House of the Dragon season 2, episode 2 recap: King Aegon declares war

King Aegon declares war as Queen Rhaenyra figures out who ordered the death of a child.
House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

House of the Dragon season 2 wasted no time bringing us major moments from Fire & Blood in the premiere. The second episode, which just debuted on June 23, includes another highly anticipated moment.

Caution: This post contains major spoilers from House of the Dragon season 2, episode 2.

The second episode of season 2 opens off the back of the devastating moments at the end of the premiere. The castle guards are getting everyone out of their beds to find out exactly what has happened. The gates to the city are closed—which comes up later with Hugh Hammer learning from his wife that the rich are hoarding food—and King Aegon makes it clear that he wants war.

With the swift closure of the gates, Blood doesn’t manage to get away. He’s caught running off with the head of the child and is swiftly arrested to get some answers. It’s not enough for Aegon, though. He wants Rhaenyra dead. Everyone is sure that she ordered the death of Jaehaerys.

That’s all in the opening moments of the episode. There’s a lot more that happened, ending with another major death from Fire and Blood.

Gaining the sympathy of the smallfolk

Otto wants to use the murder of Jaehaerys to Aegon’s advantage. He decides that the people need to see what Rhaenyra did so that they side with Team Green. A funeral procession is the best option, however, Aegon shouldn’t be there. The people should see the grief of Helaena and Alicent. While nobody wants to do it, they agree.

That procession has the necessary effect. The people gather and they make it clear they curse Rhaenyra. However, Helaena struggles with the attention on her.

Later on, it’s clear that Aegon blames Helaena for the murder of Jaehaerys. She was in the room with him and handed the boy over to the attackers. He can’t look her in the eye, and Helaena feels even worse for the events that happened that night. She’s not the one who should be blamed, though!

King Aegon and Criston Cole plot their next move

Aegon isn’t the only one who wants to go after Rhaenyra. Criston Cole still holds a grudge against her for choosing royalty over him. Criston also feels guilty that he was in bed with Alicent when everything happened. Had he been in the halls, he may have prevented it.

So, it’s not surprising that Aegon and Criston want to plot their next move. Criston sees that Arryk Cargyll’s cape is dirty at the end, which is the perfect way to project his guilt and anger, asking Arryk where he was during the night of the attack. Arryk was with Aegon in the Throne Room, however, where Aegon wanted him to be.

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That doesn't stop Criston from blaming Arryk for the attack, suggesting that he is a traitor like his brother. To prove his loyalty, he wants Arryk to head to Dragonstone and kill Rhaenyra in her bed. He tells him he can pose as his twin brother. We all know where this will lead!

Just a note, it’s clear that the guilt isn’t going to stop passion. Alicent slaps Criston later on in the episode, clearly holding some blame for the death of his grandson, but it just leads to the two of them hooking up again. This love affair is sure to cause more trouble later on.

Back to the matter at hand. Otto doesn’t think that Arryk going to Dragonstone is a good idea. But that’s not the only issue Otto has.

Blood confesses to everything and snitches on his conspirators

It doesn’t take long for Blood to confess to it all, seemingly so scared of torture that he's ready to give up names. He reveals that Daemon paid him and another man to kill Aemond. When he couldn’t find Aemond, he went after Jaehaerys. Who was the other man? Blood couldn’t give a name but shared that it was one of the rat catchers.

Well, rather than catch them all and have Blood point one out, Aegon decides to make an example of all of them. He has all the rat catchers in the city hanged, including Cheese. While watching, my heart went out to Cheese’s dog immediately. The poor thing looks up at his owner, dead, and whines. I just can’t take it when it comes to animals’ sadness. You can’t tell me that animals don’t feel things on an emotional level.

Otto is angry when he hears that this has happened. This impulsive action will work against Aegon with the smallfolk, but Aegon doesn’t care. He tells Otto that he is no longer the Hand of the King. That role will now go to Criston Cole. Otto isn’t happy about this and tells Alicent that it will be hard on him to be locked out of the Small Council.

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Rhaenyra figures out Daemon hired the goons

When word gets to Dragonstone that Jaehaerys is dead and Rhaenyra is being blamed, she’s confused and angry. She would not have wished for the death of the boy, and she definitely wouldn’t have inflicted this type of pain on Helaena, who she knows is innocent and sweet. Rhaenyra’s council does suggest, however, that she could have done it in her grief. This angers Rhaenyra, leaving her feeling like no one trusts her.

We watch as Rhaenys looks at Daemon. She has figured it all out without words, and it doesn’t take long for Daemon and Rhaenyra to have a conversation about this. She knows that Daemon ordered the murder. He claims that he never ordered the death of Jaehaerys, explaining he wanted Blood and Cheese to get Aemond. He doesn't take ownership of what actually happened.

Daemon and Rhaenyra argue about this. Rhaenyra makes it clear that she can’t trust Daemon, as he never thinks about anyone else but himself. As a child, she saw his selfishness as a challenge, but now she knows better. She also claims that he is trying to get the crown through her. Daemon takes offense at that, but she isn’t the only one who thinks this. Rhaenys tells Corrlys the same thing in another scene.

Baela readies for war

Daemon ends up flying off on Caraxes, presumably to Harenhal. At least, that’s where Rhaenyra suggests to Baela that he’s going when she asks.

Rhaenyra needs people she can trust on her side. Baela is one of those people, and she needs her to take her dragon to King’s Landing to keep watch, staying away from the Scorpions.

Baela agrees, and we later see her readying for war by doing some shooting practice with her crossbow. Jace finds her, and they discuss what it’s like to have a father who loves them. Laenor certainly loved Jace and the other boys, and there are some happy memories. It’s clear that Jace and Baela believe that Harwin Strong was likely Jace’s father, and he says that he thinks Harwin loved him—Baela agrees.

Addam and Alyn discuss their options

We met Alyn of Hull in the premiere episode, noting that he was the one to pull Corrlys out of the water and save him. In House of the Dragon season 2, episode 2, we meet his brother Addam.

There is a discussion about whether Alyn will head back out with Corlys when the ship is repaired. Alyn makes it clear that Corlys hasn’t asked this of him yet. Will he in the future? That’s not clear.

What is clear is that this is setting up these two characters to be bigger players in the Dance of the Dragons at this point. If you know Fire & Blood, that won’t surprise you. It’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out.

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Rhaenyra honors Daemon’s word when it comes to Mysaria

As Rhaenyra tries to put the pieces together of what happened to Jaehaerys, she calls in Mysaria to get her side of the story and figure out who she is actually working for.

Mysaria makes it clear that she is working for no man. She doesn’t trust anyone, but there seems to be a hint that she could be of some use to Rhaenyra. Of course, Rhaenyra doesn’t trust her and initially doesn’t want to release Mysaria, despite Daemon promising her freedom.

In the end, Rhaenyra decides that she will honor Daemon’s promise. Mysaria will be allowed to gather her things and then will be escorted to a ship pulling in.

While Mysaria walks down to the ship, she sees one of the Cargyll twins walking up to the castle. She knows that Erryk is already inside, and something is going on. At first, she debates with herself over whether to say something to the guards or not, but in the end, she decides that she should.

Arryk still gets inside and finds his way to Rhaenyra’s room. He is able to pass off as his brother, but Erryk is seemingly warned just as Arryk goes to attack Rhaenyra. A wonderfully choreographed fight between the twins plays out, with Rhaenyra and her guards having no idea which twin is which. It doesn’t matter, in the end though.

It looks like Erryk is able to kill Arryk. He then turns to Rhaenyra, apologizes, and then falls on his own sword to kill himself. The book tells us that each twin kills the other, presumably at the same time. Watching it play out like this, it’s easy to understand why Team Black would want this story to be told. Is it really an honor for Erryk to kill himself after killing his brother?

The great thing about this episode is that the change to the death of the twins doesn’t change much of the overall impact. We see that Aegon is going to start taking some bad advice, making the Dance of the Dragons even more deadly.

With two big moments from Fire & Blood already done, it looks like the story is pushing through things quickly. What’s going to come up next in House of the Dragon season 2? New episodes are released on HBO and Max every Sunday night.

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