House of the Dragon Season 2 Recap: Episode 2 - Rhaenyra the Cruel

“I love you, brother.”


Following the bone-chilling child murder at the close of last week’s episode, King’s Landing is reeling.

Emotions are running high, but poor Queen Helaena (Phia Saban) seems to be the only one actually grieving: Allicent (Olivia Cooke) is guilt-ridden, King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) is out for blood and ever-scheming Hand of the King Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is, of course, looking for a way to spin the tragedy to their advantage.

He settles on a pretty brazen funeral procession, complete with tiny open casket and announcers laying the whole thing at the feet of ‘Rhaenyra the Cruel’, pretender to the throne. It’s a bold move, but seems to work in getting the general population on Aegon’s side.

Meanwhile, Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) herself - who actually had nothing to do with murdering little Jaehaerys - quickly figures out that it was her renegade uncle-husband Daemon (Matt Smith) who orchestrated the whole thing. Needless to say, she’s not happy.

After a vicious verbal slugfest, Daemon storms off on dragonback with his dander up and murder in his eyes. Matt Smith is proving himself really good at playing a preening psychopath, and it’d be great to see him properly unleashed this season. We need more sword fights and dragon attacks!

But speaking of sword fights… Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) - quickly becoming one of the most hissable villains on the show - takes his guilt out on Ser Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor), sending the bearded twin on a half-baked, Parent Trap-style assassination attempt. It seemed obvious from the very beginning that Arryk and his confusingly named brother Erryk (Elliot Tittensor) would come to blows at some point, but it was surprising to see it happen so quickly.

It’s a pretty good fight too, even if it’s initially unclear who comes out on top - for obvious reasons. What’s more, it serves as a nice bit of foreshadowing for the conflict to come: brother against brother, family against family. Here’s hoping the actual war turns out to be just as bloody and dramatic!

Death Count: Quite a few this week, including both Blood and Cheese and a whole load of unfortunate ratcatchers. But most notable were the twin knights, Arryk and Erryk.


  • It’s hilarious how quickly Blood, the cowardly child-killer, folds on seeing Larys’s torture toolbelt, and gives up the whole plot.
  • It seems like the smallfolk are getting pretty sick of the warring nobles, the blockades and the rising cost of living (who can relate?). Are we seeing the beginnings of a revolution?
  • Episode MVP is definitely Tom Glynn-Carney as King Aegon. Aegon is quickly becoming one of the most interesting, nuanced characters in the show, and Glynn-Carney really got to go big and shouty this week. Great stuff.

Verdict: While the finale wasn’t quite as shocking as last week’s season opener, there was still plenty of blood - and plenty to love about this episode. Things are already starting to escalate, and it’s only a matter of time before our first proper battle in this Targaryen civil war.

House of the Dragon airs every Monday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, and can be streamed from 2am the same day.

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