House of the Dragon: Second of His Name Review

Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, this epic series tells the story of House Targaryen.

So, almost three years after King Viserys “reluctantly” marries Alicent Hightower, they quickly produce a son named Aegon with another babe on the way. On the baby’s second name day, the King tries to force Rhaenyra to marry while Daemon and Corlys fight a losing war on the Stepstones against the Crabfeeders.

Here’s the deal. Second of His Name is an apt title for the episode because the politics is coming into play as the Lords of Westeros sees an alternative ruler in Aegon II. Rhaenyra, who has been feeling abandoned since her mother’s death, is threatened that her father will name her brother his heir and pawn her off to the highest bidder with his insistence on her marriage.

The thing about this episode is that it simply cements Viserys’ weakness and gullibility, especially at the hands of the Hightowers. His struggles to connect with Rhaenyra seem out of touch given how happy he is with his new family. Even now, he shows signs of regret over naming his daughter as his heir, and this is something that is not lost on his daughter or the Lords of the the Realm. As someone who sees Rhaenyra’s qualities that can make a great queen, I truly felt her struggle and helplessness as she navigates through Westerosi politics on her own, with no one to trust.

I’m a big fan of Daemon and I wished he would have been more dominant in the Stepstones. He had but a few lines in the entire episode but his quiet determination and pride clearly illustrated why he is such a compelling character in the first place. It is true that he is headstrong, arrogant, and rebellious, wanting to provoke his brother at every turn. But the way he walked into the enemy lines without a word, and ended up killing Prince Drahar ruthlessly, was such a statement. It was also an illustration of his pride and what extent he would go to spite his brother, the King. I said an episode ago that I loved how Daemon cared about his brother but his commitment to taunting Viserys and embarrassing him in front of the realm is even more entertaining to watch.

It was a solid victory on the Stepstones and there have been mentions of Rhaenyra’s potential future in the capital. I must say I like Laenor Velaryon because he seems sensible and courageous. He also seems loyal to Daemon like his dad.

There’s also good chemistry between Rhaenyra and Sir Criston Cole, but that’s a more complex issue to deal with in the lead up to the Dance of the Dragons. What I would say is that Rhaenyra’s sighting of the white stag and her slaughter of the wild boar, unlike her father’s own lame attempt at killing a stag that’s already been captured, speaks greatly about her strength as the future ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Might I saw the way she spurned Jason Lannister’s advances like a boss is top tier queenlike behavior?

Despite the lack of action, it was still a good episode. After all, you can’t have a war with each installment. Still, I would have Daemon or Rhaenyra sit on the Iron Throne any day over Viserys. And any episode with dragons is awesome.