Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower lighting candles at the sept in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1

5 Best Moments From ‘House of the Dragon’s Season 2 Premiere

You bet Rhaenys' boss moment made the list!

A spanking new season of House of the Dragon has landed on HBO, and there’s a lot of chatter in the realm on how good or underwhelming episode 1, “A Son for a Son,” was.

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It was a good start to the season overall, though the episode’s climax required a bit of a kick, which it could’ve gotten had it followed the Blood and Cheese chapter from the book to the T. Nevertheless, the episode was not without some notable moments.

Here are 5 best moments from House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1.

Spoilers ahead!

1. “Winter is Coming.”

Jacaerys Velaryon and Cregan Stark in House of the Dragon (HBO)

The moment I saw the opening scene of a raven flying over Winterfell, that old Nostalgia lady from Inside Out 2 popped up in my head, reminding me of the banger pilot of Game of Thrones. Returning to Winterfell, looking upon the familiar sight of The Wall, and listening to a Stark utter the three magical words “winter is coming” felt like coming home.

Jaecaerys is in the North to speak to Cregan Stark and rally him to support his mother Queen Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne. And it is good to see a Targaryen and a Stark on the Wall again, at what looks like the start of a strong friendship.

Unfortunately, this moment is interrupted when a raven informs Jace of his brother’s death, and Cregan Stark actor Tom Taylor has said that this was just a tease; we won’t be getting more of his character anytime soon, perhaps in season 3. We’ll be waiting!

2. Princess Rhaenys snubbing Daemon Targaryen

Every time Princess Rhaenys is in a scene, she brings this Queen energy that no other character has been able to come close to—not even the two warring queens. First, she declares that she’ll go on a solo dragon-back patrol off the blockade of the gullet in the Narrow Sea that her husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon, is going to implement, freezing trade sea routes to King’s Landing.

Then, when she and her dragon Meleys return, exhausted and in need of rest, Daemon tells her she needs to giddy up again so they can go kill Aemond and his dragon Vhagar to avenge Lucerys.

Sure, Lucerys is the heir to the Driftwood Throne, and her grandson, but that doesn’t mean anyone can tell Rhaenys what to do, no ma’am! When Daemon tries to command her to come with him to King’s Landing, this absolute queen shuts him down by saying, “Would that you were the king,” and simply walks away.

The Seven Kingdoms really have rotten luck to have lost out on a ruler like her!

3. Jaecaerys breaking down over Luke’s death

Jacaerys Velaryon, Joffrey Velaryon stand with their mother, Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the dragon
(Ollie Upton/HBO)

As the would-be queen’s firstborn son, Jaecaerys has always tried to be a good boy, doing his duties, and even pitching ideas during the war council. It was his plan that Rhaenyra send him and Lucerys as envoys to the other Houses to get their support.

So you can imagine his devastation when it was this suggestion that led to his baby bro’s death. He returns to Dragonstone, having successfully signed on Winterfell to Team Blacks, and tries to give his queen a proper report, but he breaks down, unable to hold back his grief, simply wanting to hug his mother and cry. And seeing him like this, Rhaenyra, who has been trying to hold her queenly composure, also breaks down, walks towards Jace, and takes her eldest son in her arms.

This scene is heartbreaking to watch, and the feeling continues with the next scene, as we see Rhaenyra and the family mourning Lucerys, intercut with Alicent lighting a candle for her ancestors, starting with her mother, and ending with Lucerys’ name.

This is poignant because in season 1, she and Rhaenyra shared a similar moment together. The present-day scene harkens back to their bond, but notice a stark contrast. Alicent still holds some love for her enemies, but Rhaenyra’s face indicates that she’s done playing nice.

4. Helaena’s Sophie’s Choice and Alicent’s “Oops I Did It Again”

Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen in House of the dragon season 2 episode 1

The ending of episode 1 is perhaps the most talked about moment from the House of the Dragon season 2 premiere. Show fans are shocked by what happened. Book fans are divided because they think the show made changes to the Blood and Cheese plot and made it kind of underwhelming.

But one thing both show and book fans agree on is that Phia Saban, as Queen Helaena Targaryen, is excellent in this sequence. When the ratcatcher Cheese and the city guard Blood threaten her to tell them which of her two kids is her son Prince Jaehaerys, so they may kill him, it’s a terrifying moment for any mother. No matter what she says, she will lose a child.

But nothing prepares you for the actual killing of the baby, a beheading that is not shown on camera because that would be too graphic and disturbing. But the sounds are enough to shock you.

Sam C. Wilson and Mark Stobbart as Blood and Cheese in house of the dragon season 2 episode 1

When Helaena runs out of the room clutching her daughter, Princess Jaehaera, she runs into the first room she can find to announce, “They killed the boy.” It just so happens that her mom is in there, having sex with the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Helaena is too much in shock to register this, because can you imagine the added trauma of seeing something like that?

The almost horror-like moment suddenly turns comedic when you see Ser Criston Cole with his head bowed in shame. At the start of the episode, when he was “servicing” Alicent, they both agreed they wouldn’t do it again. And now, this is yet another oath that Ser Criston Cole has broken and stained his white cloak with. Such a hypocrite, right?

5. Any scene with King Aegon II


Okay, we know Aegon is not a good dude, but believe it or not, he brings a surprise comic relief to this episode. When he enthusiastically brings his young son to the Small Council and the princeling annoys the hell out of Lord Tyland Lannister, it is an inappropriate abuse of power but hilarious to watch.

He gets called Aegon the Magnanimous by his friend, and he decides to try it out—the whole “being generous” thing—much to the annoyance of his grandfather and Hand of The King, Ser Otto Hightower. At court, Ser Otto has to constantly go up to the King and remind him he can’t just do things like exempt one citizen from taxes but not others. The tussle between the two (and the exhaustion on Ser Otto’s face) is a sight to behold.

Even Aegon’s guy gang is a funny lot, as in one scene they sit in the throne room, deciding whether Aegon should be Magnanimous or Dragonc*ck instead.

Bonus: The opening credits are a nice upgrade and worth viewing if you want to get your House Targaryen lore down pat!

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.