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House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 1 and 2 Review

Ser Criston Cole stands behind Aegon as he sits at the head of the table.
Aegon amuses himself with the torment of another, while Ser Criston Cole is bored with it all.

Source: HBO

Overall 7.1/10

Story 7.0/10

The second season of House of the Dragon picks up after Prince Aemond accidentally kills Rhaenyra’s youngest son. She grieves and looks for answers. Alicent attempts damage control, as Otto bolsters the Green's forces.

Daemon blunders terribly in his impatience to shed his enemies' blood. His actions cause friction between him and Rhaenyra. Aegon wants blood to recompense his loss. Meanwhile, the Greens and the Blacks race toward war.

The first two episodes are a slow burn. The writers ratchet up tensions though this viewer isn't sure how much higher the temperature can get. Blood has been spilled. Where do you go from there? That blood cannot be satisfied for these characters without first unleashing the dogs of war.

Rhaenys and Daemon stand face to face.
Daemon and Rhaenys try to decide what should be done in Rhaenyra's abscence.

Source: HBO

Character 7.2/10

Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) looks for answers and closure, so she can properly grieve. Rhaenyra is a mother. But she’s also a queen. And while she grieves, she is absent as queen. That leaves others to make decisions they should not be making. And when she returns, it isn’t much better. She doesn’t discuss strategy for winning the war to take her rightful place on the Iron Throne. She only talks of revenge. But she comes to regret allowing others to take matters into their own hands. It leaves her and her claim to the Iron Throne in a terrible spot.

Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) seems unhinged. Before, there was always a proverbial method to his special brand of madness. But now his crazy is out of control. He makes an ill-advised move in his impatience with Rhaenyra and his boredom with waiting for the war to start. His sloppiness may cost Rhaenyra’s side dearly and undermine her moral high ground. But his vanity won't allow him to see how wrong he is. He still believes his actions are just.

Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) thinks the peace can still be salvaged before Daemon's actions take something precious from her. His actions give her Rhaenyra's vantage point. She soon discovers that some things can never be replaced.

Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) makes plans. And they fall apart. It's a trend with him. A brilliant hand plays chess and sees many moves ahead. He weighs all the possible outcomes. All Otto has ever done is play checkers.

Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) makes stupid decisions. He's already not the brightest person. His grief makes him even more dim.

Helaena Targaryen (Phia Saban) is quite strange. She still can't capitalize on her ability to see the future. Perhaps she’s cursed like the mythical Cassandra to see visions of destruction but is powerless to stop them. Her inability to decipher them has cost the Greens dearly.

Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) still desires the position of Hand. His ruthlessness is next level. And his mind may make him one of the most dangerous men in the series—Woe unto anyone who makes an enemy of him.

Alicent and Queen Helaena wear veils in a carriage as a part of funeral procession.
Alicent and Queen Helaena mourn in a funeral procession.

Source: HBO

Final Thoughts 

The writers deliver a solid first two episodes to kick off the second season. There are plenty of mistakes made on both sides: Green and Black. It's almost as if they've all agreed upon mutual destruction. At any rate, viewers have a front-row seat to the obliteration of the Targaryen bloodline.

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