House of the Dragon’s Eve Best of Rhaenys’s “Letting Go”

This story contains spoilers for House of the Dragon season two episode four.

The queen who never was is now officially the queen who will never be. In the fourth episode of House of the Dragon“The Red and the Gold Dragon,” Princess Rhaenys met her untimely death in an epic battle between the Black and the Blue, a battle that may have also claimed the life of King Aegon. Midway through the second season of House of the Dragon, Still Watching host Hillary Business, Richard AttorneyAnd Chris Murphy Consider the show’s growing death toll and chat with The Best Evealso known as Rhaenys, on saying goodbye to the selfless princess.

Before the Battle of Rook’s Rest, things were looking uncertain for Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and the Black Team. Her uncle-in-law is Daemon (Carpenter) continued to have visions of killing young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) during his stay at Harrenhal—an estate that, according to Harrenhal’s replacement maester and possibly the witch Alys Rivers (Gayle Rankin), haunted. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra’s council is in chaos due to her absence upon her return from her unsuccessful trip to convince Queen Mother Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) to stop the war before it gets worse.

Things get a little less chaotic for the Blue Team when Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) continued to conquer castles in his quest to secure King Aegon’s place on the Iron Throne. But back in King’s Landing, Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) felt his control of the council slipping away and passing to his brother Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) when Alicent secretly attempts to abort an unwanted pregnancy.

Things come to a head at the small but important castle of Rook’s Rest, a surprise diversion devised by Ser Criston and Aemond. As the battle rages, Rhaenys and her dragon, Maelys, inflict some serious damage on Aegon’s army, but are ultimately no match for Aemond and Aegon—who has suddenly appeared—and their dragons. After a fierce struggle, Rhaenys falls from Maelys as the two plummet from the sky to their deaths—but not without a trace. King Aegon and his dragon are both slain by the end of the episode, leaving the future of the Iron Throne in doubt.

Although Rhaenys’s arc on House of the Dragon is over, for veteran British actress Eve Best, the journey never really ended. “I don’t really feel like she’s gone. I never feel that,” Best said during an appearance on Still watching. “I have been killed in many different ways in the past by many different characters. I have been burned, stabbed, bitten by snakes. But I have never fallen from a dragon.”

Before that great downfall, Rhaenys met Alyn (Abubakar Salim), the ship’s pilot who saved her husband was Sir Corlys (Steve Toussaint) from death at sea—and who was most likely Corlys’s illegitimate child and potential heir to Driftmark. “She was very hurt about it,” Best of Lord Corlys said of the potential indiscretion. “That betrayal and that infidelity. But it’s still in a bit of a murky place. It’s not clearly explained. It seems that in the end, her only real ally was her dragon, Maelys.”

Filming the epic final fight scene with Maelys was an arduous two-week process that she only got to do right at the end of the second season. “It was physically quite intense, because it was all CGI,” Best says. “It was electronic, moving. It was literally the size of a small house. You’re strapped onto what looks like the roof of a small house, and then it starts moving around.” Best says riding the mechanical dragon was “extremely uncomfortable,” but she persevered. “I kept asking for more padding because I felt like I just needed more padding on my butt,” she says.

Rhaenys’ death scene was actually the last one to be filmed for the season. “I was feeling pretty emotional and a little bit like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be weird and intense,’ but I just kept going and hoped it would be okay,” the actor recalled of that final day. “In the morning, Ryan [Condal] get all the members together, and have a great speech and a goodbye. That made everything worse because I felt more emotional, more pressured.”

Despite the discomfort and pressure, Best was able to capture the final moments as Rhaenys fell from Maelys. “I don’t think she was thinking. It was a letting go of all thinking,” Best said of the princess’s state of mind at the time. “It was a moment of peace. It was a physical release. It was really letting go of the dragon. And it was an emotional and spiritual release. A complete letting go of someone who had held onto everything and everyone. It was a relief to let go of all that and surrender.”

How will Team Black react to the news of Rhaenys’ death? Will Aegon survive his fall? We’re halfway there. House of the Dragon season two, and the Iron Throne has never felt more up for grabs. Stay tuned and email Still watching at our new email address still [email protected] with all your thoughts and theories about who will win House of the Dragon Season two.


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