‘House of the Dragon’ Recap: 5 Most Shocking Moments From Season 2, Episode 1

“House of the Dragon” is back and back with a vengeance in Season 2. After nearly two years away, the “Game of Thrones” prequel returned with one of the most hyped – and dreaded – moments from the book rounding out the episode. The big Blood and Cheese confrontation had been top of mind for many fans since the show debuted and the results were as tough to watch as expected.

But that was far from the only thing that shocked viewers in the impactful premiere. Rhaenyra (Emm D’Arcy) still hasn’t come to terms with Luke’s death, Daemon (Matt Smith) is on the warpath, and House Stark is entering the picture in a bigger way.

These are the most shocking moments from “House of the Dragon” Season 2, Episode 1, titled “A Son for a Son”

The New Opening Credits

The shocks came right out the gate in the Season 2 premiere when viewers saw that the entire opening title sequence had changed. The bloodline on stone/Targaryen dynasty sequence from Season 1 is gone and in its stead is a tapestry being woven about the events of the Dance itself we’re seeing played out.

Like the opening credits from “Game of Thrones” that changed week to week depending on which character POV’s we’d see in that episode, it certainly seems possible that additions to the tapestry could be added to as we see more of the civil war unfold.

And don’t worry, new sequence or not it’s still all set over Ramin Djwadi’s iconic “Thrones” theme.

Cregan Stark’s Introduction

The Starks are finally entering the “House of the Dragon” story in a significant way. Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor), the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North during the Dance of the Dragons conflict, opened the season showing Jace (Harry Collett) around his home and more importantly the Wall.

His conversation with the young Targaryen prince is laced with familiar Stark ideologues: duty and honor. While standing atop the Wall, he tells Jace a story about how Old King Jaehaerhs and Queen Allysane once visited with their dragons Vermithor and Silverwing and both of the great beasts refused to cross the Wall themselves – a hint of the White Walker threat even back then.

Their meeting is brief because Jace gets a raven informing him of his brother Luke’s murder at the hands of Aemond and Vhagar.

Alicent and Criston’s Relationship

Olivia Cooke and Fabien Frankel in “House of the Dragon” Season 2 Episode 1 (Ollie Upton/HBO)

Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Criston Cole’s (Fabien Frankel) relationship has certainly heated up since the end of Season 1. The two are now taking constant breaks from their various duties around the Red Keep to hook up. This should be another of the many red flags planted in Criston’s camp because members of the Kingsguard are sworn to celibacy. The man doesn’t care much for his oaths and vows.

They’ve done a fairly admirable job keeping their afternoon delight sessions under wraps until the episode’s closing moments when Helaena (Phia Saban) bursts into the dowager queen’s room after the Blood & Cheese moment in the midst of a hook up. Helaena’s mind was definitely elsewhere but she saw what she saw and Alicent should be worried.

It should also be noted that while Alicent and Criston were close in the book and they bonded over their mutual hatred for Rhaenyra, their relationship wasn’t a sexual one – but it could be something “Fire and Blood’s” unreliable narrators just got wrong.

Rhaenyra Finds Arrax’s Wing

Queen Rhaenyra is missing from Dragonstone at the start of Season 2. Following the news of Luke’s death, Daemon (Matt Smith) informs Rhaenys (Eve Best) that the queen took Syrax out flying and has been gone for some time.

Where did she go? She’s scouring the coastline around Shipbreaker’s Bay looking for some sign of Arrax or Luke. Until she does, she refuses to believe her son is dead. Eventually she spots a group of men pulling something large out of the ocean with a net. She flies down and scatters them before running to the net to see it’s one of Arrax’s wings.

It’s the proof she needed, and she and Syrax mourn together on the beach for the first time. Then she heads back to Dragonstone ready for revenge.

Blood & Cheese

This was the moment a lot of book fans talked about when the show was first announced and we finally got it to round out the Season 2 premiere. Rhaenyra wants Aemond for Luke’s death – a son for a son as the episode title suggests – and Daemon has been itching for some sort of retaliation all episode. He happily takes it upon himself to hood up and sneak into King’s Landing to find a former city watch associate (Blood) and a ratcatcher (Cheese) who knows how to get in and out of the Red Keep to find and kill Aemond.

Things go awry and they end up stumbling into Helaena with her and King Aegon II’s (Tom Glynn-Carney) six-year-old twins – prince Jaehaerys and princess Jaehaera. Blood and Cheese force the queen at knifepoint to tell which of the twins is the king’s heir which she eventually does. The moment might not play out exactly like it does in the books but it has the same bloody end – prince Jaehaerys’ decapitation.

New episodes of “House of the Dragon” air Sundays on HBO and stream on Max.

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