Ten years have handed since Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Lord Laenor Velaryon’s “pink wedding ceremony” and because Queen Alicent made her first revolt towards Area Targaryen with a symbolic inexperienced get dressed. Once we reunite with Area of the Dragon’s main girls this week, a lot has modified. They don’t seem to be best performed by way of new actresses (Olivia Cooke for Alicent and Emma D’Arcy for Rhaenyra), but additionally elsewhere of their lives. They’re each moms now; each and every one is having a look out for her personal blood. They’ve drifted even additional aside, with petty energy strikes and paranoia over succession wedged deeply between them. They usually’re additionally extra certain of themselves, particularly Alicent, whom audiences got here to understand as a meek younger woman (performed superbly by way of Emily Carey). Now, a decade later, she’s extra acutely aware of her energy and use it: She pushes towards her growing older husband King Viserys, she orders servants to go away the room, she schemes, and he or she is extra targeted than ever on striking her son at the iron throne. (Do I scent a touch of Cersei Lannister?) Rhaenyra is a worthy fit. She was once at all times headstrong and hard as a woman, however her formative years petulance has developed right into a mature self assurance—and stubbornness—and her exhausting external has grown even more difficult. She’s not anything like her husband Laenor, who’s most commonly noticed giggling and consuming along with his secret lover, or craving for combat, when he’s no longer along with his spouse. With Rhaenyra and Alicent grown up and empowered, and with allies at each and every in their facets, a brand new recreation of thrones is in movement.
However first, any other start scene. The episode opens on Rhaenyra’s sweaty face mid-labor. She’s pushing, in the event you couldn’t inform from the midwife’s training, her heavy grunts, or the squelching noises of an toddler rising from her frame off-screen. After seeing her mom Queen Aemma die brutally all through childbirth within the premiere episode, I watched this series cautiously and on-edge, anticipating to be bombarded with but any other gory visible of a girl enduring violence or a supply long gone fallacious; however fortunately Rhaenyra’s start is a good fortune. And to the court docket’s pleasure (aside from for Queen Alicent), it’s a boy! Rhaenyra holds her kid proudly in her hands for only some moments prior to a messenger is available in pronouncing the queen has requested that the kid be dropped at her. Rhaenyra is aware of the ridiculous request is simply Alicent’s strive at pushing her buttons, however she received’t acquiesce simply. She’ll deliver the newborn to the queen herself, despite the fact that she will have to be resting, and despite the fact that her placenta is falling out of her as she struggles to dress. She received’t give Alicent the delight of seeing her weakened.
Laenor (John Macmillan) isn’t any assist, half-jokingly asking, “Used to be it extraordinarily painful?” as he walks Rhaenyra to Queen Alicent’s room. Please, Laenor, no longer now. No longer whilst your spouse is keeling over in ache on a flight of stairs to her former friend-turned-stepmother’s chambers post-labor. Ser Criston coldly greets the couple within the doorway prior to they provide the newborn to Queen Alicent, who’s stunned to search out Rhaenyra status. She’s no longer stunned, on the other hand, that the kid bears no resemblance to his father; she’s conscious that the newborn isn’t Laenor’s and doesn’t hesitate to let him know. “One day you’ll get one that appears such as you,” she tells him. Ouch. Alternatively, King Viserys, withering with age, is excited to welcome any other grandchild. When he asks for the newborn’s title, Laenor interjects, “Joffrey!” prior to consulting with the kid’s mom. When the couple exits, Rhaenyra leaves a path of blood in the back of her.
Joffrey is Rhaenyra’s 3rd kid and son, following Jacaerys (or “Jace”) and Lucerys. To the arena, their father is her husband Laenor Velaryon, however biologically and secretly, it’s Ser Harwin Sturdy, aka Breakbones, commander of the Town Watch. It’s glaring seeing him in a room with the lads; they’ve all inherited Ser Harwin’s darkish brown hair as an alternative in their oldsters’ silver Targaryen-Velaryon locks, and none of Laenor’s options. Alicent and Viserys’ 3 children, Aegon, Halaena, and Aemond are all platinum-headed. The variation in appearances is regardless of to the kids themselves, who appear to spend numerous time in combination as they develop up within the citadel. All through dragon coaching, 3 of them crew as much as prank Aemond, together with his older brother Aegon, by way of giving him a “dragon” of his personal: a pig with faux wings tied onto it. When Alicent reveals out about this, she’s fast guilty the stunt on Rhaenyra’s boys, despite the fact that her youngest says Aegon was once concerned. Her daughter Halaena remains out of the quarrel, enjoying with an enormous centipede and exuding overall Luna Lovegood power.
Alicent brings this topic to Viserys, no longer best complaining about Rhaenyra’s children, but additionally insinuating that they have been born out of wedlock. Viserys received’t pay attention it, and tells Alicent to by no means talk of those allegations once more. The queen vents about her frustrations to Ser Criston Cole. How may Viserys no longer see what she’s seeing? Why does he need to stay protective Rhaenyra? Criston we could out a couple of court cases of his personal in regards to the princess, calling her a “spoiled cunt,” which stops Alicent in her tracks. He temporarily apologizes. Obviously he’s nonetheless no longer over that breakup.
Alicent reveals her pubescent eldest son Aegon stark bare, jerking off in his bed room window to the view of King’s Touchdown. (Is that this your king?) However his mom’s unannounced presence sends him working underneath the covers. Obviously this younger guy is blind to the worries that lie forward of him, so Alicent teaches him a couple of classes. First, he has to face along with his brother somewhat than mock him. (Although he thinks he’s “a twat.”) In those occasions, he should protect his circle of relatives—like how Alicent has stood with Area Hightower. Aegon would possibly play with Rhaenyra’s children now, but if Rhaenyra ascends the throne, the thrill shall be over for him, Alicent says. And right here comes the second one lesson: Aegon’s lifestyles, as King Viserys’ first born son, demanding situations Rhaenyra’s declare to the throne. He will have to and shall be king, and there are folks during the land that want it so.
In the meantime, Daemon is in Pentos along with his pregnant spouse, Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), their two daughters, and their dragons. The circle of relatives is being hosted in by way of Prince Reggio, who’d like for them to increase their keep. He provides Daemon and his circle of relatives an everlasting place of abode in Pentos in trade for get entry to to their dragons. The Triarchy has regained energy and shaped an alliance with Qoren Martell of Dorne, so Pentos will want coverage from doable sieges. Daemon is intrigued by way of the be offering, however Laena isn’t. She needs to lift their children in her house, Driftmark, no longer right here.
Again at King’s Touchdown, Ser Criston Cole trains Rhaenyra and Alicent’s boys in battle whilst Ser Harwin appears to be like on. Harwin issues out that Criston is giving the Targaryen children particular consideration, so Criston, out of spite, we could the lads spar each and every different, eldest son towards eldest son. He’s being a difficult trainer, encouraging Aegon to struggle Jacaerys mercilessly. When Jacaerys falls, Harwin berates Criston for educating the lads cruelty. Criston takes word of that: Why would the commander of the Town Watch care such a lot in regards to the princess’s youngsters’s coaching? “Maximum males would best have that more or less devotion towards a cousin, or a brother…or a son,” he says, turning in an ice-cold jab. The insult sends Harwin right into a rage. He beats Criston till he’s bruised and bloody at the floor, which does not anything to assist cover his secret. If anything else, Harwin’s violent reaction best strengthens the rumors and makes him and his circle of relatives prone to allegations. Harwin’s father Lyonel scolds him after the incident, and Rhaenyra overhears the dialog. When Laenor tells her he needs to struggle within the Stepstones, she orders him to stick at house. With rumors about their youngsters’s parentage swirling, he must be provide to enhance his circle of relatives.
Laena misses her brother. It’s almost definitely been ten years since they remaining noticed each and every different. Now, she has a tendency to her personal circle of relatives with Daemon, together with her eight-year-old daughter who’s fearful that her dragon egg hasn’t hatched but. Worse, her father is ignoring her too. (Is somebody shocked Daemon isn’t an excellent father or mother?) Laena a minimum of provides her some much-needed convenience and tells her to be affected person.
At a small council assembly, Rhaenyra and Alicent butt heads whilst discussing coverage, however Rhaenyra needs to place an finish to it. In a stunning transfer, she apologizes for any strife between her and the queen. She even makes a beneficiant proposition: Her son Jacaerys will have to be betrothed to Alicent’s daughter Helaena, and he or she’ll even be offering Cyrax’s subsequent dragon egg to Aemond. Alicent doesn’t chew. As an alternative, she issues out that Rhaenyra’s breast milk is leaking thru her get dressed. After the assembly, Viserys tells his spouse that he in reality likes Rhaenyra’s proposal, however nonetheless, she refuses. “You could do as you want, husband, when I’m bloodless in my grave,” she hisses at him. (Rattling!)
Lord Lyonel Sturdy approaches the couple with some non-public information: He needs to surrender as Hand of the King as shameful rumors encompass his son Harwin. Although Harwin has been expelled from the Town Watch, he can’t serve with integrity, Lyonel says. Alicent tries to drag extra main points out of him, however he can’t undergo to copy the gossip aloud. Viserys received’t permit Lord Sturdy to step down, however lets in him to take depart to escort Harwin again to Harrenhal.
Alicent meets Lord Larys, Lyonel’s more youthful son and Harwin’s brother, for what looks as if a non-public dinner in his room. It sort of feels the 2 have grown shut since they first met, and he or she’s in a position to divulge heart’s contents to him. She needs anyone in King’s Touchdown would take her facet. If her father was once nonetheless round, he could be a fan of her. Larys, on the other hand, has a plan, which comes to hires prisoners for a secret venture.
Again in Pentos, Laena is in exertions, and it’s torturous. She’s pushing and screaming on her knees, however the kid won’t come. (Once more, I brace myself for any other harrowing start.) The physician tells Daemon that they may carry out a c-section, but it surely’s unknown if the newborn will reside and mom will indubitably no longer live to tell the tale. (Identical to Queen Aemma.) Whilst Daemon mulls it over—it’s unclear what he in the end makes a decision—Laena stumbles outdoor to her dragon, Vhagar, begging her to place her out of her distress. “Dracarys!” Laena orders her over and over again, however the dragon received’t obey. Finally, in all probability as soon as she realizes Laena’s ache and desperation, Vhagar burns her alive. Daemon has simply stepped outdoor to search for his spouse when he sees her getting engulfed in flames. It was once stated that each and every of the births in Area of the Dragon has a special theme. And if Queen’s Aemma’s was once supposed to determine that the birthing mattress is a girl’s battlefield, then each and every exertions equates to another end result of conflict: dying and defeat (Aemma), victory (Rhaenyra), and give up (Laena).
Again at King’s Touchdown, Harwin is pronouncing his goodbyes to his and Rhaenyra’s youngsters, promising to go back. Jacaerys follows him out the door, sensing one thing is up. He asks Rhaenyra if Harwin is his father. “Am I a bastard?” Rhaenyra responds, “You’re a Targaryen. That’s what issues.” After the whole thing that’s came about, the princess thinks it’s time to get out of King’s Touchdown and transfer to Dragonstone, clear of the insanity. She tells Laenor the plan and says he can deliver his lover, too.
As Harwin and Lyonel arrive to Harrenhal, the prisoners employed by way of Larys seem within the distance, able to begin bother. That evening, they set fireplace to the citadel, killing Harwin and Lyonel. (Sure, Larys organized to have his brother and father killed, when you have been questioning if he’s a just right man.) Again within the Purple Stay, a rat scurries into Viserys’ room to feed on scraps. The king might nonetheless be respiring, however the vermin visible is a transparent image of his decay. His days are numbered.
When Alicent hears of the fireplace at Harrenhal, she’s shaken. She didn’t want for this, she tells Larys, however he’s already steps forward of her. He tells her to put in writing to her father; with the Hand of the King useless, Otto may go back to court docket to renew his outdated submit, granting Alicent’s want of getting him closeby as an best friend. Larys is bound the queen will praise him when the time is correct, this means that it’s most likely he may blackmail her into doing his bidding. We would possibly’ve simply met Larys an episode in the past, however he’s one to control.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Tradition Editor at ELLE.com, the place she oversees protection on TV, motion pictures, track, books, and extra. She was once up to now an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There’s a 75 p.c likelihood she’s taking note of Lorde at this time.