'House of the Dragon' recap: Where in the world is Aegon Targaryen? (2024)

At long last, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) is dead. His widow, Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke), recounts his final words to the small council. "He told me he wished for Aegon to be king," she says. "It's the truth, out of his own lips."

We, of course, know that Viserys was speaking in a drug-induced haze, scraps of prophecy mixed with pleas to his daughter, Rhaenyra. It was Rhaenyra he thought he was speaking to, after all, and amidst that haze he was affirming his desire for her to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Unfortunately, that's not what Alicent heard. A lot of people are about to die because of it.

Otto (Rhys Ifans), Alicent's father and Hand to the King, reacts to this news not with surprise, but relief. Ser Tyland Lannister (Jefferson Hall) feels the same, saying the council can now proceed with their "long-laid plans." To Alicent's surprise, it's been a foregone conclusion that Rhaenyra would never make it to the throne; his plan is intricately detailed and involves the removal of any of Rhaenyra's allies from King's Landing. Alicent isn't alone in her shock, though: Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson), master of coin, loudly objects, pondering whether someone in this room might be responsible for Viserys' death. Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) quiets him by viciously driving his head into the table, seemingly killing him.

But what concerns Alicent is the fate of Rhaenyra. Though Otto says she'll be given the chance to bend the knee, she knows they mean to kill her, Daemon, and their entire family. "A living challenger invites battle and bloodshed," says Otto, who asserts that such sacrifices must be made to secure succession. He gives Lord Commander Westerling (Graham McTavish) the grim task of traveling to Dragonstone, sword in hand. Westerling refuses, removing his cloak and resigning. Alicent is relieved. Unlike her father, she doesn't want Rhaenyra killed.

A sense of panic sets in. Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) is nowhere to be found. If word gets out that the king is dead and they plan to install Aegon, allies of Rhaenyra could work to ensure that doesn't happen. Anyone who knows about the king's death is locked away as Otto sends emissaries — twins Arryk and Erryk Cargyll (Luke and Elliott Tittensor) — to the Street of Silk in pursuit of Aegon, who's been out carousing. "Bring him to me and me alone," Otto tells the twins, eager to get in Aegon's ear about his plans for Rhaenyra before Alicent can.

Alicent, meanwhile, sends her own ally, Criston, in search of Aegon. Criston is joined in his search by Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), who knows where his brother likes to drink. An unlikely bond forms between the two. After Aemond says he deserves the opportunities his crude brother squanders, Criston tells him he also knows "what it is to toil for what others are freely given."

Arryk and Erryk find themselves in a house of ill repute where children as young as 10 are forced to grow their nails, file their teeth, and fight as drunken denizens cheer them on. Arryk, who confesses to his brother his distaste for Aegon, points out that some of the children being forced to fight appear to be Aegon's bastard children. They're approached by a woman who says she knows where Aegon is, but that she'll only give him up to the Hand of the King.

The mysterious woman turns out to be a servant of Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), the one-time mistress of Daemon who now runs a whisper network in King's Landing. She'll give up Aegon, but only if Otto uses his power to put an end to the "savage use" of children in Flea Bottom. She says the gold cloaks take bribes and look the other way, an "obscenity" long ignored by the crown. Otto says he'll "look into it." (If he doesn't, watch out.)

The twins retrieve Aegon but are confronted by Criston and Aemond. A fight erupts. Aegon confesses to Aemond that he doesn't want to be king. In fact, he wants to run away. He and Aemond can find a ship and disappear, he proposes. Aemond isn't interested; he's next in line to rule after Aegon, after all. Criston and Aemond take Aegon to Alicent.

Back at the castle, Otto is tightening his grip. Various lords and ladies of influence are brought before the throne and asked to swear fealty to Prince Aegon. When a handful declare that they will not break their oath to serve Rhaenyra, they are ominously ushered out. After one lord attempts to leave the castle, he's restrained. Though he claims to "have no love for the princess," they fear he means to flee to Dragonstone to tell Rhaenyra of their plans.

Alicent, meanwhile, visits Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best), who's been locked in her bedroom in the castle since Viserys' passing. Alicent wants her support. She asks what she's gained by supporting Rhaenyra, aside from dead children and disarray. If she allies herself (and her dragon) with Alicent, that will make negotiation with Rhaenyra more of a possibility. "We do not rule, but we may guide the men that do," she says. "Gently. Away from violence and sure destruction and towards peace."

Rhaenys believes she's looking at it all wrong. "You are wiser than I believed you to be," she says. "But you toil still in service to men." She asks, compellingly, "Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?"

Emboldened, Alicent confronts Otto, accusing him of using her as a pawn in his machinations. She defies his pleas regarding Rhaenyra's fate, expresses her intent to install Criston as the new Lord Commander, and maps out her own plan for Aegon's coronation. She will grasp the power away from the men, or so she hopes.

She's visited by Larys (Matthew Needham), who tells her that Otto is often one step ahead of her because "there is a web of spies at work in the Red Keep," one that her father often uses to his advantage. He has a way of undercutting that advantage, he tells her. What she doesn't know, however, is that Otto and Larys had a conversation of their own prior to this. If Larys' ill intentions weren't clear enough, he pleasures himself to the sight of her bare feet when she turns her back to him.

The following day, Alicent rides with Aegon to his coronation. He looks miserable. "My father never wanted this," he says. "He didn't like me." Aegon, for all his swagger, is just lonely and obsessed with the ways in which he's disappointed everyone. After Alicent pleads with him to reject Otto's orders to kill Rhaenyra and not "rule with cruelty," he pathetically asks if she loves him. She responds by calling him an "imbecile."

As the coronation approaches, a disguised Rhaenys is snuck out from the castle by Arryk, who says he can "no longer abide this treachery." He tells her not to go to her dragon, as that's where they'll be waiting for her, but rather to make for the riverfront and board a ship. She doesn't make it, though; the gold cloaks are rounding up the commoners and shepherding them to the coronation and she's swept up in the rush.

Once everyone, including Rhaenys, is gathered for the coronation, Otto announces the death of the king and the news that Aegon will be his successor. Surprised murmurs give way to thunderous applause. A sad-eyed Aegon is marched out as his family looks on. Rhaenys, who's been watching, sneaks away through a side door.

Cheers ring throughout the hall once the crown falls on Aegon's head. They fall over him and his frown begins to curve into a smile. Isn't it love he's been wanting all this time? He unsheathes his sword and thrusts it into the air, prompting louder cheers. He could get used to this.

Suddenly, a thunderous crash. Stone and dust fall over the crowd as a dragon bursts into the hall, crushing and tossing the huddled masses. It's Rhaenys atop her dragon, clearly none too pleased with this turn of events. Alicent stands in front of Aegon as the dragon approaches. She prepares for a rush of flame to consume them all, but the dragon simply roars. With that, Rhaenys leaves, presumably to Dragonstone.

Rhaenyra and Daemon have a lot to catch up on.

Subscribe to EW's West of Westeros podcast, which goes behind the making of House of the Dragon and the growing Game of Thrones universe.

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'House of the Dragon' recap: Where in the world is Aegon Targaryen? (2024)
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