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'House of the Dragon: Season 2 Episode 2 - Rhaenyra the Cruel' Review

By Elliot Lines June 25, 2024
House of the Dragon

The highly anticipated second season of the Game of Thrones spin-off has begun and after the shocking events of the season opener, how will the Houses react? Episode 2 is available now on Sky Atlantic/HBO, titled 'Rhaenyra the Cruel'.



Prince Jaehaerys' murder causes chaos; King Aegon hastily assembles his Small Council, wanting revenge on Rhaenyra. Ser Otto suggests a public funeral to tarnish Rhaenyra's image. In the procession, a herald chants "Rhaenyra the Cruel" as Alicent and Helaena receive the people's condolences. "Blood" is captured; he confesses to Lord Larys that Daemon hired him and his accomplice, an unknown ratcatcher. In Dragonstone, Rhaenyra, worried her popularity will suffer, suspects Daemon ordered Jaehaerys' death if Aemond were absent. Rhaenyra tells Daemon she no longer trusts him and he flies to Harrenhal to recruit alliances. Having escaped assassination, Aemond, regretting Lucerys' death, seeks solace at a brothel. Sir Criston orders Ser Arryk to kill Rhaenyra by infiltrating Dragonstone disguised as his twin, Erryk. Rhaenyra grants Mysaria freedom. While departing Dragonstone, Mysaria notices Arryk arriving and runs back to the castle. When Arryk later enters Rhaenyra's chambers, Erryk bursts in and kills his brother. Overcome with grief, he commits suicide. Aegon publicly hangs all ratcatchers, including "Cheese", infuriating Otto, who fears a populist revolt. Aegon dismisses Otto as Hand of the King and appoints Criston.


Initial thoughts after the final scenes of Episode 1 may lead you to think that there would be some kind of immediate reaction to the death of the ayre to the throne, however this episode seems to take a more measured approach.

Early on in this series you can tell the two houses are playing chess, with Alicent and Rhaenyra seemingly wanting to avoid all out war. The killing of Jaehaerys wasn't the instructions from Daemon but nonetheless it'll cause further tensions between the two. Plenty happens throughout this episode, without anything really happening. You get lots of discussions, a fight scene between twins and barely any dragon action, the series so far looks great but hasn't quite caught my full attention to this point.

House of the Dragon

You can't deny the scale of which House of Dragon's is working on, however the slow start to the series is a little concerning, with the first two episodes being a little bit of a drag. Some scenes aren't worth putting on screen (the shock factor would be too much, and the complaints even more), but the series seems to be shying away from those big shocking moments that made Games of Thrones so popular.

House of the Dragon Season 2 releases weekly on Sky Atlantic


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