Review of House of the Dragon Episode 3: Crabfeeder Saga Continues…

The House Of The Dragon 3rd Episode

It took nearly two seasons (and an influx of gold dragon currency) for Game of Thrones to feel comfortable enough to tackle a significant sequence of events. Indeed, Game of Thrones avoided major battles for much of its initial run, even when the situation demanded it. Tyrion sat out a fight in Season 1 after being knocked out by an errant axe to the head. Then, when the newly crowned King Robb Stark goes to war against the Lannisters, we never see any of his victories.


The first season of this show has just three episodes left. House of the Dragon has outpaced Game of Thrones by delivering its first significant battle setpiece. And, reader, it’s pretty fantastic.

House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 3 “Second of His Name” Recap |  Watchers on the Wall | A Game of Thrones/House of the Dragon Community for  Breaking News, Casting, and Commentary

Deep within me, a nerd has reservations about when and how House of the Dragon chose to stage its first epic battle. The battle against the Crabfeeder’s Triarchy in the Stepstones isn’t necessarily worth the budgetary attention it receives on the show. The Stepstones war poses no imminent threat to the Seven Kingdoms. as evidenced by King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) nearly three-year refusal to involve the crown. If anything, it’s a vanity play by Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and Lord Corlys (Steve Toussiant) to establish themselves as world changers.


House of the Dragon makes the war appear more critical than it is by embedding itself within it. Daemon’s gambit to entice the Crabfeeder to play may appear selfless and heroic, but it’s just the latest in a long line of tantrums. But for the time being, let’s push that inner nerd even further back. His locker and enjoy the battle at the Stepstones for what it is: an incredible spectacle.

Everything about Daemon and Corlys’ battle against Craghas “Crabfeeder” Drahar and his Triarch forces demonstrates how much House of the Dragon’s writing and production teams care about the product they’re creating. The costumes are fantastic. The scenery is beautiful. The violence is flawless, and the irony is satisfying. Daemon’s dragon mount Caraxes (whose long neck resembles a fleshy churro to me) appear to be just as likely to crush or immolate an ally as an enemy.

It certainly helps that the Crabfeeder is a sort of Game of Thrones “miniboss.” Not since Ser Ilyn Payne has a Game of Thrones character, who made such an impression without saying a single word, Craghas doesn’t need to speak to make his point. Crags and his crabs are a terrifying threat, thanks to their excellent greyscale makeup design and expressionless mask.

While the Triarchy is a complex political entity made up of several Free Cities with equally challenging political goals, the Crabfeeder is just a simple man who wants to sit back and watch the world burn. How fortunate he is that Daemon and Caraxes agree to this.

Though House of the Dragon gives the Crabfeeder saga a little more weight than it deserves, it does provide the show with one important character (re)introduction. It’s one thing for Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and the rest of the realm to learn to support Lord Lyonel Strong’s second attempt to wed a Targaryen and a Velaryon.

House of the Dragon,' Season 1, Episode 3: Two Targaryen Hunts - The New  York Times

While we are still in the Stepstones, it is quite another for the rest of the realm to learn about and witness. The Sea Snake’s House now has another major player on the field, one who appears to support the second Targaryen-Velaryon marriage attempt by Lord Lyonel Strong.

While our time in the Stepstones is undoubtedly worthwhile and glorious, “Second of His Name” would not be considered a successful television episode if it only contained it. Fortunately, the show’s creators (led here by Gabe Fonseca and Ryan Condal) recognize this and wisely tuck an entire second episode, arguably a better one, within it.

The journey into the Kingswood by King Viserys and his party It’s simply superb storytelling to go on a hunting expedition for the wee baby Aegon II’s name day. Though the dialogue occasionally lags behind George R.R. Martin’s Medieval standards, every conversation here is dripping with subtext when it isn’t screaming with context. So much of the exciting action on Game of Thrones and now House of the Dragon occurs in the minds of its characters as they try to figure out what words to say to further their schemes or live to see another day in King’s Landing.

Episode 3 is full of rich inner turmoil


The events of “The Rogue Prince” took place three years ago. King Viserys’ fortunes have changed dramatically. The King and his child bride Alicent now have a son, Aegon, the absolute unit named after the Conqueror himself. But what should be a happy occasion by a promise Viserys made to Rhaenyra?

Though the Stepstones will receive most of the attention, the expanded scope of a royal hunting party is where the House of the Dragon’s bloated budget to the best possible use.

House of the Dragon': When Is Episode 6 Released in Your Time Zone? - CNET

King Robert’s hunting party in Game of Thrones included the drunken King, his brother Renly, and a few others who roamed. The r King was gored to death in the woods by a boar (offscreen, of course, in keeping with Thrones’ early financial modesty). However, the magnitude of the occasion is truly enormous and impressive here.

Perhaps even the viewer is swept up in all the baby Aegon excitement. Is that a white heart? On Aegon II’s birthday? Yes, make the little guy king right now! So many regal traditions and lovely colors cover up what is primary high school-level posturing and gossip.

The Hightowers want one heir, while the Velaryons wish two. And the Lannisters (represented now by Viserys’ new Master of Ships Tyland and his twin brother Jason) want a more significant piece of the pie. When these conflicting desires collide under the guise of a “civilized” event like a hunt, satisfying drama and backbiting are unavoidable.

“Second of His Name” brings another influx of new characters to House of the Dragon, befitting the scale of the great hunt. Some new Lannisters (Jefferson Hall) are always welcome, especially if they continue the House’s strange penchant for producing twins.

Meanwhile, Matthew Needham’s Larys Strong, a.k.a. “The Clubfoot,” and Will Johnson’s Aemond Velaryon are intriguing additions. However, the heart of this episode belongs to the two Targaryens at its center: Viserys and Rhaenyra.

I must admit that I’m a little surprised by Viserys’s role as a lead character in House of the Dragon thus far. Martin’s writings avoid kings as authentic POV characters, but Viserys functions similarly to the early Game of Thrones episodes that featured Ned Stark. Fortunately, Paddy Considine is more than capable.

In the first episode, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) assured his King that the gods had yet to create a man who lacked the patience for absolute power. Viserys’ patience is wearing thin in this situation. As more and more well-wishers approach the Iron-Throne-wounded Targaryen, trying to sway him one way or another, he looks more like a caged animal at a circus than a king.

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Viserys’ anguish can be seen on his face even before he comes out and drunkenly tells Alicent about the Targaryen succession. The Iron Throne appears to be a prison of conflicting responsibilities for the House of the Dragon. The Gods instruct us to do what is suitable for the realm while also honoring our families and the promises we make. What do those celestial freaks want in the first place? Why can’t they say it? Oh well, maybe the solution is wine chalice’s bottom is empty.

“Second of His Name” spends a lot of time with Rhaenyra. She heals from the marriage of her father and the birth of an heir who could dethrone her. The scenes between Rhaenyra and Ser Criston Cole are very satisfying (And in my opinion, the stunt work in the scene where Ser Criston rides down Rhaenyra on horseback is more impressive than anything in the Stepstones.)

Criston expressed gratitude to Rhaenyra for inscribing his name in the White Book and bringing honor to House Cole. It serves as a helpful reminder of the powerful rule. How much of a difference it can make in the life of any one person.

The encounters of Rhaenyra and Criston with a boar and the mythical white heart stag are filled with wonder. Otto Hightower may have brought that white heart into the Kingswood so Viserys would see it and be convinced that the gods wanted Aegon II to be their earthly representative. However, even the best-laid plans of mice, stags, and men frequently go awry.

Neither Rhaenyra nor her father believes in superstition, but how can Rhaenyra deny the powerful symbolism of seeing the white heart when it was meant for someone else?
In reality, the white heart is just a stupid animal roaming the woods looking for berries to eat and strange little spherical turds to leave behind.

To Rhaenyra, it’s a sign much like Viserys’s vision of the Conqueror’s true heir. All of this demonstrates how fragile the political equilibrium is when humans are involved.

Unknowingly, that unwitting stag may have locked Westeros into one of the bloodiest and most destructive wars ever fought on its soil.

The episode may end when Rhaenyra and Ser Criston emerges from the Kingswood, bloodied and dragging fresh boar meat. Of course, “Second of His Name” is incorporated into Viserys’ morning-after conversation with Rhaenyra and the tense conclusion to the war against the Crabfeeder. The white heart’s rhetorical impact could be more substantial if those were saved for later episodes, but it’s hard to complain about getting House of the Dragon when it’s already this entertaining.

In many ways, “Second of His Name” is the show’s most convincing proof that it knows what it’s doing. The first episode was a worthwhile endeavor, owing mainly to how much original Martin content it was able to adapt. Following that, Episode 2 struggled without the Martin-led dialogue and intrigue to fall back on.

On the other hand, this episode is almost entirely the work of None of the show. From a different perspective, the most dramatic moments can be found on any page. Its existence feels like classic Game of Thrones, in any case, is as optimistic on your Name Day as a white hart in the Kingswood.

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