Original air date: August 28, 2022
Six months after Rhaenyra is named heir, Daemon occupies Dragonstone while Prince-Admiral Craghas Drahar menaces the Stepstones at the Triarchy’s behest. Meanwhile, the Small Council presses King Viserys to remarry and propagate his royal line, risking Rhaenyra’s status. As Alicent Hightower continues comforting King Viserys at her father’s urging, Lord Corlys Velaryon proposes his twelve-year-old daughter, Laena, marry the king. Daemon steals a dragon egg to goad Viserys into coming to Dragonstone, but Otto Hightower volunteers himself. As bloodshed looms, Rhaenyra arrives at Dragonstone on her dragon, Syrax, and retrieves the egg. Her disobedience angers the king, and father and daughter discuss Queen Aemma and his remarrying. Ultimately, Viserys announces his intention to wed Alicent, angering both Rhaenyra and Corlys; Corlys then approaches Daemon to form an alliance.
* * *
Ser Ryam was a strong Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
But he was ill for some time.
He passed in peace, I hope.
Yes, Your Grace.
He was found to have passed gently in his sleep.
His remains are being prepared by the Silent Sisters.
The succeeding Lord Commander, Ser Harrold, would like to make haste in finding Ser Ryam’s replacement on the Kingsguard.
Your Grace. My lords.
The Kingsguard must soon be restored to its full complement of seven.
With the help of the Hand, I’ve invited a number of fine candidates to court.
All have passed fair trials.
Four ships have now been lost.
The last one was flying my banner.
The Stepstones have now grown into a conflagration, yet you sit here and dither about court business.
If you’ve something to discuss, Lord Corlys I want to know what is to be done about my ships and my men.
The Crown will compensate you for your ship and crew, and make an offering to the men’s families.
I don’t want compensation.
I want to seize the Stepstones by force and burn out this Crabfeeder.
I am not prepared to start a war with the Free Cities.
These pirates are not the Free Cities.
Who do you think provides them with their ships and tender?
In all of its history, my lord, the Seven Kingdoms have never entered open war with the Free Cities.
Were that to happen, the losses would be incalculable.
What reason does the Crabfeeder have to fear us?
The King’s own brother has been allowed to seize Dragonstone and fortify it with an army of his gold cloaks.
Daemon has squatted there for over half a year without even a protest from The Crown.
I’ll caution you, Lord Corlys, a seat at the King’s table does not make you his equal.
I have acted, Corlys.
I’ve sent envoys to Pentos and Volantis to see if we might find common cause.
Ships and men are at the ready.
The Stepstones will be settled in time.
You have dragonriders, father.
It isn’t that simple, Rhaenyra.
It would be a show of force.
At least the Princess has a plan.
I only meant that we should at least
Perhaps, there’s some better use for the Princess’s talents, Your Grace.
Why don’t you take the Princess to see about the new Kingsguard posting, Lord Commander?
A fine idea, Your Grace.
This knight will protect you as well.
You should choose.
Ser Desmond Caron, a fine knight, Princess.
Step forward, Ser Desmond.
Son of Ser Royce Caron, Ser Desmond has proved strong and steady in both the tourney lists and without.
While traveling through the Kingswood on his way to King’s Landing, Ser Desmond recently brought a wouldbe poacher to justice.
You might thank him for his leal service, Princess.
We thank you for your loyal service to The Crown, ser.
Ser Rymun Mallister.
Son of Lord Lymond Mallister of Seagard.
Winner of the melee at Cider Hall.
He was the last mounted of threeandtwenty knights.
Ser Rymun was knighted at eightandten.
Do any of these knights have combat experience?
Beyond capturing poachers.
Ser Criston Cole.
Son of the steward of the Lord of Blackhaven.
Be welcome, Ser Criston.
You saw combat in the Stormlands.
Dornish marches, Princess.
I fought for a year as a foot solider against the Dornish incursions.
Ser Arlan Dondarrion knighted me after we razed
two of the watchtowers along the Boneway.
I choose Ser Criston Cole.
Let’s not be too hasty, Princess.
There’s no doubt Ser Criston is a fine warrior, but houses such as Crakehall and Mallister are important allies of The Crown.
Seagard, for instance, is the realm’s prime defense against reavers from the Iron Islands.
Those men are tourney knights.
My father should be defended by a man who’s known real combat.
Should he not?
Of course, Princess.
Well, let us plan Ser Criston’s investiture then.
The Valyrian capital was built into a volcano, much like Dragonstone.
And the dragonlords, the highest of the nobility, lived here, at the volcanic face, closest to the source of their magic and power.
And this was the Anogrion.
Where the bloodmages worked their craft.
It is truly wondrous what you’ve built.
I only pore over the histories and provide the plans.
The stonemasons built the structures.
Do you believe that Westeros can be another Valyria, Your Grace?
That depends, whether you speak of the Freehold at its height or at its fall.
Over a thousand dragons, a navy large enough to span the seas of the world.
The glory of Old Valyria will never be seen again.
Tell me, how is Rhaenyra?
What do you mean?
Well, these days, she doesn’t say more than a few words to me.
I think she might find it difficult to discuss personal matters.
It will take time.
It did when I lost mine own mother.
I wish she would approach me.
What if you went to her?
There are times when I would rather face the Black Dread himself than mine own daughter of 15.
I think she would open herself to you if invited.
You do have such an easy way about you, Your Grace.
You do not mention our talks to Rhaenyra, do you?
I just, I fear that she wouldn’t understand them.
No, Your Grace.
It’s only been half a year since my mother died, and already they tried to marry my father off and replace me as heir.
I know those men and how they plot in their secret councils when I’ve been sent away.
You cannot worry at the matters of lords and kings, Rhaenyra.
What if your father were to remarry?
Your father loves you.
He chose you for his heir.
He didn’t choose me. He spurns Daemon.
Kneel with me.
I find this is a way to be with my mother.
Here in the quiet of the Sept, I feel close to her.
I know it sounds foolish.
I don’t think it’s foolish.
Because I thought you might try.
If not for me, then, perhaps for them.
What do I say?
Whatever you wish.
It’s only for you and the gods to know.
I want him to see me as more than his little girl.
Mine own father does not know the language of girls either.
When I wish to talk with him, I know that I must make the effort.
I’m glad we could meet.
I know tempers ran hot today, and I wanted to assure you how much I value the bond between our houses.
Rhaenys is my favorite cousin after all.
I wish to apologize for the tenor at the Small Council today, Your Grace.
It was not my intent to make offense.
Your fleet is one of the realm’s most important assets, Lord Corlys.
But you must understand, as King, it is my obligation to avoid war until such time it is unavoidable.
None among us desire open war.
Might I speak plainly, Your Grace?
I always welcome the unfettered thoughts of my council.
I fear that the eyes of our enemies are presently fixed on the Red Keep.
The Queen has passed.
A girl has been named heir to the Iron Throne, the first in its history.
The King’s brother, so disinherited, has claimed the Targaryen seat on Dragonstone without challenge.
And now, a foreign power has established a colony in our most critical shipping lane.
You paint such an aspirant portrait of my reign, Lord Corlys.
It is an honest one, cousin.
At the moment, The Crown is perceived as being vulnerable.
And a blind incursion in the Stepstones is the only way to demonstrate that we are not?
To elude a storm, you can either sail into it, or around it.
But you must never await its coming.
Do you have a specific course of action to propose, my lord?
Join our families.
Wed our daughter, Laena.
Unite the two great surviving Valyrian houses.
With the Targaryen dragons and the Velaryon fleet bound in blood, you can show the realm that The Crown’s strongest days are ahead, not behind.
I must admit, I haven’t given marriage much thought.
It hasn’t even been half a year since Aemma passed.
The realm expects you to take a new wife soon or late, Your Grace, to strengthen your line and produce more heirs.
You could not ask for a stronger match than Laena.
We haven’t spoken much since.
A regret of mine.
We should be free to speak our minds to one another.
You can say whatever you’d like.
You are the King.
I loved your mother very much.
As did I.
Ser Harrold provided a fine field of tourney knights.
But in questioning them, I discovered that Ser Criston was the only man among them with true battle experience.
He’ll make a fine knight of the Kingsguard.
Today at Small Council Pay it no mind.
I thought I might have had some insight.
You will learn.
This is our best chance to save the digit, Your Grace.
The maggots will remove the dead flesh and hopefully stop the advance of the rot.
I held an audience earlier today with Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys.
That was most charitable of you, Your Grace.
I’m sure Lord Corlys appreciated the spirit of it.
He proposed a marriage.
To whom, Your Grace?
The Lady Laena.
To combine the strength of our houses, and demonstrate my reign’s strongest days are ahead, not behind.
Lord Corlys has overreached, Your Grace.
Such matters must be discussed with the Small Council.
That is what I’m doing, presently.
So, what is your advice, dear Otto.
The Lady Laena is young, Your Grace.
Indeed, but the wounds made by the Great Council still linger, my King.
A match with their daughter would go a long way towards sealing the breach and uniting the two great Valyrian houses would certainly signal unity throughout the realm and beyond.
The Grand Maester’s reasoning is sound.
I do fear what Rhaenyra might think.
What does it matter, Your Grace?
Her mother has passed.
Her father must propagate the royal line.
I dearly loved my own lady wife.
The pain of her passing still haunts me.
And to be compelled to replace her for duty’s sake.
You are the King.
But I do not envy you.
What was it like flying the Black Dread?
You were Balerion’s last rider.
Only for a short time before he died.
With Balerion died the last memory of Valyria of Old.
But Vhagar still lives somewhere.
Bit too large for the Dragonpit.
Some would say too large for our world.
Do you know where she nests?
Do you know where Vhagar is now?
The Dragonkeepers believe she made home somewhere on the coast of the Narrow Sea.
The workers at Spicetown report hearing her song at times.
They say it is a sad thing.
I imagine even dragons get lonely.
Your Grace, it would be a great honor to join our houses as they were in Old Valyria.
I would give you many children of pure Valyrian bloodso that we might strengthen the royal line and the realm.
Is that what your father told you to say?
What did your mother tell you?
That I wouldn’t have to bed you until I turned 14.
It bothers you, does it not?
My father is a king.
It is his duty to take a new wife and strengthen his line.
I did not ask for a lesson in politics.
I asked whether this bothers you.
Laena is your daughter, Princess.
Does it bother you?
Of course, it does.
But I understand the order of things.
I’m not sure you do.
If you mean to elicit some anger from me, you should know that you’re failing, Princess.
Quite the opposite.
Whether it’s to my daughter or to someone else’s, your father will remarry sooner than late.
His new wife will produce new heirs, and chances are better than not that one of those will be male.
And when that boy comes of age and your father has passed, the men of the realm will expect him to be heir, not you.
Because that is the order of things.
When I’m Queen, I will create a new order.
How I wish that could be, Rhaenyra.
But the men of the realm already had their opportunity to appoint a ruling queen at the Great Council and they denied it.
They denied you, Princess Rhaenys.
“The Queen Who Never Was.”
But they bent the knee to me and called me heir to the throne.
Do you remind your father’s men of that as you carry their cups?
Here is the hard truth, which no one else has the heart to tell you.
Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne.
And your father is no fool.
The Small Council is urging me to remarry.
It seems the realm wants for a new queen.
A good and kind queen will give comfort to your subjects.
Does the Small Council have a particular lady in mind?
Lord Corlys Velaryon has offered the hand of his daughter, the Lady Laena.
A very strong match, Your Grace.
I must admit, I don’t know Laena very well.
I’m sure that she is good and kind, and that she will enjoy your company, as I have, Your Grace.
I brought you something.
I asked the stonemasons to mend it.
This is a very kind gesture, Alicent.
The Hand, Your Grace.
Your Grace, I’ve called the Small Council to an emergency session.
I think it best you hear it directly.
The Prince left a missive, which I believe might explain.
“It is the pleasure of Daemon Targaryen, the Prince of Dragonstone and rightful heir to the Iron Throne, to announce that he is to take a second wife in the tradition of Old Valyria. She is to assume the title Lady Mysaria of Dragonstone. Her Grace is with child and is to have a dragon’s egg placed in the babe’s cradle in the custom of House Targaryen.”
The Prince has invited you to his wedding, Your Grace.
It is in two days’ time.
Gods be good.
Who is Lady Mysaria?
We believe Daemon’s whore.
This is nothing less than sedition.
I strongly agree, sire.
My brother wishes to provoke me.
To answer is to give him what he wants.
The realm is watching, Your Grace.
What would you have me do?
Send him to the Wall?
Perhaps I could put his head on a spike.
Daemon has seized Dragonstone, has surrounded himself with an army of gold cloaks, and has now stolen a dangerous weapon.
Assemble a detachment, Otto.
I will go to Dragonstone and drag Daemon back to face justice myself.
My apologies, Your Grace, but I cannot allow it.
It’s too dangerous.
Daemon is without limit.
Let me go to Dragonstone.
You’re the most comely girl at court.
Why do you destroy yourself?
Will you see the King tonight?
If you wish it.
Good day, Ser Criston.
I’ve assembled 20 of your best household guards, my Lord Hand.
Sir Harrold will also join us.
Please look after the Hand, Ser Criston.
Welcome to Dragonstone, Otto.
Your occupation of this island is at an end.
You’re to relinquish the dragon’s egg, disband your army, banish your whore, and leave Dragonstone by order of His Grace, King Viserys.
Where is the King? I don’t see him.
His Grace would never lower himself to entertain such a mummer’s farce.
Ser Crispin, wasn’t it?
Ser Criston Cole, my Prince.
Yes, apologies. I couldn’t recall.
Perhaps my Prince recalls when I knocked him off his horse.
This is a truly pathetic show, Daemon.
Are you so desperate for the King’s attention that you’ve resorted to skulking about like a common cutpurse?
I’m simply keeping with the traditions of my house, the same as my brother did for his heir.
Those traditions are for the trueborn children of royalty, not for bastards fathered on a common whore.
Lady Mysaria is to be my wife.
This is an abomination.
With every breath you soil your name, your house, and your brother’s reign.
Our love does not know titles and traditions.
And what of you, men of the City Watch?
Aiding the Prince in his treason?
The King made me their commander.
They are loyal to me.
You’ve come for the egg.
Here it is.
Are you mad?
You’d never survive this.
Well, happily, neither would you.
To chose violence, here, is to declare war against your King.
Even if it ends in the death of your unborn child and its mother?
All of you, sheathe the fucking steel.
What are you doing here, Princess?
Ser Criston, please escort the Princess to safety.
Take care not to startle Syrax, my lords.
She’s rather protective of me.
I’m right here, Uncle, the object of your ire, the reason that you were disinherited.
If you wish to be restored as heir, you’ll need to kill me.
So, do it.
And be done with all this bother.
You announced that we were to be wed?
On the morrow.
And that I was with child.
Well, perhaps when we are wed, we can make that true.
I ensured long ago that I would never be threatened by childbirth.
Good. Children can be such irritating creatures.
You swore to protect me, Daemon.
Dragonstone is quite secure.
Until the King decides to reclaim his ancestral seat.
His men might not put the Prince’s head on a spike, but what would they do with the common whore he claims he’s taken to wife and made with child?
No one will harm you.
I have been sold as property more times than I care to count, beginning in a homeland I can no longer recall.
Most of my years have been spent living in terror.
You’re safe with me, I swear it.
You are Targaryen.
You can afford to play your stupid games with the King, but I cannot.
I didn’t come into your service wanting gold or power or station.
I came to you to be liberated.
No, please, Lord Lyonel.
I have come looking for an unencumbered opinion.
That’s all I would ever give, Your Grace.
Ever since my name was read by the archmaesters at the Great Council, I have felt Corlys Velaryon’s envious gaze staring at me from across the Blackwater.
You sit upon the highest seat in the realm, Your Grace.
Proud men don’t like having to look up.
Lord Corlys is your Master of Ships and she is the eldest daughter of the wealthiest house in the realm.
She comes from unimpeachable Valyrian stock and she has Targaryen blood.
What’s to mislike?
She is 12.
She will mature.
I never asked to remarry.
As King, you have a claim on all things.
Even those you don’t want.
Marriage is not an obligation you can put off for long.
What if I was to reject Lord Corlys’s proposal?
He would not be like to take it well.
I fear nothing short of a direct line to the Iron Throne would satisfy him.
You should also consider that we find ourselves on the precipice of war in the Stepstones.
And the Sea Snake holds claim to nearly half the realm’s ships.
He would not dare withhold them in the face of the realm’s need.
Who is he to hector me?
No one, Your Grace.
But Driftmark makes for a better ally than it does an enemy.
The Sea Snake has made a calculated reach, a fair play for a man of his position.
If you truly want my unencumbered opinion.
You should wed Laena Velaryon, Your Grace.
Sate Lord Corlys and fix him at your side, permanently, as an ally.
Your Grace, the Princess has returned from Dragonstone.
You disobeyed me.
You fled King’s Landing without a word and you acted without The Crown’s leave.
You are my only heir.
You could’ve been killed.
May I sit?
You went to Dragonstone.
And retrieved the egg without bloodshed.
A feat I’m not sure Ser Otto could’ve accomplished alone.
Yes, well, I sometimes forget how alike you both were.
Your mother’s absence is a wound that will never heal.
Without her, the Red Keep has lost a warmth that I dare say it will never recover.
It pleases me to hear you say this.
To know that I’m not alone in my grief.
I wish I had known better what to say to you in the aftermath.
I struggled to realize that my daughter had so quickly become a woman grown.
But I know she understands what is now expected of me.
The King must take a new wife.
I could never replace your mother.
No more than I intend to replace you as heir.
But you are my only heir and our line is vulnerable, too easily ended.
And by marrying again, I may begin to ensure that we are better defended.
Whomever may dare to challenge us.
I do not wish to make us estranged.
You are the King, and so, your first duty is to the realm.
Mother would’ve understood this.
Just as I do.
Good morrow, my lords.
I have decided to take a new wife.
I intend to marry the Lady Alicent Hightower before spring’s end.
This is an absurdity.
My house is Valyrian, the greatest power in the realm.
And I am your King.
House Velaryon’s origins reach back to Old Valyria.
More ancient even than House Targaryen according to some texts.
But unlike the Targaryens, we were no dragonlords.
For centuries, my house had to scratch out an existence from the sea with grit and luck.
When I ascended the Driftwood Throne,
I knew what I wanted.
So I went out and seized it.
Unlike every other lord of the realm, I can say that I built my house’s high seat with the strength of mine own back.
I’ve always thought of you and I as having been made from the same cloth.
I wasn’t aware you had a king for a brother.
We’re both men who have had to cut our own way through the world.
We’ve been passed over too often.
Did you call me to Driftmark to remind me of my low standing, Lord Corlys, or was there some other reason?
You’ve heard of the troubles in the Stepstones?
Some Myrish Prince is feeding Westerosi sailors to the crabs.
I have been petitioning the King to send my navy into the territory, but he’s denied me.
It was never my brother’s strongest trait.
The Crabfeeder is backed by powerful entities within the Free Cities who wish to see Westeros weakened.
And the King’s failures have allowed him to accumulate strength.
If those shipping lanes fall, my house will be crippled.
And I will not have Driftmark beggared while our King idles himself with feasts, and balls, and tourneys.
I will speak of my brother as I wish.
You will not.
Waiting in the Stepstones is a chance for you to prove your worth to any who might yet doubt it.
We are the realm’s second sons, Daemon.
Our worth is not given.
It must be made.