Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon Season 2 | Agents of Fandom

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 1 Recap & Review: Tragedy Strikes the Greens

Rhaenyra faces more complications in the Season 2 premiere.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 “A Son for a Son.”

One of the most, if not the most anticipated show of the year is finally here. House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 is now streaming on Max and takes fans back to Westeros for the first time in nearly two years. The series premiere is a visceral and violent return to form, containing all the bloodshed, dragons, and deceit expected from a Targaryen Game of Thrones spin-off.

After the shocking Season 1 finale, the world has been anxiously awaiting the follow-up to see what happens next. As expected, the first installment in Season 2 can be hard to follow if you’re not giving it your undivided attention; make sure you caught all the details with our House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1, “A Son for a Son,” recap.

Prince Jacaerys Velaryon Visits Winterfell in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 1

Jace Velaryon and Lord Cegan Stark walking along the wall at Winterfell in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 | Agents of Fandom
Jace visiting Lord Cregan Stark at Winterfell feels like a nostalgic trip back home for long-time Game of Thrones fans. Image Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 opens with an eagle flying through the forest and over the water towards Winterfell. Someone begins narrating about the North owing a great duty to the Seven Kingdoms via the Night’s Watch. We then cut to Jacaerys ‘Jace’ Velaryon (Harry Collett) visiting Lord Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor) as they ride up the long elevator to the top of the wall.

Jace remarks how Aegon the Conqueror and the King in the North once met here more than a century ago. Cregan says at least Jace isn’t threatening him with his dragon, and Jace responds that the realm will tear itself apart if people don’t uphold their claim to Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy). Jace tries to convince Cregan he needs his support, and Cregan says King Jahaerys (Michael Carter) once stood here on the wall.

Cregan tells Jace this wall is designed to keep out death, and as they talk, a raven arrives with a note (seemingly of Elliot Grihault‘s character Luke’s death) that sends Jace into a crying spell. The camera then cuts to Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) landing her dragon Meleys at Dragonstone, where Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) comes out to greet her. She’s been holding the blockade and wants to rest, but Daemon says they need to kill Vhagar and exact revenge.

Prince Daemon Wants To End the War With the Greens Before It Starts

Matt Smith as Daemon Targareyn sitting in the grass in House of the Dragon Season 2 | Agents of Fandom
Rhaenyra is more interested in playing the long game, but Daemon doesn’t see why they can’t kill the Greens and be done with it. Image Credit: Theo Whitman/HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

Rhaenys tries to explain to Daemon that Rhaenyra is grieving, but he argues that while the mother grieves, the Queen shirks her duties. Rhaenys reminds Daemon how hard it was for her to learn about Laena (Nanna Blondell), and he says if she had burned Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) and the Hightowers when she had the chance, Luke would still be alive and she storms off. He tries to command her to stop but she ignores him and the camera cuts to Rhaenyra for the first time.

The Queen stands on a rocky beach with her dragon, Syrax, and it appears she’s been crying. The camera then quickly cuts to Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) walking with a cane to the docks. He talks to Allen, who hands him a dagger that Corlys once had commissioned for Prince Luke. Corlys asks if Allen was the one to pull him to safety when he was hurt, and he says yes, and Corlys says he’s indebted to him.

We then cut to King’s Landing where soldiers stand ready to fire on a dragon overhead, before realizing it’s Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) on Vhagar and they stand down. The camera then cuts inside to King Aegon asking where his son Jaehaerys is so he can take him to the small council. His sister/wife Helaena (Phia Saban) says he’s in the library and not to disturb him, but Aegon goes to him anyway.

Aemond Interrupts the Small Council Meeting in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 1

Alicent standing to the right of Aemond looking up at him in House of the Dragon Season 2 | Agents of Fandom
Alicent tells Aemond he isn’t welcome in the small council meeting but fortunately, his brother sticks up for him. Image Credit: Theo Whitman/HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 continues when the camera cuts to Alicent (Olivia Cooke) having sex with Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). Alicent says they can’t do it again and helps him put on his cloak. The small council then convenes and Otto (Rhys Ifans) gives them an update on the status of the lands. Alicent asks if they’ve heard from Rhaenyra, but they respond that they haven’t yet.

Aegon asks Tyland Lannister (Jefferson Hall) to give his son a piggyback ride and Alicent reminds him there are important matters to discuss. Aegon says they should have killed Rhaenyra when they had the chance but Otto says that’s no longer an option. Aemond walks into the small council and Alicent tells him to leave but Aegon says he can stay. Aegon wants to send the dragons to war but Alicent and Cole advise that they shouldn’t.

Otto suggests the King be patient because he is sending ravens by the hour, and Alicent leaves the room, where she runs into Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) in the hallway. He says he tried to meet with her before the meeting, and he’s removed all her old staff and replaced them with new ones. Alicent then draws a bath and asks all the servants to leave her. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra lands Syrax on the beach where the remains of Luke’s dragon Arrax have washed ashore.

Rhaenyra Still Mourns the Loss of Her Son Lucerys

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 | Agents of Fandom
Rhaenyra is distraught but also filled with rage in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1. Image Credit: HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1, “A Son for a Son” continues when Rhaenyra kneels over Arrax, finds Luke’s cloak, and begins to sob. Back at King’s Landing, Aegon takes his place on the Iron Throne to hear petitions. The young King tries to settle every one that approaches him, but Otto keeps dissuading him from doing so. Larys talks to Aegon in the hall and says he should take a different path than Viserys (Paddy Considine), suggesting maybe he needs a new Hand.

Otto visits Alicent and she tries to remind him to be her ally, but he says the days since Viserys’ passing have gone poorly. She pleads that he cannot keep undermining her, but Otto doesn’t see it that way. The Hand of the King tells her the only path to victory now is one of violence. The camera then cuts to show two ships boarding another, and the Kingsguard finds Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), aka the White Worm, under the deck.

They take her to Daemon, and he blames her for Aegon’s ascendancy. Daemon storms out and asks to have her moved to the cells and treated as a traitor. One of the twins, Erryk (Elliot Tittensor), refuses for the sake of honor, and Daemon asks if it was honor that made him let the Hightowers take the throne. Daemon says he should have killed Aegon when he had the chance but Erryk argues that he once swore an oath to protect the whole Royal Family.

The Queen and Her Family Hold a Small Funeral for Luke on Dragonstone

Jace and Rhaenyra standing in front of Luke's funeral pyre in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 | Agents of Fandom
The Heir to Driftmark recieves a small but touching ceremony as his family says goodbye in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1. Image Credit: Theo Whitman/HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

Rhaenyra returns to Dragonstone on Syrax and everyone tells her their plans. She says that she wants Aemond Targaryen, and then she walks out. Daemon visits Mysaria and asks for help, but she refuses. Jace walks in to see Rhaenyra and says Jane Arryn has pledged her support in exchange for a dragon to guard The Vale. He also tells her about Lord Cregan, but breaks down over losing his brother Luke.

Alicent walks into the Sept and lights candles while the camera cuts back to Luke’s funeral on Dragonstone. They each throw something on the fire to honor their fallen family member while Alicent also burns candles in honor of Luke and Viserys. Meanwhile, Daemon takes a boat back to King’s Landing and bribes a guard to let him in the gate. He visits one of Aegon’s rat-catchers, asks him to slay Aemond Targaryen, and pays him half up front.

The assassin asks what they should do if they can’t find him and the camera cuts to Aemond plotting with Ser Criston Cole. They agree war is inevitable and Otto walks in and relieves Criston. The Hightower patriarch reminds Aemon he can’t act outside the will of the King and Hand and he says he only wishes to serve his King and his house. Otto explains that Aemond and Vhagar are the greatest power in the realm, but there many pieces at play.

Blood and Cheese Execute Daemon’s Plan in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 1

Prince Daemon standing with his dragon Caraxes head behind him in House of the Dragon Season 2 | Agents of Fandom
As fans well know, Daemon operates on his own set of rules, which may get him and Rhaenyra in serious trouble. Image Credit: HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

Otto promises Aemond vengeance but says he needs to keep a grip on his impulses. The rat-catchers Daemon hired to kill Aemond, Blood (Sam C. Wilson) and Cheese (Mark Stobbart). climb through the sewers and move through the throne room where Aegon sits on the Iron Throne with his friends. They walk through unbothered and get into an argument trying to figure out how to find Aemond. The pair find themselves upstairs and get into Aemond’s room, but he isn’t there.

The other rat-catcher walks into another room and draws a blade to see his partner holding Aegon’s wife Helaena with a knife to her neck. They ask her which of her children is the boy, and she reluctantly points to Jaehaerys with no other option. They steal her necklace and then murder little Jaehaerys in his bed. Helaena runs to Alicent’s room to see her having sex with Criston Cole and she tells her that her son is dead.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 1 Ending Explained: Aegon’s Son Is Dead

Halaena sitting on the floor looking over her left shoulder in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 | Agents of Fandom
Halaena has no idea at the beginning of the episode that Jaehaerys’ visit to the small council would be his only one, ever. Image Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

Baby Jaehaerys’ death is sure to cause a stir in the brewing war between teams Green and Black. Rhaenyra (understandably) wants revenge for the death of her son Luke, but Jaehaerys should not have been the one to pay the price. Aemond deserves to die for what he did; despite trying to call Vhagar off, he seemingly feels no remorse, and Daemon messed up by trying to get rat-catchers to do the job.

This will undoubtedly set Aegon, already an unstable individual, on a path of sheer mayhem. Although Jaehaery’s death wasn’t Rhaenyra’s doing, the Greens will look for someone to blame, and there’s no doubt she will be the prime suspect. It appears Daemon’s reckless behavior and unwillingness to listen to the wise counsel of others around him will cost those he cares about, deeply.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, Episode 1 “A Son for a Son” Is a Fiery Return To Form

A dragon roaring amidst a storm in House of the Dragon Season 2 | Agents of Fandom
While not much combat, there’s plenty of dragon-riding action in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1. Image Credit: HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

The first episode of House of the Dragon Season 2 is everything Game of Thrones fans deserve from the return to Westeros. Only one episode in and there has already been blood spilled that is sure to spur on the inevitable war. The performances are brilliant, each actor has further melded with their role after the final act of Season 1, and the series delivers all the palace intrigue and seeds of backstabbing that make a Game of Thrones property great.

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'House of the Dragon' Season 2, Episode 1 "A Son for a Son" Review

'House of the Dragon' Season 2, Episode 1 "A Son for a Son" Review
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The Good

  • Twists and turns add an unexpected flare.
  • The performances are riveting.
  • The visuals between dragons and locations are stunning.

The Bad

  • You can't look away for a second without missing something important.
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