A minimal of 4 years non-public handed since the demise of Baelon Targaryen—the “Inheritor for a Day”—an tournament that opened the succession vacuum on Dwelling of the Dragon. The Queen, Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey), has since given birth to a son (the eldest son and first-in-line to the throne by gendered custom) and now nurses but any other limited one. Within the period in-between, King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) continues to age and kind entirely putrid-taking a check out lesions across his abet and fingers, an obvious portent for a diseased kingdom on the brink of civil battle.
Episode 4 keeps the spin spherical 116 AC, with Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) now about 18 years faded. (The series is expected to leap ahead in time by but any other fifteen years in the coming episodes.)
The episode unfolds enjoy an incestuous bildungsroman (a coming-of-age saga). The literary kind over and over aspects a essential sexual trip for the protagonist, whose pattern frames the total posture of the story—over and over talking to the loss of 1’s innocence and the coming into into the grownup world. Whereas Sport of Thrones marked this moment with sexual violence (Daenerys’ compelled betrothal to Drogo), Dwelling of the Dragon chooses to ticket the event with … nicely, no topic tf is occurring between Rhaenyra and Daemon. Used to be it a vitality transfer? Used to be it need? Used to be it … consensual? Yes? Yes? No?
Let’s rep into issues.
Having agreed to on the least selected her possess husband (a compromise from no longer taking any), Rhaenyra hears a dozen proposals from doubtless suitors, leaving the room with her Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), after two suitors initiate to sword strive in opposition to. It is some distance obvious the episode will hinge on Rhaenyra’s marriage preference—a preference that appears to be like used to be by no scheme to be a preference at all.
On her methodology abet to King’s Touchdown, Daemon’s dragon descends discontinuance to her ship, knocking her to the deck and signaling a persisted antagonism between her and the King’s brother (even supposing she seems up a limited smitten by Daemon’s tactic). Within the Throne Hall, Daemon items Viserys with the Crabfeeder’s axe, a signal that his forces non-public defeated the Free Cities’ mercenary commander. He then bends the knee to Viserys who embraces him, ending the years of stress—and Daemon’s approach sedition.
Later, Rhaenyra and Alicent appear to repair their very possess quarrel as they discuss about the burden of marriage and childbirth. Rhaenyra suggests Alicent’s role is simply to build heirs for the King.
She then discusses the equal fright with Daemon, whose return to King’s Touchdown she questions. (Rhaenyra thinks Daemon is as much as no loyal.) She tells Daemon she doesn’t spend to marry, a assertion straight compelled in the following scene all the scheme via a runt council meeting.
The Sea Snake, Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), has no longer returned to King’s Touchdown, as an different conserving take a watch on of the islands and posing to marry his daughter to a noble-born member of the Free Cities—a transfer that will undermine the vitality of the Targaryen rule. It turns into sure that Viserys must rectify his decision no longer to marry Corlys’ daughter. He must procedure peace with Corlys.
She’s the Man
Leisurely one night time, Rhaenyra receives a message in her chamber telling her to satisfy exterior the Red Succor. There, disguised as a page, she finds Daemon, and the two of them streak incognito into King’s Touchdown the keep a Renaissance-enjoy competition is being held.
The two join a crowd watching a parody efficiency of the royal succession—with characters taking half in every Daemon and Rhaenyra. The crowd reacts negatively to Rhaenyra’s persona, demonstrating her unpopularity among the folk. She storms off, telling Daemon that she does no longer need the folk’s approval to rule them. (This shall be a in truth crucial conviction for the civil battle liable to approach.)
Rhaenyra then follows Daemon (after being chased by him; there’s an downhearted predatorial flirtation all all the scheme via the competition sequence) to a brothel. Within the inner-most room, ladies and men decide in the most taboo acts. Right here, Daemon kisses Rhaenyra. The two then initiate to undress every other with Daemon guiding Rhaenyra to a wall and then turning her spherical with her pants down. Rhaenyra, nonetheless, then turns spherical and pursues Daemon who begins to discover the trip atrocious and then storms off. The scene is crosscut with Alicent copulating with the King—disinterestedly and out of responsibility. Rhaenyra and Daemon seem like kissing with passion, a trademark that neither desires to originate what is expected of them to present a take to the crown. They every decide what they wish.
(It’s unclear if Daemon made the transfer performatively to besmirch Rhaenyra’s name—incandescent they had been being watched and that discover would streak across town—or out of need. Or every. Rhaenyra herself appears to be like to reciprocate and pursue Daemon. Any other time, if right here is out of enjoyment or some other motive, it’s unclear.)
After Daemon leaves, Rhaenyra returns to the Red Succor the keep she seduces and then completes her night time’s quest with her Kingsguard, Cole. (The two non-public moreover had a flirtationship over the final couple episodes.) Any other time, the scene appears to be like to indicate Rhaenyra’s rejection of responsibility in favor of her possess need.
Be conscious travels via Otto Hightower’s spies that Daemon and Rhaenyra had been “coupling.” Hightower informs Viserys who accuses his Hand of using the guidelines to raze Rhaenyra’s name and bolster his grandson’s throne declare.
Within the period in-between, Rhaenyra lies to Alicent when requested if she slept with her uncle.
The incident is crucial attributable to, nicely, traditions. Rhaenyra’s chastity is crucial in marrying her to a noble condo. Viserys even makes the level that whether or no longer Rhaenyra slept with Daemon is unimportant; if folk imagine she has, then her marriage-ability is a limited threatened. (This fallout from her decision appears to be like to present a take to the perception that Rhaenyra made this preference in present to undermine future marriage.)
Rhaenyra’s deceive Alicent, nonetheless, appears to be like to be the more gross spin, as it introduces a doubtless bombshell moment that will presumably stop their friendship—and power the Queen to facet with but any other would-be successor.
Later Viserys has Daemon dragged into the Throne Room, the keep he but but again banishes him from King’s Touchdown—however no longer earlier than Daemon proposes a wedding between himself and Rhaenyra.
Bored to demise with all people telling him what to originate, Viserys tells Rhaenyra that she’s going to marry the Sea Snake’s son, Laenor Velaryon. (Something but any other person told him to originate final episode.) Then, doing what Rhaenyra tells him to originate, Viserys relieves Otto Hightower of the distance of Hand—happy that he’s overly fervent to advance his family’s possess throne claims.
The episode ends with the maester turning in a medieval Belief B potion to Rhaenyra.
Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men’s Health Magazine.