After an exciting premiere episode, one would expect the volatile Prince Daemon to wreak havok in an episode titled The Rogue Prince. Ironically, we get to see very little of the unseated heir in the second episode. Instead, we get to see Rhaenyra slowly coming into her own as a strong leader and a bunch of other goosebumps inducing moments both of the good and bad variety.
Synopsis: After being banished by the King to return to the Vale, Prince Daemon takes his ancestral seat in Dragonstone to challenge the his big brother. To add indult to injury, he steals a dragon’s egg that was chosen for the late prince, purportedly to be presented to his mistress and his unborn son.
The second episode of House of the Dragon was pretty quiet, but you can tell that it was laying the foundation for many political machinations, first from Lord Corlys Velaryon who offers his 12 year old daughter Laena as the King’s second wife to unite their houses, and from Otto Hightower, who has his own ambitions to the Iron Throne.
To this, I refer to the meeting of the King and his potential wife, the 12 year old Princess Laena who does not seem to mind fulfilling her duty to their house, but is even too young to produce an heir to strengthen the King’s line of succession. Not only that, Laena is the daughter of the King’s cousin so they are blood related. Ewww, right? But then again, the King should not have been too queasy about the thought because he was, in secret, meeting with Lady Alicent Hightower, the 19-year-old daughter of Hand of the King Otto Hightower, and best friend to his own daughter Rhaenyra. Double ewww. I mean, what were these fathers thinking whoring out their children for wealth and influence? But then again after seeing the Targaryen family tree, I’ve been preparing to toughen my stomach for incest galore.
I can safely say that the 15-year-old Princess Rhaenyra, unencumbered by the advice of the Small Council is a far wiser leader than her father, whose dependence on his advisers is quite pathetic. I felt for Rhaenyra’s struggle to prove her worth as the heir, and I applaud her for her strong will — first in choosing the head of the Kingsguard, the only candidate with actual battle experience, and later, swooping into Dragonstone like the boss that she is, and reasoning with her uncle Daemon.
Can I just say how much I love the dynamic between uncle and niece? And I also love how despite his jealousy and own ambitions for the Iron Throne, Daemon obviously loves his brother and niece very dearly. Its a sappy way to look at it but Matt Smith effectively conveys these conflicting emotions. Its hard to hate Daemon fully although he is being portrayed as a heel when he easily reneges a position of advantage because he could not bear hurting his kin. And when Lord Corlys starts to badmouth his brother, even though just an episode ago he was doing the same, he puts him in his place and says that only he is allowed to talk badly about the King. It was so much fun to watch. And it also speaks of his independence and how he cannot be forced to do something that he does not want. And the dragons! They truly take my breath away.
I have no doubt that the relationships of those in this series will grow more complex in time. It is quite interesting to see how things will progress. I’m just sad that no matter how epic this turns out, the series will still end with a copout ending instead of the arrival of the Prince that was Promised and all that jazz, no Targaryen actually ended up on the Iron Throne. Instead, we got Bran. Still, I will enjoy this prequel while it lasts. Hopefully, they don’t drop the ball like the first ones did in the original series. The Rogue Prince was a pretty quiet episode in total but its events will impact the progression of the story in a big way for sure.