The Targaryens may have come from a long line of warriors, but not all of them seemed comfortable with the brutality of bloodshed. Episode 3 of Dragon’s House mainly about brutality and how various members of House Targaryen used it. At various points in “Second of His Name,” we watch Rhaenyra defend herself against a wild boar, stabbing it with wild frustration that is finally released; Viserys killed an elk, his stabs imprecise, he grimaced in embarrassment at the cheering crowd; and Daemon defeated Crabfeeder, tricking the usurper into a weakened position before cutting him in half with the Dark Sister sword.
All three kills represent their character: Rhaenyra is a (virtually) limited power. Viserys was a welcoming but unpleasant ruler. Daemon is an obnoxious person. And, as Dragon’s House getting close to the second act, we love all three of them — no matter how ugly or unwise their actions are.
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Taking place three years after the events of “The Rogue Prince”, two main settings are cleverly integrated in “Second of His Name”: the battle of the Steps and a hunt in Kingswood. One is violent, and the other is weird. One depicts Daemon, battling the Triads and glowing in the light spewed by a fire-breathing dragon, while the other features Viserys, honoring his son’s name day during a noble’s forest celebration. . Rhaenyra was drawn to Kingswood, though not by choice. She — let’s put it mildly — doesn’t calm down, doesn’t talk to her former close friend, Alicent, who bore the king a son and is now pregnant with a second. (I beg you to watch this TikTok recount the failures of friends.)
Alicent is in an attractive position here. She’s a new mom, toned pregnant at 17. She’s a new queen, still getting used to her power. And she’s hesitant to test that power over Rhaenyra, who is upset when a toddler with a haircut looks like it’s capable of usurping her throne. Alicent gets very little chance to speak her mind in episode 3, but her influence is still felt in an important way: She’s the one who convinces Viserys to send aid to Stepstone, setting events leading to the failure of Crabfeeder.
But, before we get there, let’s have a party first. In Kingswood, Targaryen family members gather with the lords and ladies of Westeros, wine and gossip. Whispers of Viserys’ inaction in Steps gives way to blunt insults, but some have other forms of brain conquest. Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall) spend some time romantically before he proposes to Rhaenyra, eager to build the status of House Lannister and oversee a Targaryen through the halls of Casterly Rock. But Rhaenyra was not a fan of peacocks, and she was so offended that she began a public shouting match with her father. She’s not the only one trying out Viserys’ patience: Otto Hightower is desperate to convince the king that Otto’s grandson, Prince Aegon, should be the new heir, and the arrogant Jason makes a plea. His kiss went straight to the king’s feet. Disgruntled, Viserys told both of them and got drunk, only to later confess to Alicent that he was worried he had made the wrong choice in naming the heiress Rhaenyra. He did so out of guilt over Aemma’s death, but also out of love for his daughter, and now he fears he is jeopardizing the vision he had clearly seen in his youth: put a son on the throne.
When news of the white stag being hunted came, Rhaenyra took it as a sign to disappear, racing her horse deep into Kingswood. Ser Criston Cole, hotly stalking her, stopped her long enough to engross her in a few slow conversations in which he revealed that he owed “all that I have” to her. The son of a butler, Criston had little standing before emerging as a tourney knight — and now, he’s a member of the Kingsguard. His respect for the princess made her warm to him, though I’m sure his handsome smile didn’t hurt.
The two spent the night in the forest – I was surprised that didn’t send much wiggle back to camp — but not without incident. A wild boar attacked while they were resting, nearly ramming Rhaenyra with its tusk before Criston stabbed it through the chest, but then Rhaenyra finished the job, her face turning into something unrecognizable. came out when blood ran down his cheeks and soaked his hair. The next morning, blood still scabs down her neck, she and Criston discovered the white stag. Her knight is ready to kill, but she orders him to keep his sword intact; this morning, she will show restraint. After expressing despair the night before, she realized something in the stag’s gaze, and it quelled her worst instincts.
Viserys, meanwhile, is unlikely to overlook what to expect from him. His servants drag an elk in front of him, and so he slays it with Jason Lannister’s (ugly) spear, closing his eyes to train himself to the horrifying howl of Jason Lannister. monster. His stabs are imprecise, prolonging the deer’s suffering as well as the life of the scene, forcing the audience to watch and listen as the innocent creature writhes in agony. Such violence is nothing compared to Game of Thrones described on any given Sunday, but its intensity still makes the stomach ache. Dragon’s House seemed to want to emphasize that Viserys was a good man but a wavering ruler, and that his indecision would cause terror of its own.
He then swore to Rhaenyra that her claim to the throne remained untested, and that she could marry a man of her choice. But if it were that easy, we wouldn’t have a prequel series to watch, would we?
Finally, we get our first real fight scene, and it’s an inevitable, if well-choreographed, scene. After reading Viserys’ letter promising aid to the Ladder, Daemon was furious, so he pulled a classic Daemon and did exactly what he wanted. Waving a white flag at the Triarchy forces, he dragged Crabfeeder and his men into the open air, kneeling before them with his sword covered. An honorable man would follow the rules of war, but… well, you know what they say about what is fair in war.
At the last second, Daemon tore a dagger from his hip and triggered a fierce swordfight in which he dodged around 300 arrows and single-handedly took down many would-be murder princes. Corlys and his forces finally show up, which begs the question: Why is Sea Snake acting so late? Did he sign this petty act, after his son suggested using Daemon as crab bait? Either way, we as spectators are forced to suspend our skepticism as Daemon makes his way through a long line of attackers, until he is finally struck with a few arrows. Thankfully, his dragon Ceraxes appeared late, destroying the surviving Triarchy forces while Daemon pursued Crabfeeder into his cave.
We never got to see their battle, which I found both disappointing and intriguing. It’s a shame, given Crabfeeder’s great character design and his unexplored backstory. But it’s also a sign from Dragon’s House that this character is not real character but an icon. He is not intended to be separate as his human, but merely as an opposing entity to Daemon, as a sign of what the prince is willing to do against his opposition. . The fact that Crabfeeder was literally torn in half, his intestines spilling onto the shore beneath him, was a chilling reminder that House Targaryen didn’t care. Who Its enemies are — just the threat they represent. Of course, that sentiment also extends to the people in its own house. And so, when we watch Daemon emerge from Crabfeeder’s cave with bloody hair, we mean we’ll see a parallel to Rhaenyra—and dread what it foreshadows.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an editorial associate at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.