‘House of the Dragon’ season 2 premiere recap: Anger shows up in ‘A Son for a Son’


In the world of Westeros, the Targaryen name has historically held a lot of weight and power across the realm. Though the family was torn apart when House of the Dragon returned on Sunday night, its first episode, A Son for a Son, reminds us that some oaths will be followed — no matter what.

HBO has launched a mega campaign to promote the upcoming war between Team Green and Team Black, which means the prequel series will set TV screens on fire with tension, monstrous acts of violence, and of course, dragons. As we revisit King’s Landing and Dragonstone, get ready to meet a lineup of new characters who will play a key role in the “Dance of the Dragons” and the battle for the Iron Throne.

Step into Family Feud with our recap of the Season 2 premiere episode below, and don’t forget to read our refresher on Season 1. Be warned: There are spoilers ahead, and it might be a little early to choose sides in this drama.

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Getty Images/Zue Liao

Winter is coming to the north

An overhead shot of a bird flying from the forest to the beach, mountains, dunes, and a stone citadel in the North. A narrator explains the meaning of duty and sacrifice, and how the North has a great duty to the Seven Kingdoms – since the days of the first humans. Since days of old, “we stand as guardians against the cold and the dark.” This is the Night’s Watch. Under his ancestor, King Torrhen Stark, one man in 10 had to be chosen to strengthen the Watch. It is an honor and duty for those who serve the North. The North must be prepared, for winter is coming, he warns.

two men in cloaks in the snow at the dragon's house two men in cloaks in the snow at the dragon's house

Cregan Stark, lord of Winterfell, speaks to Jacaerys Velaryon.

Ollie Upton/HBO

We meet Cregan Stark explaining to Jacaerys his ancestral duty. The prince explains the oath he took to King Viserys and how unity in the kingdom is at risk. Cregan says his duty is torn between the north and south. He worries about guarding the Wall — especially in winter. Even dragons refuse to cross the Wall, and Cregan asks Jacaerys, “Do you think my ancestors built the Wall to keep out the snow and wildlings?” and the prince soon learns that it keeps out death.

Cregan offers his Greybeard forces. While they talk, Cregan is given a message from the Queen, and he looks at Jacaerys. Apparently, it’s news about Lucerys’ death.

Grief and Anger on Dragonstone

Jacaerys is away, but everything is happening at home. A dragon lands on Dragonstone; it’s Rhaena.

Daemon is ready to kill Vhagar and tries to convince Rayna to join him. “Son for son,” he says. Rayna advises him not to act on impulse. Daemon replies that if she had acted on impulse, she would have destroyed Aegon and his dynasty, referring to the moment in the Season 1 finale when he and his dragon crashed to the floor during his coronation and refused to roast them all.

For a moment, we see Queen Rhaenyra, who is looking out to sea from a cliff. Her face shows anger, sadness and guilt.

Corliss is shown walking toward the docks using a cane. He sees the ships being cleaned and prepared, and another new character is introduced: Alyn Hull. Alyn tells him about the status of the ships, but their conversation is awkward. This is the man who pulled Corliss out of the ocean when he was sick in Season 1 and got him to safety. He says he is indebted to Alyn.

The man on the docks sees Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon The man on the docks sees Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon

Meet Aelin, a sailor in House of the Dragon, Season 2.

Ollie Upton/HBO

Fear at King’s Landing

Things change after Vhagar lands in King’s Landing. The army is told to retreat, indicating that they are ready for Team Black’s attack at any time. Inside the castle, Aegon is in his chambers looking for his successor who will teach him the lessons of “kingship”. His sister-wife Helena says that she is afraid – not of the army, but of the rats. It is not yet clear what she means by that.

Elsewhere in the castle, Alicent and Crystan are getting extremely intimate before they go to meet the Council. They dress and rush to the meeting where her father, Otto Hightower, says that the letters sent to the North have not been answered. However, Prince Aemond’s agreement with the Baratheons in the Storm Lands should strengthen their loyalty. There is a problem, however, as Rhaenyra has blockaded the gully with Corlys’ sea fleet. The Council is also finding out that “Princess Rhaenyra” does not want to negotiate.

Because his blockade is affecting things in King’s Landing, they need the help of the Lannisters and the Hightowers to break it. They also need the help of the River Lands, and Aegon says he will use Vhagar to burn all those who will not side with him. Alicent tries to stop him, and glares at Aemond, saying that Vhagar must stay in King’s Landing to protect Rhaenyra from retribution for her son’s death.

After the meeting, the cunning sly Larris Strong tells Alicent that he has killed her old servants and chosen new ones for her. He is the real Littlefinger in every way.

Clubfoot looks at someone with a conspiratorial look on his face in House of the Dragon Season 2 Clubfoot looks at someone with a conspiratorial look on his face in House of the Dragon Season 2

There’s no reason to like this Larry Strong guy.

Ollie Upton/HBO

Luceris honored and avenged

Rhaenyra and Sirax land on a beach where people found a dragon wing. In a sad scene, she sees Luceris’ clothes wrapped in nets and cries – as does Sirax. His pain is evident.

In King’s Landing, the inexperienced King Aegon enters the throne room, where he begins to hear petitions from the townspeople. The first man is unhappy about his flock being taken before winter, and the king wants to return the man’s sheep, but Otto advises against it. He says the people should give a tenth of the livestock to feed the dragons for the war. Aegon protests, but Otto – always the one in control – refuses.

Next is Hugh, who is a blacksmith and asks for an advance so they can buy iron to make weapons. “Our victory depends on the efforts of the little men,” Egon says and accepts the man’s plea. Otto doesn’t like this. Clubfoot (Laris Strong) pulls Egon aside to whisper his doubts about Otto into his ear. They both want to control Egon but he’s convincing the kid that his grandfather is a bad idea, and that he should be “The Hand” instead.

Alicent, who is under the influence of Clubfoot, argues with her father about underestimating her during the council meeting. She also justifies Aemond’s psychopathic behavior by saying that Luke was never punished for cutting out his own eye. Bah.

The plot heats up at Dragonstone when a party finds the White Worm, Massaria, hiding on a ship. Daemon asks his ex-girlfriend about selling secrets to Otto. She says she will go with the highest bidder and will be sent to the dungeon. He then asks Ser Elric about working for Otto. Elric once again pledges his loyalty to Rhaenyra and admits that the Hightowers turned him and his twin brother against each other. Daemon exits and heads to the war room.

Rhaenyra enters the room where everyone is gathered around the painted table. They all give updates, and the only thing she says is “I want Aemond Targaryen.” Got it.

Daemon visits the White Worm in the dungeon and she refuses. He then offers her knowledge in exchange for her freedom. We later learn that she accepts.

Jacaerys goes to his mother’s private chambers and gives her a report on who is helping, including Lord Cregan who has promised to help with 2,000 men. He barely comprehends it and breaks down crying while speaking to his queen/mother. The family will comfort Lucerys.

Back at King’s Landing, Alicent lights a candle on an altar, and hesitates to name Lucerys. At the same time, Rhaenyra and family light a pyre for their son. She throws what she finds on the beach – Lucerys’ cloak – into the fire, but young Joffrey has a toy which he throws into the fire in honor of his older brother.

house-of-the-dragon-s2-rhaenyra-jacaerys-funeral.jpg house-of-the-dragon-s2-rhaenyra-jacaerys-funeral.jpg

Rhaenyria, Jacaerys, and Joffrey mourn Lucerys at the funeral pyre.

Theo Whitman/HBO

Blood and cheese enter the battle

At dawn, Daemon arrives on the shores of King’s Landing in a disguise. He bribes a guard who hates the Hightowers to let him in. He talks to the castle’s rat-catcher, and attempts to hire him as a hitman for Aemond. We already know it won’t work out the way everyone thinks, but he accepts the job.

Aemond and Kristen are talking about battle strategy in the prince’s room, and Aemond complains that his mother and grandfather are being too cautious. He wants to be more aggressive, but Kristen says that his mother loves Rhaenyra.

Kristen is gone when Otto arrives, and Grandpa already knows how Emond feels. He tells her that Vhagar and Emond are a powerful team, but she needs to stay calm because other factors are at play as well. To illustrate that point, he tells her that her brother doesn’t know how to control his impulses.

Aemond and Kristen plot in the castle in the dragon's home Aemond and Kristen plot in the castle in the dragon's home

Two birds with one stone: Prince Aemond and Sir Kristen.

Ollie Upton/HBO

A tense scene unfolds when we follow the rat-catcher into the tunnels with a dog and another man he has hired to do the job. In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, the pair are known as Blood and Cheese, two unscrupulous assassins. They sneak into the castle and make their way to the throne room where they hear Aegon and his friends chattering and brainstorming. The king is clearly distracted. After a quarrel about not being allowed upstairs to the royals, the two hitmen break into Aemond’s quarters.

Finding the prince nowhere, they hide. But they find no royal family except the sister-queen and Aegon’s children. The rat-catchers hold a knife to her throat and debate killing her children. They force her to tell them which male is the heir, and she tells the truth. In a horrific twist, they behead the child.

Helena runs out of the room in shock and goes to her mother’s quarters where she is having an affair with Kristen. It is not Aemond though, but a son for a son is a given.


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