The House of the Dragon third episode begins with a time jump, whether we like it or not. More than 2 years have passed since the events of the second episode. Alicent Hightower, the new Queen, finally gave King Viserys a male heir, Aegon. Everyone is excited to celebrate the young prince’s second birthday. Who else has something to rejoice about? HBO. If a raven hasn’t already delivered the message, House of the Dragon’s massive viewership numbers more than doubled last Sunday, from roughly 10 million to over 25 million.
So, many people are at the House of the Dragon’s weekly party these days. And, like Rhaenyra, everyone at home was taken aback when her father chose Alicent as his new wife in the previous episode. House of the Dragon may not yet have all the dragons it promised, but it does have drama. The young princess appears to be the only one who finds this new family dynamic awkward. Her father has already impregnated her best friend twice, and it’s a wonder HBO hasn’t forced us to watch a sex scene between the two.
The realm is now relatively safe outside of Craghas the Crabfeeder, the man who has crabs eat people alive on the beaches of the Stepstones!? Daemon and Corlys are dealing with the crab man, so the Targaryens are going hunting for the baby prince’s birthday. Lord Jason and Tyland Lannister, twin brothers, are introduced to us at the hunting grounds. Tyland is a political strategist in the king’s court, and Jason is the lord of Casterly Rock, a castle in the west. Naturally, Game of Thrones viewers should be wary of House Lannister, so it’s no surprise that Jason mentions Rhaenyra as his “lady wife” the first time he speaks to her.
The young princess mounts her horse and is pursued by Ser Criston Cole of the king’s guard. Was named heir to the Iron Throne simply to elevate my status as a lord of Casterly Rock?” Rhaenyra, who is crying, asks the knight. Ser Criston jokes that if she wanted, he could kill Lord Jason. The two exchange a small laugh. Cute. I send it out.
Meanwhile, Otto Hightower, the King’s Hand, is attempting to name his new baby grandson Aegon as the heir to Rhaenyra. Viserys, on the other hand, are completely deaf. All of this schmoozing and buttering him up is becoming tiresome! The king is having a drunken no-more-fake-friends fit. Snakes and leeches surround him.
Viserys rambles on about how he’s worried about failing Rhaenyra as a father in his… inebriated state. Marrying his daughter’s best friend was probably not a good way to reconnect with her after her mother died. Lord Strong tries to console the king by reminding him that the previous King Jaehaerys was also driven insane by his daughters. My man, you’re not helping! To make matters worse, the King’s Master of Laws can’t read the damn room, suggesting that Rhaenyra marry Corlys’ son, Laenor Velaryon. If you recall from the previous episode, King Viserys had previously rejected the Sea Snake’s 12-year-old daughter Laena in favor of Alicent. Corlys did name his children Laenor and Laena. (Insane.) On the other hand, Lord Strong points out that the valiant Laenor is fighting against Craghas Crabfeeder, and he may perish if the threat is not eliminated. This anecdote reveals his true motivation for the match. Viserys are disgusted by all the political maneuvering.
Back to the hunt, which everyone appears to be very excited about. Because King Viserys is a big softie, he doesn’t want to kill a stag. (Don’t worry, Viserys, it’s just computer-generated imagery!) Viserys succumbs to peer pressure and kills the animal with two stabs from his fancy new Lannister lance after the group captures one. The stag is screaming bloody murder the entire time, which is a little deafening. The king usually spends his days chiseling a cute little model city of old Valyria. He’s a miniatures nerd. If House of the Dragon had taken place before the industrial revolution, the king would be laying train tracks and donning a conductor’s hat instead of a crown.
Rhaenyra and Ser Criston Cole return to the camp after viciously stabbing a wild boar that attacks them at night. King Viserys advises Rhaenyra to marry someone who appeases her, just as he did. Of course, it can’t be a coincidence that she spent the entire episode with a charming knight. In any case, it appears that having children is her duty to keep the Targaryen line alive and solidify her claim to the Iron Throne.
Uncle Daemon, the most serious threat to that claim, is still fighting Craghas the Crabfeeder and the Myrish pirates. The army of House Velaryon appears to be worn out and broken, and the family is bickering around the war table. Two new characters are introduced: Corlys’ younger brother, Ser Vaemond, and Corlys’ aforementioned son, Laenor. I’m still betting on Rhaenyra and Ser Criston Cole getting together, but Laenor isn’t exactly sliced bread.
House Velaryon has the most powerful navy in Westeros, but the Crabfeeder and his archers are hiding in caves. Ser Vaemond doubts Daemon and his dragon can do the job, but Laenor plans to use Daemon as bait to lure the Crabfeeder’s men out. The King Viserys sends a letter promising them 10 ships with a total of 200 men, which seems like a lot, but Daemon dismisses his older brother’s idea as child’s play. Faking a surrender, the prince marches out of the middle of the battlefield and kills nearly twinty of the Crabfeeder’s men on his own before being struck by flying arrows. Why was House Velaryon suffering so much if it was so simple?
The grayscale-heavy Craghas has spent the entire time looking up at the sky, wondering when Daemon’s dragon will appear. Caraxes, as luck would have it, appear just in time. Laenor also arrives on the back of the white dragon, burning an entire army alive. Daemon then severs the Crabfeeder (off-screen!?) and drags his lifeless body back onto the battlefield. It was a good fight, but the pirates’ near inability to stop Daemon proved that they weren’t much of a threat. Craghas the Crabfeeder won’t be able to do anything cool anymore now that he’s dead. He didn’t get even one line of dialogue! Perhaps the idea of a guy with a crab army was more appealing to me—but it felt like wasted potential. In any case, House Velaryon now owes Daemon a lot.
In the United States, new episodes of House of the Dragon premiere every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on HBO and HBO Max. In the United Kingdom, new episodes premiere on Sky Atlantic.
TV SHOW: House of the Dragon Episode 3
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Run time: 58 min