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‘House of the Dragon’ Recap S2 Episode 4 – “A Dance of Dragons”

‘House of the Dragon’ Recap S2 Episode 4 – “A Dance of Dragons”

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Written by Angelica Monk and Jamie Broadnax

Last week it was pretty clear that the Targaryen family should probably stop naming their kids Aegon.  The story of “The Prince that was Promised” turned out to be a misunderstanding between Alicent and Rhaenyra.  Or was it?  Sadly in episode four of House of the Dragon which explores the battle at Rook’s Rest, more death and destruction is in store for our families as this bloody civil war for the crown continues. 

Daemon walks into the Throne Room as a young Rhaenyra sits on the throne. Daemon can’t hear her; young Rhaenyra approaches him speaking in High Valyrian saying “Daemon made her. He hated her all because Viserys loved her more than him.” Daemon takes off her head and the severed head of young Rhaenyra says, “This is what you have always wanted,” then in the common tongue she says, “There’s been a raven.” Ser Simon Strong wakes Daemon from his sleep saying a raven has arrived bringing news of Aegon’s army departing King’s Landing and House Rosby and Stokesworth have joined the Greens citing the death of prince Jaehaerys as the reason for their change in allegiance. Ser Simon says they must call on the loyal houses of the Riverlands but if there isn’t enough time to raise an army against the Greens who are marching to Harrenhal.

Daemon is introduced to young Oscar Tully (Archie Barnes), grandson of Grove Tully and future Lord of Riverrun. The nervous young boy stutters when speaking with Daemon who asks about the health of his grandfather who Oscar reports is barely clinging to life. Daemon needs an army and tells Oscar to put a pillow over his head and takes his place as Lord, Oscar scoffs, his grandfather raised him when his father died, and he loves him dearly. Daemon then asks if he will be his grandfather’s mouthpiece to which Oscar says, that is not his people’s way. Daemon declares he has no use for him and asks Ser Simon to summon the Blackwoods, he needs men of action.

Back in Driftmark, Rhaenys runs into Alyn of Hull, noting he’s the soldier that saved her husband. She touches his face, saying she was told of his bravery but not how comely he is, his mother must have been beautiful. Corlys interrupts them and Alyn dismisses himself. Rhaenys chastises Corlys for not mentioning Alyn was the one who saved him, Corlys didn’t think it relevant. Rhaenys says she knows who he really is, “Alyn’s past is no fault of his. He should be raised up in honor not hidden below the tides.” Corlys asks if she came to Driftmark to interrogate him, she tells him she came to tell him that Baela has summoned her to Dragonstone.

 Baela reports to the Black Council that Criston is using the cover of trees to travel and evade their dragons. She can’t tell where they’re going, perhaps northwest. Ser Alfred scoffs, stating Baela should have burned them when she had a chance. Baela said maybe he can next time, when he mounts his own dragon. Jace defends Baela, saying they wouldn’t know anything were it not for her. Ser Alfred states they are rudderless, and they must raise an army. Rhaenys tells him she’s trying to steer their ship and Alred insists she’s not the Hand of the Queen when Corlys interrupts them. Appearing before the Black Council demanding, “what has become of them?” Corlys admonishes them for clawing and grasping for power while the Queen is away. Rhaenys encourages the Council to come together and find an end to this conflict.

In her chambers, Alicent holds a carved stone dragon but drops it when Grand Maester Orwylle enters with a draft of moon tea. He asks after the young woman who requested it but Alicent insists she will watch over the young lady. Before he leaves, she asks Orwylle if he ever heard Viserys vouch for Aegon as king after all his years of service, Orwylle insists the King never discussed such matters with him and excuses himself. Alicent holds her belly and drinks the tea.

In the Crownlands, Criston and his army have put the House Darklyn of Duskendale to the sword. Those that have remained must swear their allegiance to the Blacks. He has Lord Gunthor Darklyn (Steven Pacey) executed before his men but not before Lord Gunthor spits at Criston, telling him he has no honor and is not fit for the white cloak. Criston smugly says his death is better than a traitor deserves, and Lord Gunthor says, “yours will come in kind,” before Criston takes his head. Criston tells Gwayne they’re going northeast near the coastline and Gwayne tells him Harrenhal is to the west, Criston agrees and rides off.

Aegon is angered that Daemon has taken Harrenhal, Larys says the castle is more crippled than he is plus they are penniless as Larys controls all their riches. Aegon concedes but wishes to be informed of such things in the future. Aemond tells Aegon, Criston is heading to Rook’s Rest, the seat of House Staunton, a small poorly defended castle. Lord Simon Staunton himself sits on Rhaenyra’s council. When Criston wins the castle, it will effectively cut off Dragonstone from land.

Aegon wants Criston to head towards Harrenhal, but Aemond says it’s too late as Criston has already informed Aemond of his plans. Aegon is upset that Aemond has plotted behind his back. Aemond threatens to embarrass Aegon in High Valyrian in front of his Council, not wanting to be undermined by his brother, Aegon agrees in broken High Valyrian. Aemond states the king supports his plans to take Rook’s Rest while Daemon is distracted with holding Harrenhal.

Larys visits Alicent in her chambers as she remedies her cramps with warm stones from the fire. She tells Larys her stomach hurts from eating too much the night before, Larys notices the draft of moon tea emptied on the table. He reports of Aegon’s anger that Daemon has taken Harrenhal, Alicent believed him as Lord to be more upset, but Larys says it was a needed sacrifice.

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He comments on the danger Ser Criston has put himself in and how worried she would be considering he’s his sworn sword. Alicent bristles and Larys says the Queen has not been herself as of late. She admits after the death of her husband and grandson, she’s not been herself. Ever the observant, he says he didn’t realize Alicent shared a love for the histories like her late husband. He wonders if she is trying to find why Viserys changed his mind at the end. Alicent says at the end of this war, someone will ascend the throne and it won’t matter what the significance of Viserys’ intentions were as they died with him. Larys agrees.

In his room Daemon is awakened by the sound of war at his door. He grabs swords and follows his figure down the halls, he sees himself with a patch over his eyes appearing like Aemond. He rushes into a room and find Alys Rivers a bastard of how Strong, she introduces herself as the quasi-Maester of Harrenhal. She notices Daemon has not gotten any sleep, he asks how she knows, and she says Harrenhal has always been cursed since its first stone was laid as the great weir woods were cut down. The bed that Daemon sleeps in was made from the wood of a heart tree.

He finds himself still holding the draft, seated at a table with a Lord at his side. Daemon asks who he is, and Ser Simon tells him the man is named Ser Willem Blackwood (Calum Maclean), the young boy who wants was a potential suitor for Rhaenyra’s hand nearly twenty years ago. He admits he liked her spirit; she had the true blood of the dragon. Daemon asks if Ser Willem is prepared to march for the Blacks but trails off as he sees the ghost of his late wife Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell). Ser Willem pledges his fealty once Daemon and his dragon brings the queen’s justice to the Brackens.

Aegon is bored and distracted as the Green Council discusses Criston’s success, the people are calling him the “kingmaker”. Aegon leaves, retreating to his chambers where he finds Alicent searching for Viserys’ history books. Aegon assures her that he didn’t burn the books, just removed them.

Aegon pours himself a bottle of wine and Alicent asks him what’s wrong. Aegon complains that no one listens to him, including his Council. She laughs, stating the members of the Council earned their seats, she had hoped when Aegon ascended the throne that he would be silent and strive to learn from the more studied minds around him, in the hopes that he’ll be half the king his father was.

Rhaenyra and Ser Steffon return to Dragonstone. Ser Steffon is informed of the fall of his House and the death of his father who was executed by Criston. Jace asks Rhaenyra where she’s been, and she says she went to King’s Landing to meet Alicent and sue for peace. Before Rhaenyra could concede to war, she had to know it was her only path forward. She now knows she must win her claim to the throne or die. Jace says, “We stand at the ready.”

Rhaenys informs Rhaenyra that Criston is marching for Rook’s Rest and Jace tells her they must send a dragon, as Mysaria watches from a quarter. Rhaenyra says she will go into battle, but Jace rebuffs her, stating if she dies all is lost. Jace volunteers himself but Rhaenyra won’t allow it due to his lack of experience. Rhaenys volunteers to meet Criston and battle and Rhaenyra agrees.

In the woods near Rook’s Rest, Criston readies his army for battle. Gwayne suggests they wait until cover of darkness as Rhaenyra and her dragons are just across the bay. Criston asks if he’s scared and Gwayne says no he’s not rash. Criston tells him they will press on.

In Rhaenyra’s chambers, Jace goes to her mother telling her he wants to fight for her. She tells Jace he is needed as heir to the throne and protector of a secret, the Song of Ice and Fire. She must take the throne not just for her crown but the good of the realm. Meanwhile, both Rhaenys and Aegon mount their dragons heading for Rook’s Rest.

Cole’s army struggles to take the castle of Rook’s Rest as Melys is spotted in the sky. Criston is unphased and sends a signal to Aemond who is hiding deep in the woods with Vhagar. Before he ascends, he sees Aegon on Sunfyre and orders Vhagar to stand down. Melys sets fire to Criston’s troops when Aegon approaches.

Melys and Rhaenys come out unscathed, but Rhaenys straps herself into her saddle and turns, telling Melys to attack again. Vhagar and Melys interlock, spraying each other with fire as they spiral to the ground. Vhagar crashes and Melys and Rhaenys fly away. The force of Vhagar’s fall knocks Criston off his horse and he blacks outs. With a grim look on her face, and a gentle smile to her dragon, Rhaenys turns back towards the bay.

Rhaenys looks towards the ground for Vhagar and his dragon as they pass the castle when Vhagar suddenly appears biting Melys throat, nearly decapitating her. Rhaenys resigns herself to her fate and falls to the ground, destroying the walls of Rook Rest while Aemond flies off satisfied.

Criston awakens, and watches as his army descends into the break of the castle. He grabs the shoulder of a soldier, ordering him to help him find the king but disappears into ash a result of dragonfire. Criston ventures into the woods and sees Aemond with a drawn sword approaching a Sunfyre and Aegon on the ground, barely holding onto life. Aemond picks up Aegon’s Valyrian steel dagger as Criston falls to his knees in shock at the state of the King and the fallout of his great plan.

Tune in next Sunday night at 9pm ET on Twitter and Threads as we use the hashtag #DragonsYall and check out our YouTube show as we breakdown each of these episodes! 

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