House of the Dragon episode 4 review: Double standards caused a royal scandal

House of the Dragon episode 4 – now airing on HBO Max and Disney + Hotstar – is all about how quickly fortunes can change. In the middle of episode 2, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) became an enemy of his brother, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), for stealing a dragon egg and calling himself Lord of the Dragon. Daemon further angered him in episode 3 by starting a fight on the Steps and dragging the Crown into it. However, at the beginning of episode 4, thanks to the victory he had secured, Daemon returned in the king’s favor. Publicly, at least. BUT—at the end of episode 4 of House of the Dragon, Viserys despises his brother and banishes him, thanks to his part in a royal scandal that has engulfed Viserys’ heir and daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock).

Speaking of a potential future Queen, Rhaenyra ended up in a much bigger quagmire at the time. Dragon’s House Episode 4 is over. All seemed well between father and daughter when we last saw them together. In the near term – Aegon II had turned three years old, we are told, which indicates about a year had passed – Viserys organized a tour of potential suitors for Rhaenyra. That’s how House of the Dragon episode 4 opens, with men (and boys) of all ages making a verbal PowerPoint presentation about why they’re best suited to be her husband. that. But Rhaenyra skipped all of them and cut the tour two months early. Viserys is “disappointed” that she’s back with no pick, Rhaenyra’s best friend Queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) tells her.

“It is rare for a woman to have the choice between two suitors, let alone two scores,” Alicent noted to the Iron Throne heir. “They just want my name and my Valyrian blood for their children,” protested Rhaenyra, to which Alicent replied on House of the Dragon episode 4: “I think it’s pretty romantic.” The young Targaryen retorted immediately, without thinking: “How romantic is it to be imprisoned in a castle and made to be adopted after children?” Rhaenyra inadvertently neatly summed up Alicent’s situation, and when she realized the unintended collision, she comforted her best friend by squeezing her hand.

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Emily Carey as Queen Alicent Hightower, Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon episode 4
Image source: Ollie Upton / HBO

But it is clear that while Alicent is content with her position, Rhaenyra is more interested in adventure. It was always her. So that night in episode 4 of House of the Dragon, when Rhaenyra found a banknote and a bag full of civilian clothes in her room, she jumped at the chance. Glancing through a secret entrance in her bedroom, Rhaenyra found Daemon waiting for her, who then introduced her to the nightlife in King’s Landing. First, they watch a play – Game of Thrones did this very well, so I’m happy to see the prequel continue in that vein – something Rhaenyra wasn’t happy about. Mainly because they are mocking her female credentials (An Inherited Girl?! Is she weak?), while noting that the baby Aegon II has the conqueror’s name and a penis. How does that count for anything?

The sequel to the Flea Bottom tour is much more daring. For Daemon, however, it’s just another Tuesday. Prince Targaryen takes his niece into a cave of pleasure in episode 4 of House of the Dragon, opening Rhaenyra to a series of sexual satisfactions she has never witnessed before. Daemon then removed her helmet – which aided her disguise, concealing her unmistakable white Targaryen padlock – as they moved deeper in. Like he wanted everyone to know she was here.

And then, in the presence of everyone, Daemon hit his niece. “Marriage is a duty,” he told Rhaenyra, as episode 4 of House of the Dragon interjected with Queen Alicent quietly marrying her husband, who woke her up with a midnight booty call. , “but that doesn’t stop us from doing what we want. When he took off her clothes, Daemon turned around and pushed her against the wall, but when she turned to face him and repeatedly tried to kiss him, he ran away. Apparently, the unruly prince Perfect is used to paying for sex and doesn’t like being controlled by others.

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Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon episode 4
Image source: Ollie Upton / HBO

When Rhaenyra returned to her room, she was still in a good mood. She teases her bodyguard Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) by tugging at his helmet, before kissing him as he tries to get it back. The Kingsguard takes an oath of chastity, so Criston is naturally conflicted. He paused to consider what he was getting into, before fulfilling Rhaenyra’s very clear wishes. What followed was one of the most tender moments in the history of Game of Thrones as a franchise. Admittedly, that’s a very low threshold considering most sexual activity is violent, gratuitous, or both. It’s only been minutes since the Queen was essentially forced into sex in episode 4 of House of the Dragon itself.

In the morning, however, there was no time for Rhaenyra to bask in the glory. The Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower’s (Rhys Ifans), spy woke him up in the night to tell him what the Princess was up to. And Otto’s first act of the morning was to storm the King’s room and spit out everything he was told. Engaging in “behavior not like a maiden”, Otto tries to show it respectfully Dragon’s House episode 4, while clearly still punching down Rhaenyra. But Viserys doesn’t react well – he thinks this is a plot on Otto’s behalf. However, Otto gets what he wants, because the heresy begins as soon as he leaves.

A hangover Daemon is dragged into the Great Hall – his star has quickly fallen, considering where he is at the start of episode 4 of House of the Dragon – where Viserys hurls at him. The King was even more enraged that the Prince readily accepted his actions, and then courageously proposed that he would take Rhaenyra as his wife if there were no other lords. Viserys did not care about his wishes. After all, it wasn’t the Princess he wanted, but the Iron Throne. Also, Daemon already has a wife he is ignoring, Viserys points out, and tells him to come to Vale with the little respect and dignity he has left. It’s been a roller coaster ride for Daemon – he’s gone from being an outcast to being accepted as discarded.

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Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon episode 4
Image source: Ollie Upton / HBO

First, Alicent confronts Rhaenyra, who denies that Daemon even touched her. Though she was displeased when her best friend accused her of “eavesdropping”, the Targaryen heir admitted that she had joked about Flea Bottom with Daemon. “It is foolish of you to put yourself in a position where your virtue might even be questioned,” Alicent finally tells Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon episode 4. This should worry anyone. quiet, but it’s even more so when it’s uttered by a woman and one of her closest friends. Alicent is clearly not one of the challenges of internal misogyny. No one would notice if Daemon was found in lust nests – in fact, he’d done it a thousand times – but we can’t let Rhaenyra lurk in corners like that.

Rhaenyra pointed those exact double standards to her father. “If I were a man, I could father a dozen bastards and no one in your court would blink,” she said, after she was summoned to his room in the House of the Dragon episode 4. Viserys notes that she’s right, but “you were born a woman.” The king is effectively saying that the universe has dealt her a bad hand – and now she he has to live with it. Rhaenyra’s late-night escapes also blew away the goodwill she had earned. Viserys had decided that she would marry Laenor Velaryon, the son of Princess Rhaenys “The Queen Never Was” and Lord Corlys “Snake” Velaryon, as Viserys advised. Chap 3 – to address what he notes has become his “political headache”.

In return, Rhaenyra set an ultimatum for her father. Otto had to go, she said, because he was too devoted to his own self-interest: putting his grandson Aegon II on the throne. And just like that, a main member of the House of the Dragon was gone, it seems that the blindfolded Otto was stripped of his position of Hand of the King.

And while I’m sure there’s more to this royal scandal, House of the Dragon episode 4 makes a note of it at the end, as Rhaenyra was served a “special tea”. The king brewed it, to make sure there were no “unforeseen consequences,” Maester told Rhaenyra. What he tries to avoid saying is that the tea acts as a morning pill. It’s also helpful for the Princess – she may not have had sex with Daemon, but she did put her bodyguard to bed.

House of the Dragon episode 4 is now streaming Disney + Hotstar in India, and HBO Max anywhere available. New episodes release every Monday at 6:30 a.m. IST / Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

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