In the opening moments of House of the Dragon episode 4, Rhaenyra gently touches the necklace Daemon gave her years ago as she meets potential suitors on her tour to find a husband. The men are lined up ready to plead their case to the princess. Rhaenyra seems annoyed at having to listen to men — young and old — attempt to win her favor.
A young boy named Samwell Blackwood is one of Rhaenyra’s suitors. The other men, including Amos Bracken, taunt him over his clearly rehearsed speech. Samwell may be young, but he’s not above bloodshed. A fight breaks out that leaves Amos dying at the hands of Samwell.
Rhaenyra ends her tour early and heads home to King’s Landing with Criston. She worries about how her father will accept her not finding a husband yet. Suddenly, Caraxes flies over the ship. Daemon is back.
Daemon Returns To King’s Landing
Everyone gathers in the Great Hall as the Rogue Prince returns. Daemon has cut off his long blond hair in the wake of his victory against the Crabfeeder. He walks up to the Iron Throne to meet his brother, Rhaenyra matching his steps in the crowd.
Viserys asks about Daemon’s crown. Daemon has been named King of the Narrow Sea. “But I know that there is only one true king, your grace,” Daemon says before kneeling in front of his brother. Viserys walks up to his brother and takes the crown. Daemon looks up at Viserys with pleading eyes, hoping that he’ll accept this olive branch. Viserys and Daemon hug. “The realm owes you a great debt, brother,” Viserys says. All is well with the brothers — for now.
At the celebration, Rhaenyra congratulates Daemon on his victory. There’s an awkward moment of silence with Viserys, Alicent, Rhaenyra, and Daemon. Alicent tries to break the ice, but Viserys laughs in her face. Alicent tries to talk to Rhaenyra. She points out that it’s rare for a woman to be in a position to be able to choose her husband. Alicent thinks men fighting over Rhaenyra is kind of romantic.
Rhaenyra says that the idea of being confined to a castle and having to push out heirs is not what she had in mind. Alicent feels this way too much. Rhaenyra changes the subject and asks how Viserys is taking the news of her not finding a husband. Alicent is glad Rhaenyra is home. She’s missed Rhaenyra. Now that she is queen, Alicent doesn’t have many friends. “I’ve missed you, too,” Rhaenyra says.
Rhaenyra Vents To Daemon About Marriage
Later, Rhaenyra finds Daemon standing by the weirwood tree. They speak in Valyrian. She asks why he really came back. He touches the necklace he gave her and says he missed “only the comforts of home.” She doesn’t let him off that easy.
It’s been 4 years since they last saw each other. Daemon has noticed how Rhaenyra has matured. The subject of marriage comes up. In Valyrian, Daemon tells Rhaenyra that “marriage is only a political arrangement. Once you are wed, you can do as you like.” Rhaenyra thinks marriage can be a “death sentence” for women. Daemon wishes that was the case with his wife. Rhaenyra jokes that his wife has been fortunate to not have his child.
Rhaenyra brings up that her mother was made to produce heirs until it killed her. “I won’t subject myself to the same fate,” she declares. Daemon replies that Aemma’s death was a tragedy. “But this is a tragic world. You cannot live your life in fear, or you will forsake the best parts of it,” he says softly.
Rhaenyra has “no desire” to live in fear. “Only solitude,” she says. He thinks that sounds like such a “lonely prospect.”
The small council discusses Corlys Velaryon still being mad about Viserys choosing Alicent over Laena. Apparently, Otto has learned that Corlys has been talking to the Sealord of Braavos. Corlys plans to wed Laena to the Sealord’s son. If the Velaryons entered an alliance with the Free Cities, Viserys will need to remedy that with a marriage of his own.
Daemon & Rhaenyra Give Into Their Desires
As Alicent takes care of her screaming baby, Rhaenyra heads back to her room. She finds a bag of boys’ clothes for her. There’s a map that explains hidden passageways in the Red Keep. She gets dressed and heads through the dark halls. She finds Daemon waiting for her. He doesn’t say a word. He just leads her out of the Red Keep and into the city below. They walk the streets together trying to keep a low profile. For the first time, Rhaenyra witnesses wild partying and sex right in front of her eyes. A fortune teller says to her, “Do you wish to know your death, child?” Suddenly, a burst of fire can be seen. (For those that know Fire & Blood, this is some serious foreshadowing.)
Alicent helps give Viserys a bath. She tells the maids to leave as she tends to him. He later requests her presence in his chambers. Alicent doesn’t want to go but knows she has to. She just lies there as Viserys has sex with her.
Meanwhile, Daemon and Rhaenyra watch a play that talks about the Targaryen succession situation. The crowd boos Rhaenyra and some say she’ll be “feeble” as a queen. This gets under her skin. When Daemon tries to talk to her about it, she says that she wishes to be free of the burdens of her inheritance for one night.
After stealing some food and running, Daemon chases after Rhaenyra. She runs right into Ser Harwin Strong. He recognizes her but lets her go. Daemon catches up to her, and they make their way to a pleasure house. He grabs her hand as they wander through the rooms. She sees all the pleasure right at her fingertips. She’s never seen anything like it before.
Daemon and Rhaenyra are suddenly very, very close. Daemon explains that this place is “where people come to take what they want.” He tells her that sex is pleasure for the woman as much as the man. They begin to kiss.
“Marriage is a duty, but it doesn’t stop us from doing what they want,” Daemon says as he and Rhaenyra continue kissing. “F**king who we want.” They make their way over to a wall, and he begins to take off her clothes. She puts her hand on the wall, and he places his hand over hers.
Suddenly and without warning, the passion stops. She tries to kiss him back, but he backs away. He almost gives into her when she touches him, but he slams his hand against the wall and walks away. Rhaenyra is left alone and confused.
Rhaenyra & Criston Hook Up
As she runs out, a messenger boy follows her. Rhaenyra goes back to her room. Criston is confused and says he’s going to tell the Lord Commander that something is up when she opens up her door. She grabs his helmet so he has to come inside. She flirts with him and ends up shutting the door. She kisses him and drops his helmet.
Rhaenyra begins to take off her clothes. He tries to stop her, but she grabs his hand and leads him deeper inside. She starts to take off his armor. They give into their passion. He hesitates for a moment and looks back, but his desire gets the better of him. Their lovemaking is intimate and gentle.
As this is happening, the messenger boy comes to talk to Otto. The next morning, Daemon wakes up at Mysaria’s place. He’s hungover. He doesn’t notice the messenger boy bringing Mysaria money from Otto.
Otto takes the information straight to Viserys. He reveals to Viserys that Rhaenyra was seen at a pleasure house with Daemon. “They were engaged in behaviors unbecoming of a maiden, of a princess,” Otto says. Viserys wants to know the full details, but Otto doesn’t want to tell him. “Daemon and Rhaenyra were seen together in the bowels of a pleasure den… coupling,” Otto says as Alicent overhears everything.
Viserys thinks this is all a lie. Otto defends his source. Viserys demands to know who started this gossip, but Otto won’t reveal his source. Viserys believes that Otto has ulterior motives and wants to “destroy” Rhaenyra’s reputation to get his blood on the Iron Throne.
Alicent Confronts Rhaenyra Over The Daemon Gossip
Criston enters Rhaenyra’s chambers the next morning with a message from Alicent. Alicent demands to know what happened last night after hearing about the “worrying allegations.” Alicent asks Rhaenyra if she was with Daemon. Rhaenyra admits that Daemon took her into the city for some fun, but Alicent wants the full story.
Alicent has heard that Rhaenyra “f**ked Daemon in a pleasure house.” A stunned Rhaenyra says that is a “vile accusation.” Alicent snaps that the Targaryens do have “queer customs.” Rhaenyra cries that Alicent has to believe her when she says nothing happened. Alicent says that her father was told by someone, and Rhaenyra wants to know who because questioning her virtue is “an act of treason.”
Alicent mentions that Otto has already told Viserys. She only wants to help Rhaenyra. Rhaenrya says that she and Daemon drank in the taverns and stayed out late. “I was only a spectator. I didn’t do anything,” Rhaenyra continues. She left when Daemon abandoned her for “some whore.”
She tells Alicent, “Daemon never touched me. I swear this to you. Upon the memory of my mother.” Rhaenyra’s lie is pretty convincing. However, Alicent is clearly torn over what to believe. She and Viserys just want to protect Rhaenyra, but this gossip could “ruin everything.”
Daemon Asks To Marry Rhaenyra
Daemon makes his way back to the Red Keep. He’s quickly taken to the Great Hall. Viserys walks in and confronts Daemon about the rumor. “You defiled her,” Viserys says to his little brother. Daemon doesn’t understand the problem. They screwed all through their younger years. Viserys points out that the situation is different. Rhaenyra is a girl. “Rhaenyra is a woman grown. Better her first experience be with me than some whore,” Daemon says, not denying the gossip.
Viserys seethes, “You have ruined her! Who will wed her now in this condition?” Daemon doesn’t care what the lords think. Viserys is the king. “You are the dragon. Your word is truth and law,” Daemon responds. Viserys says he should disinherit Rhaenyra and be done with it.
“Wed her to me. When I offered up my crown you said I could have anything. I want Rhaenyra. I’ll take her as she is and wed her in the tradition of our house,” Daemon tells his brother. He is serious about it.
Viserys brings up that Daemon already has a wife. Daemon mentions that didn’t stop Aegon the Conqueror from taking a second wife. That sets Viserys off. “You are a plague sent to destroy me,” Viserys says as he clutches his brother.
Daemon continues to advocate for what he wants. “Give me Rhaenrya to take to wife, and we will return the house of the dragon to its proper glory,” Daemon says. Viserys doesn’t think Daemon’s lust is for Rhaenyra, it’s for the Iron Throne. Viserys exiles Daemon from King’s Landing once and for all. “As you wish, brother,” Daemon says, without putting up a fight.
Rhaenyra & Laenor Velaryon Will Wed
Alicent and Viserys talk about the Daemon and Rhaenyra scandal. Alicent stresses that it’s “not in Rhaenyra’s nature to be deceitful. I cannot say the same for your brother.” She defends Rhaenyra, but Viserys is torn over who to believe. “How does confessing to such things serve him?” he asks. Alicent replies, “By reducing you.”
Viserys doesn’t think Rhaenyra is innocent. Even if she isn’t, Alicent believes it’s only because Daemon was trying to corrupt her. Viserys is well aware that Daemon and Rhaenyra share the blood of the dragon. “They’re restless and chaotic,” Viserys adds. Alicent says Rhaenyra swore to her that she is still a maiden.
Rhaenyra is summoned to her father’s chambers. They talk about Aegon the Conqueror’s prophecy that’s written into the Valyrian steel dagger. “From my blood comes the prince that was promised, and his song will be the song of ice and fire,” Rhaenyra reads.
Viserys tells his daughter that the responsibility that he has handed to her and the burden of this knowledge is “bigger” than the throne, and her desires could ruin it. “The truth does not matter, Rhaenyra. Only perception,” Viserys says.
Rhaenyra makes a solid point to her father. If she were a man, she could father a dozen bastards, and it wouldn’t matter. “You’re right, but you were born a woman,” Viserys replies. She wants to know if he is going to strip her of her titles and name Aegon II as heir.
Viserys wants to hold the Realm together, not tear it apart. He orders her to marry Laenor Velaryon without protest. She thinks this is just a ploy to get rid of his political headaches, but he snaps that she is his only headache right now. This marriage will unite the two most powerful houses. It’s a no-brainer.
She truly believes that Otto has something to do with this scandal. Rhaenyra knows that Otto wants Aegon II to be named heir, and he “will stop at nothing to see it done.” Rhaenyra wonders how unity and strength across the Realm can be accomplished when Otto is so “self-interested.” Viserys says everyone is self-interested in this world. Rhaenyra promises to do her duty and marry Laenor, but she gives Viserys an ultimatum. He has to get rid of Otto as his Hand.
Viserys Fires Otto
Viserys doesn’t waste any time making this deal with his daughter. He personally fires Otto himself and does some accusing of his own. He brings up that his father, Prince Baelon, was at the peak of his abilities when he was suddenly dead of a “burst belly.” After Baelon’s death, King Jaehaerys made Otto his new Hand. Otto went from having no power to being the second-most powerful man in Westeros.
“You are the man who taught me how to be king,” Viserys tells Otto. He also accuses him of using Alicent as a “calculated distraction” after Aemma’s death, and he’s just now realizing how manipulative Otto has been. “Your interests no longer align with those of the Realm. Your judgment has been compromised,” Viserys says. Otto stresses that he has a duty to tell Viserys the best and worst of what’s going on. Otto’s words fall on deaf ears. Viserys takes off Otto’s Hand of the King pin. Viserys can no longer trust Otto, so he’s a goner.
Later, Grand Maester Mellos brings Rhaenyra a cup of “moon tea” from the king, and she’s caught off guard. “It will rid you of any unwanted consequences,” the Maester explains. Rhaenyra realizes that Viserys never believed her when she claimed nothing happened. While she only partially lied about Daemon, this moon tea could come in handy. After all, she did lie about still being a maiden.