‘House of the Dragon’ Showrunner Says Rook’s Rest Battle Scene Took Over a Year to Execute

Note: This story contains spoilers from “House of the Dragon” Season 2, Episode 4.

With as a civil war brewing in Westeros, “House of the Dragon” Season 2, Episode 4 depicts the first battle between Team Black and Team Green at Rook’s Rest, which showrunner Ryan Condal said took over a year to produce.

“It was literally over a year of work to execute that sequence from beginning to end, and I’m incredibly proud of it,” Condal told TheWrap. “At that point in the season, [it] is the biggest thing that we’ve ever pulled off.”

The Episode 4 sequence sees massive on-the-ground fighting between House Targaryen and House Hightower — led by newly appointed hand to the king Sir Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) — and is paired with dragon warfare as Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), riding atop Sunfyre, spars with Rhaenys (Eve Best) and Meleys. The stakes of the fight fly even higher when Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) arrives atop Vhagar.

“That is location work, that is sets, that is backlot, it’s tons of element shoots, where you shoot soldiers running around on green screen, and then comp them into the battlefield,” Condal said, “Obviously, big burns with stunt people and then dragon riders on bucks on the green-screen stage, and then knitting all those things together through the post-process. It was incredibly complex, and very proud of what we accomplished and what Alan Taylor directed.”

Team Green’s plan to take Rook’s Rest involved the element of surprise from Aemond and Vhagar, which was subsequently shaken up when Aegon unexpectedly flew in atop Sunfyre and began attacking Rhaenys and Meleys. With Sunfyre and Meleys sparring each other in the sky, Aemond and Vhagar swooped in just in time to take out Rhaenys, though Aegon also got caught in the crossfire when Vhagar expelled fire on Sunfyre.

While Aemond’s attack was successful in wounding Meleys — Vhagar finished the job later by killing both Meleys and Rhaenys — Aegon’s look of terror implied the possibility that Vhagar’s blow to Sunfyre might have been intentional.

“I can see how it can be ambiguous, but I think in the dramatization of it, it’s pretty clear Aegon is collateral damage in the action,” Condal said. “Certainly Vhagar is looking to take out Rhaenys, but it doesn’t look like [Aemond] does it with much care for his brother.”

By the end of the episode, destruction is all around despite Team Green’s victory, with Criston searching for Aegon after he fell from the sky with Sunfyre. Criston stumbled upon Aemond, who points to a still Aegon lying by Sunfyre, leaving Aegon’s fate unclear in a cliffhanger.

With Aegon’s ability to rule hanging in the balance, Condal reminded audiences that Aemond is next in line for the throne following the death of Aegon’s heir, Jaehaerys, following the Season 3 premiere’s brutal “Blood and Cheese” scene.

“It just feels like this is another complicated page turn in this book about this side of Viserys’ family,” Condal said.

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

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