House of the Dragon Episode 4 Made Rhaenyra Go to the Fantasy Suites

House of the Dragon is a special kind of show—one that can go to war with a pirate named the Crabfeeder, then immediately transition to an episode all about finding a husband. Dating is Episode Four’s monster for Princess Rhaenyra, whose life becomes The Bachelorette for the realm at her father’s request. She’s holding court with many potential suitors, all pleading their cases, but the princess isn’ eager to give out her first impression rose. Many of the men are simply just describing the size of their kingdoms rather than professing grand overtures of romance. Things never change.

First out of the limo is Lord Dondarrion. Game of Thrones fans may remember the name, as his descendant Beric Dondarrion led a group of outlaws called the Brotherhood Without Banners. He was a cool guy who wielded a flaming sword. His House of the Dragon ancestor, however… not so much. Lord Dondarrion is older than Rhaenyra’s father! She quickly dismisses him as a fool. Lord Blackwood, a cute little boy, steps forward next. He adorably promises her a nice, quiet life in the Riverlands. An arrogant bully from House Baratheon calls the kid a “dumb cunt,” and for some reason, everyone laughs. Cruel. Surprisingly, the young Lord Blackwood draws his sword and kills the older Baratheon. Who gets the last laugh now, huh?! The Princess, tired of “this ridiculous pageant,” leaves and decides to cancel the cocktail party. No one is getting a rose tonight.

Princess Rhaenyra returns to King’s Landing early and is shocked to find her uncle, Daemon, back in front of the king. He kneels before his older brother, Viserys, and declares the problem in the Stepstones vanquished. He offers up Craghas Crabfeeder’s hammer (which I guess was his weapon of choice, though we never saw him use it) and says to add it to the Iron Throne. Daemon adds that although he wears a crown as “King of the Narrow Sea” following his victory, he acknowledges that his brother is the one true king in Westeros. Daemon lays his crown down at Viserys’s feet and declares that the Stepstone Islands are his once again. The king accepts Daemon’s offerings, and the two appear to put the past behind them. “The realm owes you a great debt, brother,” Viserys says.

At the King’s council meeting, Corlys Velaryon’s absence becomes a topic of interest. “It seems we have traded a Crabfeeder for a Sea Snake,” Lord Strong jests. Furthermore, Corlys plans to wed his daughter Laena to the son of the Sea Lord of Bravos, in Essos. Bravos, as Thrones viewers will recall, is a neutral city and home to the massively wealthy Iron Bank. “If House Velaryon entered into an alliance with the Free Cities, then we would have to seek out our own marriage pact,” Otto Hightower warns.

house of the dragon

Dating’s a drag.

HBO

Later, at a party in the garden, Queen Alicent Hightower and Princess Rhaenyra reconcile and admit that they’ve missed each other. Alicent has also had a second child, a baby daughter named Helaena. The Queen suggests that Viserys show Daemon the royal tapestries, but the drunk king laughs away the request. His brother, apparently, “has no interest in such things,” he retorts. I swear HBO played a little fart sound?! I watched it back five times to confirm.

Daemon does have an interest in Rhaenyra, however. In the garden, he notices that his niece is still wearing the necklace that he gave her back in Episode One. Our suspicions were correct—the evil uncle is about to make his move. In her chambers that night, the princess finds a bag with a change of clothes and a map of her room that leads to a secret staircase. She follows the trail and meets up with a hooded Daemon, who takes her down the batshit streets of King’s Landing. People are blowing fire, having sex in the alley, and tightrope-walking across the roofs. A woman with no eyes asks if Rhaenyra would like to know how she dies. It’s pure chaos. Daemon then takes his niece to a play where the actors mock the line of succession. The people of King’s Landing will never respect a woman on the Iron Throne, Daemon tells her. He suggests that she let her new stepbrother, Aegon, ascend instead of her.

It’s all part of a weird plan that ends in Daemon bringing his niece to an orgy at the pleasure house. He says it’s because he wants to teach Rhaenyra how to “take what she wants,” and the two proceed to make out. Daemon leaves before anything can continue, however, and Rhaenyra returns to the castle. Back home, an even greater nightmare has come to life. After the last episode, I thanked the gods for not showing me a sex scene between King Viserys and Alicent Hightower, but in the very next episode… they made me watch it. It’s my fault, I willed it into existence. We even had to see whatever awful wound is on the King’s back again.

“This episode debuting the same week as fantasy suites on The Bachelorette is one of the biggest coincidences I’ve ever seen on TV.”

Meanwhile, Rhaenyra is still all horned up from her night out with Daemon. This episode debuting the same week as fantasy suites on The Bachelorette is one of the biggest coincidences I’ve ever seen on TV. The overnight dates were almost perfectly mirrored here in Westeros. Down to her two final men—Daemon and Ser Criston Cole—Rhaenyra ends up seducing her guardian knight (who, uh, doesn’t know that she just made out with her uncle beforehand). Ser Criston takes off what appears to be 50 garments of clothing and the two share a passionate night together.

In the wee hours of the night, a young boy sadly named White Worm informs both the Grand Maester and Otto Hightower that he saw Rhaenyra and Daemon at the pleasure house together. It’s implied that Mysaria was behind getting the information when White Worm returns to her place and gives her some coins he was paid. In the morning, the Hand of the King mulls over the best way to tell Viserys the “discomforting news.” What’s the best way to tell your friend that his daughter may have slept with his brother? Viserys dismisses the rumors as blasphemy, but later, Alicent confronts Rhaenyra directly. She tells her friend-turned-stepmother that she would “never” have sex with Daemon, but we know at home that she truly almost did. “To question my virtue is an act of treason,” the princess states. “Daemon never touched me, I swear this to you on the memory of my mother.” The lady doth protest too much, methinks! Alicent tells her it was silly to even place herself in that position—and that her life could be ruined.

A hungover Daemon is arrested as he returns to the castle, and King Viserys demands to know the truth.”Better her first experience be with me than some whore,” he tells his brother. Yikes! “What lord will wed her now?” Viserys asks. “I have spent a lifetime defending you, but your heart is even blacker than I thought.” Daemon suggests at knifepoint that Viserys wed Rhaenyra to him (as his second wife) and Viserys banishes him from his sight. Later, the King has Grand Maester Mellos bring Rhaenyra a “special tea” to abort any potential pregnancies, but the credits roll before we know if she takes it or not.

In Episode Two, Rhaenyra told Daemon at Dragonstone that he would have to kill her to ascend the Iron Throne. In a way, Daemon figured out a different way to potentially destroy Rhaenyra’s succession. “The truth does not matter, only perception,” Viserys tells his daughter. The two come to an agreement. She will wed Laenor Velaryon if the king dismisses Otto Hightower as his Hand. She convinces him that Otto is constantly scheming (which he is) and that getting Viserys to marry Alicent was just step one of his master plan to put the Hightowers in power. Plus, a marriage to House Velaryon will restore their friendship with Corlys.

Will Leanor prove to be the man of Rhaenyra’s dreams? And how will the men react when they find out about her night with Daemon and Ser Criston? The tension is building up in Rhaenyra’s journey to find love, but in classic Bachelorette fashion? It’s all leading up to the most dramatic finale yet.

Josh Rosenberg is an entertainment writer living in Brooklyn, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day; his work can be found at Spin, Insider, Vibe, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com

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