Original air date: September 4, 2022
For three years, the conflicts in the Stepstones region have significantly escalated. Lord Corlys and Prince Daemon battle Craghas Drahar and his pirates without support from the Crown, which remains neutral regarding the southern realm situation. King Viserys plans a great hunt to celebrate his and pregnant Queen Alicent’s son Aegon’s second birthday. Rhaenyra resents the attention her father continually heaps on Aegon. Their relationship is further strained by Viserys’ insistence that Rhaenyra must marry to form a strong alliance and protect their lineage. One suiter, Lord Jason Lannister of Casterly Rock, is eager to wed Rhaenyra, though she is uninterested. Lord Strong recommends that Rhaenyra wed Ser Laenor Velaryon, Lord Corlys’ son, repairing the rift between their two houses. On his brother’s advice, Otto Hightower urges Alicent to persuade the king to name Aegon as heir, furthering the Hightowers’ power and prestige. The king tells Rhaenyra she can choose her own husband. The king also sends aid to Daemon in the Stepstones. Meanwhile, Lord Corlys, his brother Vaemond, and Daemon, accompanied by House Velaryon soldiers, fight a losing battle against the Triarchy warriors. Ser Laenor, riding his dragon Seasmoke, appears and helps defeat the Triarchy warriors. Daemon kills the Crabfeeder.
* * *
(epic theme playing)
Velaryon Knight: House Velaryon is coming for you!
The Sea Snake will have your poxy fucking head!
No, no, no. No, please!
Fuck you, Prince Drahar!
Fuck your whore mother and bastard father!
No, no! No!
Soldier: (shouting) Dragon!
Hail Prince Daemon!
Burn the fucking Triarchy cunts alive!
Here, my Prince.
To the caves! Now!
Soldier: Retreat to the caves!
Where are you?
Come out and face me, Drahar!
Come out, Drahar!
Where are you?
I’m gonna feed you to your own crabs!
Where are you?
(light music playing)
Noble: He has your hair, Your Grace.
King Viserys: He does have my hair.
He has your eyes, Your Grace.
Yes, he does.
And you have my nose, don’t you?
Two years old and already our boy has a kingly presence.
He may yet, brother, but this morning he insisted on eating porridge with his hands.
(laughs) He will grow.
We’re quite a party assembled in his honor.
And surely by the end of this hunt, we shall have more to celebrate.
And what is that, pray tell.
It is Aegon’s second name day.
His infancy’s behind him.
It only remains for Viserys to name him heir to the throne.
I wouldn’t be so sure.
He’s the King’s firstborn son.
I don’t know that His Grace sees it so clearly.
Then it lies with you to make him see it…
Tyland Lannister: Your Grace… I bring urgent news from the Step stones.
The Crabfeeder has dug in for siege on Bloodstone while his men sabotage our fleet under the cover of dark.
Not today, Tyland.
The matter of the Step stones is regrettably urgent.
It’s been three years.
It can wait another three days.
Fortify yourselves for the journey.
Is the baggage train ready?
It is presently massing at the River Gate.
Lord Jason expects us in the Kings wood before midday.
Have you seen Rhaenyra?
I have not, Your Grace.
With the Triarchy now sheltering in Bloodstone’s caves, the threat of the dragons is blunted.
They don’t have foot soldiers.
But their sell swords have been withdrawing in droves, Your Grace.
Even the mercenaries can see that it is a losing effort.
I cannot be sure at present, Your Grace.
The Velaryon forces have suffered heavy attrition, Your Grace.
The seeds of dissent are sown amongst the rank and file.
Daemon has driven the men hard.
They have begun to question his command.
If the crown were ever to intervene…
…now is the time.
Daemon and The Sea Snake started their war without His Grace’s leave.
Were he to intervene now after so long, it would make the crown appear weak.
Can someone tell me where in the Seven Hells Rhaenyra might be?
(singing) ♪ Under the dragon’s eye ♪
♪ Under the dragon’s eye ♪
Perhaps the Princess might like to hear something else?
She would not. Play it again.
(minstrel clears his throat)
(singing) ♪ She fled with her ships ♪
♪ And her people ♪
♪ Her heart broken for those ♪
Did I say to stop?
From the beginning.
(singing) ♪ She fled with her ships ♪
Yes, my Queen?
Your presence is wanted in the outer courtyard.
The royal hunt readies to depart.
I’ve decided to remain here and read instead.
You may go, Sam well.
You are to stay by order of the Princess.
The Queen commands you to leave the Godswood at once.
The King wishes for you to join us.
The King has much to celebrate.
He does not need me.
He wants for us all to be together.
Perhaps the hunt could be… fun.
Is it the King’s command?
Yes, but it…
Then at once, Your Grace.
But it needn’t be.
None of it needs be this way in truth, Rhaenyra.
King Viserys: Well, isn’t this splendid.
The whole of our family off to celebration and adventure in the Kings wood.
Should you be traveling in such condition?
The maester said that being out in nature would do me well.
Well, you will be with your own child sooner than late, and make me a proud grand sire.
It’s not so bad.
The days are long, but Aegon came quickly and without fuss.
You should ride out with me today.
Join in the chase.
I’d rather not.
The boars squeal like children when they’re being slaughtered.
I find it discomforting.
It’s a hunt, Rhaenyra.
How would you like to participate?
I’m not sure why I must.
Because you are my daughter…
And you have duties.
(softly) As I am ceaselessly reminded.
King Viserys: I’m sorry?
(louder) As I am ceaselessly reminded.
You wouldn’t need to be reminded if you ever attended to them.
No one’s here for me.
(grand music playing)
Hail, hail Aegon, the Conqueror-Babe, Second of His Name!
Here’s to His Grace on his second name day!
(pensive music playing)
Ceira Lannister: Lady Johanna was reported to have been abducted when one of Lord Swann’s ships sailed through the Step stones.
What will happen to Lady Johanna?
Ceira: She’s to be sold to a pillow house in the Free Cities if you believe the rumors.
I fear the gods did not make me for hunting.
Might I sit with you, my ladies?
Queen Alicent: But of course. Please join us.
Larys Strong, the youngest son of our Master of Law, Lord Lyonel.
My Lord husband says that no King has even been able to tame the Step stones for long.
It’s an inhospitable place suited only for savages.
Perhaps the Princess… can give us some insight.
(chuckles) Oh, I’m not sure how I could.
I’ve never been to the Step stones.
Your dear uncle is the great mind behind this war.
Is he not?
I wouldn’t know.
I’ve not spoken to Daemon in years.
Since you supplanted him as heir.
Daemon made his choices, Lady Ceira.
The Princess was more suited to the role.
Joselyn Redwyne: He’s made a mess and the King must put an end to it.
Send fleets and men and clear out the Triarchy for good.
But the crown is not at war.
The crown… is at war, Princess.
Though your father refuses to admit it, we’ve been dragged into it by your uncle and The Sea Snake.
And how have you served the realm of late, Lady Redwyne, by eating cake?
(tense music playing)
I wonder, Princess… was your own second name day as grand as this?
I honestly don’t recall and neither will Aegon.
Lord Jason Lannister.
I gathered that from all the lions.
I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced.
Your twin serves on my father’s council.
frightfully dull, gods love him.
The finest honeyed wine you’ll ever taste.
Made in Lannisport, of course.
Ah, the Kings wood, it’s fine hunting ground.
But the best spot is to be found at Casterly Rock, near my home.
Have you been?
Um, once… on tour with my mother when I was young, and honestly can’t recall much of that either.
The Rock is thrice the height of the High tower in Old town, taller still than the Wall in the north.
It’s been said that if one were to stand in the tower… on a perfect day, one could see clear across the Sunset Sea.
It must be quite something.
Hm, I don’t have a Dragon pit, of course, but… I do have the means and resources to build one.
Why would you need a Dragon pit?
To house dragons, of course.
I’d do anything for my Queen… or… lady wife.
Thank you for the wine.
Rhaenyra: Is that what I am to you?
A prize to proffer about to the great houses?
You’re of age, Rhaenyra.
And Jason Lannister is an excellent match.
He’s arrogant and self-serious.
Well, I thought you might have that in common.
Since you came of age, I’ve been slowly drowning in a lake of parchment flung from every corner of the realm.
Marriage proposals, all.
And I have tried often to discuss it with you, but you’ve refused me at every turn.
That is because I do not wish to get married.
(shouts) Even I do not exist above tradition and duty, Rhaenyra!
Excuse me, Your Grace.
You must marry.
The royal huntsman have sent a report, Your Grace.
There’s been a sighting of a white hart.
The stag is “The King of the Kings wood,” Your Grace.
A regal portent for Prince Aegon’s name day.
Criston Cole: Princess, wait!
(shouts) Princess, slow down!
Hyah, hyah, hyah!
Criston: Whoa, whoa, now!
What happened back there?
trying to sell me off to Jason Lannister.
Was… was I named heir to the Iron Throne so that I might only further raise the standing of a Lord of Casterly Rock?
Do you want me to kill him?
We should return to camp, Princess.
It’s a beautiful day.
We should take in the Kings wood.
Were you ever betrothed, Ser Criston?
I had an adventurous youth when my father served at Blackhaven, to be sure.
But my station was never high enough for a formal betrothal.
Before I spoke my vows as a knight of the Kings guard, I could’ve married a common-born girl had I wished.
How lucky you are to have a say in your own life.
Many in the realm would gladly trade positions with you, Princess.
Only because none of them has ever held my position.
I may be the Princess of Dragons tone, but I am toothless.
One day… not so long ago, you held enough power to write my name into the White Book.
And when your father named me to his Kings guard, it was the highest honor any Cole have ever known.
All that I have, I owe to you.
Now I’d hardly call that toothless, Princess.
How land Sharp: Your Grace.
King Viserys: How far?
Her droppings were found half a league to the east.
(sniffs) Still fresh.
Between two and three hours, Your Grace.
My best scouts spied him.
The beast is upward of 35 stone.
And we now have his trail.
Before the dragons ruled over Westeros, the white hart was a symbol of royalty in these lands.
And on this day of all days.
I’ve never been one for signs and portents, Your Grace, but if the gods did wish to show their favor.
Jason Lannister: Your Grace… I had this forged in the Golden Gallery in honor of Prince Aegon.
It’s quite a thing.
I hope it might provide the killing stroke against your white hart.
The King of the Kings wood.
It’s as if the Seven themselves have blessed this day.
Thank you… for your generosity.
I would be honored to take the Princess Rhaenyra to wife, Your Grace.
What I offer you,
The crown and your daughter, is strength.
Do you think that House Targaryen wants for strength?
If someone offered you more dragons, would you not take them?
Do you have dragons to offer?
Casterly Rock is a splendid seat.
Rhaenyra may take her place there by my side without shame, and feel herself well-compensated for her loss in station.
What loss of station?
If you were to name young Aegon heir, Your Grace.
And when would I be doing that?
I had assumed… As he’s your firstborn son…
Many of us had assumed…
Many of us, you say?
Have your bannermen questioned my choice of heir?
Of course not, Your Grace.
It is your sworn duty to report rebellion stirring in my kingdom.
There’s been nothing of the sort, Your Grace. I, I… I did not decide to name Rhaenyra my heir on a whim.
All the lords of the kingdom would do well to remember that.
Thank you… for the gift.
Otto High tower: The huntsman has the trail, Your Grace, and has sent out the hounds.
It won’t be long now until the white hart is cornered.
Your prize is within reach.
What do you make of Lord Jason’s proposal?
That man’s pride has pride.
You’re not only Rhaenyra’s father, you’re the King.
She’ll do as you command.
It is not my wish to command her, Otto.
I want her to be happy.
There is another choice beyond Casterly Rock.
One, perhaps, you might be more comfortable with.
One… closer to home.
Who do you have in mind?
The boy just turned two, Otto.
Yes, but it would cease the endless proposals for Rhaenyra’s hand.
I came here to hunt… not to be suffocated by all this fucking politicking.
Let us speak no more of it.
Lyonel Strong: We’ve sent out riders to find Rhaenyra, Your Grace.
Ser Criston went after her, so the hope is that they are together.
The girl is a heedless contrarian.
If I instead forbade her to wed a Lannister, she would’ve run off with Lord Jason out of spite.
A truly great Targaryen King I am.
Powerless over mine own daughter of seven-and-ten.
King Jaehaerys ruled over half a century of peace while his children drove him to the edge of madness… his daughters, in particular.
It is tradition, Your Grace.
Do you wish to hear my opinion on the matter?
Should I guess?
You believe that your son, Ser Harwin “Break bones,” the strongest knight in the Seven Kingdoms, is the best match for Rhaenyra.
You flatter me, Your Grace, but no.
It would seem to me the best match for Rhaenyra is the son of The Sea Snake, Ser Laenor.
Some years ago, I counseled you to take his sister to wife.
My reasoning remains the same.
Laenor is of pure Valyrian descent.
He shares blood with your cousin, the Princess Rhaenys.
And he is the heir to the wealthiest house in the realm.
The breach between your houses has not narrowed since I last spoke of it.
It would do much to assuage Lord Corlys of any slights real… or imagined.
We must pray, of course, that Laenor survives the fighting in the Step stones.
(solemn music playing)
Princess, I must make a final plea that we return to the camp.
I rather prefer it here.
His Grace is certain to be worried by your absence.
His Grace can worry himself to death if he so likes.
Tell me something, Ser Criston.
Do you think the realm will ever accept me as their Queen?
They’ll have no choice but to, Princess.
Is everything all right, Your Grace?
You know, I…
I named her… to protect the realm from Daemon.
She was my only child.
“The Realm’s Delight.”
I named her out of love because I no longer believed…
Believed what, my love?
Many in my line have been dragon riders.
Very few among us have been dreamers.
What is the power of a dragon… next to the power of prophecy.
The hour is too late, husband.
When Rhaenyra was a child… I saw it in a dream… as vivid as these flames, I saw it.
A male babe born to me… wearing the Conqueror’s crown.
And I so wanted it to be true, to be a dreamer myself.
I sought that vision again, night after night… but it never came again.
I poured all my thought and will into it.
And my obsession killed Rhaenyra’s mother.
Queen Alicent: Viserys.
I thought Rhaenyra was the way out of my abyss of grief and regret.
And naming her heir would begin to set things right.
Oh, it did.
I never imagined I would remarry… that I would have a son.
What if I was wrong?
Harwin Strong: Left.
He may not be white, Your Grace.
But he’s a big lad.
Your Grace… for the kill.
(tense music playing)
Royal Huntsman: Right here, Your Grace.
One more time, Your Grace.
A little bit to your left.
(light music playing)
Come, sweet Prince.
Let’s give Her Grace some peace.
Did you enjoy the hunt, Your Grace?
How fared my grandson?
The ladies Lannister and Redwyne were quite taken with him.
Otto: As they should be.
He’s the future of the realm.
Well, you yourself witnessed the scale of the celebration, how it’s united the men.
When you bore the King a son, you ended 15 years of uncertainty and doubt.
Aegon, like his namesake, was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms.
If Viserys were to name him heir, the realm would fete him for it.
And does this not please you?
Do you not want your son to be King?
And what mother wouldn’t?
You mustn’t ignore the certain truth that if Rhaenyra were to step over Aegon to ascend the throne, the realm would tear itself apart.
They all swore obeisance to her, our house among them.
That was before Aegon.
Rhaenyra will be a good queen.
It wouldn’t matter if she were Jaehaerys himself born again.
Rhaenyra is a woman.
What of my son?
Would you have me raise a man to steal his own sister’s birthright?
It is Aegon that’s being robbed.
He’s the firstborn son of the King.
To deny that he is heir to the throne is to assail the laws of gods and men.
The road ahead is uncertain, but the end is clear.
Aegon will be king.
You must guide Viserys towards reason.
He’ll never find it on his own.
How are you feeling, husband?
The gods have punished me for my indulgences.
At least the wine was good.
(King Viserys sighing)
I was hoping we might discuss something.
I do not think she enjoyed Jason Lannister’s company.
She is cross.
I warned you that she would be.
Rhaenyra has come of age.
She must needs marry a high lord who will honor her, defend her, and serve her as king consort.
Her wishes in this matter are irrelevant.
I do believe that Rhaenyra will marry, Your Grace.
But she must believe it is her choice to do so.
A letter… from Vaemond Velaryon.
The Sea Snake’s brother.
He’s fighting in the Step stones, with all the rest of them.
Lord Corlys and Prince Daemon are losing their war.
Badly, by all accounts.
This is a plea for aid.
Then why not send it?
Because it is a war started by two malcontents, unhappy with decisions I made.
If I now provide Daemon and Corlys succor, what will that say of their king?
Perhaps, that he is a good man who loves his brother.
Well, if you truly believe that, my dear… then you possess a generous spirit.
What do you believe, Viserys?
That I am forever doomed to anger one person in the pleasing of another.
Then I pose a simpler question.
Is it better for the realm if the Crabfeeder thrives, or is vanquished?
King Viserys: Make haste to Dwarfstone, Ser Addam.
Hand-deliver this to Prince Daemon yourself.
At once, Your Grace.
I’m sending word to Daemon.
Aid is sailing to the Step stones.
Did he make call for help?
He would sooner die.
But his king does not mean to allow that.
Do you not think my decision correct?
It is no consequence to what I think… as I’m often reminded.
Daemon is thorn enough in my flesh.
Will you insist on taking after him?
Must everything be a battle?
If you refer to your attempt to marry me off to Casterly Rock.
(sighs) I am sorry, Rhaenyra.
I was trying to help you.
Will you not be helped?
Why must every effort on your behalf be resisted as if to the death?
Because you mean to replace me… with Alicent Hightower’s son, the boy you always wanted.
You have him in hands now.
Y-You have no further use for me.
You might as well peddle me for what you can.
A mountain stronghold or a fleet of ships.
You have misjudged me, Rhaenyra.
All know it.
Jason Lannister knows it.
You said it yourself, the lords of the realm gather like vultures to a carcass, hoping to feast on my bones.
It is true that as rulers we must marry for advantage to forge alliances and bolster our strength.
You have always understood this.
I myself was promised to your mother when I was…
Ten-and-seven years of age.
The Vale had an army to rival the North.
I’ve heard that story since I’ve had ears to.
I loved her.
She made a man of me.
I do not seek to replace you, child.
You’ve been much alone these last few years.
Alone and angry.
I will not live forever.
I wish to see you contented, happy even.
You think a man will do it?
I had a family.
What would you have me do?!
If it was for advantage, you would’ve wed Laena Velaryon!
That is true enough.
You must marry, strengthen your own claim, shore up your succession, multiply.
As to your match… make it yourself.
Search him out.
Find one that pleases you, as I did.
I did waver at one time.
But I swear to you now, on your mother’s memory, you will not be supplanted.
(tense music playing)
Corlys Velaryon: We have 16, perhaps 18, seaworthy ships.
Seven hundred foot, some 60 knights.
Our food quickly dwindles, save for what we can fish from the sea.
I would say we have a fortnight, mayhaps a bit longer with strict rationing.
I’ve made call for Driftmark to send more ships, but they will be weeks away.
We are faltering and the Triarchy knows it.
We must press the attack, continue sending the dragons.
Laenor Velaryon: It’s pointless, father.
The Crabfeeder has created a choke point here, beyond these dunes.
Archers hold the high positions, foot soldiers hold the ground.
We’ve strafed them on dragon back again and again, but they just retreat within the caves.
Dragons can circle Bloodstone until they fall out of the sky.
The Crabfeeder and his men have no reason to leave those caves.
Laenor: We must give them one, an offering of flesh to bait the crab.
Joffrey Velaryon: Dragon returning!
Vaemond Velaryon: Yes. Who?
Which man here will happily go to his death?
Show me the knight who will march into that hell pit, nephew, and I will show you a madman.
Daemon is why we are losing!
Laenor: He at least is fighting this war.
What role have you played in his council, uncle, other than Master of Complaints?
Vaemond: If King’s Landing will not support Daemon, why should any of us?!
Blood or no, Vaemond, I will not have you stoke mutiny.
If you do not seize control of this war, my lord, the crabs will soon dine on all of us.
I bring word from His Grace, Viserys Targaryen, first of his name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.
(contemplative music playing)
Joffrey: (muffled) That’s enough! Stop!
King Viserys: Brother…
I have ordered 10 ships and 2,000 men to set sail from King’s Landing to join the effort in the Step stones.
Though time and circumstance have seen us estranged, know that it is not my desire to see you fail in your cause.
It is instead my hope that this aid will deliver the victory that has thus far evaded us.
I shall pray nightly to the gods for your safe return.
(intense music playing)
(speaking High Valyrian) Dracarys!
(Sea Smoke screeches)
(Sea Smoke screeches)