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House of Dragon Season 2 premiere recap: Explanation of blood murder

House of Dragon Season 2 premiere recap: Explanation of blood murder

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NB! We discuss details from the season 2 premiere of ‘House of the Dragon’.

In last season’s finale, Prince Lucerys’ flying dragon death immediately sent HBO’s “House of the Dragon” into an emotional death spiral, as surely as young Luke fell fatally to the ground.

This spiral accelerates in the season 2 premiere of “Dragon” (now streaming on Max) with an even more catastrophic loss: the murder of a toddler.

On the brink of all-out war between the warring Greens and the Blacks, grieving Black Queen Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) exacts revenge for the death of her beloved son Luke – especially against Prince Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), whose excessive control dragon committed the gross crime.

Killing the psychopath Aemond could be fair game. However, the failed execution of the plan leads to the brutal death of toddler Prince Jaehaerys in front of his shocked mother, Queen Helaena Targaryen (Phia Saban). The tragedy of the innocents goes to the next level, even by the standards of the “Game of Thrones” universe.

“It’s terrible,” said Dragon executive producer Ryan Condal. “As terrible as Luke’s murder was, this murder is indefensible. But it speaks to the deep and bitter entrenchment that we see on these different sides.”

Let’s see what’s going on in Westeros:

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Helaena has a prescient fear of rats, no one listens

There’s an important early scene in which the Green King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) visits his wife Helaena and toddler Princess Jaehaera in search of twin brother Prince Jaehaerys. The twin babies look exactly alike, which is even evident in Aegon’s pause to figure out which baby he’s looking at. But Prince Jaehaerys is the heir apparent and the apple of Aegon’s eye.

As her husband leaves, Helaena suddenly blurts out that she is afraid, and more than just of a likely castle attack. “Not the dragons,” she says. “The rats.”

In these emotionally treacherous times, the rats are literally crawling into the castle walls like never before. But Helaena also sees rat-themed doom approaching. Certain Targaryens, such as Helaena, have the power of ‘dragon dreams’, a hazy window into future events.

“We suggested in Season 1, and now in Season 2, that Helaena has this ability,” Condal says. ‘Unfortunately, the people around Helaena consider her an oddball. They send her away when they should be listening.”

The entire scene is brilliantly executed and worth rewatching, even for the expressions on the servants’ faces as they look around for rats. Ignoring her, Aegon walks out the door and announces, “The queen is an enduring mystery, isn’t she?”

Daemon comes up with the plan, but did he give the green light for the murder?

The daring Kill Aemond plan is secretly hatched by Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) without the knowledge of his grieving niece/wife/queen Rhaenyra, and there is a twisted logic to it.

“Aemond makes sense as a target as revenge for Luke’s betrayal and murder,” says Condal. “But it’s also strategic. If successful, it would take the rider of the world’s greatest dragon off the board and make Rhaenyra’s path to victory quite clear.”

Daemon sneaks into King’s Landing to hire two villains for the dirty deed: disgruntled City Watch guard Blood (Sam C. Wilson) and a gambling-debt-ridden Pied Piper, Cheese (Mark Stobbart), who is intimately familiar with the castle tunnels. Daemon makes it clear: find and kill the easily recognizable blond guy Aemond with the eyepatch and expect a fight.

“Okay, what if we can’t find him?” asks Cheese. Daemon remains silent before the scene disappears.

“We ultimately don’t know what Daemon’s final order is, we’ve left that deliberately ambiguous,” says Condal.

But it’s clear that Daemon ordered the killing of every son in revenge, even if it was off-camera. The episode is titled “A Son for a Son”. Daemon had already urged Rhaenyra to take “son for son” in revenge. Later, Blood repeats the exact phrase to Cheese, stating that the “son for a son” command was from Daemon. That’s a certain guilty verdict in any court (but Daemon would undoubtedly have very good lawyers).

What happened at the end of ‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 1?

Of course, the Kill Aemond plan falls apart. Cheese desperately holds Helaena at knifepoint and demands that she declare which of the two sleeping toddlers is the heir. In a tragically helpless position, the mother points to Prince Jaehaerys.

“They told her that if you don’t tell us the truth, we will kill you all. She takes that at face value,” Condal says. “She’s just trying to survive and get out of there with one of her kids. They have put Helaena in a terrible, invincible position that will haunt her for the rest of her days.”

Blood thinks Helaena is lying. But Cheese knows with the trembling tip of her finger that she is telling the truth. “He’s a gambler who can read people, and Helaena is someone whose expressions are very readable,” says Condal.

We see the unresolvable horror on Helaena’s face as the two criminals brutally murder her son (thankfully off-screen, but with sound effects you can’t hear). She grabs her daughter and flees.

This dark disaster will have a direct impact on the powerful rulers on both sides, such as the already wildly unstable Aegon who is already bent on war. On the other hand, Queen Rhaenyra will unjustly take the hit for the plot she knew nothing about.

“Both Rhaenyra and Daemon will have to take this into account, especially Rhaenyra,” says Condal. “Because it will be her face on the poster as news spreads around Westeros about what happened.”