House of the Dragon Recap With Spoilers: "A Son for a Son"

The Targaryen civil war begins as House of the Dragon returns to HBO.

Two years after its first season concluded, House of the Dragon has at long last returned to HBO with its second installment. Season 2 of the acclaimed Game of Thrones prequel series premiered on HBO Sunday night, kicking off a two-month run of new episodes each and every week, continuing the story of the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Sunday night's premiere episode, "A Son for a Son," gets the new season off to a brutal start. We'll break down the entire thing below, so consider this your official SPOILER WARNING for the rest of the article.

Starks on the Wall

There's a lot going on between the Targaryen factions, but the new season of House of the Dragon begins up at the Wall, with the introduction of Lord Cregan Stark. His narration opens the episode, explaining that the Starks have always had a duty at the wall.

It's all building to an interaction between Cregan and Prince Jacaerys, who is hoping to get a commitment from his ally for the war ahead. Cregan pledges dedicated men to Queen Rhanerya's side and tells Jace about the true horrors that lurk about the Wall. The conversation is quickly halted by the arrival of a raven — with news of the death of Jace's younger brother at the hands of Aemond. 


Harry Collett as Jacaerys Velaryon and Tom Taylor as Cregan Stark

- HBO)

So things are picking up right where they left off at the end of Season 1, with very little time passing between them.

In one of the few scenes set in Dragonstone this episode, we're reminded just how little pull Daemon has when he's not at Rhaenyra's side. The Queen hasn't been heard from for a couple of days, as she searches for proof that her son is dead. Rhaenys, who has long been loyal to Rhaenyra, stands tall to Daemon and refuses his orders. She knows he's only going to make things worse.

We also get a glimpse of Lord Corlys, as he readies his naval fleet for the war. He encounters the man who saved his life at sea and he seems to be having a lot of second thoughts regarding war and his place in it. The man hands Corlys a blade that he meant to give to his son, who he believes is dead. Keep that moment bookmarked, because Laenor is likely alive and could return to the story sooner, rather than later.

House of the Greens

Most of the episode is spent with the side of Alicent and Aegon II in King's Landing. Aegon is young and immature. He's running things on impulse and poor advice, and isn't listening to those who might have something useful to say. His wife, for example, warns him about rats within King's Landing, but he believes her to be out of her mind. That'll come back to bite him...

Aegon takes his young son to the Small Council meeting, thinking he needs to learn as early as possible and oblivious to the fact that it's a massive distraction. He actually makes Ser Lannister entertain the boy, until Alicent speaks some sense into the situation. Alicent also seems to be the only one willing to condemn Aemond for the murder of Rhaenyra's son, while others simply see it as a casualty of war. Outside the meeting, Larys assures Alicent that he has weeded out and killed any spies hiding amongst her staff.

Aegon hearing out petitions from the common folk shows both his immaturity and the evil of the system that placed him on the Iron Throne. He's willing to help the people because he knows their health will benefit him, but Otto makes him reverse decisions in front of those same people, taking back what he just promised, because of reasons related specifically to the war.

The one major interaction of note in this sequence is the arrival of a blacksmith who tells Aegon that metal has become too scarce and expensive. Without metal, more weapons can't be forged. Aegon shuts down Otto's attempt at council in order to assure the smith he'll get what he needs. There's a glimpse of Aegon actually being aware of what the throne needs and how to accomplish it, but it doesn't seem to be sustainable. Larys pulls him aside after the petitions to try and influence him to choose a new Hand of the King, telling him Otto might be too manipulative.


Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon II

- HBO)

The White Worm

Daemon's men find his former lover, Mysaria, better known as the White Worm, and deliver her to the prince. She's been working for both sides of the conflict, holding no loyalty to anyone but accepting payment and completing tasks. 

When Rhaenyra finally returns from finding her son's body, she gives her council one simple order: "I want Aemond Targaryen." That's all she says to everyone in the room before walking away. Daemon heeds her words and returns to Mysaria, looking for information about spies and traitors within the Red Keep. He'll free her in exchange for knowledge of King's Landing.

In one of the most emotional exchanges of the series so far, Jace returns to Dragonstone to give his mother a briefing on which houses have pledged numbers to their cause. He can hardly get his report out through the tears and cracks in his voice. Rhaenyra embraces him and they mourn the loss of Lucerys together. A funeral is held for the Lucerys as the family lays him to rest. Alicent, back in King's Landing, secretly prays for the soul of the dead boy. 

The emotions and empathy of Alicent and Rhaenyra are a constant reminder that almost all of this could've been avoided. But it's only going to get worse.

A Son for a Son


Phia Saban as Queen Helaena Targaryen

- HBO)

Daemon sneaks off to King's Landing to find a couple of spies and killers. He commissions the rat catcher of the Red Keep to lead a murderer into the castle to kill Aemond. As Aegon drinks on his throne and Aemond receives from seedy council from Otto, the two killers sneak higher and higher into the Keep. They don't find Aemond, but instead stumble upon Halaena and her two young children. 

There's no Aemond, but the agreement was to kill a son in exchange for the death of Lucerys. They brutally murder the young Targaryen prince in his bed and allow Halaena to leave with her daughter. The episode ends as she informs Alicent that the war has claimed its latest young victim.