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What’s up with the Riverlands in House of the Dragon?

Conflict has formally arrived in House of the Dragon season 2. And very similar to the second season of Recreation of Thrones, meaning Westerosi geography is about to play a a lot larger position in the present and our skill to know it. In actual fact, the Greens’ warfare council in this season’s third episode might be only a preview of the essential wartime tactical discussions to return.

The sequence has by no means been shy about piling on the particulars and leaving viewers to piece issues collectively, however with warfare looming, it’s further essential to maintain observe of precisely what individuals are preventing over. So to assist get you prepared for the Targaryen civil warfare, right here’s a fast clarification of what everybody was speaking about in episode 3, and why preventing over the Riverlands is so rattling essential to each side.

[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2, up to episode 3.]

The primary key to understanding the significance of the Riverlands in the Dance of Dragons is knowing its geographic place in the story. Right here’s a map in case you want a refresher:

Graphic: Austen Goslin | Supply picture: Tear through A Wiki of Ice and Fire

As we are able to see, not like with the season 2 battles between the Lannisters in King’s Touchdown and the Starks in Winterfell in Recreation of Thrones, there isn’t a lot distance in any respect between House of the Dragon’s two Targaryen factions. In actual fact, all that lies between them is Blackwater Bay on one facet and the Riverlands on the different. And the Riverlands virtually encompass the small islands of Dragonstone and Driftmark, the place Rhaenyra and her allies at present reside.

One other essential side to understanding the Riverlands is knowing the Tullys. House Tully are the lords of Riverrun, and are historically the stabilizing power in the area. Nevertheless, as Jason Lannister factors out in the King’s Touchdown small council assembly, the Tullys are led at this second by Grover Tully, an previous man incapable of holding his personal home collectively, not to mention the relaxation of the Riverlands as they progress towards open warfare. This implies the area is sort of totally up for grabs, and in very open battle — as we see at the starting of the episode with the Blackwoods and the Brackens.

This energy vacuum is precisely what leads Ser Criston Cole, the newly promoted Hand of the King, to the conclusion that he ought to embark with a small crew to the Riverlands by power, bringing the totally different castles and their lords in line below the crown. To cap off his plan, Criston says that he’ll take Harrenhal, rendering the area utterly in King Aegon’s management.

Daemon, on the different hand, merely flies straight to Harrenhal, deciding that he and his dragon Caraxes have been doubtless sufficient to take the fortress by give up. When he arrives, he learns that he was each totally proper and possibly losing his time. The darkish, damp corridors of Harrenhal are simply as ruined as they’ve been since the dying of Harren the Black, and the fortress doesn’t appear to supply a lot martial power in any respect.

Harrenhal’s common lack of power signifies that Criston is marching towards an basically nugatory prize, however the allies he picks up alongside the manner are what actually issues right here. As you’ll be able to see for those who look again at the map, controlling the Riverlands for the Greens would basically imply reducing the Blacks’ stronghold at Dragonstone off from the relaxation of Westeros. Certain, they’ll attain allies by sea, however the solely port close by for Rhaenyra is at Rook’s Relaxation — which may very well be one other potential Riverlands prize for Criston to win. However with out these few cities in the area, the Blacks can be quarantined to their tiny islands and hard-pressed to outlive for lengthy.

If all that is sounding moderately dire for the Blacks, that’s as a result of technically it’s. Their facet has the strongest navy, which is why Ser Corlys Velaryon is working a blockade at the entrance to Blackwater Bay, successfully stopping shipments from coming into King’s Touchdown. However that’s their solely actual power. In fact, if Daemon is ready to in some way muster a military at Harrenhal, or carry his large dragon to bear on Criston’s power, their fortunes might definitely begin to shift.

However wars are very difficult issues, each in actual life and in the world of Recreation of Thrones, and only a few of them ever go precisely in response to both facet’s plan. So, irrespective of how dire issues could appear, there are more likely to be a couple of twists in the close to future to maintain the battle shut.

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