House of the Dragon – Season 2, Second Episode Review

Politics is Everything

Unsurprisingly, the famous book is titled A Game of Thrones. Today’s world is no different, composed of these very games. Gaining an advantage through politics rather than fighting tooth and nail on the battlefield is easier. Making deals behind closed doors is cleaner than spilling blood on the field. With centuries of Hightower cunning, Otto Hightower has once again spun a magnificent story out of a dead child. As disgusting and vile as it might seem, it was the best idea to unite the people on one common ground: Rhaenyra the Cruel.

While Otto turned death into an advantage, the carelessness that I mentioned in the first episode, which the series constantly shoves in our faces, keeps overturning his plans. Just when Otto feels he’s gaining the support of the people, his grandson, and hateful Criston somehow manage to ruin all his plans. I really loved this part of the series. Despite all the political maneuvers, war is becoming inevitable. We’re used to Game of Thrones, where everything was resolved through sharp tongues. But this time, it won’t be so. The conflict between the Blacks and the Greens, unfortunately, cannot be resolved peacefully. In fact, it is impossible. If your grandson is Aegon II, peace is unattainable.

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The Fall of Valyria Again

I particularly emphasized this in the first episode. Through the actions of Aegon II, the image that he does not deserve the 300-year-old throne he sits upon is constantly shoved in our faces. He is frivolous, impudent, disrespectful to his history, and a spoiled child. He has so little respect for his heritage that he destroyed the Valyria model, which his father dedicated years to, in an instant. This scene has great significance in the series. A beautiful foreshadowing. It heralds the coming of a new destruction.

Otto Knows

The best part of the second episode is the scene where Otto confronts his grandson. As I mentioned above, no matter what Otto does, Aegon and Criston somehow manage to overturn his plans. Just when Otto had swayed the people to his side through the death of the child, Aegon’s order to kill all the rat-catchers in the city likely pushed the people away from the king once more. I must note this part. According to the book, we know that Blood was captured, but Cheese escaped with Mysaria’s help. The show chose a different path by also disposing of Cheese. They must have made this decision because it didn’t change the course of the story.

Otto, finally telling his grandson to his face how stupid he is, pushed Aegon into a decision he will wish he never made: appointing Criston Cole as Hand of the King. This decision, which would echo down to Arianne Martell centuries later, will lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

The audience might have enjoyed this scene because Otto scolded Aegon, but there is a critical dialogue within the scene. When Aegon says to Otto, “He made me King,” Otto responds with an answer he will not understand: “Is that what you think?”

Otto knows. Otto knows that Viserys’ last words were not about Aegon. He knows they are sitting on the throne unjustly. That’s why he’s trying to play this game with as little bloodshed as possible. Even though he tries to solve the problem with the Game of Thrones, he cannot. This misunderstanding, which he thought he could control, will soon turn all of Westeros into a firestorm.

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Hatred is My Ammunition

Criston Cole is making a great effort to become one of the most hated characters in the universe. By emptying the King’s Guard because of his nighttime escapades with Queen Alicent, Cole caused the death of Jaehaerys. He is aware of his mistake, but as a character so full of hatred, he prefers to spew his hatred and harm those around him rather than face the truth.

Even though it was his fault, his blaming Arryk and the other soldiers, thereby sending Arryk to his death, once again highlights why people hate him. The interesting part of the story is that in the book, we read about the Greens acting collectively to seize Rhaenyra’s rightful kingdom, but the show continues to push us toward Arianne Martell’s words. It seems that Criston will indeed be the one to start the war. His hatred for Rhaenyra will soon be reciprocated with blood.

Rhaenyra the Cruel

Among all the episodes of House of the Dragon aired so far, I think the funniest scene was here. While everyone was in shock talking about the deceased Jaehaerys, Daemon’s casual demeanor, sitting at the table as if nothing had happened, followed by being unable to escape Rhaenys’ piercing gaze and finally getting caught by Rhaenyra, really made me laugh. Daemon’s indifference is truly on another level.

After demanding Aemond’s head in the last episode following the death of her child at the end of the first season, Rhaenyra calmed down when she realized that her choices led to the death of an innocent child. A woman who could be so distressed over the death of one child will soon be responsible for the deaths of thousands, and this burden has already started to weigh heavily on her.

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I can say that I really liked the way the series used the deceased Jaehaerys. Even though Ryan Condal and his team appear to be rooting for the Blacks, I found it quite clever how they created and attributed a nickname to Rhaenyra that wasn’t in the book. The remnants of the last Game of Thrones.

The fight between Rhaenyra and Daemon was interesting because it was one of the parts not in the book. Although Daemon is set to fly to Harrenhal for Rhaenyra, he will change his path in the future. It seems this fight and Rhaenyra’s words “I don’t trust you” laid the groundwork for the upcoming split. We also deepened this foundation in Rhaenyra’s dialogue with Mysaria, emphasizing that Daemon is unreliable and can sometimes leave suddenly.


As I mentioned in the first episode, instead of introducing the bastards who will play a significant role later on as they appear in the book, the show felt the need to introduce them to us. We saw that Hugh Hammer, whom we met in the first episode, has a sick daughter. Since he cannot get money from the kingdom, his daughter is on the brink of death and will probably die soon. This close-up of his family will be used to justify the decisions he will make in the future.

Similarly, Alyn, whom we met in the first episode, appears this time with his brother Addam. Thus, we have now met the fourth bastard in the city. Last season, we briefly saw Gaemon Palehair, Hugh Hammer, Alyn, and Addam Hull. Ulf and Nettles remain.

I love you, brother

Fire and Blood contains many parts that leave the reader astonished. One such part is the encounter between the Cargyll brothers. While Erryk chose the queen’s side, Arryk sided with the king. Erryk dutifully served at Dragonstone, while Arryk was used as a tool of revenge and sent to kill the queen. Ryan Condal preferred to fill in the gaps of this legendary story, devaluing Arryk’s mission. In the book, Arryk secretly goes to Dragonstone to protect the king’s honor, while in the series, he becomes a victim of Criston’s hypocritical hatred, making the story even more tragic. The brothers, victims of a conflict started for no reason, die in vain, unable to change the course of a war that will last for years, becoming nothing more than a footnote in the story. Adding to this, Arryk’s senseless death makes their demise even more heartbreaking.

As much as I liked the devaluation of Arryk’s death, I cannot say I enjoyed his death. House of the Dragon, especially in the second season, takes an interesting path. While the show weakly handles the book’s striking parts, such as Jaehaerys’ death and the brothers’ duel, it masterfully deals with parts not present in the book. Typically, the opposite happens. When writers try to add to the existing material, they usually mess it up. However, Ryan Condal and his team, while squandering the most striking parts of the prepared material in the second season, have so beautifully filled in the gaps that just when I was about to say I was disappointed, they manage to enchant me again.

One of these gap-fillers was with Mysaria. We knew the Cargyll brothers confronted each other, but we had no idea how it happened. They found the solution with Mysaria. Having gained her freedom, Mysaria sees Arryk as she walks down to the shore and warns the queen. She could have walked away as if nothing happened. She could have let the queen die and ended the war. But now, because of Mysaria’s choice, the war continues.

This weight added to Mysaria is proof that the character will appear more than she did. The show tries to bring Mysaria, who already has a vital role in the story, even more to the forefront.

I always imagined the Cargyll brothers’ duel in the corridors of Dragonstone. However, the show chose a different path by placing the duel in Rhaenyra’s room. The reason for this choice lies in Viserys’ words from the last season. No matter how much Targaryens are dragon riders, they are still humans and are as close to death as a sword stroke. Rhaenyra’s fear was a sign that she is not immortal.

According to the book, the brothers died embracing each other. Frankly, I would have preferred this ending. But the show chooses Erryk as the winner of the duel. Erryk’s suicide was a kind of seppuku. As I mentioned above and wrote in the last episode, in a war that started for no reason, Erryk had to kill his beloved brother with his own hands. Not knowing how to kill nobles, Erryk took his brother’s life. Unable to bear this pain, he apologized to his queen, marking the end of his story.

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Some Beautiful Details

The dragon Addam of Hull sees on the shore is Seasmoke, currently without a rider. Addam’s admiring gaze at the dragon is the first scene of their destinies converging in the future.

The woman in whose lap Aemond seeks solace and feels the need to confess his regrets is named Sylvi. She could be Sylvenna Sand of Dorne from the book or a similar adaptation. Sylvi’s role in the story is currently a question mark. Since Aemond is not introduced as a character who reveals his emotions in the book, I believe we will encounter Sylvi a few more times.

The little child to whom Rhaenyra gives a dragon toy is her youngest son, Aegon III. These two little blonde children playing with their toys, Aegon III and Viserys II, will appear as grown individuals in the next season.

Unfortunately, Daeron Targaryen, mentioned by Otto Hightower, will not appear in the series this season. Just like Cregan Stark, whom we saw at least once, he will join the story next season.


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