House of the Dragon’s next funeral is for Rhaenyra and Alicent’s friendship

So the Brackens hate the Blackwoods, and the Blackwoods hate the Brackens. It’s been this manner for so long as anybody can bear in mind. The beginning of all of it, we’re instructed, is misplaced in time. Does it matter that the Brackens pledged to Aegon and the Blackwoods to Rhaenyra? In all probability not. Violence is cyclical, and the younger males from every household arguing at the begin of this week’s House of the Dragon have been primed for battle lengthy earlier than they have been born. They’re doomed to a grim loss of life, as are the numerous countrymen that may be part of them, as the inertia of this explicit cycle runs its course.

The opening vignette of this week’s House of the Dragon underlines how its characters are now not the masters of their very own destinies. Battle is simple to slip into and tough to keep away from, because it wants no justification to perpetuate itself. That doesn’t imply they’re prepared to simply accept this, although. Persevering with the stages-of-grief metaphor from final week, this week’s episode is about bargaining — culminating in a remaining dialog between Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke) the place the two try precisely that. With a brand new established order that has positioned an ocean between them, the relationship that House of the Dragon is constructed on will get treasured little display time, even because it nonetheless drives their particular person convictions. As soon as upon a time, these younger ladies’s friendship had the potential to interrupt the cycles set in course by males; now that potential is imperiled. Is there any means out?

As the twins Arryk and Erryk are buried, Rhaenys reminds Rhaenyra that she is not above getting misplaced on this cycle. She asks what triggered the present battle Westeros finds itself in. Was it the stolen throne? Or Lucerys’ loss of life? Or Aemond’s misplaced eye? When the battle begins, will it even matter? “When the desire to kill and burn takes hold,” Rhaenys says, “all reason is forgotten.”

Picture: Ollie Upton/HBO

Or, as Ser Simon Sturdy, the castellan of Harrenhal, tells Daemon when he arrives to say the very damp, hilariously uncontested stronghold: “Sin begets sin begets sin.”

Rhaenyra was presupposed to be totally different. Her crown was taken from her as a result of she would have been totally different, as a result of she would have damaged the chain of patriarchal rule and threatened the very energy construction of Westeros. Thus, she makes one remaining, determined gambit to interrupt the loop, to pivot away from the struggle that the males of this world crave, the identical type of struggle they’ve waged for generations. She sneaks into King’s Touchdown to satisfy with Alicent throughout her prayers.

It’s a patently absurd mission, one which the viewer — who has simply witnessed the dysfunction of Rhaenyra’s council, the bloodthirst of Aegon’s response, and Ser Simon Sturdy’s frank breakdown of the battle that has endlessly spilled throughout the riverlands — can be proper to be skeptical of. However maybe a dream deserves a funeral, and Rhaenyra wants one final likelihood to mourn, reckless as it could be.

Alicent climbs chapel stairs flanked by two guards in House of the Dragon season 2.

Picture: Theo Whiteman/HBO

“We knew even [as children] that men trained for battle are eager to fight,” she tells Alicent, believing that they’ll nonetheless be totally different, that they’ll discover peace. Alicent, nevertheless, nonetheless believes herself to be in the proper, that Viserys modified his thoughts about his inheritor on his deathbed, and that it’s Rhaenyra’s actions which can be plunging them into struggle. The dialog devolves into blame and deflection till the core misunderstanding that drove the pair aside is lastly clarified: Alicent realizes King Viserys’ final phrases have been about Aegon the Conqueror, and not his grandson Aegon.

Olivia Cooke performs the horrible second of realization impeccably, as shock and comprehension make their means throughout her face earlier than curdling into grim dedication. They’re already pot dedicated; there’s nothing to be completed. They too will slip into the tides of struggle, however in contrast to many of the males we noticed earlier than, they are going to know precisely why.

The Brackens hate the Blackwoods. The Blackwoods hate the Brackens.

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