WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from House of the Dragon! Continue reading at your own risk... Three years have passed since King Viserys decided to take Alicent Hightower as his new wife. The ending of the second episode of House of the Dragon saw Corlys approach Daemon behind the king's back, proposing that the prince take his forces and attack the Crab-Feeder in the Stepstones. The third episode begins in the middle of that battle, which has been raging for some time. Daemon has his dragon, but the Crab-Feeder is positioned in a stronghold between two small mountains, making every attacker vulnerable. Money, resources, and lives have been poured into this struggle, but there has been very little progress.
Viserys got the son he always wanted after marrying Alicent. Their son, Aegon, is two years old and they are out on a lavish hunting trip on his second birthday. In addition to Aegon, Alicent is expecting a second child. Viserys is informed that the efforts in the Stepstones are going poorly but he refuses to hear any more about it because the war was started without his knowledge.
A rift has formed between Rhaenyra and her father, thanks almost entirely to Viserys' decision to marry Alicent. The new queen has struggled to make peace with her longtime friend and Rhaenrya hasn't wanted any part of rekindling that relationship. Of course, eyes are now on Rhaenerya to soon get married and start having children of her own, something else she has no interest in.
Another great house of Westeros joins the fray as Jason Lannister approaches Rhaenyra. His twin brother, Tyland, serves on the King's council, but Jason is much more interested in the princess. He pitches a life at Casterly Rock, where he could house and care for the dragons with no trouble. Viserys reminds Rhaenyra that she's of age and that she will have to take a husband sooner or later, even though she doesn't want to. Rhaenyra hops on a horse and rides away from the camp, followed by Ser Criston Cole. The two spend some time in the woods sharing stories and experiences. Cole explains his allegiance to Rhaenyra, as she is responsible for his life on the Kingsguard.
Viserys and the horde of hunters are tracking down a great stag known as a white hart, which are regarded as powerful and important creatures. He is approached by Jason and presented with a golden spear, crafted in Casterly Rock, in the hopes that it might kill the white hart. Of course, it's also part of his pitch to try and marry Rhaenyra. Jason's comments about Aegon make it clear to Viserys that people think he's going to change his mind and replace Rhaenyra as his heir, something he does not intend on doing. Otto thinks he should pledge Aegon and Rhaenyra to be married once the former comes of age, but the King isn't fond of the idea. The final pitch in regards to Rhaenyra is that he offer her to Corlys Velaryon's son, Laenor. Joining their houses would be a smart move, especially in the wake of the disagreement between Viserys and Corlys.
After Rhaenyra and Cole kill a hog in the woods, Viserys has a heart-to-heart with Alicent. He explains that he thought he had the prophetic visionary gifts of some other Targaryens, and that he had a dream of a male baby born wearing a crown. That hasn't happened so he believes he doesn't get real visions, and that his obsession with that dream is what killed Rhaenyra's mother. Now that he's had a son, he's worried he might have been wrong when he gave up on his visions and named Rhaenyra his heir.
A stag is caught in the woods and it is held on ropes by several men as Viserys is brought out to kill it. It's clearly not the white hart they were tracking, and Viserys kills it, albeit reluctantly. As Rhaenyra and Cole return home, they spot the great white hart, but Rhaenrya chooses to let it run free instead of trying to kill it.
Otto has a talk with Alicent and tells her that the throne belongs to Aegon when all is said and done. Even if Rhaenyra would make a good queen, he says Aegon is the one who will need to end up on the Iron Throne, and that Alicent will need to convince the king of that. When Alicent approaches Viserys, she says that Rhaenyra must arrive at the decision to marry on her own. Viserys gets a letter from the Stepstones, asking for help in the war that Daemon and Corlys are on the verge of losing. Viserys believes that helping them is a sign of weakness, but Alicent helps him arrive at the conclusion that he should help his people. The next day, Viserys has a heart-to-heart with Rhaenyra where he apologizes for trying to marry her off to Jason Lannister. He assures her that he has no intention of replacing her as heir. For the future of the Realm and her rule, Rhaenyra must be married, but it will be up to her who she gets to marry.0comments
The message of incoming assistance from the king arrives in the Stepstones, right in the middle of a tense strategy meeting. Daemon beats the messenger with his helmet and heads off for the Crab-Feeder's cave. Enacting a plan to serve as bait, Daemon draws out the Crab-Feeder and several men by faking a surrender. He kills quite a few pirates before being pinned down. Just before he is killed, when the pirates have swarmed out to try and eliminate him, a dragon swoops in to light the pirates on fire. Corlys' forces march in next to kill the rest.
In the middle of the battle, the Crab-Feeder disappears into his cave. Daemon goes in after him, only to walk out moments later dragon one half of the Crab-Feeder's torso behind him. He won the battle on his own, without the help of the King.