The Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon takes us nearly 200 years before Daenerys Targaryen’s existence with a story of fire and blood. The HBO series is underway, setting up some fraught drama between King Viserys, Princess Rhaneyra, and the very chaotic Daemon Targaryen. With the Stepstones drama coming into play, a host of other families in the mix, and this universe’s penchant for violence, we can certainly expect some shocking, brutal, and horrific moments in House of the Dragon. Some of it is typical warfare while other things will make your stomach churn. It is the way of Westeros, apparently. So, let’s keep up with just how many moments House of the Dragon makes us gasp, cringe, and maybe even cheer over a terrible person’s demise.
Episode 1 – “The Heirs of the Dragon”
Viserys’ Gross Wound
Sure, this gooey cut on Viserys’ back pales in comparison to what we see later in the episode. But it is still gross anyway. He got the nick that won’t heal (and appears to be infected) from sitting on the infamous Iron Throne. As we see, the throne looks wilder than ever with more dangerous swords. Maybe it is not a good idea to sit on that kind of chair all the time, even if you want to look like a tough guy.
Daemon and the City Watch’s Killing Spree
Daemon is a wild guy. And, for some reason, the council thought it would be wise to make him the commander of the City Watch. Giving someone like him that kind of power will lead to bloody results. And oh does it go back when he rolls up with his Gold Cloak crew and they seek out criminals. People lose all sorts of body parts and the City Watch loads the human pieces in a wagon. Why? To send a clear message about crime and what happens to people who do bad things. Yeesh. This is one of House of the Dragon‘s most brutal moments.
The Queen’s Death in Childbirth
This scene is brutal, heartbreaking, and honestly cruel. Queen Aemma is in labor; however, the baby is breech and will not turn. Viserys learns from a councilman that there is a new method of removing the child but it will certainly kill the mother. And he decides to try to save his male heir, electing to essentially kill his wife without her knowledge nor consent. She’s held down and given a C-section with no medication, bleeding profusely until she dies. Sadly, the child also dies soon after birth.
Everything About Jousting
This is such an unhinged activity. A bunch of people sit in stands and watch men on horses gallop towards each other with pointy sticks to celebrate the birth of a child. And, if they don’t like how things go, they can go for a duel and beat the crap out of each other. With people cheering them on. And, we see a couple of guys get beaten or injured horribly in this episode. Wild.
The Doctor’s Butt
Look, I understand that Matt Smith is a talented person who will continue to portray many characters after the Eleventh Doctor. But when I look at him, I see that fez and bowtie-loving dude. So imagine the audible sound that left my mouth when I saw his bare butt on my TV screen. Just… a lot to process as a Doctor Who fan.
The Heir for a Day Toast
Let’s continue with Daemon being a wild dude. He’s in a brothel where lots of… activity is happening all around him. And he decides to make a toast to his dead nephew, calling him “The Heir for a Day.” That move causes Viserys to remove Daemon from the succession line and sever the remnants of their relationship. Yikes. This House of the Dragon moment is what truly sets things in motion.
Episode 2 – “The Rogue Prince”
Marrying Off Children
Listen. I don’t care if it was common practice or “legal” to do things like that. Just because it is socially acceptable or “legal” doesn’t mean it is morally just. We are six months into the future and the Velaryons want the king to marry their daughter, Laena. A literal little kid who asks all sorts of curious questions. And, when the subject of marriage comes up, she repeats some things her father told her to say. She also admits that she wouldn’t have to bed him until she turns 14. Gross. Thankfully, this is too weird for Viserys, and they do not go forth with the engagement.
The Maggot Solution
Apparently, the cure for what ails Viserys’ hand can be found with maggots. Bigly gross and also not effective, it seems. Definitely one House of the Dragon moment that turns our stomach.
The Stepstones Crab Conundrum
So there is trouble in the Stepstones. A Myrish Prince is feeding Westerosi sailors to crabs… alive. And it is a very gnarly thing to watch people being hacked up then left for crabs to eat them. What a way to end an episode along with shady Corlys forming an alliance with Daemon.
Episode 3 – “Second of His Name”
Nails, Wood, Crabs, and a Dragon Foot
That Myrish Prince is a wild dude. He nails a soldier’s hand to a wooden plank in a very Jesus-like fashion and allows a few crabs to begin to consume him. However, Daemon arrives on the back of his dragon, and the creature smushes the man with its foot. What a way to go…
Public Father/Daughter Drama
We are now around three years in the future. Rhaenyra’s friend Alicent is now the queen after marrying Viserys. She’s not only had a male child but is very pregnant at this time. Of course, this means there’s a ton of tension between the pair. But it is nothing like what goes down between Viserys and Rhaenyra. Thus far, their disagreements have been mostly in private (save for a bit of shady exchanges), but they get into quite the heated argument in public concerning Rhaenyra finding a “suitable husband.” The fight causes a record scratch moment among the guests at their big ole hunt party.
Hello Wild Boar
Rhaenyra and Harrold are hanging out by the fireside when they get quite the unwelcome surprise. A boar rolls up on them, nearly killing them both until Rhaenyra takes him down. She’s clearly working through some pent-up frustration, stabbing the boar a few too many times. It’s a bloody and frantic scene that shows 1) Rhaenyra is better than her father at many things and 2) it is dangerous as hell to exist in this universe.
Daemon’s Gotcha Plan
Daemon makes it seem that he and his men are waving the white flag. In fact, he does that explicitly. But is a clever trap and a battle ensues. And, just when it seems that it is done, he goes on a one man battle, taking down quite a few people in the process. The rest of the men come in valiantly and take the W complete with lots of blood, gore, and screaming. In fact, the episode ends on a close up of Daemon covered in someone’s blood. House of the Dragon loves its dramatic and gross moments.
Episode 4 – “King of the Narrow Sea”
A Little Blood and Spilled Guts
The Daemon drama hour is back for another installment! But before he makes his triumphant return, we see Rhaenyra looking very bored by her potential suitors. The only fun thing about this is the young Blackwood lad go head to head with an older Bracken fellow who talks trash. The kid spills his guts and blood and we love it.
Old Man Spongebathing
Rhaenyra ruffles Alicent’s feathers a bit when she says that she doesn’t want to be trapped in a castle to birth heirs. That’s Alicent’s sad and lonely life now and boy does it come with some drawbacks. One of them is spongebathing her old husband, whose sores are getting increasingly worse. Definitely a House of the Dragon moment we could have done without.
All That Stuff with Daemon and HIS NIECE
Yes, as Alicent says, we know that the Targaryens have “queer” customs. They are totally down with incest and stuff. And, in many ways, Daemon and Rhaenrya’s relationship is quite cool. But when they look at each other a little too passionately and began to kiss, it is still very cringe.
The King and Queen’s Intimate Scene
Alicent lies motionless as the King is on top of her. It’s not shocking or brutal but it does make your stomach turn on her behalf. Unlike Rhaenyra, who actually gets to experience pleasure and attraction with Criston Cole, she is only doing her “duty” as a wife.
Did You F*** Your Uncle?!
It’s pretty shocking to hear The Queen use such foul language. But it is clear that she’s upset and probably worried about her friend. Of course, Rhaenyra only tells the partial truth, which seems like something that will resurface and possibly destroy their already fragile relationship.
Daemon on the Ground
To say the Viserys is pissed would be an understatement. One of the big moments from this House of the Dragon episode is Daemon once again drawing ire from his brother. He is on the ground drunk and Viserys kicks him a few times before throwing him out… again.
Goodbye to the Hand
Rhaenyra knows that she cannot go against her father when it comes to an arraigned marriage. But she can pull one last card by convincing her father to relieve Otto Hightower of his duties. And that’s how this episode ends. What a ride.
Episode 5 – “We Light the Way”
Daemon returns to the Vale and his wife Rhea is ready to verbally drag him. (As she should.) He doesn’t speak a single word, but rather causes her horse to throw her off, injuring her, and then walks ominously towards her with a rock. You know, the kind for bludgeoning a person. Yikes.
Viserys’ Throwing Up
This could have been a lot more gross, but come on. You were offered a really fancy container to do it in and instead, you do it over the railing on a ship. Gross. Viserys seems to star in House of the Dragon‘s most queasy moments.
Rhaenyra and Laenor’s Agreement
Surprisingly, Rhaenyra and Laenor are able to come to an agreement. She somehow knows that he’s not into women while he knows she wants to be with other men. So, they agree to do their realm duties but partake in whatever “meals” they desire. It’s a bit shocking but, in the context of this story, I’m not mad at it.
Alicent Turns Dark
Well, well. The one person who seemed to be somewhat innocent in this tale is now working on her own agenda. Alicent shows up in style at the wedding, wearing the color green. It signifies the Hightower’s banner color for war. And that’s what she’s about to wage against her former best friend, who is set to become queen sooner or later. Oof.
There’s really not much to be said about it except, well, I can barely look at it. His arm is literally about to fall off and perhaps killing him. And it seems that those around him are doing little to nothing to help. We think we know why, though.
Sir Criston Cole Goes Rogue
Oh sir. You really don’t know how to play your part as the side dude. He gets upset when Laenor’s lover Joffrey reveals that he knows the secret between Criston and Rhaenyra. This leads to a full on fight where Criston kills Joffrey. The House of the Dragon‘s moment was both intense and disgusting, Criston didn’t know when to stop. Marriage celebrations are always a mess in this universe.
As if this wedding isn’t awful enough, Viserys passes out right after the vows between two very sad people. Is he dead? We will have to wait and see.
Episode 6 – “The Princess and the Queen”
Another Traumatic Birth Scene
We go through a pretty significant time jump in this episode. Rhanerya and Laenor have been married for quite sometime, as evidenced by their two older boys and her giving birth to a third baby boy. Of course, this show depicts childbirth pretty brutally and even though she doesn’t die, it is gnarly to watch. She has to get up moments after birth to present her child to the queen and is literally leaving a trail of blood behind her. House of the Dragons loves to give us a childbirth moment or five we could do without.
Aegon’s Present to the World
So, this Prince is a full on jerk. And speaking of the word jerk, that’s what he is doing to himself in a window sill in broad daylight when the Queen walks in on him. She doesn’t even address this foul behavior, instead coming to yell at him about being terrible to his younger brother. I guess this is the norm for him.
Sir Criston Cole’s Salty Shenanigans
I take back anything nice I said about this guy. Years later, he’s still upset that the Princess didn’t give up her entire life to run away with him. And he knows good and well (like everyone) that all three of her children are fathered by Ser Harwin. He picks a deliberate fight with him and further affirms the rumors going around, causing a domino effect among everyone.
The Rotting King Viserys
Oh, forgot to mention this. Viserys isn’t dead…but he looks like it. The king could be an extra in The Walking Dead at this point, and you really hate to see it. This isn’t really one gross moment on House of the Dragon, but basically every time we see the king.
Laena’s Sad Demise
Poor Laena. She barely got to be a character in this series. We finally get the grown up version of her, who is married to Daemon with two children and a third on the way. Cousin weirdness aside, they actually seem to be a good match with genuine love between them. But, she goes through a difficult birth and chooses to die via dragon fire. It is tough to watch this happen, even though she made this decision on her own.
Larys’ Big Evil Plan
Queen Alicent tells Larys Strong she wishes her father Ser Otto were still the King’s Hand. So, Larys decides to do something for her (and moreso for himself) by starting a fire at Harrenhal. This is where Ser Lyonel and Harwin both die in a fire. Big yikes but it sets up perhaps the most brutal villain we will see in House of the Dragon.
Episode 7 – “Driftmark”
Velaryon Family Drama
We are back, and actually not another ten years in the future. Laena’s funeral brings everyone together for some good ole fashioned mess. And it starts at the funeral with Laenor falling apart and kneeling in the sea while his father Corlys is ready to punch him for being weak. Corlys and Rhaenys get into an argument also about Laena’s death, among other things, which is unusual considering they are normally united.
Daemon and Rhaenyra (Again)
Well, it looks like Rhaenyra’s fire for her uncle never wavered. Not only do they end up sleeping together this episode, but Rhaenyra and Daemon also form a pact to get an upper hand over Alicent and the Velaryons. And, after both of their spouses (who are siblings) die, they marry each other. (More on that later.)
An Eye for a Dragon
Aemond finally gets some comeuppance (sort of) for being a major jerk like his brother Aegon. Following Laena’s funeral, he takes and claims Vhagar as his own, upsetting her daughters as well as Rhaenyra’s sons. The quartet confronts him, and he hits each one of them, causing a scuffle. In the end, Luke distracts him with sand to the eye with Jace gives him a good uppercut with a knife. I love teamwork. When all the adults convene together along with the kids, we find out that Aemond lost an eye and has gnarly stitches. But he’s cool because Vhagar is his dragon now.
Rhaenyra vs. Alicent
Whooo, Lord. The tension between these two spills over to violence over this incident with the kids. Alicent wants revenge for her son losing an eye and, against the word of King Viserys, orders Ser Criston Cole to take one of Jace’s eyes. The King, of course, sides with his daughter and seems more concerned about the allegations of Rhaenyra’s kids being bastards. Like sirrrr, everyone knows the clear truth. Anyway, Alicent grabs a knife and attempts to do it herself, causing a physical struggle between her and Rhaenyra that ends with the latter’s forearm being cut… and stitches for her too. (She will keep her arm, though.) House of the Dragon lets us see the stitches in all their glory in another disgusting moment. Alicent’s son sucks, and Rhaenyra calls her out for being terrible… while also not being a great person. Everyone’s a villain.
Laenor’s Death Is a Part of the Plan
Rhaenyra is so determined to win this brewing game of thrones that she proposes an idea to Daemon. They will marry, an alliance that makes it harder for the realm to deny her right as heir. But they know that Laenor will have to die for that to happen. So they orchestrate his death… except it’s all staged. The charred body that his parents buy doesn’t belong to him and he gets to live far, far away with his lover. Honestly, I respect Rhaenyra and Daemon for allowing him to be free to live his life. At least, we assume that was the plan… Never know with these folks. Either way, he’s ALIVE!
Episode 8 – “The Lord of the Tides”
The Rotting King continues to fall to literal pieces. It’s been a few years since we last saw everyone (again) and Viserys looks really, really bad. Like scary enough to frighten Rhaenyra and Daemon’s little boys. Rotting skin and teeth along with being able to barely see and think is a bad shake.
A Horrific Assault
Until now, House of the Dragon‘s brutal and shocking moments hadn’t included anything with sexual assault of violence, unlike Game of Thrones. We didn’t actually see what happened to Dyana but it was sickening to see how traumatized and scared she was after Aegon’s assault against her. And it is even sadder (but not shocking) to see that the only thing that happens is her getting a few coins for her “troubles.”
The Rhaenyra and Alicent Verbal Spar
What a delight to see them together again and going at it. This time, its even better with a few snide remarks from Daemon. Truly the best of brutal words.
Daemon Kills Again
Is it really a House of the Dragon episode without Daemon doing something wild in public? This time, Vaemond catches his wrath by bringing up the mess about Rhaenyra’s illegitimate children. Daemon shuts it down immediately, slicing his head in half. Welp.
Alicent’s New-ish Mission
Oh Viserys. He spilled the beans about the original Aegon’s vision and now Alicent really thinks it is her mission to make her awful first born son the next King. He was NOT talking about him, ma’am. Hate thisssss.
Episode 9 – “The Green Council”
It Was the Council All Along
In a reveal that shocks no one, Viserys is dead. And now Alicent is moving forward with what she believes is his dying wish: to make Aegon (their son, not Rhaenyra’s) the next king. However, she quickly discovers in a meeting with the Small Council that they have been conspiring to make Aegon king all along, which angers her.
Ser Criston Cole Kills Again
Criston Cole proves once again that he is dangerous and impulsive, a bad combination. Ole boy kills Lord Lyman, the one council member who calls the situation out for what it is. It is brutal and done in front of a room of men (and Alicent) with mostly everyone covering it up. Nasty business.
Alicent vs. Sir Otto
So, there’s a weird war of wills going on here. Alicent wants to make Aegon the king… and so does Otto. But, after Rhaenys rightfully tells her that she’s 1) living for the will of men around her and 2) a pawn in Otto’s game, Alicent wants to do things her way. So they end up leading separate charges to bring Aegon home. It will be interesting to see how they co-exist from this point forward and if Alicent will make a move that she desires for once.
Otto vs. Anyone Who Opposes Him
Otto is a wild dude. He’s out here ordering the deaths of anyone who doesn’t bend the knee and already on some rogue stuff. Of course, Rhaenyra and Daemon don’t have a clue what is going on. It’s not like someone can call them to fill them in on the chaos. But when they do find out, they will have to contend with Otto, who is shaping up to be a wild villain.
Larys’ Foot Obsession
Let me preface this by saying that there’s nothing wrong with a foot fetish. I am not shaming anyone who likes that sort of thing. But it is very wild to see how thirsty Larys is over Alicent’s bare feet. He stares at them while divulging information before ending the situation with pleasuring himself. Alicent is looking the opposite way but there’s no way she doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Rhaenys’ Dragon Escape
Aegon’s installation goes off without a hitch… until things get very chaotic. Rhaenys bursts through the floor with Meleys, who kills a ton of people. The end shows the dragon standing fiercely over the Hightower family and their associates with Rhaenys giving them a death stare before flying off. No. NO. She should have barbequed them and went about her way. But alas, the story must go on.
Episode 10 – “The Black Queen”
Rhaenyra’s Brutal Birth Scene
Rhaenys arrives to deliver the very bad news about Aegon’s installment. It shocks and upsets Rhaenyra so much that she goes into premature labor, which results in her giving birth to a stillborn daughter. Sadly, she must mourn this loss alone because Daemon is too busy being unhinged to support her.
Daemon Verbally Dragging Otto
There’s truly never a dull moment with Daemon. He’s not only the lord of great hair, but will literally say whatever he’s thinking. And that’s what he does to Otto, calling his grandson a drunk idiot and insulting Otto at every chance. It’s what Otto deserves.
Daemon vs. Rhaenyra
We know that Daemon is a war-loving guy who cannot be trusted. He did, after all, kill his first wife in cold blood. But things take quite the turn when he grabs Rhaenyra by the neck, upset that she’s feeding into Viserys’ vision and declaring that dragons—not dreams—are why they are kings. Rhaenyra realizes her father kept that important information from his brother because well, he’s unhinged. Big yikes.
Lucerys’ Death by Dragon
For those of us with no book knowledge, the episode itself gave some clear foreshadowing that he was going to die. The quiet conversation with Rhaenyra at the end. Their sentimental goodbye that went on for a little too long. But whoa did things take quite the turn when Aemond grabs Vhagar and chases down Lucerys on Arrax. The former dragon eats both of them and now Rhaenyra considers that the first strike for war. Poor lady has lost two children and her father in rapid succession. Lord hammercy. Now we have to wait a really long time to see what happens next in 2024.
Until next season, we can reminisce on all the brutal, shocking, and stomach churning moments on House of the Dragon.
Originally published on August 21, 2022.