House of the Dragon season 1 episode 3 recap & review: Second of His Name

Episode 2 of House of the Dragon sees 3 years pass as Viserys and Alicent are married and have a son with another on the way while Daemon and Lord Corlys have waged war in Stepstones without the crown’s support. The episode is streaming on HBO Max.

Recap

Lord Corlys and Prince Daemon take the fight to Craghas Drahar on the battlefield but the “Crab Feeder” has the advantage as Corlys and Daemon suffer heavy losses and even Daemon’s dragon is unable to make an impact.

Viserys and Alicent are celebrating the 2nd name day of their son, Aegon, by organising a hunt in King’s wood. Viserys gives his brother the cold shoulder and does not want to get involved in their war. The Hightower brothers discuss the matter of Aegon being named heir.

Rhaenyra has become even more closed off ever since her father married her best friend and she tries to avoid the festivities but has no choice but to attend. They all make way for the camp outside the woods.

The ladies of the realm gossip about the state of the kingdom and their involvement, or lack thereof, in the Stepstones. Rhaenyra is tired of listening to mindless blather and heads out of the tent where Jason Lannister approaches her.

He attempts to woo her and states that he would be glad to take her as his wife but Rhaenyra hears nothing of it. She goes back inside and confronts her father for treating her like a commodity to be paraded around to different lords.

She leaves the camp on horseback with Ser Criston following after her. He manages to slow her down and they roam the forests and talk about their fortunes. Viserys is informed that there is a white hart in the forest which would make the perfect target for the hunt.

Jason Lannister offers Viserys a weapon as a gift and once again talks about taking Rhaenyra as his wife but he ends up talking himself into a hole and leaves before angering Viserys even more.

Otto sits by Viserys and does bring up the fact that people are expecting him to name Aegon the heir now that he has a firstborn son. Viserys doesn’t want to hurt his daughter so Otto even suggests getting Rhaenyra married to Aegon even though the boy is just 2 years old.

Lord Strong has his own opinions on the situation. He suggests having Rhaenyra marry Laenor Velaryon, Lord Corlys’ son so that any existing friction is smoothed over.

Ser Criston and Rhaenyra make a fire but Criston insists they head back to the main camp. They are suddenly attacked by a wild boar that pins Rhaenyra down. Criston strikes it with his sword before Rhaenyra stabs it multiple times in anger.

Viserys contemplates by himself the decisions that he has to make regarding his heir. Alicent joins him to give him comfort and assuage his worry.

The next morning, Viserys is called out to the woods where they have restrained a massive buck, not the white hart. Viserys kills it with two blows while everyone celebrates. Rhaenyra returns to camp with Criston and the dead boar as everyone stares at the princess covered in blood.

Otto visits Alicent to talk about tradition and how it is Aegon’s birthright to be named the heir to the throne. Alicent visits Viserys’ chambers to talk to him and they discuss Rhaenyra’s marriage and how she feels about the prospect.

Alicent finds a letter on the table from Lord Corlys’ brother, asking the king for aid in the war at the Stepstones. Viserys is still adamant that he will not help but Alicent convinces him otherwise.

Lord Corlys and his brother discuss the state of affairs in their battle against Cragas Drahar. At the current rate, they will not last very long and Laenor suggests sending a man as bait to draw them out of the safety of their caves.

Daemon arrives on his dragon and walks up to them when a messenger arrives with the king’s message. He beats the messenger in anger and then goes out to the battlefield as bait, waving a white flag.

As the enemy closes in, Daemon attacks and charges forward towards the caves. He draws them all out just in time for the arrival of Lord Corlys and his men who wage war out in the open. Daemon chases after Drahar inside the caves and a few moments later, emerges with the top half of Drahar’s body.

He walks up to the battlefield and drops the remains of his vanquished foe.

Review

  • The visuals in the series are a sight to behold. The locations and sets are beautifully designed and the battles are captured magnificently.
  • The character work is also quite impressive as Viserys continues his fall as a respectable king with everyone around him not showing much confidence or faith in his ability to rule. Meanwhile, Rahenyra comes across as headstrong but capable.
  • The politicking is subtle but it is starting to take shape and people whisper into the ear of the king and sway his opinion on the fate of the realm.

Rating: 3.5/5


Also Read: House of the Dragon season 1 episode 2 recap & review: The Rogue Prince