On this episode of “Who Wants to Marry a Targaryen?”, a clever dance is woven amongst the members of King Verserys II’s Small Council and family. On the one hand, you have both Lord Corlys Velaryon and Otto Hightower, both pimping out their daughters to be the next queen. Additionally, Princess Rhaenyra is eating the eye candy as she selects the next member of the Kingsguard. Lastly, Prince Daemon makes a play by proclaiming his own upcoming wedding, despite already being married. Who ends up with who and who ends up on a spike is much cause for speculation in this week’s episode “The Rogue Prince.”
The first major storyline running through this episode is that while Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, is still encouraging his daughter Alicent to seduce the king, Lord Corlys comes in to suggest his daughter marry Viserys. While many point out the great strength that would be added to the throne by joining the Targaryens and the Velaryons, a large drawback that Viserys notes is that Corlys’s daughter Laena is only twelve years old. Ultimately, and to the surprise of many, including Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenyra, Viserys chooses Alicent.
Meanwhile, Princess Rhaenyra has been exerting her own power as the heir, first speaking up at a council meeting and then taking her dragon away from King’s landing on a mission not approved by King Viserys. After she spoke out of turn, her father makes her pick a new member of the Kingsguard for him. Rhaenyra’s ultimate choice of Sir Cristen Cole displays both the fancy of a young girl as well as a keen acumen, pointing out to the King’s Hand that a bodyguard should have combat experience more than being a political choice. Rhaenyra is clearly acting out more, considering that being named heir has resulted in no change to how she’s being treated by the men at court.
Next, the title of this week’s episode comes from the actions of Prince Daemon. We’re informed via a Small Council meeting that Daemon has taken Dragonstone for his own, and King Viserys is seemingly unwilling to take a hand against his brother. Daemon is clearly provoking Viserys to the maximum extent that he can, first by taking a castle that rightly belongs to the heir (Rhaenyra) and also a dragon’s egg, claiming that he intends to marry his whore Mysaria and that she’s pregnant (thus the egg is to be placed in the baby’s crib). However, there is no child, nor an upcoming wedding, and Daemon ultimately folds when Rhaenyra shows up at Dragonstone on her own dragon and ends a showdown that was about to go very badly.
By the end, Visery’s choice of Alicent has moved Westeros one step closer to a civil war. While Rhaenyra was supportive of her father remarrying, his choice of her best friend will ultimately drive a wedge not only between father and daughter, but between Rhaenyra and Alicent. Unsurprisingly, Corlys storms out of the Small Council meeting after the announcement and, more surprisingly, is then seen meeting with Daemon. With Viserys having spurned his daughter (and, more importantly, Lord Corlys himself), Corlys turns to Daemon for help recapturing the Stepstones islands from pirates who want to disrupt Westerosi shipping with the support of the Free Cities.
While perhaps lacking in the wow factor of the first episode, “The Rogue Prince” certainly does help move things along plot-wise. Viserys planning to take a new wife, the appointment of Ser Criston Cole, and Corlys’s partnership with Daemon will all have major impacts on upcoming episodes. Alicent is destined to give birth to a male heir that will raise the question of succession and divide the realm. Even though he was Rhaenyra’s pick, Cole will side against her. Lastly, Daemon’s desire for the throne will lead him away from his brother and ultimately back to Rhaenyra. The wheels of these plots are turning, and the dragons are beginning to take flight.