‘House Of The Dragon’ Season 2 Episode 3 Recap, Key Highlights And Takeaways

With every reckless move made by the opposing sides in both Dragonstone and King’s Landing ever since the death of King Viserys I of Targaryen, the threat of war looms larger. And if history has taught us anything, like the fierce steeds of the Targaryens, war is an uncontrollable beast that, once unleashed, won’t rest until it has taken its toll. Which is why, before it becomes too late, reasonable minds are trying to defuse the upcoming conflict, although it seems that it is no longer an option. 

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Previously, Prince Jaehaerys’ death caused quite a stir among the Greens, as the sympathy Otto Hightower had garnered by organizing a funeral procession to libel Rhaenyra was squandered right off by the impulsive decision to publicly execute ratcatchers orchestrated by King Aegon and Criston Cole. Cole also assumed his new role as Hand of the King after Aegon released his grandfather, Otto, from his duties. Rhaenyra lambasts Daemon after learning of his role in the murder of the child prince, and the rogue prince flies off for Harrenhall to assume control over the Riverlands. In a desperate move to make amends for his own ineptness in protecting the prince, Cole sent Kingsguard Ser Arryk Cargyll to assassinate Rhaenyra, but a timely tip by Mysaria led his twin brother, Black Kingsguard Ser Erryk, to interfere, which resulted in a bloody clash and the eventual deaths of both brothers. Between securing battle positions and making the last effort to secure a truce, the third episode of House of the Dragon takes the opposing Targaryen sides into treacherous territory.

Spoilers Ahead

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Securing the Riverlands

The episode begins with a vicious conflict between the small houses of the Riverlands, House Blackwood and House Bracken, during the battle of Burning Mill. Although the real reason for the conflict is rooted in their borderland dispute, the ongoing Targaryen clash has reached this part of Westeros as well and has acted as a trigger for the war. Additionally, even though the Tully house has been known as the chief mediator in the Riverlands, under the present head of the family, Grover Tully, the situation is worse than ever. The news reaches the small council of Aegon, who offer their differing views about the use of force to gain control over the situation, and Criston Cole decides to take a small cavalry unit to capture Harrenhal, an important location in the Riverlands that could prove vital in the upcoming battle. Aegon is too eager to join him with his steed, Sunfyre, but the council and Aemond try to dissuade him in fear of losing him in a conflict with the Blacks. 

Alicent, whose suggestions in the Small Council go unnoticed most of the time, decides to send her brother, Ser Gwayne Hightower, along with Cole and co. Aegon’s plans to join the troop are foiled as Clubfoot, aka Larys Strong, pokes at his image-conscious self to convince him that staying in King’s Landing will be the best course of action. Alicent is visited by Helaena, who states that she forgives her for her past actions, presumably hinting at her illicit affair with Cole, which was discovered by her on the night of Jaehaerys’ death. 

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Daemon’s Harrenhall Capture and Alys Rivers’ Premonition

On the other hand, Daemon arrives at Harrenhal and quite easily takes over the broken, dilapidated remains of the castle, which used to be the biggest one in all of Westeros, as Simon Strong, the present castellan, surrenders without so much as a challenge . Harrenhal is cursed, as is said by the people of Westeros, due to repeated incidents of arson that have kept burning the castle down ever since its creation. Right after it was founded, Aegon had his mighty dragon Balerion burn the castle down with Harren the Black inside of it, and much later, the scheming Clubfoot had his brother Harwin Strong and father Lyonel Strong killed in the same castle by burning them to death. Despite the geographical advantage Riverlands can provide in the upcoming battle, Daemon finds out that a lack of proper leadership, unified troops, and the condition of the castle makes Harrenhal more of a liability than an asset.

Away from family and comrades, time spent in the darkened ruins of Harrenhal starts messing up Daemon’s mental state as the remorseful Rogue Prince is shocked after seeing a vision of young Rhaenyra sewing back kid Jaehaerys’ severed head. As Daemon inexplicably finds himself in the castle courtyard at night, a mysterious woman, whom we will later come to know as Alys Rivers, appears in front of him and prophesies his death at the same place. In the books, Alys Rivers was a mystic who played an important role in the Targaryen civil war.

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Rhaenys’ Counsel and Daemon’s Daughters

Meanwhile, Cole and Gwayne’s troops, who are moving through the Riverlands, nearly get taken down by Daemon’s daughter, Baela Targaryen, who was patrolling the skies with her steed, Moondancer. Rhaenyra’s Small Council is alarmed after learning about Cole’s attempt to take over Harrenhal and pleads with her to send troops to assist Daemon. Rhaenyra’s Small Council is trying to spring her into actions that will inevitably court war, and Rhaenys advises her niece to try and avert such a situation as long as possible. Instead, Rhaenyra summons Daemon’s other daughter, Rhaena, and instructs her to take her younger sons, Joffrey, Aegon III, and Viserys II, to Pentos to keep them away from the upcoming conflict. Rhaena is somewhat disappointed for apparently getting a job of babysitting while her elder sister, Baela, can take part in active combat due to having a dragon. But as Rhaenyra also entrusts her with the future of their house by providing her with dragon eggs for safekeeping, Rhaena’s role seems much more important than that of her elder sister. 


Another dragonseed appearance 

At a dingy inn in Flea Bottom, a drifter named Ulf claims to be the son of Baelon the Brave, Viserys and Daemon’s bastard brother. The character calls himself a Dragonseed, one of the bastard children who possess Valyrian blood, and this bit acts like a sort of exposition dump, honestly. Aegon and his associates visit the inn, and as they move to the nearby brothel, they find Aemond sharing a private moment with his mistress. Like the insensitive, foolish brother he is, Aegon revels in laughter, embarrassing Aemond in the process as he leaves. 


Was Rhaenyra able to convince Alicent to prevent the war?

Rhaenyra thanks Mysaria for saving her life, as her timely tip allowed Ser Erryk to intervene in his twin brother’s attempt to assassinate her. Mysaria asks for a place in Rhaenyra’s court in return, as she has changed her mind about leaving after finding Rhaenyra to be an exceptional and kind ruler. Rhaenyra attempts a daring, extremely risky move by using Mysaria’s connections to venture into King’s Landing in hopes of speaking with Alicent. She still believes that the situation hasn’t gotten out of hand, and if Alicent can agree to convince the Greens to make a truce, the war will be averted. Taking the guise of a Septa of the Faith of the Seven, Rhaenyra meets with Alicent at the Sept of Baelor and offers her proposal. However, Alicent has become too proud to even consider Rhaenyra’s proposal, and the fact also remains that nothing is in her control as of now. The duo have an argument about the succession conflict, and Rhaenyra believes Alicent to be a liar who took control of the throne by utilizing her opportunity, pretending it to be Visery’s will. However, as Alicent remains adamant about honoring Visery’s last words, Rhaenyra gets stuck in self-doubt. Fortunately, after learning the exact words Viserys had said Alicent in her deathbed, Rhaenyra’s doubts get cleared as she realizes that her late father was speaking about Aegon the Conqueror’s dream and not about Aegon II inheriting the throne. Rhaenyra tries to make Alicent see the error in her ways, but unwilling to pay heed to her words, Alicent leaves, and as the episode comes to a close, Rhaenyra remains alone inside the Sept. 

The third episode was a bit slow, but necessary to make viewers get to know the characters a bit better. While men take glory in courting war and killing for the silliest excuses, it’s up to women to seek reason and prevent futile, senseless bloodshed, which is what Rhaenys and Rhaenyra were trying to do by going to such lengths. Unfortunately, Alicent’s stubbornness is not something they can overcome, which is why there is no chance to avert the conflict from here on out. 

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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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