House of the Dragon Episode 2
HBO

‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 2 Recap: A Dangerous New Alliance Forms

This week on 'House of the Dragon,' Viserys feels the pressure to remarry and the forces of Westeros begin to turn against the Crown. What can the aging king do to retain his power?
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House of the Dragon’s second episode skips ahead six months from the bloody and dramatic events of the series opener. Half a year after the deaths of the Aemma and infant Baelon, forces within Westeros are already moving to furnish King Viserys with another wife. As the powerful men of the kingdom try to marry off their daughters, the show offers up what will certainly be its central theme: women trying to reconcile their place in a patriarchal society.

Let’s dive into Episode 2, The Rogue Prince, and see what’s happening in King’s Landing this week.

Rough Times for the Crown

Things have been tough for King Viserys. His wife and infant son died only six months ago, and he exiled his brother Daemon as a punishment for celebrating his own nephew’s passing. Viserys now appears weak before the lords of the realm as Daemon has seized his ancestral home of Dragonstone by force. He continues to passively abide a pirate group led by the infamous “Crabfeeder” in the Stepstones, the chain of islands between Westeros and Essos.

Corlys Velaryan, the infamous “Sea Snake,” is furious regarding the King’s inaction in handling the Crabfeeder. Corlys, the head of House Velaryon and the Master of Driftmark, is also eyeing the throne, offering to marry off his 12-year-old daughter Laela to the recently-single King Viserys. Everyone else finds this extremely creepy, but, hey, it’s Ye Olden Days or something.

Viserys, who is visibly beginning to fall apart from various skin infections, feels the pressure to remarry. All of his advisors tell him that it’s his duty to have more children to strengthen the royal bloodline. Rhaenyra, his only child, will presumably take the throne after his passing, but the men of Westeros aren’t eager to bend the knee to a woman.

Daemon’s Betrayal

To make matters worse, Daemon betrays his brother further by stealing away a dragon egg under cover of night. He steals Dreamfyre, the unhatched dragon that Rhaneyra selected to share the crib with her brother Baelon. Daemon also claims he plans to marry his longtime confidante and that the two are expecting a child, who Daemon says will be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Viserys, enraged by his brother’s audacity, sends his Hand, Otto Hightower, and a contingent of knights to get the egg back. The resulting standoff nearly ends in disaster as Daemon signals his dragon to obliterate the detachment from King’s Landing. Thankfully for the king’s men, Rhaneyra disobeys her father’s direct order and rides in on her own dragon, getting Daemon to back down and return Dreamfyre to her. 

This is the first of several instances in this episode where we see Rhaenyra’s resolve and strength. Later, when she finds out her father might marry the prepubescent Laela, she doesn’t quite betray her disgust until her aunt, Rhaenys, asks how she feels about it. Rhaenyra insists that she’ll still be queen someday, unlike the Queen that Never Was.

The Marriage Controversy

Viserys is hesitant to marry Laela, too–partly because she’s literally a child, but also because he feels a stronger attraction to Lady Alicent, Otto’s daughter and Rhaneyra’s closest friend. He announces his intention to marry Alicent instead of Laela, dashing any chances of an alliance between the crown and House Velaryan. Rhaenyra is shocked and visibly upset that her father would drop such a massive piece of news in the middle of the Small Council without at least consulting her first.

An enraged Corlys makes haste to Dragonstone, where he plots with Daemon to obliterate the pirates in the Stepstone and eventually overthrow Viserys. Daemon is too eager to prove himself a worthy successor to the throne, the rightful heir by merit of his age–and gender. Meanwhile, Corlys is eager for any chance to seize power, evidenced by his marriage to Rhaenys and his attempts to marry off his daughter to the king. Calling themselves “the Second Sons of Westeros,” the two prepare to take what power they can by force. 

Viserys faces an uphill battle to prove that the crown isn’t as weak as the Lords of Westeros think it is. Rhaneyra is angry with her father for dithering away in the castle and sqaundering what time he has left on seemingly petty pastimes. What will happen to the king as the forces of Dragonstone and Valaryan arrange themselves against him? We’ll find out next week.