After such an action-packed opener for House of the Dragon, episode two, entitled “The Rogue Prince” was a bit more dialogue-heavy; though not by any means boring. This review does contain spoilers, so please read at your own risk!
The episode picks up six months after the Queen’s death, and Rhaenyra’s appointment as Heir to the Iron Throne. And it seems like this episode focuses on two main topics.
The first is the Crab Feeder, aka Craghas Drahar, who haunts the kingdom’s shores. Lord Coryls comes in at the beginning of “The Rogue Prince,” ranting about how the King must do something about this; to which the King, rightfully so, says… well, no. Not right now.
It is the threat of the Craghas that leads us to the second topic. Marriage; the King’s marriage, in fact, after the death of his queen. With Craghas ready to strike, Corlys sees it as a way to join the two Old Valyrian houses. The king is to wed his daughter Laena. To show the strength of the King, after others may be perceiving the Red Keep as vulnerable after Daemon has taken over Dragonstone, and a woman has been named heir for the first.
As a viewer, you might be scrambling. Who is Laena? Have we met her before? Has anyone even mentioned her before? And the answer is no. Because they wanted a shock factor. And a shock did we get.
Because Laena is Corlys’ 12-year-old daughter whom he wants to marry off to the King, who is… about 40? It reminds us of the long lineage of Targaryen in-breeding (Corlys is married to Visery’s cousin); but also hints at the patriarchy of this society.
A patriarchy that will not be beaten even in 172 years.
From Otto pimping Alicent out in order to get to the Throne, even Visery’s shutting Rhaenyra down — when he himself named her the next heir, we are reminded that the men of this realm have their own opinions and their own agendas. Agendas in which they see any, and all women as pawns, a means to an end; and an end they have decided on — for their own benefits.
It’s only in 172 years, that Daenerys is seen really breaking this cycle — though it is after she is married off to the Dothraki.
House of the Dragon showrunner Miguel Sapochnik said in Empire that it’s about the “patriarchy’s perception of women.” And how, “they’d rather destroy themselves than see a woman on the throne. That wasn’t a perspective I have ever told before.” And it matches something Rhaenys mentions in this episode: ”Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron throne”
And how delicious would that be? Watching the men of the Red Keep play chess for their own advantages, while the women themselves play their own game. They are strong, and if we remind ourselves, how much we liked Cersei and Dany from Game of Thrones — watching a whole show about women fighting the patriarchy, while also trying to ascend to the throne, will be so much fun.
Ultimately, “The Rogue Prince” has started to lay down the foundation of this plot, especially when we see Rhaenyra confront Daemon. It was probably the best scene of the episode. Not only does it show us that Rhaenyra is a fighter, and will fight her father, and whomever else dismisses her, but sheds light on the relationship she has with Daemon; a relationship we know that leads to marriage at some point down the line.
Personally, I haven’t read the books. But I do find myself intrigued by this relationship, and what unity between these two characters could mean for the Kingdom. Right now, Rhaenyra’s strength and Daemon’s ruthlessness kind of seem like a great match to rule together, no?
Episode two set a lot up — the King announcing he’s marrying Alicent, Rhaenyra’s best friend, to Corlys allying with Daemon, and ends on a shot of some very creepy pirates that seem to come to be very happy about feeding living men to crabs? Relation to the crab feeder, perhaps? Probably!
Only time will tell — and we cannot wait for it!
House of the Dragon Thoughts About 1×02:
- My husband is still not fully following who everyone is. TBH, neither am I. Sometimes, I’m still googling what is happening.
- The show’s dialogue is lacking. It doesn’t sound old enough, and it’s definitely not witty enough. I need a Tyrion-esque character who can be sarcastic and smart, all at the same time. Someone page Aaron Sorkin, please.
- The CGI budget still looks like it’s being stretched. The dragons and the flesh-eating crabs just didn’t do anything for me the way Dany’s kids did.
- I like Viserys. They have done a great job at showing that this is just a guy who’s trying his best. He’s not particularly good at it, but he definitely deserves an A for participation, ya know?
House of the Dragon airs on HBO on Sundays at 9 P.M EST.