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'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 2: Why Are Women Treated Unworthy of the Iron Throne?


House of the Dragon Quote of the Week: “I understand the order of things… I’m not sure you do.” – Rhaenys Targaryen / Velaryon   

Sunday nights are for deciphering new clues on House of the Dragon that will surely spark debate—and our utmost curiosity—about Game of Thrones foreshadowing. While House of the Dragon is set 172 years BEFORE Game of Thrones, the connections are endless as it tells us so much about the House of Targaryen’s origin story. 

Each week, we’ll answer all your burning questions on how House of the Dragon andGame of Thrones are connected.  

The big question we’re exploring after House of the Dragon Episode 2: 

Why are women treated as if they’re unworthy of the iron throne?

In Game of Thrones, we saw Daenarys Targaryen’s quest to achieve what she saw as her birthright on the Iron Throne, as well as Cersei Lannister’s eventual becoming of Queen.  Will we see a female ruler this season in Rhaenyra Targaryen? Here’s what we know thus far: 

Why is Rhaenyra, despite being named heir to the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon Episode 1, not being treated as such? 

Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) spends much of the second episode of House of the Dragon trying to prove her worth, wits and intelligence to a male council that largely rebuffs her attempts. First in her scene in the small council gathering/meeting, she is rejected outright by her father, King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) with her recommendations on dealing with the Craghas Drahar, AKA “The Rogue Prince” AKA Craghas Crabfeeder.  

Rhaenyra is then told off when she presents her plan on dealing with her up-to-no-good uncle, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) who has occupied Dragonstone with his army of gold cloaks, an act that small council sees as a rebellion bordering on outright treason to his brother (and King)—particularly when it’s revealed that he has stolen a dragon egg meant for Viserys’ son Baelon—indicating that Daemon has no intention of letting anyone else become the Heir, save for himself. 

Rhaenyra’s dramatic arrival on Dragonstone to retrieve the egg from Daemon (a direct disobeying of orders from her father) is reminiscent to Daenarys’ often bold arrivals on the back of Drogon as a display of fiery aerial might. Rhaenyra proves her worth – she’s smarter than any of the men give her credit for, and bolder as well.  

Is Rhaenys truly trying to help Rhaenyra, or is she trying to undermine her? 

Rhaenys (Eve Best) aka “The Queen Who Never Was” shares one of the more powerful scenes of the episode when she chides Rhaenyra’s ambition and warns her that the patriarchy in power will never stand to see a woman ascend as ruler on the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra offers a sharp rebuttal in the form that the people of Westeros didn’t reject a woman as their potential queen – they rejected Rhaenys specifically. Rhaenyra will not accept her role as anything less than an heir to the throne lightly. Her frustration is palpable with Rhaenys, as well as the contingent of men who seek to keep her from power.  

King Viserys Understands Rhaenyra’s Value as Heir, But Still Follows Customs and Chooses a New Wife (Unwisely)—Why? 

The conclusion of the episode sees King Viserys choose his next wife—the daughter of the Hand of the King Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). Otto Hightower’s political maneuvering is seemingly second-to-none, and his daughter Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) has been spending much time in the company of King Viserys in the six months following the death of his wife.  

When Rhaenyra tells her father that she will accept his choice for his next wife, she likely did not have her best friend in mind for that decision—and that’s a choice that we can expect to have serious ramifications for the rest of this season. For starters, Viserys’s wishes not to be estranged from his daughter, and tells her as much, yet makes a decision that likely puts him at direct odds with her. Worse still, the decision to marry Alicent Hightower is viewed as a tremendous insult to Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussant). 

Corlys is seen at the end of the episode plotting with Daemon Targaryen, suggesting that they join forces in what figures to be a brutal military conquest in the Stepstones against mysteriously vicious villain Craghas Crabfeeder—both to protect Corlys’ vast naval fleet as well as give some validity to Daemon’s attempt to claim power. 

Will Rhaenyra Rise to the Challenge? 

Short answer? Yes! 

Rhaenyra knows that a potential threat can come from anywhere now such as her father’s potential heir and the child of her best friend, Alicent Hightower; the threat posed by her uncle Daemon and the angered Corlys Valeryon; the Rogue Prince of the Stepstones, Craghas Crabfeeder; and threats not yet revealed to us. 

But much like Daenarys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, Rhaenyra is poised to prove herself time and time again. She’s ready to prove herself as a worthy heir to the throne, no matter what challenge or obstacle stands in her way. 

And, a reminder to all House of the Dragon fans—please do not name your children after characters until after the show concludes! We do not need a repeat of Daenarys Targaryen – a freedom fighter protagonist through the beginning of the show turned violent, borderline sociopathic destroyer of civilians with dragon fire by the conclusion of Game of Thrones!  

How to Watch House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones

You'll never miss a moment when you watch House of the Dragon AND Game of Thrones with Xfinity. Not only can you watch House of the Dragon every Sunday night at 9pm ET, there’s also free Game of Thrones episodes, and content extras like behind the scenes looks, cast interviews, and much more. Not to worry if you’re not a current HBO/Max subscriber as Xfinity has loads of free episodes to watch now on X1, Xumo Stream Box from Xfinity or on the Xfinity Stream app. 

Here’s the rundown: 

  • Free now through 9/5:  Watch the complete first season of the hit HBO Original series Game of Thrones 
  • Free now through 10/31: Enjoy 16 episodes of the Best of Targaryen, a curated collection from the HBO Original series Game of Thrones  
  • COMING SOON: 9/6 – 9/10: Mark your calendars for the House of the Dragon Free Preview Event and watch the first three episodes free

Say “Dragons are Coming” into your Voice Remote to access it all. 

Want even more House of the Dragon content? We've got you covered . . . .


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