We’ve all been holding our breath, waiting for when House of the Dragon would show us what Alicent called “Targaryen customs” – and episode four, entitled “The King of The Narrow Sea,” does just that. And it’s just as icky and mind-boggling as when Cersei and Jamie were doing it on Game of Thrones.
Aside from the incest of it all, this is probably the first episode in which we start to see a small glimpse of who these characters really are. While this episode didn’t contain dragons or war, it was very political, as the show showcases how certain characters navigate situations and relationships that are difficult and stressful.
We see at the start of the episode that Rhaeynra is not afraid to be cheeky, even at the expense of a suitor her father lined up for her, much less afraid to leave the “tour” in which she was supposed to find a match. If we know one thing about Rhaeynra is that she is headstrong and stubborn and is willing to forge her own path — every episode since the pilot we have seen a glimpse of that.
This week, however, we see it the most.
Not only does she leave her tour with two months remaining — but she also sneaks away with her uncle, who is back in court, to have a night out on the town. The two dress as commoners, and watch a play put on by the townsfolk.
And this is where things start to take a turn. One must question Daemon’s motives at this point. He came back after his victory in the Stepstones and bent the knee to Viserys. The cinematography of the scene where both Daemon and Rhaeynra are walking into town is perfect. It shows them under the veil of the night, framed by a quick shot of two people having sex in a small corridor. It sets up and foreshadows quite nicely where this is about to go.
So now the question is: did Daemon plan this?
Considering he asked for Rhaeynra’s hand almost instantly when Viserys questioned him, we have to think… yes. To some extent. While he may enjoy Rhaeynra’s company (which seems to be mutual by the admiration and intrigue shown in Rhaeynra’s eyes when she sees Caraxes fly towards the Red Keep), he does not seem to have romantic feelings for her. His eyes are on the throne. And he knows that Viserys has not yet named Aegon his heir, which must mean that he does not plan on doing so.
So, we see just how far Daemon is willing to go to sit on the throne. To use his own niece as a pawn in his plan. It’s conniving and ruthless, to say the least. And perhaps, not too far away from Rhaeynra’s own character and who she is becoming.
We see her lie to Alicent (who seems to be on decent terms with our Princess- finally!), very quickly about what happened when she is questioned. Not only does she say nothing happened between her and Daemon (when in fact at least a kiss did), she swears it on her mother, Aemma.
It really does feel like the Rhaeynra that we met 3 episodes ago would never do such a thing. Maybe she is just scared — and doesn’t know what else to do. But we can see this character start to understand what she must do, and which boundaries she must push.
Though in the episode, when Rhaeynra thinks she may have won the upper hand with Viserys, by getting the Hand fired, she is reminded that she still has a lot to learn. Her father sends over a tea for her — for any “unwanted circumstances”… telling her, ever so discreetly, that he may have removed Hightower of his position; but he did so for his own reasons; not hers. And he still is very aware of her escapades.
The only small problem is that while she may have kissed Daemon, she slept with Ser Cole. And he seems to just be overlooked if anything. If this escapade ever comes out, we will see. But if it does, I do hope it’s at a time in which Cole can speak his mind. At the moment, he seemed very apprehensive and reluctant towards Rhaeynra’s advances. We are shown that while he may have a slight friendship with her, he still sees her as a princess; someone he cannot refuse.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see… until next time. The next episode will also be Milly Alcock’s last episode as young Rhaeynra! Oh, how we’ll miss thee! If anyone should get the credit for this show’s success — after the Game of Thrones apprehension — it should be her!