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Home / frontgames / ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: “The Burning Mill”
Theo Whiteman/HBO

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: “The Burning Mill”

The latest House of the Dragon episode continues to build toward all-out war.


Episode: “The Burning Mill”

Runtime: 67 minutes

Original Air Date: June 30, 2024

Written by: David Hancock

Directed by: Geeta Vasant Patel


Plot (via HBO)

As ancient grudges resurface, Rhaenys suggests that Alicent may see reason while the men around her seek bloodshed. Ser Criston proposes a bold scheme. Daemon arrives at Harrenhal to raise and army for the Blacks.


Best Moment: Rhaenyra meets with Alicent

While the episode started with the Battle of the Burning Mill between the Brackens and the Blackwoods and their ancestral rivalry, “The Burning Mill” largely built toward and entrenched that the Dance of Dragons is set to begin. Rhaenyra Targaryen, advised by Rhaenys Targaryen amidst a war-hungry Small Council, decided to attempt to meet with Alicent Hightower to stop the war—and, with the help of Mysaria, snuck into King’s Landing as a Septa to approach Alicent in the Great Sept of Baelor.


Both Rhaenyra and Alicent each believed they were right in their respective positions on King Viserys’ wishes. When they got to talking and Rhaenyra could tell her former best friend was not lying, the Targaryen queen appeared to question her own standing as rightful ruler—until it was accidentally confirmed by Alicent that Viserys mentioned the “Song of Ice and Fire” in the same breath as Aegon. Of course, Rhaenyra was told many times about the importance of the prophesy and realized he was talking of Aegon the Conqueror—so things quickly switched to Alicent’s world getting flipped upside down. Ultimately, Alicent felt it was too late to turn back, so now it’s war.


Best Quote

“There is no war so hateful to the gods as a war between kin. And no war so bloody as a war between dragons.” – Rhaenys Targaryen


Notable Character Deaths

-Ser Aeron Bracken


MVP: Rhaenyra Targaryen

It was an incredibly bold move for Queen Rhaenyra to go into King’s Landing with not nearly enough protection to get out alive if things went south. The decision showed her great capacity for reason and a willingness to avoid bloodshed with many, many deaths on both sides. At least now she knows she did everything she could to prevent war. Also, it must have felt good for her to get firm confirmation that Viserys was—likely in a state of delirium—only talking about Aegon’s dream and not her brother-turned-rival Aegon II being named heir in his final moments.


Everything Else:

-Rhaenyra’s Small Council formed an interesting parallel between the power of dragons and the power of nuclear weapons in our world. While the men around her wanted to immediately press the red button, Rhaenyra realizes the risk of mutually assured destruction.


-King Aegon, as Ser Criston Cole realizes on his way to the Small Council meeting, has a bunch of idiots around him. Aegon himself, after being convinced wisely by Larys Strong not to go out to war, looked to have a glimpse of realization of the incompetence around him—and perhaps his own incompetence as well. This bad crowd around Aegon led to him embarrassing Aemond in public, which led to Aemond fuming underneath. Not ideal for Aegon to get on the bad side of his dangerous brother.


-Daemon Targaryen’s takeover of a falling-apart Harrenhal was much easier than expected, but it was still important. Both sides are going after the Riverlands, and Daemon now has control of the biggest castle in Westeros after Ser Simon Strong—with no love for Larys Strong—didn’t put up any fight. After his blow-up with Rhaenyra, it’s certainly noteworthy that Daemon insisted he be called “your grace” by Ser Simon.


-Daemon’s dream or hallucination features the return of young Rhaenyra, who was sowing baby Jaehaerys’ head back on. Daemon was visbly affected by the scene, and we’ll see if that impacts his attitude moving forward. The potential vision (it was not entirely clear if it was real-life at that point) of an eerie Alys Rivers telling Daemon, “You will die in this place,” added to the intrigue.


-Rhaenyra sends Rhaena Targaryen to accompany her children Joffrey, Aegon, and Viserys (along with the growing dragons Tyraxes and Stormcloud) to the Vale to meet Lady Jeyne Arryn—with the extremely young Aegon and Viserys potentially moving further to Pentos. Rhaena, still without a dragon, is frustrated and feels like it’s a dismissive task with the war coming and her sister Baela already involved with her dragon Moondancer. However, Rhaenyra and Baela note how important Rhaena’s role is—while revealing the four dragon eggs (including Daenerys’ future three eggs) that must be protected to ensure the family’s future.


-The arrival of new entrant Gwayne Hightower—Alicent’s brother—to aid Aegon’s war effort creates an interesting dynamic, particularly with Otto just being dismissed as Hand of the King. Gwayne’s desire to go get drunk on their way to the Riverlands gave insight into his mindset and the stupidity of such a move with dragons in the sky. If not for Criston Cole spotting Moondancer, things could have been bad. The moral corruptness of Cole has led to bad decisions, but he clearly has strong ability and instincts in the field.


-That guy (named Ulf) claiming that he’s a secret Targaryen (and totally against Aegon) was an eye-opening scene, as he does look a bit like a Targaryen with darker hair and didn’t sound totally farfetched. Aegon interrupted the conversation, but Ulf might be someone to remember.