Episode 4 of House of the Dragon is now out, and things in King’s Landing are changing rapidly. This episode seems to be set briefly after the previous one, without a significant jump in time. However, the story continues to progress swiftly after the War for the Stepstones has ended.
Daemon returns from the Stepstones
After a long and arduous War, Prince Daemon returns victorious to King’s Landing after 4 years. He walks into the throne room wearing the Driftwood Crown. Rather than flaunting his victory, he is surprisingly humble and bows graciously to Viserys. Though it has been a long while since Viserys banished Daemon, he now embraces him, thanking him for his service. A brief reconciliation ensues, with the two brothers remembering good times in their youth. It is not to last, though, as Daemon yet harbors much ambition.
Rhaenyra and Alicent reunite
Though the rift between the two childhood friends Rhaenyra and Alicent has already begun to form, there are brief moments in this episode where their friendship is rekindled. After Daemon’s return, Alicent and Rhaenyra have a quiet conversation, speaking of how they miss one another’s company. Later in the episode, Alicent defends Rhaenyra against accusations that are levied against her. She goes to Rhaenyra with privileged information, attempting to help her. She sticks by her side against her own husband, the King.
Mummers play about the heir
Daemon and Rhaenyra visit the underbelly of King’s Landing, in a part which we can assume is Flea Bottom. Though it is a shabby and dangerous area, there appear to be many performances and tricks on display. There is a tightrope walker and fire breather in the alleys, and a play being staged by mummers. The play is about who will inherit the throne: Rhaenyra or her half-brother Aegon. It appears that the smallfolk of the kingdom favor Aegon because he is male, but Rhaenyra does not seem to care about their opinion.
Viserys tells Rhaenyra about the Dagger
When Viserys takes the opportunity to reprimand Rhaenyra for her misbehavior, he reminds her that her duty exceeds that of the realm and the throne. He once again shows her the fabled Catspaw Dagger, speaking of the magic that is woven into it as well as the words carved into it. “From my blood come the prince that was promised, and his will be the song of ice and fire.” This is the prophecy that foretells the birth of Jon Snow, whose birth name was Aegon III Targaryen, and his role in defeating the White Walkers and ending the Long Night.
Viserys removes Otto as Hand of the King
In a slightly surprising reveal, it turns out that Otto Hightower has not been fooling anyone with his plots. Whereas Daemon had warned Viserys of his plots years ago, it is apparent that Viserys has been able to see the truth of Otto’s manipulation himself for a long time. When Rhaenyra as well tells her father that Otto’s schemes have gone too far, Viserys finally takes it upon himself to strip Otto of his title. Before he does this, he states plainly that he realizes how he was manipulated after the death of his wife. He also goes as far as to speak of Otto’s appointment as Hand after the death of Viserys’ father, and the possible role Otto played in it.