‘House Of The Dragon’ Season 2 Episode 4 Recap, Key Highlights And Takeaways

At long last, the second season of HBO’s House of the Dragon lets viewers experience some good dragon action while approaching the midseason finale and delivers a devastating blow to both opposing houses, which will change the dynamic of the Targaryen civil war forever. Also, the series takes an extreme departure from the source material at this point by killing off two characters, which could affect the end resolution of the live-action adaptation of the second part of “Fire and Blood” in a major way down the line. 


Previously, Aegon’s frustration grew as he was barred from engaging in direct combat, while his Hand, Ser Criston Cole, took up the job to take over the Riverlands. Daemon was able to control Harrenhall without facing adversity, but his guilt-ridden mind, amplified by the darkness of the dilapidated Harrenhall, conjured up troubling thoughts, and he came across a mysterious Alys Rivers. Rhaenyra made a last attempt at peacetalks by sneaking into the Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing and meeting Alicent, only to realize that the war was inevitable and that Alicent’s miscomprehending the last words of Viserys had led both the opposing factions to an unavoidable conflict. The fourth episode makes a rather shocking, troublesome initiation to the Dance of the Dragons, resulting in monumental repercussions. 

Daemon’s Psychic Misery Continues

At Harrenhall, Daemon finds nothing of value as neither House Strong nor their other Riverland allies have manpower to offer to the Blacks. Riverrun’s ruler, Lord Grover Tully’s successor, young Oscar Tully, might become the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands one day, controlling the most significant province in the upcoming war. But with the feeble-minded Grover alive, he is of no use to Daemon, while Criston Cole consolidates significant strength by taking over smaller houses to weaken the Blacks’ position. Brackens, who waged the battle of the Burning Mill with the Blackwoods in the previous episode, can hardly provide the Blacks with the manpower they need, making Daemon feel restless and impatient by the day. 


Furthermore, his psychic afflictions continue to trouble him, as seen in the very first sequence of the episode when he sees a vision of a young Rhaenyra on the Iron Throne, goading him by taking a dig at Daemon’s political ambition, and be beheads her right off. It seems like the rogue prince’s destructive flair has gradually caught up to him after all. Later, Daemon continues chasing ghosts as he sees a vision of himself in Aemond’s appearance (a premonition of the events to transpire) and once again stumbles upon Alys Rivers. The mystical lady tries to get into Daemon’s head by reading through his troubled mind, and she makes him only more deluded by offering him a concoction of sorts. Harrenhall has affected Daemon’s mind in worse ways than his fiercest adversaries could have, which is no good news for the Blacks. 

Aegon Grows Impatient While Alicent Rethinks Her Choices

After Rhaenyra’s big reveal about the misinterpretation of Aegon the Conquerer’s dream, Alicent has started doing some soul searching—reading Visery’s history books and trying to find out whether he ever even considered Aegon II as his successor. She fails to get a definite answer, which worries her even more, but as she remarks while having a chat with Larys Strong, her opinion or Rhaenyra’s doesn’t matter much, nor does Viserys’ true intentions either, as they are too far along the bloody road of war. Also, it needs to be mentioned that Alicent decides to abort the child she might have had with Cole by ordering a concoction from the Grand Maester. 


Aegon’s Small Council raises the issue of Harrenhall having been taken by Daemon, while Cole conquers other smaller houses. Like a petulant child, Aegon starts bickering with others about the loss of Harrenhall, even though Larys Strong mentions that the establishment is in more of a crippled condition than he himself is. Aemond interferes, mentioning Cole’s current objective of taking over Rook’s rest should be prioritized as it will cut the Blacks off a strategically important mainland position. Aegon is surprised and angry after realizing that Cole and Aemond had been making war strategies without their knowing, and Aemond insults his elder brother by reminding him exactly how different their priorities were when it was time to prepare for war. Frustrated, Aegon goes to Alicent for her counsel, and all she could come up with was a reality check about Aegon’s ascension, asking him to remain as ineffectual as he is supposed to be. 

Who Were The First Victims Of The Dance Of The Dragons?

Rhaenys meets with her husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon, at Driftmark to inform him of the situation, as Rhaenyra’s Small Council is heating up by the day. Rhaenyra is absent, so is Daemon, and the Greens are getting scarily strong with Cole’s rise to power, making the Velaryons, Jace, and Daemon’s daughter the mediators and decision-makers as of now. However, at the same time, she also mentions to Corlys that she knows the history of Alyn of Hull (possibly hinting at his parentage), who saved Corlys during the Triarchy battle, but doesn’t prod too much into the issue. 


Corlys takes control of the Small Council before Rhaenyra eventually returns to reveal that she risked her life without anyone’s knowledge by going to King’s Landing for a truce attempt, to no avail. Rhaenyra learns about Cole’s upcoming occupation of the Rook’s Rest and decides to go on her own with her dragon to challenge Cole’s army. Jacaerys interferes, as on the off chance of Rhaenyra’s loss, it will end everything they have fought and sacrificed for thus far, and shows his eagerness to join the battle. Rhaenyra forbids him, mentioning his lack of experience as the reason for her to do so, and this is where Rhaenys steps in. She convinces Rhaenyra to let her clash with Cole, as not only does she have the largest dragon, among the Blacks, Meleys, but also the only battle experienced one (in Daemon and Caraxes’ absence). Rhaenyra agrees to let Rhaenys and Meleys fly to the battle, and on the other hand, absolutely fed up with everyone mollycoddling him, Aegon decides to fly off to Rook’s Rest as well, riding his steed, Sunfyre. 

Either motivated by the fear of impending danger or due to her sense of responsibility, Rhaenyra shares the dream of Aegon the Conqueror, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ with her son, Jacaerys, while a bloody war rages at Rook’s Rest. Rhaenys raises hell by unleashing Meleys upon Cole’s army, oblivious to the fact that this was a planned ambush on Cole and Aemond’s part, as a signal is sent to alert Aemond to bring Vhagar onto the stage. However, seeing his elder brother riding Sunfyre into battle, Daemon decides to wait out a bit. The battle between Sunfyre and Meleys begins as expected, with the young golden dragon getting toyed with, intimidated by the red queen three times her size. Meleys latches on to Sunfyre, and a terrified Aegon sees some hope after Aegon and Vhagar make a surprise entry, but realizes all too late that his young brother wishes to strike down both the riders in one fell burst of fire. Vhagar’s vicious fire breath fatally injures Sunfyre and Aegon as they fall to their deaths. More than Aegon, the inexperienced Sunfyre’s final fate feels more tragic, as he was pushed into a battle by an insolent mind’s hubris. Rhaenys continues the battle and decides to take on Vhagar, and despite being at the receiving end of fierce fire breath, Meleys manages to bring Vhagar to the ground, injuring her significantly. 

Unfortunately, Rhaenys and Meleys needed to be a bit more mindful about her surroundings, as just when she thinks the coast is clear, Vhagar and Aemond ambush the duo (hard to believe, we know) from beneath, and the red queen is no match for the sheer strength and size of Vhagar. Meleys dies of a broken neck, and as she falls, Rhaenys meets her end in the ruins of Rook’s destroyed nest.

Cole, who was among the fortunate ones to have survived the fierce battle after getting knocked out early on, wakes up and is horrified after seeing the harrowing aftermath. He notices Aemond taking up his sword to deliver the final blow to Aegon and stops him, only to find the charred remains of the so-called rightful king. The episode ends with Cole collapsing to the ground in sheer horror, desperation, and agony—as he loses Aegon, he has once again failed his purpose all over again. The reluctant king and the queen who never was, were the unfortunate first victims of the Dance of the Dragons, and it goes without saying their loss will affect their respective factions severely. Aemond, who was just waiting for a chance to prove himself, now has the golden opportunity to take control of the Greens, which is quite troubling news for the Blacks. Rhaenys’ tragic death is bound to make viewers feel that the character still has much to offer and was probably killed off way too soon. Rhaeny’s absence from Rhaenyra’s Small Council might allow Mysaria to take up the position of advisor as well. Daemon needs to return to Dragonstone, as in his absence things have moved only in a worse direction, and his queen needs him now more than ever. 


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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