After another time jump, the Velaryons and Targeryens once again come to blows as the King's health continues to get worse.
After another significant time jump – this time six years forward – fans were treated to another family squabble as Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) went missing, both Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) kids got older (and more tempestuous) and King Vicerys’ (Paddy Considine) health continued to deteriorate on the latest episode of House of the Dragon.
And, of course, fans of the Game of Thrones prequel series had a lot to say about the events that went down during season 1, episode 8, “The Lord of the Tides,” sharing some wild reactions that captured how we are all feeling. [Warning: Spoilers abound.]
Opening with the news that Corlys likely has died at sea after being attacked, Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) finds her place on the throne in Driftmark challenged as both Corlys’ younger brother, Ser Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), and a pregnant Rhaenyra quickly made claims of succession while the Queen Who Never Was remained determined to stay where she was.
As a result, the entire family convened at King’s Landing to make formal petitions before the Hightowers, who have more or less taken over as Vicerys – essentially in a zombie-like state – resides in bed. Alicent is essentially ruling while her father, Otto (Rhys Ifan), uses his position as Hand of the King to speak for his sire.
However, as Vaemond and Rhaenyra get into a contentious bidding war over Driftmark, with each petitioning why their families should sit on the throne, Vicerys makes an unexpected appearance, reasserting his power as king and defers to Rhaenys on the line of succession. It is the princess who ultimately sides with Rhaenyra and agrees that Jacaerys Velaryon (Harry Collett), her son with the late Laenor, is the rightful heir despite questions of his true lineage.
When Vaemond challenges this decision, he says the one word that should never be spoken in public, and that is asserting Jace, as well as his brothers, are “bastards,” and that their mother is a “whore.” And as Vicerys threatens to have his tongue, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) swiftly chops off his head. (It seems like every episode another Velaryon meets their grave.)
It’s also revealed during this bloody decision that Jace and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) shall be married off to Rhaenys’ granddaughters (and Daemon’s daughters), Baela (Bethany Antonia) and Rhaena Targaryen (Phoebe Campbell), thereby further securing lines of succession – and the Velaryons’ claim to Driftmark.
Later, the entire extended family convenes for dinner, where things go smoothly for a change. Alicent and Rhaenyra reach a mutual bond over the love of Vicerys as the wound between them finally starts to heal. There’s even camaraderie among relatives along with some music and dancing – all of which brings Vicerys, who is ever closer to death, to tears and is forced to retire to his chambers.
Of course, no sooner than he leaves, the youngest generations begins to squabble once again, as Alicent’s sons, Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) and Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), provoke Rhaenyra’s sons into fighting, forcing the dinner to end early and the princess deciding to depart for Dragonstone.
The episode then ends with Vicerys in his bed as he continues to ruminate on the Song of Ice and Fire prophecy and seemingly telling Alicent that “you are the one,” before he stares off into the night and the episode cuts to black.
Needless to say, the fans had a lot to post about on social media, from that shocking end to the Driftmark battle to the another family dinner that ends with in-fighting to Vicerys’ Phantom of the Opera meets Hunchback of Notre Dame appearance, which begs the question, how is this man still alive?!
House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max.