‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 perfectly illustrates how men’s egos start wars


A man sits in a dark room, looking serious.

House of the Dragon Season 2 has so far been a lesson in how wars start. Or should we say how men start wars.

Yes, OK, so it may have been Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) who misunderstood Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) on his deathbed in Season 1, and the ongoing rift between her and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) certainly hasn’t helped things. But come on. Season 2 has, so far, been a textbook case of male egos getting people killed.

Here’s the deeply stupid step-by-step as it stands, beginning with Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) semi-accidentally killing Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) at the end of last season.

Step 1: Aemond kills Lucerys

Unable to forget the teasing he endured as a boy, Aemond decided to wage a campaign of harassment against Rhaenyra’s children that started with some “Strong” speech jokes and ended with Lucerys getting chomped to death mid-air.

Does he regret it? Maybe a little bit. But if he’d just scared the kid back at the Baratheon castle and called it quits then things probably wouldn’t have escalated as quickly as they did.

Step 2: Daemon gets Aegon’s son killed

We know what you’re thinking: It’s Rhaenyra that, on returning to Dragonstone, says she “want[s] Aemond Targaryen”. But she doesn’t say exactly what she means, and that’s the apparent cue for an already-enraged Daemon (Matt Smith) to pay some very awful assassins to try and do the job for him. Inevitably the plan fails and the poor son of Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Heleana (Phia Saban), Jaehearys, is the one killed instead.

A man in a cloak sits in a small rowing boat while another man rows.

Credit: Theo Whitman/HBO

Step 3: Ser Criston Cole sends a man to his death

Carrying an Iron Throne-sized chip on his shoulder, Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) decides the best course of action following Jaehaerys’ death is to go rogue, blackmailing a member of the Kings’ Guard (who happens to be a twin) to go to Dragonstone disguised as his identical brother, who has conveniently defected to work for Rhaenyra.

Unsurprisingly this works about as well as Daemon’s off-the-cuff plan, and both twins – but not Rhaenyra – end up dead.

Step 4: Aegon fires his Hand and promotes Ser Criston

So: Aemond’s been irrational, Daemon’s been irrational, and then Ser Criston’s been irrational. Thank goodness there’s a solid, safe pair of hands on the Iron Throne itself though, right?

Oh no, wait: The realm’s biggest man-baby Aegon II is in charge, and not only does he praise Ser Criston’s actions, but he even decides to promote him to Hand after firing his grandad Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans).

Aegon’s petulant little attempt at a comeback while Otto is giving him a dressing down? “At least I did something.” Yeah, good one Aegon. We’re sure it’ll definitely work out for you.

House of the Dragon Season 2 airs Sundays on HBO and Max at 9 p.m. ET.

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