‘House Of The Dragon’ Recap: Rhaenyra Marries After Bloodshed & Criston Declares His Love




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Daemon finally returns to the Vale to talk with his wife in name only, Lady Rhea Royce. It’s clear that the animosity between them is mutual, and she’s not afraid to push her estranged husband’s buttons. Rhea is pissed at Daemon, and rightfully so.

He doesn’t say a word the entire time. “What will you do now?” Rhea asks him. Suddenly, she realizes why he’s here. She prepares to pull her bow, but her horse gets spooked and falls on her. Rhea is unable to move.

Matt Smith
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen. (HBO)

Daemon walks over to Rhea and stands over her body. He leaves without saying a word. “I knew you couldn’t finish. Craven!” she yells at him. That makes Deamon stop dead in his tracks. He picks up a rock and heads back toward Rhea. Well, we certainly know what happens next.

Otto Warns Of War If Rhaenyra Becomes Queen

On the way to Driftmark to propose a marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon, Viserys gets violently sick. Alicent stays behind and sees her father before he leaves King’s Landing. He low-key blames her for his firing since she’s the one who told Rhaenyra about what he knew about her night with Daemon.

Alicent continues to defend Rhaenyra, telling her father that Rhaenyra swore she was innocent. Otto thinks that Alicent should have seen this coming. She snaps that he shouldn’t have been so determined to have Aegon named heir.

Otto warns Alicent that if Rhaenyra succeeds Viserys then “war will follow.” He says that “the Realm will not accept her.” In order for Rhaenyra to secure her claim, Otto tells Alicent that her kids will have to die. He stresses to her that this is going to happen sooner rather than later. Alicent has a choice: prepare Aegon to be heir or be at Rhaenyra’s mercy.

Viserys Proposes Rhaenyra & Laenor’s Marriage

The Targaryens arrive at Driftmark. Viserys has seen better days. Corlys is not there to greet Viserys when he gets there. Viserys chooses not to let this sour his mood.

Lord Larys Strong manages to catch Alicent’s ear and continues to plant seeds of doubt. He brings up that Rhaenyra is “unwell” and mentions that the Grand Maester delivered a tea to her. Alicent soon realizes she’s been lied to by Rhaenyra.

Corlys bows to Viserys when they finally do reunite, and Rhaenys greets her cousin as well. Corlys is the one to break the news that Rhea Royce is dead. “A hunting mishap,” Rhaenys explains before adding that her “neck and skull” were both “crushed in the fall.” Corlys notes that Rhea’s “skill as both rider and hunter were well known,” so this accident is most unusual.

Lyonel Strong, the king’s new Hand, picks up on the hints that the Velaryons are dropping. Rhaenys brings up that Daemon and Rhea had no heirs. Viserys wants to change the subject away from his brother. He proposes the marriage between Laenor and Rhaenyra.

Milly Alcock Theo Nate
Milly Alcock and Theo Nate as Rhaenyra and Laenor. (HBO)

Corlys wants some details ironed out before accepting Viserys’ offer. Corlys wants to know how the succession will be handled. Viserys stresses that Rhaenyra is his heir. Rhaenyra and Laenor’s firstborn child, regardless of gender, will inherit the Iron Throne from her. Corlys wants to know if the children will take Laenor’s last name. Viserys doesn’t think the Targaryen dynasty should end with Rhaenrya just because she’s a woman. He decides to compromise with Corlys. Viserys will let the children be born and take their father’s name, but when the firstborn ascends the throne, he/she will take the Targaryen name. That’s when they all shake hands on the marriage.

Meanwhile, Laenor and Rhaenyra have a talk on the beach. Rhaenyra is well aware that she is not who he would choose, but she wants to make a deal. They perform their duty to the realm — an heir — and when it’s done, then “each of us dines as we see fit.”

Corlys and Rhaenys discuss the impending marriage. Rhaenys brings up Laenor’s “true nature.” Corlys believes that Laenor is “still young” and will “outgrow it.” Rhaenys knows this will not happen. She thinks they’re putting their son in danger. Corlys doesn’t see it that way. Rhaenys knows that Rhaenyra’s succession will be challenged because the King has a son. “Knives will come out. For her, her husband, and for their heirs,” she tells her husband.

Laenor and his lover, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, get some private time to themselves. “This is better than we could have hoped for,” Joffrey says. “She has a paramour of her own.”

Criston Declares His Love

On the way back to King’s Landing, Criston has a heart-to-heart with Rhaenyra. “If there were another path, one that led to freedom, would you tread it?” he asks her. Criston wants to leave his station and head far “away from all this.” He wants to show Rhaenyra the world. “We will be nameless and free. Free to go where we like, to love as we like,” Criston continues. They could marry — for love, not for the crown.

A stunned Rhaenyra says nothing initially and steps away. “I am the crown, Ser Criston. Or I will be,” she tells him. “It is my duty to marry a noble man from a great house, and Ser Laenor will make a fine husband. But my marriage does not have to be the end. Ser Criston, Laenor and I have an understanding.” Criston knows exactly what that means.

“So you want me to be your whore?” he asks. Rhaenyra wants to continue what they have going. She’s broken his heart, and he flips on her. He’s broken his vow to the Kingsguard. He thought if they married he could restore it. He’s near tears, devastated over his feelings for Rhaenyra and how he’s been disloyal to the Kingsguard.

They arrive back at King’s Landing and Viserys collapses. Criston is summoned by Alicent. She questions him about Rhaenyra and that rumor about a “lapse of morals” that may have occurred. It doesn’t take long for Criston to admit what he’s done with Rhaenyra. “My oath has been broken. I have dishonored myself. I deserve no consideration,” Criston reveals. Alicent is equally furious and devastated. All that Criston asks is that he be sentenced to death rather than being tortured for his “crimes.”

A Game Of Stolen Glances

The Velaryons arrive in King’s Landing for the wedding. Alicent is noticeably absent at the king’s side. Rhea Royce’s cousin attends the wedding, and the king gives his condolences. When Laenor takes his place beside Rhaenyra at the feast, it becomes clear to Rhaenyra who really holds Laenor’s heart.

Milly Alcock
King Viserys celebrates Rhaenyra and Laenor’s union. (HBO)

To spice up the night, Daemon shows up unexpectedly. He doesn’t say a word to Viserys and takes his seat at the end of the table. Daemon and Rhaenyra can’t resist exchanging flirtatious glances.

Viserys is in the middle of his speech when Alicent finally shows up… wearing green. Viserys does not look pleased that Alicent has interrupted him. Larys mentions to his brother, Harwin Strong, that green is a sign of war. Viserys continues his speech, and Daemon catches Rhaenyra’s eye once again.

The night is a game of stolen glances. Daemon watches Rhaenyra as she and Laenor dance, while Laena Velaryon has her eye on Daemon. Rhaenyra looks over at Criston, who is looking at Alicent. Alicent’s eyes are on Rhaenyra. Joffrey puts two and two together about Rhaenyra and Criston.

Emily Carey
Emily Carey as Alicent. (HBO)

Rhea’s cousin confronts Daemon during the feast. He believes Daemon should pay for his crimes. The man flat-out accuses Daemon of killing Rhea. Daemon reveals that he plans to fly to the Eyrie after the wedding to get his hands on his Runestone.

A Dance With Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Laena and Daemon have some flirting action on the dance floor. As the dancing continues, Joffrey takes a moment to talk with Criston. “We’re both deeply invested in this union,” Joffrey says. Joffrey tells Criston that they have to “swear to each other to guard them and their secrets.” Criston is alarmed that someone else knows about what he’s done.

Like magnets, Daemon and Rhaenyra find themselves in each other’s orbit once again. They speak High Valryian so no one will know of what they speak. “Is this what you want?” Daemon says Rhaenyra.

She replies, “I was not aware that what I wanted mattered to you.” Daemon doesn’t think this marriage is for her. “He will bore you senseless,” Daemon says about Laenor.

Rhaenyra uses Daemon’s own words against him. “Marriage is only a political arrangement, I hear,” she says. He brings up that his marriage has been “recently dissolved.”

Rhaenyra declares, “So take me, then. Has this not been your purpose? I am not yet married. But the hours pass swiftly. You are surely armed. Cut through my father’s Kingsuard. Take me to Dragonstone and make me your wife.” Daemon listens intently.

She is in full control, and he is entranced by her. She can just easily turn the tables on him as he can her. He hates and loves it. Daemon grabs her face, and it looks like they’re about to kiss right there in front of everyone. Viserys is watching all of this go down, but he can’t see everything because of the crowd.

Criston Kills Joffrey & Rhaenyra Marries

Suddenly, a fight breaks out. Rhaenyra is thrown to the ground. Laenor goes after Criston, who punches him. Criston is attacking Joffrey. Lyonel signals to Harwin to get through the crowd and grab Rhaenyra. This is no struggle for Harwin at all.

Viserys begins bleeding from his nose as the fight worsens. Criston punches Joffrey’s face over and over again until Joffrey is unrecognizable. Criston kills Joffrey. The crowd soon disperses, and Laenor is left weeping over his lover’s body.

Theo Nate
Theo Nate as Laenor Velaryon. (HBO)

Rhaenyra and Laenor are married quietly after the bloody brawl. They say their vows through tears, with Joffrey’s blood not yet dried on the ground beyond. It becomes clear that Rhaenyra has regrets about her decision. Maybe she should have taken Criston up on his offer.

Criston heads to the Weirwood tree as he prepares to take his own life. Before he does, Alicent calls out his name. Once the marriage is official, Viserys collapses. Rhaenyra’s perfect plan with Laenor just got incredibly complicated.



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