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HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Season Two Premiere: “A Son For A Son”

by Travlis Hallingquest
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A few months before the debut of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Season 2, HBO released the officialBlack’ trailer and the official ‘Green’ trailer. Each one offered brief but stunning footage from the season ahead from the perspectives of each council. The Black Council is the most popular (based on HBO and other outlet polls, since halted) amongst viewers. Green may hold the current throne under Alicent Hightower’s son Aegon, however, Rhaenyra Targaryen’s command has more dragons and may have the backing of House Stark. This is going to be exciting!

S2E1 “A Son for a Son” begins in a familiar setting. The wall. We see Cregan Stark of the Night’s Watch.  Cregan is an ancestor of GoT’s Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark. Historically, the Starks have been sympathetic to the Targaryen cause. The Starks have experienced an outside force trying to usurp a family from their rightful claim. Cregan pledges 2000 soldiers to Jacaerys Targaryen’s mother Rhaenyra.  

HouseOfTheDragon-S2E1Pic1-300x141It is has been approximately 10 days since the event of Season 1’s finale, and no sign of young Lucerys or his dragon. Rhaenyra flies to a beach and finds remnants of Lucerys’s dragon. The well-intentioned but hot-tempered Daemon unsuccessfully attempts to persuade his older cousin Rhaenys to intervene with her dragon. Rhaenys refuses to execute any form of retaliation without direct orders from Rhaenyra. Daemon being Daemon seeks his own form of retribution by seeking out the help of a city watch guard known by the moniker ‘Blood’. Daemon was given this information by Mysaria, a character who was arrested for treason in S1. In exchange for her life, Mysaria is the one who recommended Blood for the job. Daemon was once a commander of the city watch and brings gold to bribe Blood. Blood accepts the money, and lets Daemon in after saying “fuck the Hightowers.” Blood introduces Daemon to ‘Cheese’, a man with intricate knowledge of the tunnels that lead into the castle.  FIRE & BLOOD, the book that the series is partially based on, states that the real names of Blood and Cheese have been lost in time. Daemon never tells the murderous duo to kill King Aegon II or Aemon; the latter is the direct nemesis of Daemon.  Instead, Daemon states “a son for a son.”  

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Mark Stobbart as Cheese and Sam C. Wilson as Blood

In a stealthy mission, Blood and Cheese infiltrate King’s Landing. We expect the target to be Aemond, for he is directly responsible for the death of Lucerys.  However, Aemond and King Aegon II are too heavily guarded. Instead, they enter a room and capture Helaena at knife-point. They demand to know which of the small children is the boy. Helaena reluctantly points at the bed that holds Jaehaerys. Off-camera Blood beheads the boy as Helaena escapes with the twin sister to Alicent’s room. Alicent is in bed with Sir Cristen Cole (a romance that was in its early stages in S1) and sees the distraught Helaena. Cut to black. 

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Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen

A SON FOR A SON ends with a death so shocking it will be talked about for weeks to come. However, it seems HBO and the writers intentionally toned down the violence.  I understand that every kill does not need to be as visceral as the infamous “Red Wedding” of GoT’s S2E3 THE RAINS OF CASTAMERE. Perhaps this is a move to not graphically show the death of a minor, and also for the fan base to side more with Team Black.  A show of this caliber seemingly will opt for the audience to see the horrors of war; effectively showing there is no good side of the equation. Nevertheless, S2E1 was another solid entry into the SONG OF ICE & FIRE story arc and we are just getting started. 

The second episode of Season Two of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON  debuts June 23, 2024 at 9PM ET on HBO & Max. Are you with us?    

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