At least 4 years have handed since the dying of Baelon Targaryen—the “Heir for a Day”—an occasion that opened the succession vacuum on House of the Dragon. The Queen, Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey), has since given start to a son (the eldest son and first-in-line to the throne by gendered custom) and now nurses one other little one. Meanwhile, King Viserys I (Padddy Considine) continues to age and develop completely gross-looking legions throughout his again and arms, an apparent portend for a diseased kingdom on the edge of civil conflict.
Episode 4 retains the motion round 116 AC, with Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) now about 18 years outdated. (The collection is predicted to leap ahead in time by one other fifteen years in the coming episodes.)
The episode unfolds like an incestuous bildungsroman (a coming-of-age saga). The literary style usually encompasses a first sexual expertise for the protagonist, whose improvement frames the total posture of the story—usually talking to the loss of one’s innocence and the getting into into the grownup world. While Game of Thrones marked this second with sexual violence (Daenerys’ pressured betrothal to Drogo), House of the Dragon chooses to mark the event with … nicely, no matter tf is occurring between Rhaenyra and Daemon. Was it an influence transfer? Was it need? Was it … consensual? Yes? Yes? No?
Let’s get into issues.
Having agreed to not less than selected her personal husband (a compromise from not taking any), Rhaenyra hears a dozen proposals from potential suitors, leaving the room together with her Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), after two suitors start to sword combat. It is evident the episode will hinge on Rhaenyra’s marriage selection—a selection that seems was by no means to be a selection in any respect.
On her manner again to King’s Landing, Daemon’s dragon descends near her ship, knocking her to the deck and signaling a continued antagonism between her and the King’s brother (though she seems up considerably keen about Daemon’s tactic). In the Throne Hall, Daemon presents Viserys with the Crabfeeder’s axe, an indication that his forces have defeated the Free Cities’ mercenary commander. He then bends the knee to Viserys who embraces him, ending the years of stress—and Daemon’s close to sedition.
Later, Rhaenyra and Alicent appear to fix their very own quarrel as they focus on the burden of marriage and childbirth. Rhaenyra suggests Alicent’s position is just to provide heirs for the King.
She then discusses the identical worry with Daemon, whose return to King’s Landing she questions. (Rhaenyra thinks Daemon is as much as no good.) Says tells Daemon she doesn’t want to marry, a press release instantly pressured in the following scene throughout a small council assembly.
The Sea Snake, Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), has not returned to King’s Landing, as an alternative preserving management of the islands and posing to marry his daughter to a noble-born member of the Free Cities—a transfer that might undermine the energy of the Targaryen rule. It turns into clear that Viserys should rectify his determination to not marry Corlys’ daughter. He should make peace with Corlys.
She’s the Man
Late one night time, Rhaenyra receives a message in her chamber telling her to fulfill exterior the Red Keep. There, disguised as a web page, she finds Daemon, and the two of them journey incognito into King’s Landing the place a Renaissance-like pageant is being held.
The two be a part of a crowd watching a parody efficiency of the royal succession—with characters enjoying each Daemon and Rhaenyra. The crowd reacts negatively to Rhaenyra’s character, demonstrating her unpopularity amongst the folks. She storms off, telling Daemon that she doesn’t want the folks’s approval to rule them. (This could also be an necessary conviction for the civil conflict prone to come.)
Rhaenyra then follows Daemon (after being chased by him; there’s an uncomfortable predatorial flirtation all all through the pageant sequence) to a brothel. In the inner-most room, women and men interact in the most taboo acts. Here, Daemon kisses Rhaenyra. The two then start to undress one another with Daemon guiding Rhaenyra to a wall after which turning her round together with her pants down. Rhaenyra, nonetheless, then turns round and pursues Daemon who begins to seek out the expertise disagreeable after which storms off. The scene is crosscut with Alicent copulating with the King—disinterestedly and out of obligation. Rhaenyra and Daemon seem like kissing with ardour, an indicator that neither needs to do what is predicted of them to strengthen the crown. They each need what they need.
(It’s unclear if Daemon made the transfer performatively to besmirch Rhaenyra’s identify—figuring out they had been being watched and that phrase would journey round the metropolis—or out of need. Or each. Rhaenyra herself appears to reciprocate and pursue Daemon. Again, if that is out of pleasure or another motive, it’s unclear.)
After Daemon leaves, Rhaenyra returns to the Red Keep the place she seduces after which completes her night time’s quest together with her Kingsguard, Cole. (The two have additionally had a flirtationship over the final couple episodes.) Again, the scene appears to characterize Rhaenyra’s rejection of obligation in favor of her personal need.
Word travels by way of Otto Hightower’s spies that Daemon and Rhaenyra had been “coupling.” Hightower informs Viserys who accuses his Hand of utilizing the data to spoil Rhaenyra’s identify and bolster his grandson’s throne declare.
Meanwhile, Rhaenyra lies to Alicent when requested if she slept together with her uncle.
The incident is necessary as a result of, nicely, traditions. Rhaenyra’s chastity is important in marrying her to a noble home. Viserys even makes the level that whether or not or not Rhaenyra slept with Daemon is unimportant; if folks imagine she has, then her marriage-ability is considerably threatened. (This fallout from her determination appears to strengthen the concept that Rhaenyra made this selection so as to undermine future marriage.)
Rhaenyra’s deceive Alicent, nonetheless, appears to be the extra grievous motion, because it introduces a possible bombshell second that would finish their friendship—and drive the Queen to facet with one other would-be successor.
Later Viserys has Daemon dragged into the Throne Room, the place he as soon as once more banishes him from King’s Landing—however not earlier than Daemon proposes a wedding between himself and Rhaenyra.
Fed up with everybody telling him what to do, Viserys tells Rhaenyra that she is going to marry the Sea Snake’s son, Laenor Velaryon. (Something sone else advised him to do final episode.) Then, doing what Rhaenyra tells him to do, Viserys relieves Otto Hightower of the place of Hand—satisfied that he’s overly eager to advance his household’s personal throne claims.
The episode ends with the maester delivering a medieval Plan B potion to Rhaenyra.
Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men’s Health Magazine.
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