SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen, or don’t want to know, details from Episode 3 of House of the Dragon.
Daemon and the Sea Snake battle the Crabfeeder. The realm celebrates Aegon’s second nameday. Rhaenyra faces the prospect of marriage.
There is a time jump of about 3 yrs from E2. We start w/ dark humor from the war in the Stepstones; a soldier captured by the Crabfeeder, hoping for salvation from Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), is crushed under the foot of his big/red/long-necked dragon, Caraxes. This fight isn’t about the “common-born,” it’s ALL about Daemon (who seeks glory for himself). He was exiled from court in E2; he and soldiers loyal to him have been trying to get control of these islands for 3 yrs. The Small Council debates sending some men to back-up the prince.
Princess Rhaenyra [to her father when they arrive at the camp site]: No one’s here for me.
Then it’s time to have a (hunting) party, thanks to your host- Lord Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall- note that his name is in the opening credits). Hall also plays Ser Tyland Lannister (Jason’s twin w/ shorter hair), who is the Master of Ships, after Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) quit by storming out of the Small Council meeting in E2. Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Queen Alicent (Emily Carey) aren’t close friends anymore, as we see in the garden scene. (When Rhaenyra told the minstrel, Samwell, to repeat his song, I was reminded of the “play it again, Sam” line from Casablanca.) The nobles are excited to celebrate the 2nd b-day of Prince Aegon; he’s the blonde/healthy son born to King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and his young wife. Alicent is now (heavily) pregnant w/ their 2nd child.
Lord Hobert Hightower: Hail, hail Aegon the Conqueror-Babe, Second of His Name! Here’s to His Grace on his second name day!
George R.R. Martin regretted that there wasn’t enough money to have a royal hunt in S1 of GoT; he is V happy w/ this ep. We see the grandeur of the nobles, there are MANY extras present, and (of course) there is the beauty of nature. Rhaenyra is feeling left out and perhaps acting like a typical teen girl, which frustrates her father (who wants some pleasant/outdoors/family time). Rhaenyra can’t even keep from sniping at the noble ladies when she comes into their circle. Here w/ the ladies, we also have Larys Strong (Matthew Needham- also listed in the opening credits); he’s the 2nd son of Lord Harwin Strong (Gavin Spokes) and has a clubfoot. As he can’t go out sporting w/ the men, Larys can soak up ALL the hot gossip from the ladies.
Lord Jason Lannister: I’d do anything for my queen… or lady wife.
Lord Jason tries to run his game on Rhaenyra, offering her “honey wine” (from Lannisport), then declaring that Casterly Rock (his home) is large enough for a dragon pit. His style of speech/prideful manner MAY remind some viewers of the wealthy/entitled men in Austen’s books (who feel that every single lady should find them a catch). For a moment, Rhaenyra is confused, BUT then realizes that he’s talking marriage! Ser Otto stops her and her father from having a shouting match inside the royal tent, in full view of MANY guests/servants. The princess is pissed off and rides off on her horse, w/ her loyal protector Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) following close behind.
King Viserys Targaryen [to Otto]: I came here to hunt. Not to be suffocated by all this f*****g politicking!
It’s obvious that MOST of the nobles expect the king to name Aegon as his heir, surpassing his daughter. Viserys thinks it’s high time that Rhaenyra was married; he has been “besieged” w/ proposals from ALL over Westeros recently. In the past, she’d shown no interest in marrying or having children, BUT (as heir to the Iron Throne) she’ll have responsibilities. As he stands by a huge bonfire, Viserys (who had been drinking heavily ALL day) wonders IF he made the right decision; Alicent gently tells him it’s late (so he should rest).
Out in the woods, Rhaenyra and Criston get some time to walk and chat; she asks him re: his life (before he became a knight). Later that evening, she still doesn’t want to go back to the camp, so they relax (he w/o armor on) around a fire; a boar suddenly attacks and knocks out Criston! The boar then runs toward Rhaenyra, who fights him off, before Criston stabs it. Then, Rhaenyra rises up and unleashes her rage/resentment upon the animal MANY times w/ her knife.
The king takes his new/decorative spear (a gift from Lord Jason) and kills a large/brown stag, which was captured/held by few nobles. It takes him 2 tries, as Viserys is hungover and weak; this is yet another (pathetic) scene where we see that he’s NOT cut out for his role. Now, this animal isn’t the “white hart” that Otto explained was a good omen to see on one’s b-day. That white stag comes along Rhaenyra’s path, BUT she stops Criston from killing it (showing her mercy/character). When she struts back to camp (messy/bloodied) w/ the boar dragging behind her, there is at one man- Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr)- who gives her a wicked smile/looks impressed. Back at home in King’s Landing, the king tells Rhaenyra that she MUST marry, BUT the man can be her choice!
The last 10 mins. of the ep is an (incredible) fight on a beach btwn Daemon and a slew of Triarchy warriors lead by the Crabfeeder. Daemon pretends that he is ready to surrender, waving a white flag, and offering up his sword. (I was surprised/confused for a few moments.) Of course, this is the type of man (Targaryen) who will NOT give up easily! Daemon fights w/ and kills MANY men, then (finally) defeats the Crabfeeder himself (who didn’t have any dialogue/was killed offscreen in the cave). A LOT of viewers loved this segment, BUT a few thought that it was unrealistic. The prince emerges w/ the torso of his dead enemy, hair a mess of tangles, and covered head-to-toe in blood- wow!