Second of His Name
Episode 3 of House of the Dragon starts with a burning banner. That banner belongs to a ship, rife with hungry flames licking up the wood. We’re with the Crabfeeder, who’s having his wicked way with various sailors. Daemon shows up with his dragon, alone, attempting to kill off the Sellswords but they’re well equipped to deal with this dragon now.
Crabfeeder manages to slip away into a cave nearby, shielded from the flames, while archers up on a cliff-face ward away the dragon. The fight ends in a stalemate.
2+ years have passed in the world and while the battle at the Stepstones rags on, Viserys now has a son with Alicent and he’s 2 years old. Otto is still pulling the strings behind a curtain of deception. During the celebrations though, the matter of the Stepstones is brought to Viserys’ attention but given it’s his son’s birthday, Viserys is only half listening. He’s more interested in know where Rhaenyra is. Well, she’s outside with a bard, reading. A pregnant Alicent shows up at the Godswood and convinces Rhaenyra to leave with her. She’s not exactly happy about it but she shows up before her King, and father, nonetheless.
Viserys encourages Rhaenyra to join him in an upcoming hunt, as part of the King’s celebrations. She’s not happy, believing that the King’s son is now next in line for the throne and she won’t have a chance at it herself. As a result she’s withdrawn, angry and far more interested in military affairs.
Of course the big buzz here is Daemon’s fight at the Stepstones. Everyone is in agreement that the crown should get involved and help out, destroying Crabfeeder once and for all. Viserys though is refusing to do so, and that could well come back to bite him.
Rhaenyra soon meets Jason Lannister, who tries to woo her, flexing his power and calling Rhaenyra his queen…and potential wife. Instead, she smiles and walks away, thanking him for a wine. In other words “no thank you.”
Rhaenyra marches up to her father, where the pair end up fighting in the middle of everyone about this planned marriage. Rhaenyra is adamant she doesn’t want to marry but Viserys does his best to try and convince her that they’re all bound by duty. Well, she snatches up a horse and runs away instead. Ser Criston follows and manages to calm her down.
After the hunt, Jason Lannister makes his pledge again to Viserys, offering a throne for Rhaenyra. Viserys is quick to point out though that Aegon is not next in line, Rhaenyra is and he didn’t make that pledge lightly. Ultimately, Viserys wants his daughter to be happy. Otto suggests a way of closing the dispute completely. Rhaenyra should wed Aegon, despite him only just turning 2. This isn’t uncommon for the Targaryens of course, but for Viserys he’s sick of all these politics and decides to drown himself in wine instead.
It’s a precarious situation for Viserys, who on the one hand is trying to appease his daughter and keep both the tradition of his people (marrying strategically to strengthen their own claim) in check, while simultaneously realizing the whole kingdom is abuzz with the idea of a male heir, which is only pushing Rhaenyra further away.
Out in the woods, Criston Cole and Rhaenyra are attacked by a wild boar. Criston manages to slay the beast, while Rhaenyra stabs it repeatedly with a knife, spraying herself in blood in the process.
In the morning, Viserys shows up in the wood where he finds his soldiers have captured a stag. It may not be the fabled white stag they expected but it’s sufficient enough. Viserys is tasked with giving the killing blow but the strikes are sloppy and it takes him several goes to finish the job.
Interestingly though, that white stag actually shows up before Rhaenyra. Now, this is generally regarded as a symbol of wisdom and glory too. Not to mention of prophecy. The exact meaning may not be known to us right now it’s an interesting inclusion nonetheless, and one that will likely make a difference in the story ahead.
That night, under the dancing light of the fire, Viserys is convinced – partly thanks to Alicent – to send aid to help Daemon get rid of Crabfeeder. Rhaenyra is still not happy, especially as the subject of marrying continues to be brought up. Although Viserys brings up marrying for strategy and strength, she’s quick to point out he didn’t exactly follow this rule, given he didn’t marry Laena. which would have been the better choice for the kingdom. And to be honest, she has a point here!
Word reaches Daemon that he’s due to receive men and boats from Viserys, as a way of trying to appease the pain between them. After beating down the messenger, Daemon shows up at the wasteland before the Crabfeeder and the other Sellswords, waving a white flag to surrender and offering up his sword. This is, of course, all a ruse as Daemon stabs one of the men with a knife and fights his way out of range of the archers.
Daemon does well but unfortunately is struck by a stray arrow. As the Sellswords close in around him for the killing blow, Corlys’ men appear and prepare to attack. A dragon also appears too and swings the balance of power, burning many men. While the fight rages on outside, Daemon follows the Crabfeeder into the caves. When he returns, he does so with the severed carcass of the Crabfeeder.
The Episode Review
The third episode f House of the Dragon offers another time jump forward, this time of 2 years. This show has been rocketing through the years and in a way I guess that’s to be expected. There’s an awful lot of history with the Targaryens and it seems this show is intent on trying to squeeze as much as possible into these seasons.
With the show having recently been given the greenlight for another season, it’s clear there’s a lot more story to tell, presumably leading up to the Mad King and the Kingslayer, which would be a nice way to tie into the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones.
As for this episode, we see more of Viserys’ choices as King come to the foreground and I can’t help but feel that the killing of that stag is symbolic for Viserys’ hack-job as King so far. He’s not handled the realm particularly well and it’s taken Alicent Hightower’s inclusion to help Viserys appease Daemon and swing the battle in their favour. I can’t help but feel had he actually sent aid years back, they could have avoided losing many soldiers’ lives.
The battle itself though is pretty good and that visceral, epic action we’ve come to expect from Game of Thrones is here in abundance. Personally, it would have been nice to see the Crabfeeder actually fight with Daemon and perhaps edit that back and forth with the larger battle outside, but it at least serves its purpose to close out this threat.
Unfortunately, the Crabfeeder ended up being a pretty naff antagonist in the end, with barely any screen time and simply an inconvenience that was pretty easily dispatched, all things considered.
However, the politics are still rife in this and the characters are interesting enough to keep watching. Unlike Rings of Power, the details are far more evident here with things like the costume design, sets, dialogue and little details much more accurate to the world. The ending to this chapter certainly leaves the door wide open for where this one may go next though, and next week’s episode should be another good one!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|