House of the Dragon season 2, episode 3 recap and review

As the Greens and the Blacks continue their deadly dance, one thing is clear: in Westeros, history may forget the reasons, but it never forgets the bloodshed.
House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

It is Sunday - which means one more episode of the thrilling second season of House of the Dragon!

The previous episode of House of the Dragon was filled with drama and flames. We kicked things off with the heart-wrenching funeral of young Jaehaerys, and Helaena's grief had us all grabbing for tissues. Alicent forced her to attend the funeral, trying to show strength but only piling on the sorrow. Awkward family gatherings, am I right? Meanwhile, Alicent and Ser Criston found themselves in hot water. Jaehaerys’s death happened on their watch, and now Lord Larys is twisting the knife, holding them under his manipulative thumb. It’s like watching a medieval soap opera, with threats and guilt galore.

Over on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra was absolutely furious with Daemon, blaming him for escalating the conflict that led to her son's demise. Their intense showdown showcased some serious acting chops from Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith.

The highlight? A brutal twin brother showdown! Swords clashed, blood spilled, and both brothers met their doom, shaking up alliances like a Westerosi snow globe. And let's not forget Aemond, who's turning into quite the complex character despite his past misdeeds.

As we break down this next episode, it's clear that the dance of the dragons is just heating up, promising more fiery confrontations and jaw-dropping moments.

SPOILER WARNING: Please continue to read at your own risk.

House of the Dragon season 2 /

House of the Dragon season 2, episode 3 recap and review

House of the Dragon's latest episode dives deep into the ever-escalating feud between the Greens and the Blacks. To put it into perspective, the Targaryen Civil War is like a medieval version of the famous American feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, but with dragons and a lot more fire.

The episode kicks off with a somber tone as Rhaenyra and Rhaenys stand by the grave of Erryk and Aaryk, the twins who tragically met their end in the previous episode. Rhaenys, ever the voice of reason, warns Rhaenyra that Otto Hightower's influence among the Greens is waning, and more impulsive players like Ser Criston are taking the reins. "The young men have taken the bit in their teeth. They wish to punish, to avenge," Rhaenys says, ominously hinting that soon, no one will even remember what started this war. Spoiler alert: it's all about power, pride, and a dash of dragon drama.

Rhaenyra, ever the staunch defender of her claim, insists it was the Greens' usurpation of the throne that kicked things off. But Rhaenys counters with a history lesson: was it when Jaehaerys was beheaded? When Aemond killed Luke? Or when Luke took Aemond’s eye? The cycle of vengeance is spinning out of control, and reason is slipping away, just like in the real-life feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. History, as George R.R. Martin loves to remind us, often boils down to death, power, and violence. Rhaenys pushes Rhaenyra to consider talking to Alicent as an alternative to all-out war. Both women have been influenced by power-hungry men, but maybe, just maybe, a conversation could change the course of history. This moment feels like a flicker of hope in the darkness, but we all know how things usually go in Westeros.

Meanwhile, the feud's flames spread across the realm, igniting battles between supporters of Rhaenyra and Aegon. House Bracken and House Blackwood, eternal rivals, seize the opportunity to murder each other, their conflict now branded as the first act of this unavoidable war. The Greens, led by the newly appointed Hand of the King, decide to take action. Criston Cole, with his undeniable charisma and ass-kissing tendencies, leads a small army to the Riverlands to flip the houses loyal to Rhaenyra and capture Harrenhal, the grandest castle in the Seven Kingdoms. His plans move forward without much opposition, largely due to the lack of checks and balances within Aegon’s council. However, Criston must now contend with Ser Gwayne Hightower, Otto’s youngest son and Alicent’s brother, freshly arrived from Oldtown. Gwayne, unhappy to find his father unseated as Hand, throws shade at Criston, making things delightfully awkward. Despite their differences, the two must work together as Gwayne joins Criston’s company, adding another layer of tension to an already volatile situation.

While Criston and Gwayne head off to claim glory, Aegon decides to join them, defying his council's advice. But Larys Strong, ever the manipulative mastermind, convinces Aegon to stay put, sowing seeds of doubt about Alicent and Aemond's intentions. Larys's scheming pays off, and he’s rewarded with the position of Master of Whispers on Aegon’s small council, proving once again that knowledge is power - especially when that knowledge can be used to manipulate kings. Aegon, instead of heading into battle, spends his night at a brothel, searching for a woman to take one of his knight's virginity. During his debauchery, he stumbles upon a very naked Aemond, who is once again with the sex worker we saw last episode. Aegon's mocking reveals more about Aemond's backstory with the woman, but Aemond quickly removes himself from the situation, leaving the brothel and his brother's antics behind.

Back on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra confronts Mysaria, thanking her for the warning about Arryk. Mysaria, in turn, asks for a place in Rhaenyra’s court, impressed by the queen's mercy - something rare from those in power. This potential alliance between Rhaenyra and Mysaria is a refreshing twist, especially in a world where women are often pitted against each other. Rhaenyra's next task is to ensure her young sons' safety. She asks her niece/step-daughter Rhaena to accompany them to Pentos, recognizing the Greens' aggression and the lack of safety even on Dragonstone. Unlike her sister Baela, Rhaena never claimed a dragon, making her less useful in the fight but perfect for protecting the children. However, this move feels like a step back for female empowerment in the show, reducing Rhaena to a caregiver rather than a warrior.

Daemon finally reappears after his dramatic exit in episode two. He’s at Harrenhal, ready to claim it for Rhaenyra, perhaps as an apology for his earlier actions. Surprisingly, he faces no resistance - Simon Strong immediately bends the knee, denouncing Larys, who’s cozily nestled in Aegon’s pocket. With Harrenhal under Daemon’s control, he receives updates on the Riverlands' status, learning that many houses have already declared their loyalties. Also, holy creepy hallucinations, Batman. Alys Rivers at her finest.

Back on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra’s council feels the pressure. The Battle of the Burning Mill has left the Riverlands in disrepair, and Daemon's absence is a significant blow. They push for action, eager for dragon fire to turn the tide. Rhaenys, ever the voice of caution, warns against the mutually assured destruction that dragon battles promise. The council’s suggestion that Rhaenyra retreat for her safety is quickly shut down, reinforcing her determination to lead. As she's mourning her children's departure, she stumbles upon a note from Alicent. Inspired by Rhaenys's advice, she decides to go to Alicent, hoping to prevent further bloodshed. Disguised as a septa, Rhaenyra arrives at the Grand Sept, mirroring a scene from their youth when they prayed together before their friendship soured.

The reunion between Rhaenyra and Alicent is electric, to say the least. Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke’s chemistry lights up the screen as the two recount Viserys's final moments. Alicent's memory of Viserys naming Aegon as his heir is revealed to be a tragic miscommunication: Viserys was merely recounting the prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised, not changing his heir. Alicent, realizing her mistake, declares it too late to turn back. The seeds of war have been sown, and the feud, much like that of the Hatfields and McCoys, will now be remembered for its violence and senselessness.

A+. The series' best episode so far, this episode masterfully weaves personal conflicts with grand political maneuvers, highlighting the tragic futility of war.. Camila Domingues | Bam Smack Pow. House of the Dragon episode 203. HotD

This episode of House of the Dragon masterfully weaves personal conflicts with grand political maneuvers, highlighting the tragic futility of war. The characters' intricate relationships and the ever-present threat of dragon fire keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

As the Greens and the Blacks continue their deadly dance, one thing is clear: in Westeros, history may forget the reasons, but it never forgets the bloodshed.

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