It’s time for the quirky recap of House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel series where uncle and niece Targaryen revive a nasty family habit!
Please note, the following details the plot of episode 4 of the House of the Dragon series, available on OCS on demand. If you haven’t seen it yet, and don’t want to know anything about its content, then you are strongly recommended to stop reading this article now.
Let’s go for the credits of episode 4 of House of the Dragon with its rivers of blood just to put us in the mood.
And it starts with a scene that is embarrassing to say the least. Rhaenyra is presented with an endless line of suitors, all ready to marry her to better approach the throne. The first to open the ball is even older than her father, Rhaenyra is jaded. The next one still has whey coming out of his nose.
However, the kid doesn’t get upset and offers his protection to the princess who rides a dragon as another suitor reminds him who mocks the very young suitor. He calls him a coward, it’s too much for the young boy who takes out his sword, ready to defend his honor. While Rhaenyra leaves the room, tired of this spectacle, the young suitor stabs his mocking adversary with his sword. First spurt of blood in less than 5 minutes, we are in line with the standards of Game Of Thrones.
On their way back to King’s Landing, Rhaenyra and Ser Criston Cole debrief on the deck of Viserys’ predictable displeasure after she turns away all her suitors. And then, out of nowhere, a dragon lands and nearly overturns the boat. Yep, Game of Thrones fans, remember that almost 200 years before Daenerys, these things were commonplace.
The king’s return
In the crowded throne room, Viserys prepares for a public audience. But with who ? With Daemon, of course! He steps forward, sporting a new (very 80s) haircut. So it was he who drove his dragon like a dragster.
He begins with a kindness: a sword that he throws to the ground to add to the throne. Delicate present. And against all odds, he kneels down and pledges allegiance to the king, his brother. He also comes to boldly announce his victory over the Crab Gaveur. All while giving his crown to the king, a beginner level DIY model of fake crowns imagined by children. Viserys gives him a hug and thanks him. Emotion and applause.
In the courtyard gardens, Viserys congratulates his brother. Polar atmosphere between Rhaenyra and Alicent who look at each other like a faience dog. And when Rhaenyra in turn congratulates her uncle, she gets a glare from her father. The heiress to the throne dared to say a word… Oh la la… Name of Zeus. (In reality, Viserys is angry because her daughter is coming home without a potential husband)
She goes to stand aside and Alicent tries a rapprochement by going to join her. Successful strategy during an exchange where they make the bitter observation that their condition is confined to their status and their ability to generate heirs.
Shortly after, Rhaenyra and Daemon reunite and their complicity resurfaces. The darling uncle does not fail to notice that his niece has matured well in four years and tries to appease his niece’s bitterness with a few platitudes about life.
In the King’s Council, we are worried about the alliances that Lord Corlys could form, who failed to form a union between his (very young) daughter and the King. Which could affect Rhaenyra’s marriage.
In the evening, Rhaenyra discovers a mysterious package in her room: clothes for a page and a plan to get out of her room incognito. The secret passage leads to the cellar of the castle where the skull of the dragon Balerion is enthroned. With her pants, her shirt, her little jacket and her hat, she has all the Brooklyn hipster look!
Unsurprisingly, it’s Daemon who comes out to greet her. He has a look borrowed from a Da Vinci Code fanatic. He then takes her to the underworld district of Port-Réal. At the same time, Viserys is having less fun by having his festering wounds treated by Alicent. Rhaenyra attends a street performance, a kind of live Twitter equivalent where she discovers that she is not really popular with the people.
The red light district of Port-Réal
In the middle of the night, Viserys calls for his wife Alicent in his room. She is happy. The poor young woman fulfills her marital duty, being nothing more than the receptacle of her husband’s impulses, all purulent, lying on her. 1/ We have compassion for her. 2/ We want to recommend a Betadine shower afterwards.
Daemon is also in the mood to let his urges speak. He takes his niece to a house of luxury where everyone indulges their fantasies. Sentimental education among the Targayens is not very Flaubertian. And so Uncle Daemon begins to seduce and kiss his sweet niece Rhaenyra. Everything is fine. With a parallel montage on Alicent who seems to have much less fun in the marital bed.
You can tick the incest box on the list of favorite taboo subjects discussed in the Game of Thrones universe.
Obviously, Rhaenyra sees no objection to this, but Daemon at the last moment decides to stop what he has started and leaves, leaving his half-naked niece in the middle of everyone. A kid sees the princess coming out of the sulphurous place and follows her.
Rhaenyra returns to the castle and to her room guarded by Ser Criston Cole who does not understand a thing when he sees her arrive while he is crawling in front believing that she was sleeping peacefully.
As he worries about her condition, she decides to play with him. She steals his helmet, lets him into her room and decides to make it her four o’clock. At this time, Criston Cole pretends to resist or at least not to do anything. A knight is shy. After a sort of long medieval striptease – yes, it takes a long time to undo armor – Rhaenyra tastes the pleasures of the flesh in the arms of her valiant knight.
End of fun. Otto Hightower, aka The Hand of the King, gets a belated visit from the kid who saw Rhaenyra come out of the House of Delights. As for Daemon, he visibly wakes up from a severe hangover in Mysaria, nicknamed the White Worm, his ex-future wife. She gave up prostitution for intelligence.
The little protractor
Visibly uncomfortable, The Hand goes to the King’s bedroom to tell him that his daughter is a whore. The announcement is obviously not made in these terms, but it is the idea that emerges. And he drives the point home by specifying that “she frolicked with her uncle“.
Viserys does not want to hear anything and does not believe a word of it. But Alicent, hidden behind a screen, doesn’t miss a beat. Rhaenyra does not take long to receive a message from the Queen, Alicent therefore, to come and join her.
Shocked and upset, Alicent questions Rhaenyra about her morals. Rhaenyra swears to Alicent that Daemon never touched her. In memory of his mother. (That’s not pretty, Rhaenyra). But it was the ultimate argument to convince Alicent the suspicious and the mistress of virtue. The Queen can’t resist a little reminder about the importance of virginity, especially for a princess.
As for Daemon, he returns to the castle still scruffy and is picked up by soldiers who take him directly to the King. Sprawled on the ground, overwhelmed by his hangover, he responds to accusations of incest. He does not deny anything and asks his brother to be able to marry his niece. (No, we’re not choking at all)
As retribution, Viserys dismisses Daemon and orders him to return to the Vale where his wife lives.
Back in his apartments, Viserys is disappointed. But Alicent convinces him that Daemon lied that Rhaenyra did not sin. Rhaenyra is summoned by her father. He lectures her on his dating and the responsibilities incumbent on him. And he ends up announcing his destiny to her: to marry Laenor Velaryon, the son of Lord Corlys, a purely political decision. She accepts on one condition.
A little later, Viserys receives Otto Hightower in private. He confronts him about his personal interests: putting his daughter in the hands of the King. On this, Viserys withdraws his title of Hand of the King.
The same evening, Rhaenyra receives in her room the Grand Maester who has come to bring her a homemade preparation. A drink supposed to avoid “an unwanted state”, translation: the morning after pill.