House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 3 - A Simmering Slow Burn

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The Targaryen civil war takes a backseat in episode 3. This is an introspective episode and the aftermath of the border battle that opened season 2.

Themes of Regret and Repercussions

It’s a slow burn, and we see characters on both sides, the Blacks (Rhaenyra’s faction) and the Greens (Aegon’s faction) dealing with grief and the consequences of their actions. The image of the burned bodies from the “Burning Mill” is still seared into our minds as a reminder of the pointlessness of it all.

Power Play

No action this episode, but it sets up future chaos. With Otto Hightower out as Hand of the King the Green council is in flux. Criston Cole is in and he’s already being more aggressive.

Daemon’s Games

Matt Smith is great as Daemon Targaryen. We get some insight into his motivations and we’re left wondering where his loyalties and ambitions lie.


A character driven episode that focuses on emotional depth rather than spectacle. It may be slow for some but it builds tension and foreshadows the coming storm. Ends with a big event that will change the power dynamic.


  • Great performances from Emma D’Arcy (Rhaenyra) and Olivia Cooke (Alicent)
  • War’s emotional impact
  • Daemon Targaryen’s intrigue

Low points:

  • Slower pace than previous episodes
  • No big action scenes

Overall: House of the Dragon pauses in episode 3. A good character episode. Not enough action for some but it lays the groundwork for what’s to come.

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