A Dive Into the Shocking Season 2 ‘HoTD’ Premiere

Wow! We did NOT see that coming! Read on to learn what happened in the House of the Dragon Season two Premiere that had our jaws dropping to the floor!

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For those of you who tuned into the season two House of the Dragon premiere, you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that this episode pulled absolutely no punches. Starting off with a new intro and picking up pretty much right where the end of season one left off, this new season is definitely going to shock and surprise us as much as (if not more than) the last.

Disclaimer: Potential Spoilers ahead! Read on with caution!

The intro to this season did not disappoint, keeping with the traditional BANGER that is the A Game of Thrones theme music. Instead of blood running through stone designs, as in season one’s intro, an invisible hand weaves gorgeous patterns into a tapestry that soon seeps with deep red blood. While the pictures on this tapestry are gorgeous, what they depict is, well, somewhat concerning. Threads are woven in to show a kingdom being destroyed by dragons, masses of dead bodies, royal assassinations, and several Targaryens sitting on individual thrones. We can’t be 100% sure of what this all means, but we can say that this season is in for some devastating bloodshed.

A woven image of a man with long white hair with a crown on his head, surrounded by blood.
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The episode begins with a throwback to the very first season of A Game of Thrones, giving the audience a look into the infamous “Night’s Watch,” where Jacaerys is chatting with a member of the Stark family. Hopefully, we’ll see more of our favorite northern family as the season continues!

From here, we get a look into the wake of Lucerys’s death, with Daemon and Rhaenys discussing seeking revenge on Aemond. Rhaenys talks him down, but Daemon is bristling with fury and demands retribution. He says that Rhaenyra is “shirking her duties” as a queen while she is grieving. Yikes!

A man with shoulder length white hair looks to the right. He is wearing black armor and we can only see him from his chest above.
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We also get a glimpse into what Aegon is like as a king; it is safe to say that he is reminiscent of one Joffrey Baratheon, no? While King Aegon is off playing royal, Queen Helaena (yep, his sister AND wife) mostly minds her own business, worrying about the rats in the castle — surely that won’t be important later, right?

Oh, yeah, and Alicent and Criston are now intimate with one another. Criston’s dedication to the queen seems to have branched off into other, more personal, matters.

A woman with red hair in an elaborate hairstyle and a dark green gown looks to her right at a man with black hair who is wearing silver armor. They are in a castle hallway.
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At the small council meeting, it seems as though Alicent has tried contacting Rhaenyra, with no response. Aegon wants war, and there’s not much preventing it now. Alicent continues her attempted manipulation of the council but is interrupted and shot down several times. She later confronts her father, Otto Hightower, from whom she wants to take over the kingdom. She tells him, “If you undermine my voice, both those boys will grow deaf to it.” Glad to see she’s back to her famous girl bossing.

An older man sits with a younger woman and holds her hand. She looks slightly distressed, and is wearing expensive clothing and jewelry. The man is wearing black. They are in an old castle room.
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We’re finally back to Rhaenyra again, and in a devastating beginning to her season two storyline, she finds her son’s destroyed coat and a single dragon wing, causing her to break down alone, in the middle of a beach. Emma D’Arcy’s performance in this episode is truly something to behold, as we’ll see later.

A distraught-looking young woman, with dirt on her face, looks just right of the camera. She has light blonde hair and is wearing red. Behind her are several large rocks and a sea.
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With Rhaenyra back from her “grieving trip,” a revenge plot is set in motion. It seems that all she wants is the death of Aemond, the boy who murdered her son; the war between the Greens and Blacks is just an afterthought. This spurs a devious little plan from Daemon, who hires a “ratcatcher” named Cheese (yes, you read that right) to sneak into the Red Keep and kill Aemond as he sleeps. We’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about a scene that probably had us all in tears.

Two men with short brown hair and beards, wearing worn brown clothes, hold a torch and rat traps.
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Rhaenyra is approached by her other son, Jacaerys, who begins to discuss business with her but quickly breaks down in his mother’s arms. They hold each other and cry, and it’s just so perfectly heartbreaking that it had me in tears, too. Emma D’Arcy is a powerhouse at playing a grieving mother, always looking withered and broken, like they’ve been crying for hours.

Two people hug; you can see the back of a brunette boy's head as a woman with light blonde hair hugs him.
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We then cut to a scene in which Alicent is lighting candles for the dead, lighting one for her husband before she gives in to her emotions and lights one for Lucerys as well. This, interspersed with a grieving mother and brother holding tight to each other, had me SOBBING.

After this scene, Criston and Aemond discuss Alicent still harboring “love for the enemy,” which really makes you wonder: Is Alicent going to turn a corner this season? Will this queen get a redemption arc, or will she continue her ruthless battle for the throne?

A woman with dark red hair and a green headdress uses a wooden stick to light one of many candles at the table before her.
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Finally, in this absolutely gut-wrenching final scene, Cheese and his helper attempt to find and murder Aemond, discovering Helaena instead. They mistakenly believe Aemond is one of her two young children and order her to tell them which one. Shaking and frightened, she points to the boy, which the “ratcatchers” then brutally murder.

This scene is genuinely insane; Phia Saban’s performance as Helaena had us all jaw-dropped and shaking as Cheese and his friend slice away at Prince Jaehaerys’s head.

A shot from above of a crying blonde haired woman as she holds a young blonde girl.
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Of course, there is always the possibility that Prince Jaehaerys’s death wasn’t the accident it was made out to be. Sure, Cheese was supposed to kill Aemond. But the previous scene was cut short before Daemon could answer Cheese’s question: What do we do if we can’t find him? Perhaps Daemon’s answer was far more sinister than we were led to believe. Could he have instructed the assassins to take the life of Helaena’s young boy, the heir to the throne, instead? Could this have been the plan all along? I guess we will find out next week.

A man with shoulder-length light blonde hair is pulling out his sword and looking to the left. It says "All Must Choose" in the middle of the image, with "House of the Dragon" below it.
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As maddening as that season two premier episode was, it still left us with many unanswered questions. We have seven episodes left to determine the fate of the house of Targaryen. Will King Aegon fall? Will Helaena get revenge for her murdered son? Will Alicent and Rhaenyra make up? And what kind of a name is Cheese? Hopefully, all these questions will be answered soon. In the meantime, I may have to resort to reading tens of thousands of pages of George R. R. Martin books.


Want to get caught up on season one of House of the Dragon? Check out some of our recaps of each episode.

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