, Arryk reaches the royal quarters of Rhaenyra and prepares to kill her, when his twin brother, Erryk, appears out of nowhere to protect the queen. After an intense, bloody, and emotional fight between the two brothers, Arryk shares his final words of disappointment with his brother as to how fate created a rift between them. A remorseful Erryk plunges his sword into his brother’s heart and apologizes to Rhaenyra before taking his own life in grief as well. As tragic and heartbreaking as the deaths of the Cargyll brothers were, they are but a prelude to the overwhelming loss that awaits in the near future. As they say, in war, both sides end up losing, and the upcoming Targaryen civil war is going to be its most prominent example. 


At King’s Landing, Otto meets with his daughter and confides in her about his fears regarding the future of their house. With Aegon and Cole running rampant and Otto out of council, the Blacks are more vulnerable and divided than ever. Otto wishes to go back to Oldtown, back to his family seat, and counsel Alicent’s fourth son, Daeron Targaryen, who is mentioned for the first time in the series. Alicent asks her father to seek out help from the Tyrells at Highgarden instead, and she promises to make Aegon listen to reason after his present emotional turbulence recedes. Later, Alicent sees her son, Aegon, breaking down in agony over losing his son, but she can’t gather herself to comfort him in the end. The episode ends with another misadventure between Cole and Alicent, which makes us feel a sense of contempt for her and pity for poor Aegon. Thrust into a role he never quite fit into; he and Helaena have lost the most, and in times of crisis, there is no one to share their burden. Even they themselves don’t have the will to initiate a conversation with each other, as seen during a previous scenario in the episode, which makes their plight all the more tragic. 

Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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