House of the Dragon episode 203 ending explained

The ending of "The Burning Mill" sets the stage for an explosive continuation of the Targaryen Civil War.
House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

House of the Dragon episode 203 wraps up with more twists, turns, and fiery confrontations than a dragon-riding soap opera.

The ending leaves us with more questions than answers, and I'm here to break it all down for you. Let's dive into the fiery finale and speculate wildly about what's coming next.

SPOILER WARNING: please continue to read this article at your own risk!

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"The Burning Mill" ending explained

The episode's climax centers on Rhaenyra's daring visit to Alicent at the Grand Sept. Disguised as a septa, Rhaenyra's stealthy approach harkens back to the days when she and Alicent were friends, praying together under the same roof. This callback is as bittersweet as it is strategic, and you can feel the tension as the two women lock eyes after all these years.

Rhaenyra's revelation about Viserys's final words sends shockwaves through the room. Alicent, having misunderstood her husband's dying whispers, realizes the magnitude of her mistake. She thought Viserys named Aegon as his heir, but he was actually speaking about the prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised. Whoops. Alicent’s face is a mix of regret and horror, but she soon steels herself, declaring that it’s too late to undo the chaos. The wheels of war are already in motion, and stopping now would be as likely as a snowstorm in Dorne.

This revelation doesn't just add layers to Alicent’s character - it also underscores the tragic miscommunications that often drive Westeros's bloodiest conflicts. Rhaenyra, for her part, seems to grasp the futility of further bloodshed, but her resolve to claim the throne remains unshaken. It's a masterclass in dramatic tension, leaving us on the edge of our seats and screaming at our screens, "Why can't you just TALK IT OUT?"

Meanwhile, back at Harrenhal, Daemon secures the castle with surprising ease. Simon Strong's immediate surrender and denouncement of Larys (who's currently cozying up to Aegon) is a bit too convenient, raising questions about Simon's true motives. Is he genuinely switching sides, or is this part of a larger, more devious plan? Knowing Westeros, it's probably the latter. With Harrenhal now under Rhaenyra's control, Daemon quickly establishes it as a strategic base. His return to the fold and his control over such a significant stronghold shift the balance of power in the Blacks' favor. But let's not forget: Harrenhal is cursed. Will the castle's dark history come back to haunt Daemon and his allies? Given the show's penchant for unexpected twists, I'm betting on a resounding "yes."

Back on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra’s council faces a conundrum. The Riverlands are in disarray, and the call for action grows louder. However, Rhaenys, ever the voice of caution and Hand of the Queen, warns against the devastating consequences of unleashing dragon fire. The council’s push to send Rhaenyra to a safe location is met with firm resistance. Rhaenyra’s resolve to stay and lead is unwavering, highlighting her determination and strength as a leader. But this also places her directly in the line of fire, setting the stage for potentially catastrophic confrontations.

Over in King’s Landing, the Greens are a hot mess. Ser Criston Cole, with his army and unyielding ambition, is poised to flip Riverlands houses to Aegon's side and capture Harrenhal. However, Aegon's decision to stay put (thanks to Larys's manipulations) showcases the growing disunity within their ranks. Gwayne Hightower’s arrival and immediate tension with Criston adds another layer of drama. These power struggles within the Greens' camp hint at potential cracks in their alliance, which could be exploited by the Blacks in future episodes.

The subplot involving Aemond and the sex worker from the previous episode adds an intriguing layer to his character. Aegon's mocking reveals a deeper, more personal side of Aemond, hinting at unresolved issues and emotional scars. His abrupt departure from the brothel suggests that Aemond's internal struggles may soon boil over, potentially affecting his decisions and allegiances. Given his volatile nature, Aemond's storyline is a ticking time bomb ready to explode.

Mysaria’s interaction with Rhaenyra opens up new possibilities for alliances. Her request for a place in Rhaenyra’s court indicates her ambition and desire for power. If Rhaenyra grants her this position, Mysaria could become a valuable asset in gathering intelligence and undermining the Greens. However, trust is a rare commodity in Westeros, and Rhaenyra would do well to keep an eye on her new ally.

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Speculations for episode 4

1. Alicent and Rhaenyra’s next moves: Alicent’s realization about the true nature of Viserys's last words might prompt her to reconsider her strategies. Will she attempt to broker peace, or will the momentum of war prove too strong to halt? Rhaenyra, meanwhile, might leverage this new understanding to rally more support for her cause, presenting herself as the rightful and wronged heir.

2. Daemon’s dark discoveries: Daemon's control over Harrenhal could be short-lived. The castle's cursed history may bring unexpected challenges, possibly through supernatural means or hidden conspiracies within its walls. Daemon's mettle will be tested as he deals with both internal and external threats.

3. Rhaenyra’s council on the brink: Rhaenyra's council will likely face increasing pressure to take decisive action. With the Riverlands in chaos, we might see a push for more aggressive tactics, possibly involving dragon riders. Rhaenys’s warnings might go unheeded, leading to devastating consequences.

4. Aemond’s emotional explosions: Aemond’s unresolved issues and emotional turmoil could lead to reckless decisions, possibly endangering key players on both sides. His storyline may intersect with other characters in unexpected ways, creating new alliances or rivalries.

5. Mysaria’s machinations: If Mysaria secures a place in Rhaenyra’s court, we can expect her to start weaving a web of intrigue. Her skills in espionage and manipulation will come into play, potentially providing Rhaenyra with crucial intelligence - or leading to new betrayals.

6. Criston’s conquests: Criston Cole’s campaign in the Riverlands will likely face significant challenges. Resistance from loyalist houses, guerrilla tactics, and the harsh realities of war could complicate his plans. His growing friction with Gwayne Hightower might also lead to internal conflicts that weaken their position.

7. Aegon’s anxieties: Aegon’s decision to stay behind, influenced by Larys, might have unintended consequences. His absence from the front lines could undermine his authority and embolden his enemies. Additionally, Larys’s increasing influence over Aegon might lead to more manipulative schemes that destabilize the Greens from within.

The ending of "The Burning Mill" sets the stage for an explosive continuation of the Targaryen Civil War. As alliances shift, old grudges resurface, and dragons take to the skies, House of the Dragon promises more drama, intrigue, and fire-breathing action.

Buckle up for episode 4 - it’s going to be a wild ride through the fiery heart of Westeros.

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