Review: House of The Dragon S02E02 - Rhaenyra The Cruel

Episode 2 deals with the fallout of the end of the previous one. Let’s review how the greens and blacks react to that tragic event and its effects.

Review: House of The Dragon S02E02 - Rhaenyra The Cruel
Image: House of The Dragon // Courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery.

The second episode of the second season of House of The Dragon deals with the fallout of the cruel event that concluded the previous episode. All of the parties react in their own way to the vile act and plan their next moves.

If you want me to get more specific, keep reading, but I warn you: There will be spoilers!

Still here? Let’s dive in!

Is Rhaenyra Cruel? I Don’t Think So

In the beginning of the episode, we see Rhaenyra genuinely confused as to why the death of young prince Jaehaerys is directed at her. She says she wouldn’t do such a thing.

While Rhaenyra did a lot of questionable things in the past, murdering a child is stooping too low and she knows that. The one who seems to not put it beyond him was Daemon who hides it from her until she figures it out on her own.

Once she figures out it was Daemon who ordered the assassination, her confusion turns to ice cold wrath.

We’ll talk about the falling out between Daemon and her by the end of the review.

Otto Hightower is a Pretty Cruel Man

While Rhaenyra saw fit to deny the allegation until she found out who actually did the deed, Otto Hightower didn’t care.

He saw the death of a young child as an opportunity to frame Rhaenyra. He didn’t care if she actually did it or not. It could have been a beggar who did the thing and he still would frame it on her.

That line of thinking doesn’t seem to influence his teenager king. Tension rises between them. It’s not lost on me that the one who orchestrated the falling out between them was none other than Larys Strong. The latter planted the idea in King Aegon’s mind after catching him for a private chat where he tells him, ”Otto Hightower was your father’s hand.”

Ser Criston Cole - Hand of The King?

When the argument between Aegon and Otto gets too heated, the king fires his hand and demands he give the pin to Ser Criston Cole.

There’s an interesting precedent here. Could the Hand of The King also be the commander of his king’s guard? Shouldn’t the hand be a title for a noble lord? Criston is a knight of house Cole risen through the ranks to become a glorified bodyguard. What will so much power do to him?

And to top it all of, he has his nightly sessions with Alicent, the queen mother (is dowager a term used in ASOIAF? Alicent is a widow, but also the mother of the current king).

Alicent Doesn’t Seem Grief-Stricken By Her Grandson’s Death

If we’re talking about Alicent, isn’t it strange that she isn’t crying or showing any vulnerability about what happened to her grandchild? She remains serious but there’s also this one scene where she goes to talk to Aegon and find him crying in his room. Instead of showing any emotion or trying to comfort him, she just leaves.

She also accompanies Halaena to the ride around town where the baby, with his head now sown back to the body, is on display. While Halaena almost loses it with all of the attention she is getting, Alicent remains composed.

Something about it just doesn’t feel right to me. Do you agree?

She does show emotion when her father leaves the red keep. When they discuss their survivability, that’s a moment in time when we see Alicent worried And emotional.

It feels like she is living in Survival mode, and excuse me if this sounds harsh, but I feel like she doesn’t really feel at home with all of these Targaryan family members around her. She is the only one who seems to not have a crown of platinum hair in her family.

Rhaenyra’s Falling Out With Daemon

When Rhaenyra found out Daemon was the one who ordered the assassination of Jaehaerys Targaryan, she had a huge fight with him.

“You don’t believe in my claim“ was one of the accusations thrown in that room. It dawns on Rhaenyra that Daemon sees her as a child playing monarch and feels obligated to do all the dirty work he thinks is necessary to secure her claim. Dirty work she might not agree to, but who cares? At least, that’s what I picked up from the conversation. Do you agree with this interpretation?

When Rhaenyra realizes that Daemon is not serving her goals, she says she can’t trust him any more and that he’s pathetic.

Daemon, seemingly hurt, took his broken ego and left. Where to, I wonder? He not only left, but took his dragon with him.

While he was missing, Ser Criston Cole hatched a timely plan that aimed to destroy everything Rhaenyra has been building.

The Assassination Attempt on Rhaenyra

When the blacks and the greens parted ways, the twins in the kingsguard Erryk and Arryk Cargyll also separated.

That changed when Ser Criston Cole harassed Arryk to impersonate Erryk to go and assassinate Rhaenyra.

That was a “shortcut” solution. When Rhaenyra is removed, her resistance will crumble.

That plan was also what got him the Hand’s pin from King Aegon II.

During that time, Rhaenyra released The White Worm, a.k.a Mysaria. As she left, she noticed Arryk coming from the ship and turned back to tell someone. I’m pretty sure that saving Rhaenyra’s life would net her a great reward. We’ll see.

As the scene progresses, we find the twins fight in Rhaenyra’s bedroom. Erryk was called to fight his twin to save the queen. finally saving Rhaenyra’s life, Erryk cannot continue living after killing his twin Arryk and takes his own life after apologizing to her.

In that way, Ser Criston Cole received a double win with this plan. He not only got rid of a man he suspected in the Kingsguard but also ensured Rhaenyra lost a Kingsguard, too, and a good one at that.

Predictions For The Next Episode

As of writing these words, episode 3 is already out but I withheld watching it just so I can write this little speculation section.

The tension between the greens and blacks will rise more and more. Alicent killed Rhanyra’s son, Daemon killed Alicent’s grandchild, and now Arryk tried to end Rhaenyra‘s life. All of the regular people are caught in the crossfire when Dragons fight each other.

My only prediction is it’s only going to intensify. More cruel things will happen, more sadness, more excuses to start a full-scale war.

What do you think will happen next? Let me know in the comments below!