Warning: This is called Spoiler Space for a reason. The following contains details about key plot points and developments in House Of The Dragon episode 4.
One neat thing about doing a show based on a book of historical conjecture is getting to see events as they really happened. As most fans know, House Of The Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire And Blood, published in 2018. Ostensibly a complete history of the House Targaryen dynasty, it relies on more than one source and is at times vague and short on details.
For the new spinoff series, the showrunners have taken opportunities to fill in those details. With Martin on hand to provide the real history as he sees it, we can look forward to resolutions of some conflicting accounts over the course of the series. That’s exactly what we got in episode four, “King Of The Narrow Sea.”
In the book, it’s clear that King Viserys and his brother Prince Daemon reconciled after the latter’s victory in the Stepstones, which we saw in the episode during the sequence in the throne room. What happened after that is where it gets a little muddled. All we know for sure is that they had a major falling out, and Daemon was once again banished from King’s Landing. The question is: what led to this epic row?
Fans have long suspected it had something to do with Rhaenyra. The king has always been very protective of his daughter, and the news of his brother taking her flower (as they say) would certainly be cause for exile. Or perhaps Daemon didn’t do the deed himself, but simply tutored her in the ways of love, so she could please the real object of her desire, Ser Criston Cole. Another theory was that Alicent Hightower was responsible, counseling her husband to send his unpredictable and dangerous brother away from court for everyone’s sake.
Now we know what really happened. Daemon did take Rhaenyra to a pillow house, but didn’t seal the deal. Not that she would have stopped him. But the damage is done. Her maidenhood might still be intact (at least at this point), but her reputation is in jeopardy regardless of what happened and whatever Daemon’s intentions might have been. And then she impulsively sleeps with Ser Criston, so she’s unable to prove that Otto’s source is lying later on.
So that’s one mystery solved. Although the showrunners have made some changes to the source material in the screen adaptation, it’s been interesting seeing how the show is able to weave its way through the holes in the book’s account of history. We’re looking forward to seeing more as the Dance approaches (if you know, you know).