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House of the Dragon - The Red Dragon and the Gold - Review: A Bloody Mess

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*Be warned that this review contains spoilers from the books and show.*

While House of the Dragon may take some heat for its slower pace than its sister show Game of Thrones this season is surely trying to live up to the hype. This week’s episode was no exception. The tension was in the air on both councils and it is clear there is no turning back from this civil war. 

Dameon is still trying to build an army but Ser Criston is doing it at a much faster and effective rate. I really wish someone would knock that smug look off his face permanently. He and Alicent are truly two goofy people telling each other exactly. It was inevitable that she would end up pregnant and her making the decision to end her pregnancy was hard to watch but she had to know the chances of that happening every time she met up with him. 

"The Red Dragon and the Gold” – HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, Pictured: Matt Smith as Prince Daemon. Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO ©2024. All Rights Reserved

Lord Larys goes to check in on her after she misses the council meeting and she tries to lie but he sees the cup and knows what happened. They have a brief conversation and she states that Viserys’ intentions died with him. Alicent has really become unlikeable for me. 

Speaking of the council meeting, Aegon again is made to look weak as he has no idea what is going on and Aemond informs the council of Criston’s movements (heading to Rooks Rest). When Aegon tries to show his teeth as the mighty King, Aemond begins speaking to him in High Valyrian and Aegon barely can speak it back to him. Alicent is looking for Viserys' books when Aegon comes back to his room. He is whining about the council not respecting him and Alicent, the nurturing mother that she is, tells him to do what she needs him to do - nothing, further wounding his pride and ego. 

"The Red Dragon and the Gold” – HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, Pictured: Tom Glynn-Carney as King Aegon II. Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO ©2024. All Rights Reserved

In Rhaenyra’s absence her council is in no better shape. They grow restless for action and Lord Corlys has to make an appearance to settle them. When Rhaenyra does return, even Jace is annoyed with her. After learning of Criston’s victories she finally decides it's time to send a dragon. She was to go but Rhaenys volunteers instead. 

"The Red Dragon and the Gold” – HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, Pictured: Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys and Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys. Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO ©2024. All Rights Reserved

While Rhaenyra tells Jace the story of the dream, Rhaenys prepares her dragon for battle and Aegon drunkenly heads off to battle as well. When they both arrive at Rooks Rest, Aemond is hiding in wait with his dragon as a part of the plan. Aegon stupidly throws a wrench in it and is easily overpowered by Rhaenys. Aemond appears to come to his aid but dracarys’ Aemond who falls. Rhaenys sends her dragon to attack Aemond knowing she won’t make it out alive. They have a brutal fight and Rhaenys dragon does wound Aemond’s but his dragon does bite her neck and kills her in the air and we see Rhaenys stretch out her arms and fall to her death. We mourn such a powerful, wise and great character Princess Rhaenys. I hope we get to see Lord Corlys’ wrath. In the books he becomes estranged from Rhaenyra.

Criston comes to and finds Aemond staring at the body of Aegon with his dragon barely breathing. In the books, Aegon dies of poison so if he is in fact dead here and this is not a Bran moment (falling and surviving) then this would be a much more satisfying death as his inexperience and lack of nurturing from his mother proved to be his downfall. If/when he does meet his end, we do not mourn him.

"The Red Dragon and the Gold” – HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, Pictured: Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole. Photo: Theo Whiteman/HBO ©2024. All Rights Reserved

I enjoyed this episode. If you could not tell by now I am fully Team Black, but I do love villains when they have good writing and strong character development - which Team Green has. I love to hate Criston, Aemond, Alicent and Aegon. If this is Aegon's death, I will miss seeing Tom Glynn-Carney in the role. 

Daemon is going through it over at Harrenhall and meeting witches. The more interesting aspect of his story is getting to see Milly Alcock back as young Rhaenyra. The impact of this episode is setting up the rest of the season to be bloody and dark. What did you think of the episode House of the Dragon fans? Leave a comment and remember to connect with me on X @jereereviews for more.

About the Author - Je-Ree Olenik
Je-Ree is the definition of a Jersey Girl. A true nerd who loves her comics. When not watching tv she is a paralegal by day. She loves writing, reading, binging all the newest shows and spending time with her family. Twitter @jereereviews
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