“House of the Dragon”: Viserys and Alicent get together

SPOILERS ALERT: Don’t read if you haven’t seen the second episode of House of the Dragon called The Rogue PrinceStream now on HBO Max.

In the Westeros dating world, age is just a number. After the loss of his wife Queen Aemma in the final episode – which took place six months ago in the House of the Dragon timeline – King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) felt the pressure to find a new wife and begin royal marriages to make heirs. Any Westeros king would do the same, but what’s disturbing is that Visery’s cousin, Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), played matchmaker with her own daughter, the much underage Lady Laena Velaryon (Nova Foueillis-Mose). Incest is nothing new in the world of Game of Thrones or the Targaryens, but the age difference between Viserys and Laena was almost as annoying as the medieval cesarean performed on the queen last week.

After the series premiere, this episode was quieter in terms of violence and raunchyness, but it did create some great alliances. To begin, we learned a bit more about Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and the troubles his house faces. Pirates from the Free Cities of Essos, led by a man named Crab Feeder, attack Corly’s ships and feed his sailors to a consortium of killer crabs, but Viserys and his council refuse to take any action. Additionally, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) has overtaken Dragonstone since he was banished from King’s Landing. Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) suggests sending a team of dragon riders as a show of force, but her father Viserys rejects her.

Rather than conspire with the council, Rhaenyra assesses the new knights being chosen for the Kingsguard. The only one with actual combat experience is Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), the Dornish Jouster from last episode’s tournament. He gets the job.

Meanwhile, Viserys and Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) still spend time together, and he shows her his impressive scale model of Old Valyria. He also confides in her that he and Rhaenyra have not spoken much since Queen Aemma’s horrific death. Alicent then meets with Rhaenyra and they pray in the sept for their dead mothers and that Viserys sees Rhaenyra as “more than his little girl”.

Speaking of little girls, Rhaenys and Corlys have the perfect match for Viserys. In order to further unite Houses Targaryen and Velaryon, they want Viserys to marry young Lady Laena. The king is unsure what to do. After an awkward dinner with Rhaenyra and a nasty maggot treatment for his rotting pinky, Viserys takes Laena for a walk. He learns that Rhaenys and Corlys tricked Laena into the arrangement by telling her that she does not have to bed the king until she is 14 years old.

During this blatant first date, Rhaenyra and Rhaenys (who have shared the most similar Game of Thrones names since Bran, Bronn, and Brienne) watch from afar and get into a tense discussion about the succession. Rhaenys admits she’s bothered by the Viserys-Laena situation, but that’s how the Game of Thrones is played in Westeros. Perhaps still a little jealous that she was passed over for the Iron Throne years ago, Rhaenys, the “Queen That Never Was” says that Viserys will eventually remarry and have a male heir who will rule in Rhaenyra’s stead.

Daemon lives in Dragonstone and sends a letter to King’s Landing declaring himself the rightful heir and announcing that his lover Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuna) is pregnant. Realizing they have stolen a dragon egg, the King’s Council sends Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), Ser Criston and a squad of the Kingsguard to stop Daemon’s treachery. Upon meeting him on the bridge in Dragonstone, they encounter a group of Daemon’s City Watch followers and tensions immediately rise.

Otto accuses Daemon of declaring war on the king, and both sides draw their swords. Suddenly, Daemon’s massive red dragon Caraxes flies up and the tide turns in his favor. But before he can walk away with the dragon egg, Rhaenyra unannounced lunges at her dragon and calms things down. Daemon returns the egg but remains in Dragonstone – and it turns out he’s been lying about Mysariah’s pregnancy the whole time.

Back at King’s Landing, Viserys is upset with Rhaenyra for disobeying him, but she says results are results, pointing out that she found the dragon egg without bloodshed. It’s also about time he chose a new wife, and he chooses Alicent Hightower, as the series premiere had hinted at when her father sent her to comfort Viserys. Their age difference is still shocking, by the way, but less than Viserys and Laena’s – and this marriage also foreshadows an eventual rivalry between Alicent and Rhaenyra. Everyone on the council is stunned, but no more so than Corlys, who had his daughter and the king shipped off.

In a classic Game of Thrones backdoor meeting, it’s then revealed that Corlys turns to none other than Daemon to team up and get back at the king. Corlys says he and Daemon have a lot in common: they both take what they want, they have older brothers in power, not to mention they have great hair. Thus begins the new Daemon-Corlys alliance to take on the Crab Feeder and start the war for the Stepstones.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/house-of-the-dragon-viserys-alicent-1235351106/ “House of the Dragon”: Viserys and Alicent get together

Charles Jones

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