House of the Dragon S1, Ep 3 Review
I know it doesn’t need to be said at this point, but I’m saying it anyway: Westeros sucks. As much as I love the world and the plot at times, it drives me nuts how self-serving so many of the Elite are. Almost every Lord or Lady we meet does something for their gain rather than the good of all, and the people who are good people get eaten alive. Or worse, they become the thing they hate the most. This is a fact that House of the Dragon cruelly reminds us of in this week’s new episode with the arrival of the new Prince, Aegon
Aegon, Second of his Name
In the next of the show’s time skips, Kong Viserys has married Alicent as he said he would. What’s more, they now have an infant son, Aegon, and another child on the way. Everyone in court showers praise upon the Prince and act like he’s the second coming of his namesake.
Anyone who’s watched Game of Thrones long enough knows that most of this is empty flattery, trying to brown nose the King for favor. It gets to the point where even Rhaenyra’s sick of it.
Despite being made the heir, something that Viserys reminds her of, she never receives such praise, not that she wants it. Moreover, her relationship with her friend/mother-in-law, Alicent, has gotten much colder. She fears, rather rightfully, that Alicent’s children will supplant her as heir to the throne. Despite Alicent dismissing that for the moment, Rhaenyra’s right. Already, Alicent’s father is scheming to make Aegon the future King. He’s trying to pull a Tywin Lannister centuries before Tywin is born.
The Lannisters are Back
As for the Lannisters, they make their formal return in Jason Lannister, ancestor to the family we see in the show. He tries to make a marriage proposal to Rhaenyra, but arrogance must run in the Lannisters because he comes off like a self-entitled jerk. Rhaenyra flatly turns him down.
This won’t be the end to her problems, though. Now that Rhaenyra’s old enough to marry, her Dad’s been getting marriage proposals from all over. Most of them are from people who want to use her for her power, something she doesn’t want, and prompts her to run off into the Kingswood with Ser Criston Cole while the court is on this big hunt for Aegon’s birthday. Not that anyone can blame her, though. At one point, Otto Hightower suggests marrying her to her infant half-brother, Prince Aegon! Political machinations aside, how disgusting is that, marrying her to a two-year-old?
I may not be as familiar with the prequel to Game of Thrones as I would like to be, but I know chemistry when I see it. And Rhaenyra and Ser Criston have a lot of chemistry. They talk to each other so casually, and they work well together. This is made more apparent when they end up saving each other from a wild boar. Then, as if to hammer home how she’s meant to be in charge, Rhaenyra finds the White Hart her father’s lord’s have been hunting, but lets it go. In her mind, this will solidify her as the rightful next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms…which only makes what will happen harder to watch.
Not that I care. I swore I wouldn’t get emotionally attached to the characters again.
Wrath of the Dragon
Meanwhile, Prince Daemon and House Velaryon have spent the time skip fighting in the Stepstones. Their opponent is the pirate prince of the Free Cities, the Crab Feeder. Despite having a dragon on their side in the form of Caraxes, though, they continue to lose the war. Then, word reaches Daemon that his brother’s sending them aid. Rather than be happy that his brother’s helping him, Daemon snaps.
What happens next is what we anime fans would call “Pulling a Vegeta.” Daemon pretends to surrender to the Crabfeeder, but it’s an obvious lie. Despite committing what would be considered a war crime (I.E. attacking while waving the white flag), Daemon’s plan works. With all their attention on him, the pirates fail to notice the Velaryon’s and Caraxes sneak up on him until it’s too late. In the second of the episode’s big battle scenes, the Westerosi forces massacre the pirates. As for Daemon, he single-handedly slays the Crabfeeder, leaving him the undisputed ruler of the Stepstones. And he intends to let all of Westeros know he’s in charge.
A Storm is Coming to Westeros
So, by the end of the episode, the cracks continue to grow in House Targaryen as Rhaenyra continues to get ignored. And now Daemon’s ruling over the islands of the Narrow Seas. As for me, I refuse to become emotionally invested in anyone in this show. That way, I won’t be upset when characters start dropping like flies. And drop they will.
Irritation at sychophant’s aside, House of the Dragon has done good so far. Whether they can keep it up for the rest of the series will be another matter entirely. They have a chance to redeem the mistakes of the final seasons of Game of Thrones. For HBO’s sake, they shouldn’t mess it up.