#SpoilerAlert: Everything we learnt from the first episode of ‘House of the Dragon’ season 2

Despite the underwhelming start, the battle has well and truly begun.

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One year, seven months, and 25 days. Yes, that's how long we have waited for the second season of House of the Dragon. In the first episode, titled ‘A Son for a Son’, which dropped on June 16, the drama in Westeros picks up exactly from where it ended in the epic finale of season one—the death of Lucerys Velaryon at the hands of Aemond Targyren. On one side, we have the Blacks, Rhaenyra and Daemon, who are hell-bent on taking revenge, and on the other side, there’s Alicent and her son Aegon, the newly-crowned king, doing their best to not make matters worse.

Did the season premiere live up to the hype? Read on to find out. 

A brand new and brilliant title sequence

While the locations seen in the open credits of Game of Thrones kept changing over its eight seasons, their overall look remained constant and iconic, as seen in the first season of House of the Dragon as well. However, much to the viewers' surprise, the makers opted for a new credit style for season two. It features the Targaryen family history, beautifully depicted in detailed embroidery. Blood is flowing through the tapestry showing various locations, dragons, and their riders. The credits open with major events such as the Doom of Valyria and Aegon's conquest. The highlight is the ongoing conflict between the Greens and the Blacks. Alicent, dressed in a green gown at Rhaenyra’s wedding, signals the broken relationship between the two friends. It also shows Aegon II and Rhaenyra taking their places as rival rulers of the Seven Kingdoms; Aegon takes the Iron Throne and Rhaenyra sits on the throne at Dragonstone. The credits close with the tragic killing of Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys Velaryon, preparing the viewer for the bloodbath to come.

Having witnessed the Targaryen house engaged in battle for centuries, the opening credits remind viewers that new chapters are yet to be written as there is more blood to be shed.

Don’t be fooled by Alicent Hightower

The confrontation scene between friends-turned-foes Rhaenyra and Alicent Hightower in season one is unforgettable. The former mocks the latter, saying, “Where is duty? Where is sacrifice?” Alicent seems to have thrown each of the two things out of the window in this season’s premiere. There’s simply no prize for guessing who the most hypocritical character on the show is.

Even her son, Aemond, has seen through the web of lies that she has spread. Aemond hits the nail in the coffin when he tells Ser Crison, “She blames me for starting the war after she plotted with my father’s council to usurp the throne.” Way to go, Aemond. 

Another scene that highlights her delusion is the one where she’s seated at the small council and questions those present if Rhaenyra has replied to her letters. She asks, “My letters to Rhaenyra, have they been answered?” to which they reply, “An apology for her dead son?”

What takes the cake, however, is her affair with Ser Criston Cole. Let’s not forget that Alicent made Rhaenyra’s life hell for years, abusing her for having children out of wedlock while she herself was having an affair with Criston. That said, the duo has their reasons, no matter how messed up the situation is. This affair was never about each other. Criston needs to feel valuable, while Alicent needs to exert power over someone as she loses control and the trust of those around her. Add to that, with them being absolutely obsessed with Rhaenyra, we really can’t blame the two most-hated characters on the show for having an affair.

A lacklustre ending to the episode

For those who’ve read the books and are keeping track of the events on the show, the death of Prince Jaehaerys at the hands of Blood and Cheese was inarguably the most anticipated scene of the entire series. It should have been one of the bloodiest scenes ever seen on the show and even in the Game of Thrones series, but sadly, one did feel massively let down by the way things panned out.

The reason why the episode is titled ‘A Son for a Son’ is apt after you hear Rhaenyra’s only dialogue in the episode where she leads a rallying call for revenge, saying, “I want Aemond.” Daemon takes this demand very seriously, as he hires Blood and Cheese to enter the palace and find him. The duo enters the royal quarters of the palace but can’t find Aemond. They stumble into Queen Helaena’s room, where two of her children are sleeping. The men, holding a knife to her neck, demand she tell them who the heir to the throne is. She then points towards Jaehaerys, who meets his maker. The episode ends when Helaena takes her daughter and runs to her mother’s room, where Alicent is making love to Ser Criston (talk about timing). Alicent asks her what’s happened. “They killed the boy,” Helaena tells her before the screen cuts to black.

Compared to the books, House of the Dragon toned down the scene and how. In the book, Helaena is asked to choose between her two sons and pleads for Blood and Cheese to kill her instead. That’s rejected, as they were given the orders “an eye for an eye, a son for a son.” Furthermore, rather than point at Jaehaerys to show he is the boy and effectively select his death, Helaena picks her youngest son, Maelor, to die, hoping Blood and Cheese will spare Jaehaerys. But they kill Jaehaerys anyway. The aftermath of this drives Helaena insane, as she not only has a son to mourn over, who was the heir to the Iron Throne, but she also has to raise a child she didn’t want alive. Sans the emotion and intensity of the book, a lot of viewers were left dejected by the way the episode ended.

Streaming exclusively on JioCinema, House of the Dragon S2 will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, and Marathi, starting June 17th, with episodes dropping weekly every Monday.

All images: JioCinema

Also read: Battles on the 'House of the Dragon' Season 2 that we’re most excited about

Also read: Here are the best moments from the first season of the ‘House of the Dragon’