House of the Dragon episode 4 photos: Daemon crowned; Rhaenyra courted; Aegon’s prophecy; and Storm’s End!

Daemon (Matt Smith), Red Keep Throne Room 1x04

HBO has released photographer Ollie Upton’s stills for the fourth episode of House of the Dragon, “King of the Narrow Sea.” As one may expect from that title, there’s a lot of Daemon, but also a few particularly intriguing photos of Princess Rhaenyra!

Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) returns to court with a haircut and a provocative crown of his own, having been hailed King of the Narrow Sea in the Stepstones, as we saw in the preview for the episode. It looks like his brother, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), welcomes him back into the fold… although the prince may not have his full trust, as his knights of the Kingsguard, Ser Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) are awfully close to their king.

Viserys (Paddy Considine), Daemon (Matt Smith), Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish), Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), Red Keep Throne Room 1x04

Viserys (Paddy Considine), Daemon (Matt Smith), Red Keep Throne Room 1x04 (1)

With Daemon back in court, it seems we’ll see him visit his niece, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) in the Red Keep’s Godswood. We saw them have a “friendly” relationship in the premiere, but a rivalry grew soon enough when Rhaenyra supplanted Daemon as heir apparent. In this case, at least according to these photos, it looks like they’ll be mending their relationship. The same doesn’t seem to be the case with Queen Alicent (Emilia Carey), unfortunately…

Daemon (Matt Smith), Red Keep Godswood 1x04 (1)

Daemon (Matt Smith), Young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), Red Keep Godswood 1x04 (1)

Young Alicent (Emily Carey), Young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), Red Keep 1x04

Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) approaches the king in his quarters with what I’m sure will be his usual level of honesty, integrity, and transparency.

Viserys (Paddy Considine), Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), Valyria Model Room, Red Keep 1x04

In a still of a scene we glimpsed in the “In the weeks ahead” trailer, the king shows his daughter the secrets of his Valyrian steel dagger and tells her more about Aegon’s prophecy, whose wording may ring a bell to book readers…

Viserys (Paddy Considine), Young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), Catspaw Valyrian Steel Dagger, Aegon's Song of Ice and Fire Prophecy, Balerion Skull Room 1x04

Finally, there’s this photo, which is the one that surprised me the most. Alongside Princess Rhaenyra and her sworn shield Ser Criston Cole, we can see Lord Boremund Baratheon (Julian Jones), who we already met in the series premiere, when he asked his cousin, Lady Rhaenys (Eve Best), for her favor in the tourney celebrating Aemma’s childbirth, and named Rhaenys “The Queen that Never Was.”

Young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), Boremund Baratheon (Julian Jones), Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), Storm's End 1x04

It appears this will be our first look at Storm’s End, the Baratheon’s castle, which we never saw in Game of Thrones (Renly camped close to it, but no characters ever visited the castle proper on-screen, unlike in the books.) Going only by this still, one could conclude Lord Boremund could be at some other castle, except in the preview for this episode we can see a shot from this scene with the Baratheon stag etched on the wall behind them. Storm’s End! Finally! I wonder whether we’ll also see Boremund’s son Borros, who will have a lage role to play later on.

From what’s teased here, what are you looking forward to the most this episode?

33 Comments

  1. “From what’s teased here, what are you looking forward to the most this episode?”

    I’m looking forward to more succession drama and marriage proposals… because we haven’t gotten enough of that already…

  2. Looking forward to everything in this episode. I’m ready!

    Btw, do we know when the full soundtrack will get released?

  3. Let’s hope no significant time jumps and we have opportunity to get to know the characters. I hope the sex scenes between Rhaenyra and Daemon (teased in the next episode trailer) are tasteful as she looks half his age and it makes me uncomfortable.

    Other than that I am expecting a slower episode with largely politicking about who should be the heir with Otto at the heart of it.

  4. Jon Snowed: Let’s hope no significant time jumps and we have opportunity to get to know the characters

    If you consider when the time jumps will happen a spoiler, do not read ahead. But there will be no actual spoilers of any kind below; merely information on between which episodes the time jumps will happen:

    This next episode will span some time (about a year, I think, since the trailer calls Aegon “a little princeling of three,” while we saw his second nameday last episode), but to the best of my knowledge there’ll be no time jump at all; just a significant passage of time *during* the episode. I suspect they’ll do a montage while Rhaenyra tours the realm and that’s when most of the time will pass, but that’s just theorizing.

    After that, episode five will follow directly from four. No time jump. The highly publicized time jump of a decade with the cast change for Rhaenyra and Alicent (among others) takes place between episodes five and six. No time jump for episode seven. Episode eight should take a few years after seven, giving the younger characters time to age up and start being played by teen or young adult actors. From 1×08 onwards, there’ll be no time jumps for the rest of the season, or for the rest of the show for that matter.

  5. Jon Snowed,

    I don’t view the time jumps as a big deal. It confuses me why some take issue with them. They are well handled. They never hid the fact this story takes place over a 30-35 year period and required time jumps.

  6. mopfer,

    This season spans 29 years, which is a lot, but we only see 101 AC briefly and then jump directly to 112 AC, so it’s effectively more like 17 years, really. Still a lot, but not quite three whole decades. The war will then span a few years more, sure, but with no time jumps, so I don’t really count that.

  7. I know it’s only a detail, but I wonder why the haircut. Anyway, Matt Smith looks more like himself.

  8. I get why they had to do it, as the pages that make up the first season from the book are barely a few paragraphs that span decades. Stretching that out to multiple seasons would mean making up a bunch of new events from nothing and we’d wait a very long time for the Dance itself to start. I’d say they could have compressed events more, but George didn’t do any favors with the sequencing. They need to meaningfully introduce Aegon and Helaena and Aemond before the Dance starts. They couldn’t have started season one with all those people already existing because it would make no sense for Viserys to name Rhaenyra his heir if he already had a son. So they kind of need this first season to actually span decades.

    It’s too bad, though. The Expanse handled this much more seamlessly, with all the large jumps happening between seasons, mostly (several years pass in the middle of season 3, but it’s a shift in story lines, too). Of course, when the really big time jump happens between books 6 and 7, they decided to just punt and cancel the show while they figure out how to handle it later.

    From what I understand, This is Us also handled large time jumps pretty well and spans an entire lifetime of the main families, but I’ve never seen that show. Six Feet Under did a pretty famous series of last minute time jumps to show every main character’s eventual death, which is still one of the better finale episodes of any television show ever.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Rings of Power handles the same problem. The events they’re showing span centuries in the source material. I know their strategy has been to just compress it all into a few years instead, making things happen at the same time or near in time when they weren’t supposed to be (putting aside the several thousand year time jump in the first episode prologue).

    Westworld did this, too, by the way. Season four covered I think 23 years? It has the advantage that by just killing off most of the humans, the remaining characters are robots that don’t age. Adding the 7 year jump between seasons 3 and 4, though, it has the same pretty jarring effect that an awful lot of important things happened off-screen.

  9. ”In a still of a scene we glimpsed in the “In the weeks ahead” trailer, the king shows his daughter the secrets of his Valyrian steel dagger and tells her more about Aegon’s prophecy, whose wording may ring a bell to book readers…”

    What secrets of the VS dagger? What prophecy? Unless HotD departs from GoT canon, is Viserys going to tell his daughter that someday a diminutive Stark girl is going to wield that VS dagger to single-handedly save humanity from the WWs, while a future Aegon Targaryen yells at a zombie dragon and ducks behind a rock?

    Just kidding. Kind of… Perhaps we’ll get some idea how Big G was intending to fulfill the prophecies (eg, Prince That Was Promised, Azor Ahai reborn in salt and smoke, Lightbringer, etc.) that GoT kind of blew off.

    PS Off-topic: As far as I recall, GoT never really explained how Beric Dondarrion was able to ignite his sword. Did the books explain this?

  10. Adam,

    I’ve never watched “This is Us”, “The Expanse,” or “Rings of Power. I watched a few episodes of the first season of “Westworld” and saw some episodes of “Six Feet Under.”

    Which of these shows do you feel handled time jumps well? How did they do it?

    Here’s what’s perplexing me about HotD: Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy, and Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke, are not that far apart in age. I don’t quite understand why HotD is going to replace Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, when there are cosmetics tricks could age up these actors to play their characters at different stages of their lives. (As a fan of Mandy Moore, I did see set photos from “This is Us” in which she played an elderly version of her character: Grey streaks in her hair, prosthetic (?) wrinkles, etc. – it was believable enough).

    While I’ll withhold judgment, I have noticed that there’s already a faction among the HotD fan base who are whinging about Milly Alcock being replaced, and are complaining that Emma D’Arcy doesn’t resemble Milly Alcock at all.

    My nominee for worst time jump ever to follow….

  11. Ten Bears,

    Sweet summer child! I have long given up hope on ever getting Martin’s ending. The last book was published 11 years ago. Given that Books 4 and 5 constitute a single narrative and essentially a single book split geographically, Martin managed to write ONE, repeat ONE book in 22 years. Without ending, I might add, as all crucial narrative endpoints got shifted to Book 6.

    The man in 73 years old. Even if he finishes Book 6 in the next couple of years, there’s still Book 7. I doubt Martin will be physically and mentally in a position to handle that enormous task in his eighties. And if this wasn’t bleak enough, given the number of storylines and character arcs that need to be wrapped up, I find it highly unlikely that seven books will be enough. With what we know of Martin’s plans – and it’s actually quite a bit as he was pretty forthcoming once upon a time – as of Book 5 we’re maybe 60 percent through the story, if that.

  12. My nominee for worst time jump ever was

    “The Notebook.” Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams

    were terrific as the passionate young couple. However,

    casting James Garner and Gena Rowlands

    as their elderly counterparts was absurd. They looked nothing alike, behaved nothing alike, and there was nothing in their mannerisms or voice inflections that would indicate they were older versions of the characters played by the younger actors. They should’ve just used a little makeup and their young stars’ talents to play aged-up versions. Besides, they were boring.

    Oh, you know who wasn’t terrible? Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands. As I recall, the movie started and ended with her character as an old woman, recounting her brief relationship with Edward when she was a young woman.

    And with no prosthetics or makeup, look how over the course of one season off screen, Isaac Hempstead Wright transformed from little mop headed Bran into a John Oliver lookalike young adult.

    I guess that for the sake of continuity, I prefer the same actors even when the aging up cosmetics tricks are obvious.

    Final comment: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the extraordinary aging down of Michael Douglas in “Ant Man” to play young Dr. Pym in a scene that takes place about 20-30 years in the past.
    The computerized technique (I think they used clips from movies with a younger Michael Douglas to transplant his face and posture onto his present day self?) was impressive.

  13. Based on these pictures, this might be the episode that gets me hooked. I like the show well enough, but i’m not invested yet. Fingers crossed

  14. Mr Fixit,

    ”Sweet summer child! I have long given up hope on ever getting Martin’s ending. The last book was published 11 years ago. Given that Books 4 and 5 constitute a single narrative and essentially a single book split geographically, Martin managed to write ONE, repeat ONE book in 22 years…”

    Oh, don’t get me wrong! I’ve been on the “he’ll never finish the books” bandwagon for quite some time. He’s lost interest, lost his muse or whatever – and for the last decade or so he’s been doing everything BUT write TWOW and ADOS.

    (As I understand it, even the TWOW sample chapters he’s released were actually written a long time ago, and some were pruned from the manuscript of the last book he published.)

    I’ll say it again: If he has in fact cranked out a bunch of new chapters, he should have an editor polish them, and release them in serial form.

  15. Mr Fixit,

    If only, if only he could have written AFFC and Dance as one book. Cut out all of the extra characters and just get on with it. I have convinced myself that FAegon is important, but I really can’t say the same about anyone else introduced post ASOS, maybe Dorne? Maybe? I often read books and wonder where the editor was. But successful authors can do what they want, and we ended up with bloated books.

  16. Ten Bears: Here’s what’s perplexing me about HotD: Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy, and Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke, are not that far apart in age. I don’t quite understand why HotD is going to replace Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, when there are cosmetics tricks could age up these actors to play their characters at different stages of their lives.

    No matter how good the makeup, I wouldn’t want to watch Alcock and Carey playing Rhaenyra and Alicent alongside their young adult children, some of whom are played by actors older than they are. It’s be ridiculous. Especially considering Alcock and Carey will have played the role for a short amount of time when it’s all over. They’ve played the role for 5 episodes; the adult actors for the next 5 episodes… and then the rest of the show! It makes no sense to cast the entire show based on only the first 5 episodes.

  17. Once we settle in with the long term cast and the time jumps stop, I have faith that it will all fall into place. These first handful of episodes are going to feel like helpful and necessary prologue. Plenty of movies move their characters through time (Emily Carey played child Wonder Woman after all) with different actors. When you add up all the hours, I think the percentage of screen time will feel similar.

    Beyond just how they look, I don’t think a teenager (Carey) or woman in her early 20s (Alcock) can bring the gravitas to what’s coming. They’re fantastic actors and I hope we see them in future shows but they’re not suited to play women with grown children and extremely complex inner and outer lives. Cooke is a full decade older than Carey. D’Arcy almost has a decade on Alcock. That will make a difference.

  18. Mr Fixit,

    I think GRRM bittersweet ending has been foreshadowed in GOT and most recently in the final scene of House of the Dragon S1 E1…

    I think the new series SNOW will show the start of a new Targaryen dynasty and will finish with the crowning of the 1st Trueborn Targaryen Queen of the 7 Kingdoms.

  19. Shy Lady Dragon:
    I know it’s only a detail, but I wonder why the haircut. Anyway, Matt Smith looks more like himself.

    Yeah, I wonder if he can just dye his own hair instead of wearing a wig all the time. It’s quite a different look for him than the first episodes. Will there be a ritual cutting of the hair?

  20. Ten Bears,

    I am a big fan of the Italian series My Brilliant Friend and of the books as well. HBO found two very talented unknows girls to play the protagonists during their primary school and two very fine teenagers for the following years. But, when those teenagers were supposed to play women in their 30ies during the third season, women who have suffered a lot and experience good and bad things… I just didn’t buy it!

  21. Tron79,

    I would have accepted the short hair as a sign of aging, but, as far as I know, Daemon will have long hair in the future again.

  22. Knowledge is Power,

    ”I think GRRM bittersweet ending has been foreshadowed in GOT and most recently in the final scene of House of the Dragon S1 E1…”

    Don’t be coy! What is the bittersweet ending you think has been foreshadowed in GoT, and in the final scene of HotD S1e1?

    ”I think the new series SNOW will show the start of a new Targaryen dynasty and will finish with the crowning of the 1st Trueborn Targaryen Queen of the 7 Kingdoms.”

    I would like that.

    Hey wait. Are you suggesting Sansa’s reign as Queen in the [independent] North will be a brief one, and there will be one ruler of all 7 kingdoms again?
  23. Shy Lady Dragon,

    ”I am a big fan of the Italian series My Brilliant Friend and of the books as well…”

    Thanks. I will put “My Brilliant Friend” on my To Watch and To Read lists.
    (Wait. Is the TV series only shown in Italy? And are the books written in Italian?)

  24. Ten Bears,

    I’ve never seen “Rings” or “The Expanse” but This is US pretty much jumped timelines frequently within a single episode starting with their pilot episode, they established different actors for the same character(s) beautifully going from babies, toddlers, kids, teens to adults so the transition was seamless. Most of the actors who started the story as adults were kept throughout the seasons with the help of make up and prosthetics to help with the aging. Mandy Moore as the matriarch, played her role from her mid twenties to her 70s, I believe.

  25. Ten Bears,

    The books are written in Italian, but are translated in English. The TV series is shown in Europe (with subtitles) on HBO Max, I don’t know if it can be watched in the States.

  26. Ten Bears:
    Knowledge is Power,

    “I think GRRM bittersweet ending has been foreshadowed in GOT and most recently in the final scene of House of the Dragon S1 E1…”

    Don’t be coy! What is the bittersweet ending you think has been foreshadowed in GoT, and in the final scene of HotD S1e1?

    ”I think the new series SNOW will show the start of a new Targaryen dynasty and will finish with the crowning of the 1st Trueborn Targaryen Queen of the 7 Kingdoms.”

    I would like that.

    I’ll write more later

  27. Here is my tin foil theory… GRRM bittersweet ending is foreshadowed in the S4 E1 Cold Open of Two Swords.

    My theory is the GOT story is told from the 3ER POV “I’ve been watching you for 1000 years” I think King Bran the Broken broke the timeline when he calls for his father Ned on the TOJ steps in S6…. Ned hesitated for a couple seconds which changed the past which automatically changes the future. I noticed in the opening scene of S6 E2 Home that Lyanna Stark looks older than her brothers… but Ned is older than Lyanna. I think Bran broke the timeline every time he tried to change the past. The story starts to get more strange after Bran became the 3ER. Bran told Sansa in S7 that he only sees bits and pieces and his visions aren’t as accurate as they should be. I think the final episodes of S8 are Bran’s bad dreams.

    I think Jon Snow is Ned Stark’s bastard son. There are many GOT scenes that foreshadow Samwell Tarly is Aegon Targaryen VI starting in Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things…. and in HOTD “Everyone says Targaryens are closer to gods than to men, but they say that because of our dragons. Without them, we’re just like everyone else” aka: Samwell Tarly… Samwell Tarly is a trueborn Targaryen. Samwell will marry Gilly which makes baby Sam a Targaryen… Teela, the baby girl who told Ser Davos she wants to fight in S8 E2 is definitely Jon and Ygritte’s bastard daughter… (Bran the Broken broke the timeline) Sam Targaryen and Teela will marry, 2 Wilding Bastards from the North….. ICE in S4 E1, 1 sword is bigger than the other 1 Male and 1 Female… Sam and Teela (ICE swords) unite. Sam and Teela Targaryen will have baby twins…. Jon and Meera? Targaryen… brother and sister Jon and Meera? Targaryen will marry and have a daughter Zala Targaryen – the 1st Targaryen Queen of the 7 Kingdoms… GRRM bittersweet ending. Watch Deanerys sitting on the throne right after she learns the name of the little girl that was burnt alive by Drogon in S4 E10 The Children. Arya Sansa and Bran will all die and Jon Snow will be the future of House Stark. The final scene of house of the dragon S1 E1 shows Princess Rhaenyra sigh just like Jon Snow sighs all the time in GOT… Jon Snow’s blood will be part of the 1st Targaryen Queen of the 7 Kingdoms. That’s my GRRM bittersweet ending theory. SNOW

  28. Knowledge is Power,

    Holy cow. That’s some tinfoil theory. I’m impressed.
    (My tinfoil theory, hatched after S7’s references to Dany’s fertility, Jon & Dany boatsex, and Jorah previously telling Jon to keep Longclaw for “your children after you,”
    was that Jon would raise a firebug Targ Princess daughter as a single father after Dany’s death. S8 debunked my theory. 😟)

  29. Luka Nieto,

    You wrote: ”In a still of a scene we glimpsed in the “In the weeks ahead” trailer, the king shows his daughter the secrets of his Valyrian steel dagger and tells her more about Aegon’s prophecy, whose wording may ring a bell to book readers…”

    I replied previously: ”What secrets of the VS dagger? What prophecy? Unless HotD departs from GoT canon, is Viserys going to tell his daughter that someday a diminutive Stark girl is going to wield that VS dagger to single-handedly save humanity from the WWs, while a future Aegon Targaryen yells at a zombie dragon and ducks behind a rock?”…..

    I may be overthinking your preview that “the king shows his daughter the secrets of his Valyrian steel dagger,” and I was half-joking about HotD conforming with GoT canon.

    However, I’d like to know what you think about the iconography of that dagger in the two shows, and how GRRM-produced HotD based on GRRM’s “Fire & Blood” histories
    can conform its canon with the GRRM-less show-only storyline in the final seasons of GoT:

    Game of Thrones made a big deal about the provenance of the dagger used by Bran’s would-be assassin. (And as I understand it, the books never really disclosed who commissioned the assassin and furnished the dagger; the show never really identified the assassin’s employer either, though it seemed one of the Lannisters – maybe Joffrey? – was the likely culprit.)

    Then the show, other then a split-second depiction of the dagger in an old book Sam was reading, made the dagger a centerpiece in S7e4 when LF gave it to Bran and the two of them started talking about who “owned” it; then Bran gave it to his ninja assassin sister Arya, who flashed and twirled the dagger when Brienne asked about it before showing off her skills with the dagger in her sparring match with Brienne, including the nifty dagger flip truck when Brienne grabbed her wrist.
    S8e1 reminded us of the Valyrian Steel dagger in Arya’s possession when Gendry saw Arya was armed with that weapon, and then Arya pulled off the no-look, hand-to-hand dagger flip trick to pulverize NK and save humanity in S8e3.

    Now that HotD has deliberately re-introduced (pre-introduced?) that VS dagger, and teased that there are “secrets” of the VS that Viserys will impart to his daughter, I have to wonder: How can HotD incorporate the show-only canon that culminated in a non-Targaryen wielding that weapon in a decisive encounter with the WWs/Others?

    After all, without any input from GRRM, D&D admitted they kind of made it up on the fly that Arya, rather than Jon Snow, would be the one to take out NK.

    If the Targaryen royal family’s passed-down prophecies and secrets about the dagger in HotD aren’t going to incorporate or foreshadow the dagger’s eventual critical importance in defeating the WWs, i.e., unless HotD changes the show! canon, why make the dagger a conspicuous aspect of HotD in the first place?

    Don’t get me wrong: I like that HotD contains elements of continuity with, or homages to, GoT, e.g., familiar family names and images. I just have to wonder about inclusion in HotD of the VS dagger that had a specific, significant role in the show-only resolution of the WW story: an outcome that appeared to depart from GRRM’s books! prophecies and Jon Snow-centric setup.

    (I hope what I’ve written makes sense…)

  30. Addendum to prior Comment:

    If HotD and GRRM “tweak” the prophecies and reveal “secrets” in HotD that presage a clever but credible twist in fulfilling the Prince(ss) That Was Promised prophecy

    such that Arya Stark will turn out to be the designated Princess, or that Arya was somehow a secret Targaryen (don’t ask me how…), as an unabashed Arya fanboy I wouldn’t be terribly upset.

    I can’t conceive how they’d accomplish this though.

  31. I thought the foreshadowing was pretty clear in that Dany will never take the thrown and instead will die (joining Drogo and their child in the nightlands). The Snow on the floor could refer to Jon or the battle in the North but it’s clearly going to happen in the books just as it did in the show, at least broadly.

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