WOLF SPORTS ALERT Due to site upgrades and maintenance, Fantasy Consigliere sign-ups will be unavailable until July 13-14. Please contact us with any questions!
Home / frontgames / ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: “The Red Dragon and the Gold”
Ollie Upton/HBO

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: “The Red Dragon and the Gold”

The action picked up in Season 2, Episode 4 of House of the Dragon.


Episode: “The Red Dragon and the Gold”

Runtime: 56 minutes

Original Air Date: July 7, 2024

Written by: Ryan Condal

Directed by: Alan Taylor


Plot (via HBO)

In Rhaenyra’s absence and with no word from Daemon at Harrenhal, Rhaenys tries to keep the peace on the Black Council as Cole mounts a campaign in the Crownlands. In King’s Landing, Aemond continues to undermine Aegon’s fragile hold on authority.


Best Moment: Battle at Rook’s Rest

It was a matter of time before dragons did battle, and the Battle of Rook’s Rest was a watershed moment in the Targaryen civil war. Criston Cole and his army were dominating battles and building their power, but instead of going to Harrenhal he basically set a trap by going for Rook’s Rest. Rhaenyra Targaryen fell for it, deciding to finally send a dragon into the field for direct conflict—and as a good leader, first volunteering to go herself with Syrax before being talked out of it. Instead, Rhaenys would go with Meleys.


Cole played the battlefield like a game of chess, with soldiers on the front line acting as pawns to draw out an enemy dragon, knowing that he had a queen in Vhagar laying in the wait with Aemond Targaryen. However, the literal and figurative king Aegon Targaryen decided to venture out onto the board on Sunfyre, upping the degree of difficulty. Amidst a battle between Meleys and Sunfyre (which Meleys was clearly winning), Vhagar entered—and, for those on the battlefield below, the game of chess was chaotically interrupted by weapons of mass destruction in the skies.


While left up to interpretation, it appeared that Aemond—recently furious with Aegon for his actions at the brothel—took the opportunity to attempt to take out his comparatively inept brother, who fell into the forest on Sunfyre after a “Dracarys” blast from Vhagar. Rhaenys and Meleys held their own, but Vhagar was simply too powerful—sending the Targaryen princess and her trustworthy old dragon to their deaths. The episode ends with a crushed Cole and an ambivalent Aemond coming to the scene of King Aegon and Sunfyre, where it’s unclear if they survived.


Best Quote

“Do you think simply wearing the crown imbues you with wisdom?” – Alicent Hightower to King Aegon II


Notable Character Deaths

-Rhaenys Targaryen



MVP: Vhagar

The “Queen of All Dragons” appears to be an unstoppable force based on the Battle of Rook’s Rest, and—while it cost King Aegon dearly thanks to his own actions—the discreet plan hatched by Aemond and Cole (who apparently received the note detailing the strategy from the Targaryen prince) otherwise worked. Vhagar took an opposing dragon and perhaps the most trusted advisor of Queen Rhaenyra off the board, and Team Black might need to act with more hesitation throughout the war knowing Vhagar could be around the corner.


Everything Else:

-Queen Alicent aborted Cole’s baby and could not attend the Green Council meeting, which turned out to be another showcase in Aegon’s helplessness. The discussion in High Valyrian between Aemond and Aegon was reminiscent of Michael Corleone and Tom Hagan speaking in Italian in The Godfather Part II during a critical moment of disagreement. Ultimately, as Alicent (while noting that her father Otto Hightower is an elite political mind) became brutally honest about later, the best thing for Aegon to do was “nothing”—just stay out of the way. Aegon has some obvious parallels to Joffrey from Game of Thrones, with both believing that being sovereign makes them a competent leader that should be listened to.


-Still at Harrenhal, Daemon Targaryen’s visions continued with another appearance of young Rhaenyra. This time, he beheaded her after she spoke in muffled High Valyrian—which was eventually understood by Daemon toward the end when she said, “You created me, Daemon. Yet you are now set on destroying me… All because your brother loved me more than he did you.” Then he followed a mysterious figure that turned out to be himself wearing an eyepatch like Aemond.


Also, Alys Rivers telling Daemon he was going to die there in the previous episode was seemingly confirmed to have been a vision after the two interacted in middle of the night. Whatever Alys gave Daemon, he almost seems “stuck” and ended up in a blur—while trying to rally lords from the Riverlands—and eventually saw his dead wife Laena Velaryon as a cupbearer in a vision as well. All these visions almost certainly have a deep meaning.


-It’s unclear at this point who Alyn is and why he’s not able to be given public praise for saving Corlys Velaryon’s life, but he’s clearly someone to note.


-Watching from above, Mysaria appeared to possess what could have been valuable input during the Black Council meeting after Rhaenyra’s arrival, but she held her tongue.


-Vhagar being the one to take out Rhaenys adds insult to injury given that Aemond claimed the feared dragon after Laena’s death—becoming Vhagar’s rider at the horror of Baela and Rhaena.


-After it became front of mind for her following the meeting with Alicent, Rhaenyra finally told her heir Jace Velaryon about Aegon the Conqueror’s dream of the Seven Kingdoms uniting to fight their common enemy, ensuring it is passed down if anything happens to her.