Spoilers for House of the Dragon will be found below.
Whew. House of the Dragon‘s third episode did not mess around when it came to unfurling war in Westeros. Prince Daemon and Ceraxes (who is now a beloved dragon so far amongst fans) sure looked badass while swooping into battle against the Crabfeeder, even though underneath it all, Daemon and Corlys’ alliance actually isn’t faring so well against the enemy. The former remains an audience favorite although he could have lost his life this week, given his impulsiveness, but more to our point right now, it’s time to discuss what happened in King’s Landing and Kingswood.
Rhaenyra spent this episode raining metaphorical “dracarys” while expressing her (understandable) frustration at not being listened to by her father, and King Viserys I spent this episode getting drunk and trying to marry her off. She’s not having it, and a key moment in this show indicated that Rhaenyra really could be the true heir, even if her dad seems to be leaning toward handing it off to his 2-year-old son, Aegon. And a royal hunt that meant to honor Aegon actually ended up going Rhaenyra’s way.
This rare stag, the White Hart, toyed with the mind of Viserys after reports that the beast was nearby in the woods, which should signify good things for Aegon’s future as heir. Or maybe not? (The line of succession ain’t so clear, even though Viserys expressed that he remains committed to keeping Rhaenyra on her path for the Iron Throne.) It’s complicated, obviously, and later, a different (less legendary) stag is captured and (very ungracefully) killed by Viserys. Elsewhere in the woods, the actual White Hart approaches Rhaenyra, as though nature had declared that she is the chosen Targaryen monarch. She peacefully observes the stag, a non-move that’s quite unlike her violent display upon the boar that Ser Criston already ensured was dead.
It’s easy to see why Rhaenyra’s not thrilled with her position despite outwardly being named heir. Also in this episode, plenty of powerful dudes tried to figure out who Rhaenyra should marry, as if she has no choice in the matter. Otto Hightower even suggested that she marry her 2-year-old half brother, which sure reinforces this prequel’s committment to being icky. Oh yes, the Targaryens are gonna Targaryen.
HBO’s House of the Dragon airs on Sundays at 9:00pm EST.