Refresh Your Season 1 Memory Before Season 2


House Targaryen — and all of Westeros — is on the brink of civil war as the Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon returns for Season 2 on Sunday, June 16, at 9/8c on HBO and Max. In King’s Landing, Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) has been crowned Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. But across Blackwater Bay at Dragonstone, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) is fighting for her place in the succession.

How did Rhaenyra and her former BFF’s son become dueling heirs to the Iron Throne? You can blame Hightower meddling, Targaryen incest, and one big dragon bite for this mess. Here’s a recap of the first season’s 10 episodes.

Season 1, Episode 1: “The Heirs of the Dragon”

The series starts with Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) getting passed over for the throne in favor of cousin Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine). But, as we all know now, uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, and a flash-forward reveals that Viserys’ reign has its share of challenges. A Free Cities alliance is threatening Westerosi shipping lanes; Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), Viserys’ younger brother and presumptive heir, is turning out to be a barbaric City Watch commander; and Viserys and wife Aemma (Siân Brooke) haven’t welcomed a male heir. When Aemma’s latest childbirth threatens both herself and her child, Viserys chooses to sacrifice her life for the baby boy’s but ends up losing both. Daemon mocks the deceased prince as an “heir for a day,” so Viserys banishes him from King’s Landing and declares daughter Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) as his new heir. Viserys entrusts her with a family secret, the “Song of Ice and Fire,” Aegon the Conquerer’s vision of a Targaryen ruler saving the world of the living from a deadly winter emerging from the distant north.

Season 1, Episode 2: “The Rogue Prince”

Rhaenyra tries to have a voice in the Small Council, but instead she’s relegated to selecting a Kingsguard knight. Instinctively, she picks the strapping Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). Speaking of Daemon, he’s squatting at Castle Dragonstone, hoarding a purloined dragon egg, and making noises about marrying his mistress. Speaking of controversial marriages, Viserys announces his intention to marry Alicent (Emily Carey), friend of Rhaenyra and daughter of his Hand of the King, Sir Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). This angers Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), Rhaenys’ husband, who wanted him to marry their 12-year-old (!) daughter. And so Corlys resigns as Masters of Ships and aligns himself with Daemon.

Season 1, Episode 3: “Second of His Name”

By Episode 3, Viserys and Alicent are married with a 2-year-old son, Aegon II. But Viserys assures Rhaenyra that she’s still his heir. What the king doesn’t know is that Otto is secretly plotting to usher Aegon to the throne, which would be a real boon to House Hightower. Meanwhile, Viserys sends ships and men to the Stepstones archipelago, where Corlys and Daemon have been struggling to fend off the sadistic Myrish prince-admiral Craghas “Crabfeeder” Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith). Daemon, wanting to prove himself, slays the Crabfeeder singlehandedly and is soon hailed “King of the Narrow Seas.”

Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon'

Ollie Upton/HBO

Season 1, Episode 4: “King of the Narrow Sea”

But Daemon heads back to King’s Landing and swears fealty to Viserys. And in another reunion, Alicent and Rhaenyra also make amends. Rhaenyra, who has thus far been unable to find a consort, suddenly has two romantic prospects. One of whom is Daemon — yes, her uncle — who shows his interest in her during a night on a town. The other is Criston, whom she seduces after Daemon leaves her wanting more. Viserys gets wind of Rhaenyra and Daemon’s tryst and banishes his brother once more, this time to the Vale. The king then orders his daughter to marry Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan), son of Rhaenys and Corlys, to avoid scandal and to mend ties with House Velaryon. And after Rhaenyra lets her father know about Otto’s ruthless ambition, Viserys removes Otto from his Hand of the King post.

Season 1, Episode 5: “We Light the Way”

Episode 5 opens with Daemon ruthlessly killing his first wife in the Vale. Back in King’s Landing, Otto leaves town, but not before warning Alicent that her two sons would pose a threat to a Queen Rhaenyra. For her part, Rhaenyra is ready to marry Laenor, but after realizing he prefers the company of men, they agree to nonmonogamy, allowing Rhaenyra to continue seeing Criston. But Criston causes a scene at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding party, brutally killing Laenor’s lover over a misunderstanding. Queen Alicent also makes a scene by wearing green to the festivities as a sign of Hightower resistance.

Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon - Season 1, Episode 5


Season 1, Episode 6: “The Princess and the Queen”

The plot then jumps 10 years into the future with Episode 6. Rhaenyra (now played by D’Arcy) now has three children whose father is likely Ser Harwin (Ryan Corr), lord commander of the City Watch and son of current Hand of the King Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes). Viserys refuses to believe that the kids are not of Velaryon stock, even though they’re not platinum-haired. Alicent (now played by Olivia Cooke) is suspicious, though, and rejects Rhaenyra’s offer of an arranged Targaryen-Hightower marriage amongst their kids. Meanwhile, Alicent’s confidant Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) masterminds the murders of both Harwin, his brother, and Lyonel, his father.

Season 1, Episode 7: “Driftmark”

Rhaenyra and her family decamp to Dragonstone, but the death of Daemon’s second wife brings the family back together at the nearby island Driftmark. Daemon apparently isn’t too bereaved, though, because he hooks up with Rhaenyra on the beach. Later, a fight leads to one of Rhaenyra’s kids poking out the eye of one of Alicent’s. The queen wants blood, and soon she and Otto are aligned against Rhaenyra and Daemon, with poor, ailing Viserys stuck in the middle. Later, Daemon helps Laenor fake his death and escape into self-exile, and then Rhaenyra becomes Daemon’s third wife, making her claim to the throne even stronger.

Matt Smith and Emma D'Arcy in 'House of the Dragon'


Season 1, Episode 8: “The Lord of the Tides”

Episode 8 starts six years later, and Corlys is severely wounded in the naval battles in the Stepstones. His brother, Ser Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), petitions to be Corlys’ heir, claiming that Laenor is not the father of Rhaenyra’s children. Viserys rejects the petition at the urging of Rhaenyra, who reminds him of the prophecy. And when an angered Vaemond disparages Rhaenyra in the royal court, Daemon beheads him. Later, on his deathbed, Viserys talks to Alicent about Aegon the Conquerer. Alicent, confused, mistakes his ramblings as a blessing of Aegon II’s claim to the throne.

Season 1, Episode 9: “The Green Council”

Otto and his Small Council allies plot to make Aegon II king, hanging or imprisoning anyone who gets in their way. Disagreeing about whether to kill or exile Rhaenyra, Otto and Alicent race to find a missing Aegon. The prince ends up under Alicent’s control, and the queen pleads for him to spare Rhaenyra. The citizenry of King’s Landing gather at the Dragonpit for Aegon’s coronation, but Rhaenys and her dragon burst through the Dragonpit floor. For a moment, it seems as though Rhaenys will make flambé out of Alicent and the newly-crowned King Aegon II, but instead, both princess and beast fly to Dragonstone.

Season 1, Episode 10: “The Black Queen”

Rhaenys brings the news of Viserys’ death and Aegon’s accession to Dragonstone, and a shocked Rhaenyra suffers a stillbirth. Though she has a coronation of her own on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra considers conceding her crown, thinking that the realm needs to unite before the events prophesied by Aegon the Conquerer. Her belief in mythology angers Daemon, who hits her. Meanwhile, a recovering Corlys joins his wife in supporting Rhaenyra’s “Black” faction against the Hightowers’ “Green,” and Daemon sets about recruiting more dragons and dragon riders. Rhaenyra sends her two teenage sons out on dragonback to find support from other houses. Her son Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault) doesn’t find support at House Baratheon, but he does find Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell), whose eye he gouged out years earlier. In a dragon fight in the rainy skies above Borros, Aemond taunts Lucerys, but then his dragon goes rogue and kills both Lucerys and the rival dragon with one mighty chomp. Rhaenyra learns of her son’s death, and as her devastation turns to rage, it’s clear there will be no peace between the Greens and the Blacks.

House of the Dragon Season 2 Premiere, Sunday, June 16, 9/8c, HBO and Max

Originally published here.

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