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Home / frontgames / ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: “Rhaenyra the Cruel”
Ollie Upton/HBO

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: “Rhaenyra the Cruel”

The second season’s second episode of House of the Dragon included another extremely eventful moment in the story’s lore.


Episode: “Rhaenyra the Cruel”

Runtime: 69 minutes

Original Air Date: June 23, 2024

Written by: Sara Hess

Directed by: Clare Kilner


Plot (via HBO)

While Otto schemes to turn the public against her, Rhaenyra questions Daemon’s loyalty.


Best Moment: Otto Hightower is dismissed as Hand

In a fit of rage after the murder of his son Jaehaerys, King Aegon—after Larys Strong easily received information from “Blood” that a ratcatcher was also involved in the assassination—beat Blood to death and then hanged every ratcatcher in the city and kept them hanging for the people to see. Sadly, this was a major turn from last week’s episode when Aegon appeared to empathize with the common folk. Otto Hightower let his grandson—and Ser Criston Cole—hear how foolish his actions were to throw away all the goodwill they won from Jaehaerys’ funeral. It was a classic type of scene we expect from the Game of Thrones universe, with King Aegon becoming more brash and forcing Otto to resign as Hand of the King—while saying that Cole will now be his hand.


Best Quote

“He is. And we are the poorer for it.” – Otto Hightower on King Viserys being dead


Notable Character Deaths

-Ser Arryk Cargyll

-Ser Erryk Cargyll


MVP: Ser Erryk Cargyll

The MVP of “Rhaenyra the Cruel” was obvious, and Erryk Cargyll and Arryk Cargyll—each standing on duty and honor—had to duel in the latest tragedy stemming from the war for the Iron Throne. Criston Cole, who is becoming quite the villain, was seemingly deflecting frustration and blame from Jaehaerys’ death by forcing Arryk to sneak into Dragonstone to assassinate Queen Rhaenyra. This set in motion an intense scene after Arryk nearly got to Rhaenyra in her bedchamber, only for Erryk to step in and successfully protect his queen. As stated on the “Inside the Episode”, this was a good exemplification of a civil war, with two brothers having to kill each other almost as pawns within the battle lines. And Erryk taking his own life in front of Rhaenyra after slaying his brother felt like something ripped right out of a William Shakespeare tragedy.


Everything Else:

-Not only did Blood and Cheese kill a small child, but they beheaded him to make it even more heartbreaking for Aegon, Helaena, and Alicent—the latter two participating in the funeral—to deal with.


-After somewhat carelessly setting up the eventual killing of Jaehaerys by hiring two unreliable people to do the job of killing Aemond Targaryen, Daemon Targaryen—now on his way to Harrenhal with Caraxes—is set to go rogue once again after his blow-up with Rhaenyra. It seems Daemon and Rhaenyra have never really discussed the former male heir being pushed aside for his niece and eventual wife to this extent, and Daemon didn’t really give a straight answer of full fealty to Rhaenyra when asked directly.


-It appeared to be the case based on his initial reaction, but Aemond admitted that he feels regret over Luke’s death—adding more gray to a character that many might view as a pure killer. Aemond is also still affected by getting picked on while he was a kid for being “different.”


-Cole and Queen Alicent know that their relationship is wrong and dangerous, but they ultimately don’t care—despite spending most of the episode acting as if they did. Cole has grown close to both Aegon and Aemond, and it’s difficult to see much good coming out of the Criston-Alicent relationship.


-Daeron Targaryen, stationed in Oldtown, was mentioned by Otto as someone he can advise upon his return—so the fourth son of Alicent and King Viserys is someone to keep in mind. But Alicent decided it best for her father to instead go to Highgarden to ensure House Tyrell is behind them.