Original air date: October 9, 2022
Six years on, Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Driftmark, is severely wounded fighting in the Stepstones. His brother, Ser Vaemond, petitions King’s Landing to name him as Corlys’ heir, proclaiming Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys illegitimate. Rhaenyra and Daemon return to the capital to defend Lucerys’ claim. They find King Viserys bedridden, disfigured, and mentally muddled. Queen Alicent and Ser Otto Hightower oversee all royal business. Alicent covers up Prince Aegon raping a handmaiden. Rhaenyra proposes two marriage arrangements to gain Princess Rhaenys’ support. She also implores Viserys to defend her succession, quoting Aegon the Conqueror’s dream about the Prince That Was Promised. Ser Vaemond presents his petition at court. Viserys, barely ambulatory, enters the throne room and declares Lucerys the Driftmark heir. When an enraged Vaemond denounces Rhaenyra as a whore and her children bastards, Daemon beheads him. During a feast, the family appears to mend their differences. After Viserys leaves, Aemond makes a veiled insult against Rhaenyra’s three eldest sons, inciting a fight. Viserys, near death, mutters parts of Aegon the Conqueror’s dream, which Alicent believes refers to their son, Aegon. Alicent’s lady-in-waiting, Tayla, is secretly providing Daemon’s former mistress, Mysaria, with information.
* * *
(epic theme playing)
Princess Rhaenys: It’s been near six years since I last saw my lord husband, Maester.
I must know… will he live?
Maester Kelvyn: He led his sailors into an ambush.
A ship made to look as if it were abandoned.
In the fighting, his neck was slashed by a corsair’s dagger.
He fell overboard into the sea.
The wound was severe.
Much blood was lost.
But the greater concern is the fever that followed.
The ship’s maester said he burns from within.
The ravens came in from?
Kelvyn: Even fall, Princess.
So they arrive in three days.
Let all be made ready to receive him, Maester Kelvyn.
The Sea Snake is strong.
Vaemond Velaryon: No doubt.
And yet, I have seen blood fever overcome men half his age.
I will not suffer the talk of crows in my house, Vaemond.
I love my brother… but we must be honest with ourselves.
We may greet his ship to find him gone.
And who will take the Driftwood Throne?
My grandmother seems quite comfortable here.
She presides only in the absence of her husband.
On his death, the seat passes.
To Lucerys Velaryon.
As is my lord husband’s desire.
I am the Sea Snake’s own blood, the closest kin he has left.
Be careful, good-brother.
One could take your words for treason.
I speak the truth, Rhaenys.
And you know it.
The matter has been decided.
Vaemond: By a man whose ambition has brought down on us calamity after calamity.
My brother cares only for the history books.
But what of the Velaryon line?
Is it to be snuffed out, supplanted by the pups of House Strong?
Driftmark is mine by all rights.
And while I should like your support, I do not… need it.
The winds have shifted.
The crown has good reason… to take my side.
My cousin the King would have your tongue for this.
But it’s not a king who sits the Iron Throne these days, good-sister.
It’s a queen.
(tense music playing)
(speaking High Valyrian)
Prince Jacaerys: The Conqueror and his sisters sailed with a great army.
Maester Gerardys: (speaking High Valyrian) Se Blakuata Rasho dranot vilinio viartis.
Jacaerys: (exhales) And landed at the Blackwater Rush.
Dr a not.
Jacaerys: Dr a not. Dr a not.
Dr a not. At the end?
Mouth! Ah, come on, Jace, you knew that.
Dr a not. Dr a not.
Dr a not vilinio viartis.
Dr a not.
Dr a not. Come on, Jace.
Perhaps that’s enough for this morning.
No, no. I-I want to keep going.
Guesi misenakson Aegon undas.
Aegon… ordered that the trees should be…
Princess Rhaenyra: Felled.
It is a related word.
I don’t expect you to learn High Valyrian in a day, Jace.
A king should honor the traditions of his forbears.
Well… unless you’re planning to depose your own mother, you have plenty of time to study.
He means to call into question Luke’s legitimacy.
And by extension Jace, and by extension my own claim to the throne.
Vaemond cares only about Driftmark and the Velaryon line.
Not about our politics.
Has he made common cause with Otto High tower yet?
Hm, this is what I fear.
Rhaenys has flown to court.
Surely, she cannot be planning to back him.
Whatever disagreements we may have had, she’s not cruel… or stupid enough to do that.
She believes we had her son killed so that we might marry.
Yes… and yet, she’s taken Baela to ward.
Yes. It is Laena’s memory she honors. She has no love for us.
Has the vipers’ venom spread so far?
Those vipers rule in my father’s name.
And my father…
What choice do I have?
To King’s Landing, then.
(intense music playing)
Steffon Darklyn: All hail Rhaenyra of House Targaryen, Princess of Dragons tone and heir to the Iron Throne and her royal consort, Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Welcome back, Princess.
I would say it’s nice to be home, but I scarcely recognize it.
Prince Daemon: Mm.
Lyman Beesbury: We have continued to enjoy improved customs duties since the settling of the Step stones.
And the extent to which we exploit those is contingent on the harbor master’s receipts.
Of which, um, uh, the, uh, septons have requested half that again for a bronze bust they wish to co… to commission for the, the Festival of the Mother, which I would not recommend.
Thank you for that exhaustive accounting, Lord Beesbury.
I remind you…
Your guests have arrived, Your Grace.
I trust they’ve been welcomed as befits their station.
As you instructed, Lord Hand.
Grand Maester Orwyle: It was my understanding Lord Corlys wished for his grandson Lucerys to succeed him as Lord of the Tides.
The boy has been raised most of his life away from Driftmark.
He can fly a dragon, yes, but can he command a fleet?
Ability does not alter his claim.
The Sea Snake has never formally named him as heir, if it comes to that.
The crown must choose what is best for the realm.
He is Laenor’s son. What grounds could there be…
What indeed, Lord Beesbury.
We shall hear Princess Rhaenyra’s petition, along with those of the other claimants on the morrow.
I do beg your pardon, my lords.
I must greet our guests.
Shall we levy a tax on the sale of new wool?
Your Grace… a matter has arisen that requires your attention.
Whatever it is, Ser Arryk, it’ll need to wait.
I’m Erryk, Your Grace.
Of course. My apologies, ser.
It’s about the Prince.
There’s been a delicate situation in his apartments.
(unsettling music playing)
(melancholy music playing)
Who goes there?
It’s me, my King.
King Viserys: Oh…
I’m here with Daemon.
Help me up.
It has been so long.
The Sea Snake has taken a grave wound in battle in the Step stones.
We won that war years ago.
The Triarchy is resurgent.
The fighting is anew.
And there is a p… There is a petition to decide upon the succession of Driftmark and the heir to the Driftwood Throne.
Alicent and Otto… they see to all that business now.
No, brother, listen to me.
You are to affirm your position for Lucerys to be Corlys Velaryon’s successor.
Has something happened to Lord Corlys?
Father… there’s someone we wish to introduce you to.
Who is that?
Rhaenyra: Father… this is Aegon.
And this… is Viserys.
(laughs) Now that is a name fit for a king.
Oh, I’m sorry.
Oh, I’m sorry. I-I’m sorry.
Oh, I’m sorry. I’m sor…
My tea… My tea.
What tea? This?
Talya: I brought her here immediately.
She’s seen no one else, Your Grace.
Come here, sweetling.
Tell me your name.
It’s Dyana, Your Grace. If… i-if it please you.
Dyana. What a pretty name.
I understand you’ve found yourself in some trouble.
I was fetching the Prince his wine, and I put it on his table, and when I turned…
I didn’t see him.
I asked him to stop, Your Grace.
I did, truly…
you must believe me.
Thank you for telling me, Dyana.
I know it wasn’t your fault.
I believe you.
But what I worry about…
is what others might believe.
You were alone with the Prince, were you not?
Yes, I… (stammers)
And no one else saw what happened between the two of you.
If anyone else were to hear about this…
I haven’t told anyone.
You told Ser Erryk and Talya and now me.
And though I believe you are not to blame, others might not be so trusting.
They might think you were trying to besmirch the Prince, or worse… that you’re the sort of girl that might have enticed him in the first place.
And you know what happens to girls like that.
I, I wouldn’t dream of breathing another word to anyone, Your Grace.
I, I swear it on my life.
I know you won’t.
For your troubles.
(door opens, closes)
The tea, Your Grace.
It’s best to be certain.
Queen Alicent: Get up.
(yells) Get up!
What is it?
“What is it? What is it?
What is it?” That’s all you can say for yourself?
Has something happened?
Alicent: The serving girl.
Oh, for the gods’ sake.
The girl, Aegon. The one you sent fleeing from your company.
Prince Aegon: (stretching) Oh, it was just harmless fun.
She didn’t need to go and get upset about it.
Think of the shame on your wife, on me.
How can you keep carrying on like this, especially on a day like today?
Why? What is it today?
You are no son of mine.
I did not ask for this.
I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to, and I try so…
I try so hard, but it will never be enough for you or father.
Have you seen Dyana? She’s supposed to dress the children.
He looks like a different person.
I believe we should also consult Maester Gerardys.
Perhaps if he could see the King, he’d suggest a different…
And Prince Daemon.
It has been so long since we were granted the joy of your presence.
Indeed, Your Grace.
Though not long enough to merit a greeting upon our arrival.
I’m sure the Queen had pressing business, my love.
What can either of us know of ruling a kingdom?
I do not rule, as you well know.
My father and I are mere stewards of the King’s will and wisdom.
Daemon: And how exactly is that wisdom expressed… hm?
In blinks and wheezes?
I’d be surprised if he could remember his own name.
Or if you could.
King Viserys’s condition has worsened since you saw him last.
It subjects him to considerable pain.
On the advice of the maesters…
Ah, the maesters.
Of course. It is they who keep him… addled on milk of the poppy while the High towers warm his throne.
Rhaenyra, if you would see him without it, almost blind with suffering.
Oh, Alicent, I have no doubt it was… an act of the purest mercy, but tell me, for the King’s suffering, did the maesters also prescribe the removal of Targaryen heraldry and the installation in its stead of various statues and stars?
The emblems of the Seven serve only to guide us on an uncertain path.
To remind us of a higher authority.
And on the morrow, which authority will sit in judgment of my son’s claim on his own inheritance?
That would be mine… and the Hand’s.
But be assured, the Father is just and commands me to forget the accusations you have hurled in this room today.
Smaller than I remember.
It looks exactly the same.
Ah, Luke, come on.
(knights, squires grunting)
See? I told you this would still be here.
And you thought you could swing Criston’s morning star.
And you almost took your own head off.
What’s your problem?
Everyone’s staring at us.
No one would question me being heir to Driftmark… if… if I looked more like Ser Laenor Velaryon than Ser Harwin Strong.
It doesn’t matter what they think.
Well done, my Prince.
You’ll be winning tourneys in no time.
I don’t give a shit about tourneys.
have you come to train?
Guard: (shouts) Open the gate!
(intense music playing)
Otto High tower: Hold your nerve, my Queen.
What we do, we do for the good of the realm.
I must confess a certain uneasiness now this is at hand.
He may yet live.
But we must be prepared if he does not.
The realm has enjoyed a long peace, a credit to the work of both Jaehaerys and Viserys, but the threat of war looms and may arrive on our shores.
When it does, will you want a child at the command of the greatest fleet in Westeros?
We must, of course… act in the interest of our subjects.
The next Lord of the Tides will be deeply in your debt, Your Grace.
As will Driftmark… in all its strength.
Rhaena Targaryen: Grandmother?
Baela said you might be here.
She’s done well as your ward.
You’ve, um… raised her admirably.
You honor me, Princess.
Might I speak to the Princess alone, Rhaena?
I wondered for many an hour what your purpose was in coming here.
Whether you’d speak for or against the suit brought by Ser Vaemond.
But then, I realized… you intend to advocate for yourself.
This is no fair proceeding.
It is a trap set by the Queen and the Hand, I’d wager, to proclaim my son illegitimate.
Yet you did worse than that with Laenor.
Did you not?
I loved your son.
You may not believe it to be true, but I did.
I did not order his death.
Nor was I complicit in it. I swear this to you.
I’ll make you an offer.
Back Luke’s claim, and let us betroth Laena’s children to mine.
Baela will be Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and her sons will be heirs to the throne.
Rhaena will rule in Driftmark, and… the seat will pass to her and Lucerys’s children in time.
A generous offer.
Or a desperate one.
What does it matter?
You are right in this, at least.
It does not matter.
You can bargain with me all you like.
Bring my granddaughter with you to soften my resolve.
But tomorrow, the High towers land their first blow.
They force you to your knees… and I must stand alone.
(tense music playing)
(thundering, rain falling)
(Viserys breathing heavily)
No, it’s Rhaenyra, father.
“The Song of Ice and Fire.” Do you believe it to be true?
You told me it was our duty to hold the realm united against a common foe.
By naming me heir, you divided the realm.
(Viserys breathing heavily)
I thought I wanted it.
But the burden is a heavy one.
(softly) It’s too heavy.
My… My only child.
If you wish me to bear it, then defend me.
And my children.
I want to have supper, Otto.
It is the morning, Your Grace.
The whole of my family… are gathered at the Red Keep.
I want us… to dine together.
Bring milk of the poppy.
Just arrange the supper.
Though it is the great hope of this court that Lord Corlys Velaryon survive his wounds, we gather here with the grim task of dealing with the succession of Driftmark.
As Hand, I speak with the King’s voice on this and all other matters.
The crown will now hear the petitions.
Ser Vaemond of House Velaryon.
Vaemond: My Queen.
My Lord Hand.
The history of our noble houses extends beyond the Seven Kingdoms to the days of Old Valyria.
For as long as House Targaryen has ruled the skies, House Velaryon has ruled the seas.
When the Doom fell on Valyria, our houses became the last of their kind.
Our forebearers came to this new land, knowing that were they to fail, it would mean the end to their bloodlines and their name.
I have spent my entire life on Driftmark defending my brother’s seat.
I am Lord Corlys’s closest kin, his own blood.
The true, unimpeachable blood of House Velaryon runs through my veins.
As it does in my sons, the offspring of Laenor Velaryon.
If you cared so much about your house’s blood, Ser Vaemond, you would not be so bold as to supplant its rightful heir.
No, you only speak for yourself and for your own ambition.
You will have chance to make your own petition, Princess Rhaenyra.
Do Ser Vaemond the courtesy of allowing his to be heard.
What do you know of Velaryon blood, Princess?
I could cut my veins and show it to you and you still wouldn’t recognize it.
This is about the future and survival of my house, not yours.
My Queen, my Lord Hand.
This is a matter of blood, not ambition.
I place the continuation of the survival of my house and my line above all.
I humbly put myself before you as my brother’s successor… the Lord of Driftmark and Lord of the Tides.
Thank you, Ser Vaemond.
Princess Rhaenyra, you may now speak for your son, Lucerys Velaryon.
If I am to grace this farce with some answer, I will start by reminding the court that nearly 20 years ago, in this very…
King Viserys of House Targaryen, the First of His Name, King of the Andals, and the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.
(dark, triumphant music playing)
I will sit the throne today.
I will be fine.
I said I’m fine.
I must… admit… my confusion.
I do not understand why petitions are being heard over a settled succession.
The only one present… who might offer keener insight into Lord Corlys’s wishes is the Princess Rhaenys.
Indeed, Your Grace.
It was ever my husband’s will that Driftmark pass through Ser Laenor to his true born son… Lucerys Velaryon.
His mind never changed.
Nor did my support of him.
As a matter of fact, the Princess Rhaenyra has just informed me of her desire to marry her sons Jace and Luke to Lord Corlys’s granddaughters, Baela and Rhaena.
A proposal to which I heartily agree.
Viserys: Well… the matter is settled.
I hereby reaffirm Prince Lucerys of House Velaryon as heir to Driftmark, the Driftwood Throne, and the next Lord of the Tides.
You break law… and centuries of tradition to install your daughter as heir.
Yet you dare tell me… who deserves to inherit the name Velaryon.
I will not allow it.
Do not forget yourself, Vaemond.
(shouts) That is no true Velaryon, and certainly no nephew of mine.
Go to your chambers. You have said enough.
Lucerys is my true-born grandson.
And you… are no more than the second son of Driftmark.
You… may run your house as you see fit… but you will not decide the future of mine.
My house survived the Doom and a thousand tribulations besides.
And gods be damned… I will not see it ended on the account of this…
(softly) Say it.
Her children… (shouts) are bastards!
And she… is… a whore.
I… will have your tongue for that.
He can keep his tongue.
(shouts) Disarm him!
Alicent: Call the maesters!
Please, my love. You must take something for the pain.
I will not cloud my mind.
I must put things right.
(solemn music playing)
The body will be ready for its return to Driftmark on the morrow, my lady.
You may wish to leave the Silent Sisters to their work.
It is ill luck to look upon the face of death.
The Stranger has visited me more times than I can count, Grand Maester.
I assure you… he cares little whether my eyes are open or closed.
How good it is… to see you all tonight… together.
Prayer before we begin?
May the Mother smile down on this gathering with love.
May the Smith mend the bonds that have been broken for far too long.
And to Vaemond Velaryon, may the gods give him rest.
This is an occasion for celebration, it seems.
My grandsons, Jace and Luke, will marry their cousins, Baela and Rhaena, further strengthening the bond between our houses.
A toast to the young Princes… and their betrothed.
Well done, Jace. You’ll finally get to lie with a woman.
Let us toast as well Prince Lucerys… the future Lord of the Tides.
You’ll be great.
You do know how the act is done, I assume?
At least in principle?
Where to put your cock and all that.
Let it be, cousin.
You can play the jester if you wish, but hold your tongue before my betrothed.
It both gladdens my heart and fills me with sorrow to see these faces around the table.
The faces most dear to me in all the world… yet grown so distant from each other… in the years past.
My own face… is no longer a handsome one… if indeed it ever was.
But tonight… I wish you to see me… as I am.
Not just a king… but your father.
Your husband… and your grand sire.
Who may not, it seems… walk for much longer among you.
Let us no longer hold ill feelings in our hearts.
The crown cannot stand strong if the House of the Dragon remains divided.
But set aside your grievances.
If not for the sake of the crown… then for the sake of this old man who loves you all so dearly.
I wish to raise my cup to Her Grace, the Queen.
I love my father.
But I must admit that no one has stood… more loyally by his side than his good wife.
(poignant music playing)
She has tended to him with… unfailing devotion, love, and honor.
And for that, she has my gratitude… and my apology.
Your graciousness moves me deeply, Princess.
We are both mothers… and we love our children.
We have more in common than we sometimes allow.
I raise my cup to you… and to your house.
You will make a fine queen.
(Prince Aegon clears throat)
I, um… I regret the disappointment you are soon to suffer.
But if you ever wish to know what it is to be well satisfied, all you have to do is ask.
(Prince Jacaerys clears throat)
To Prince Aegon and… Prince Aemond.
We have not seen each other in years, but I have fond memories of our shared youth.
And as men, I hope we may yet be friends and allies.
To you and your family’s good health, dear uncles.
To you as well.
(softly) Beware the beast beneath the boards.
Well done, my boy.
I would like to toast to Baela and Rhaena.
They’ll be married soon.
It isn’t so bad. Mostly he just ignores you… except sometimes when he’s drunk.
Let us have some music.
(lively music playing)
(emotional music playing)
Please, sit down.
(hits table, music stops)
To the health of my nephews: Jace… Luke… and Joffrey.
Each of them handsome, wise… hm… strong.
Prince Aemond: Come… let us drain our cups to these three…
I dare you to say that again.
Why? ‘Twas only a compliment.
Do you not think yourself Strong?
Alicent: That is enough!
Why would you say such a thing before these people?
I was merely expressing how proud I am of my family, Mother.
Mm, though it seems my nephews aren’t quite as proud of theirs.
Daemon: Wait, wait!
Rhaenyra: Go to your quarters. All of you go, now.
It’s best, I think, if we go back to Dragons tone.
You’ve only just arrived.
Let me see the children home.
I’ll, um… return on dragon back.
The King and I would both like that.
(mysterious music playing)
It’s been quite a night at the castle, it seems.
Yes, my lady.
Come on, come on.
Shh, shh, shh.
But you wanted to know… if I believe it to be true.
Believe what to be true, my King?
Don’t you remember?
The Song of Ice… and Fi…
It is true.
What he saw in the North.
The Prince That Was Promised.
I don’t understand, Viserys.
(sighs) The Prince.
To unite the realm against the cold… and the dark.
It is you.
You are the one.
You must do this.
(softly) You must do this.
(blows out candle)
I understand, my King.
(softly) No more.