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House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 3 Recap with Spoilers

Last week’s episode of “House of the Dragon” on HBO delivered major plot twists with the tragic deaths of Erryk and Arryk Cargyll. This deadly duel, fought between twin brothers, mirrors the larger conflict within the Targaryen family, as factions vie for control of the Iron Throne. The latest episode keeps the tension high, with Rhaenyra and Aegon gearing up for an inevitable and bloody confrontation.

The opening scene takes us far from the central Targaryen civil war, showcasing the age-old rivalry between House Blackwood and House Bracken. An argument between two young men over a land dispute escalates into a conflict of loyalties—whether to support Rhaenyra or Aegon. This dispute culminates in a brutal battle, resulting in numerous casualties on both sides. While House Bracken, siding with Aegon, claims victory, their heavy losses cast doubt on their success.

Back in Dragonstone, Rhaenyra buries the twin Cargyll brothers side by side, despite one having tried to kill her. Understanding he was only following orders, Rhaenyra is compassionate. Rhaenys advises Rhaenyra to extend an olive branch to Alicent, noting that neither wishes for war. Rhaenyra, however, remains skeptical. Another significant moment comes with Mysaria, who warns Rhaenyra about an assassination attempt. In return, Mysaria seeks a position in Rhaenyra’s court.

Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Ser Criston Cole has assumed the role of Hand of the King, replacing Otto. This change leads to a Kingsguard filled with untrained soldiers loyal to Aegon. Cole’s initial small council meeting doesn’t go well, as Alicent reprimands him for his attempt on Rhaenyra’s life that got a good knight killed. After hearing about the Riverlands incident, Cole decides to take Harrenhal for the greens, a risky move that Aegon enthusiastically supports, even wanting to join on his dragon.

Daemon and Caraxes arrive at the largely abandoned Harrenhal. He encounters the remnants of House Strong, who surrender and pledge allegiance to Rhaenyra. Daemon outlines his plan to raise an army in the Riverlands with Harrenhal as their base, eyeing a march on King’s Landing. Questions linger about whether Daemon intends to claim the throne for Rhaenyra or himself.

Alicent’s brother, Gwayne Hightower, arrives just in time to join Cole on his Riverlands expedition. Although Cole is reluctant, Alicent insists, suggesting Gwayne is there to monitor him.

In Dragonstone, Rhaenyra’s council pressures her to unleash their dragons against their enemies. She hesitates, knowing it would provoke Aegon’s forces to respond in kind, risking massive bloodshed. Her council disagrees with her caution, demonstrating a bloodlust similar to Aegon’s allies.

Rhaenyra faces a tough choice, sending her niece Rhaena to the Vale with her dragon hatchling, eggs, and younger sons. She asks Rhaena to be a surrogate mother, aiming to keep them safe during the looming war. Rhaena is reluctant but seems to have no choice.

A brief scene between Helaena and Alicent reveals Helaena’s struggle with the loss of her son and Alicent’s guilt over her affair with Cole, which distracted him from his duties. Helaena forgives Alicent, acknowledging her pain.

Elsewhere, Aegon dons Conqueror’s armor, ready to join the fight, but Larys convinces him otherwise, securing his role as Master of Whispers. Meanwhile, a character identified as Ulf the White but not yet explained in detail appears in King’s Landing, leading to a confrontation with Aegon.

In Harrenhal, Daemon has a haunting vision of a young Rhaenyra with a dead Jaehaerys, symbolizing the consequences of his actions. Awakening from the vision, he finds himself before a weirwood tree, greeted by the ominous Alys Rivers, who foretells his death in that place.

The episode climaxes with Rhaenyra sneaking into King’s Landing to meet Alicent. They discuss Viserys’ final words, with Rhaenyra explaining that he spoke of Aegon the Conqueror, not Aegon II. Alicent, however, believes it’s too late to alter the course already set in motion.

Source: HBO