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House of the Dragon’s latest episode foreshadows one major battle

Daemon stands with his sword at the ready in House of the Dragon season 2.
Ollie Upton / HBO

In the latest episode of HBO’s House of the Dragon, Daemon Targaryen’s (Matt Smith) taking of Harrenhal doesn’t go exactly as he planned. He successfully takes the castle, but there’s little excitement to be found in his conquest. He arrives atop the cursed fortress astride his dragon, Caraxes, only to find the castle largely deserted — save for a few workers and its castellan, Lord Simon Strong (Simon Russell Beale), who immediately surrenders Harrenhal to Daemon without protest.

While still at Harrenhal, Daemon experiences an unsettling vision. Drawn to a fire-lit room by the sound of a distant woman’s hums, Daemon eventually finds himself face to face again with a younger version of Rhaenyra (returning season 1 star Milly Alcock). “Always coming and going, aren’t you? And I have to clean up afterwards,” Rhaenyra remarks, all while sewing the head of Prince Jaehaerys, the young boy who was decapitated as a result of Daemon’s orders in the House of the Dragon season 2 premiere, back onto his body.

Awaking from his vision, Daemon finds himself standing outside of Harrenhal’s walls near the castle’s ancient Weirwood tree. When he turns around, he then sees one of House of the Dragon‘s strangest new characters, Alys Rivers (Gayle Rankin), watching him, and the brief interaction they share directly foreshadows one of House of the Dragon‘s biggest future moments.

Warning: Major House of the Dragon spoilers ahead.

Alys Rivers’ ominous prediction, explained

Daemon stands near a Weirwood tree in House of the Dragon season 2.
Ollie Upton / HBO

After observing him for several seconds in House of the Dragon season 2’s third installment, Alys decides to abruptly tell Daemon, “You will die in this place.” She subsequently walks away without uttering another word — leaving Daemon understandably shaken. As fans of Fire & Blood, the fictional Targaryen family history that House of the Dragon is based on, will already know, he has reason to be, too. Alys’ line isn’t just a flippant remark; it’s an accurate prediction.

It’s revealed in Fire & Blood that, near the end of House of the Dragon‘s central Targaryen civil war (known as the Dance of the Dragons), Daemon does, indeed, die at Harrenhal. Disillusioned by the war’s many bloody turns, Daemon decides to challenge his bloodthirsty nephew, Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), to a battle at the cursed castle. Aemond accepts his challenge and, while riding their dragons, Caraxes and Vhagar, the two engage in a dangerous battle in the sky above Harrenhal and its adjacent lake.

The legendary event, known as the Battle Above the Gods Eye, ends with Caraxes locking its jaws into Vhagar’s neck and Daemon leaping from his saddle and driving his Valyrian steel sword, Dark Sister, through Aemond’s blind eye.

Aemond stares forward intently in House of the Dragon season 1.

All four combatants subsequently crash into Harrenhal’s adjoining lake, the Gods Eye, with Caraxes managing to crawl back to shore before dying. Vhagar and Aemond’s bodies are eventually recovered years later, but Daemon’s never is. That fact has led some both within and outside of House of the Dragon‘s fictional world to believe that he somehow managed to survive his impossibly dangerous fall and escaped to live an anonymous life away from Westeros.

What happens in the Battle Above the Gods Eye?

Assuming that Alys’ prediction in House of the Dragon‘s latest episode is absolutely correct, it doesn’t seem like that’s the version of events the HBO series is going to go with whenever it gets to the Battle Above the Gods Eye. In all likelihood, the scene will be the end for both Smith’s Daemon and Mitchell’s Aemond. Book readers won’t be disappointed if that’s what happens, either. It is, after all, generally agreed that Daemon did probably die at the end of his fight with Aemond.

Their battle, nonetheless, ranks high among the moments that readers are most looking forward to seeing adapted in House of the Dragon, and it’s easy to see why. Not only are Daemon and Aemond two of the Dance of the Dragons’ best characters, but the climax of their deadly fight is also generally considered one of the most epic and poetic moments described in all of Fire & Blood.

Daemon smirks in House of the Dragon season 1.

In addition to setting up Daemon’s eventual demise, Alys Rivers’ only scene in this week’s House of the Dragon episode subtly teases her future on the show. There is, frankly, a lot that could be written and speculated about when it comes to how the series will use her character, but it’s worth noting above all else that she goes on to become the paramour of Daemon’s rival, Aemond, and is actually present for the Battle Above the Gods Eye. In case viewers hadn’t already put it together, her witchy powers also make her the character who is most likely responsible for Daemon’s unnerving vision of Rhaenyra and Jaehaerys.

All of this is to say that, while not a lot actually happens in House of the Dragon‘s newest episode, it does use Daemon’s arrival and stay at Harrenhal to set up several noteworthy moments, most of which won’t even come in the show’s current season. Whether that’s how House of the Dragon should be spending its time right now is up for debate, but its decision to do so should only make book readers even more excited to see both Daemon and Aemond’s stories continue to unfold moving forward.

New episodes of House of the Dragon season 2 premiere Sunday nights on HBO and Max.

Alex Welch
Alex is a TV and movies writer based out of Los Angeles. In addition to Digital Trends, his work has been published by…
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