House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1 recap and Easter eggs: Westeros will never be the same again

House of the Dragon season 2
(Image credit: Sky/HBO)

House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1 is now out as we head back to Westeros for more drama. Following directly on from the events of the previous season, the new episode picks up after the tragic murder of Lucerys Velaryon at the hands of Aemond Targyren. In the aftermath, Rhaenyra and Daemon are out for revenge, while Alicent and Otto Hightower try to stop the conflict from escalating. However, as a plot for a horrific act is afoot, it soon seems that there’s no chance of escaping the war to come.

Introducing the episode at the recent UK premiere, showrunner Ryan Condal cheekily referred to it as the "feel-good episode of the summer". It’s a statement that by the time the credits roll, you’ll agree couldn’t be more wrong. Below we get into all of the major details from the first episode, as well as breaking down some of the big Easter eggs you might have missed in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1, ‘A Son for a Son’. But you’ve been warned, we’re getting into major spoiler territory from here on out so make sure you’ve seen the episode before reading on.

While you're at it, check out our House of the Dragon season 2 review and our House of the Dragon season 2 release schedule to never miss an episode.

Winter is coming

House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)

The second season begins with a moment that seems pulled right from Game of Thrones as we head to The Wall to meet the Starks. This is where Rhaenyra had sent her son Jace when she’d sent Luke to Storm’s End at the end of season 1. Jace manages to get Cregan Stark to commit to sending his greybeards to help the Queen reclaim her throne, but while there, the pair receive a raven with news of Luke’s death. 

Back at Dragonstone, grief hangs heavy in the air. Rhaenys returns home only to be urged by Daemon to get back on her dragon to go and kill Aemond and Vhagar. "Would that you were king," she tells him. Rhaenyra meanwhile is searching for the remains of her son to finally believe that his death is real, as her council awaits word on how to fight back.

Things aren’t much more organised in King's Landing where the council is reeling after Aemond’s actions. Aegon is keen to capitalize and kill Rhaenyra, while Otto and Alicent try to plead against more bloodshed and escalation. The cracks are beginning to show around the war table, and characters like Larys Strong are doing their best to manipulate them. Alicent struggles too with the loss of Luke, lighting a candle in his name, as the parallels between her and Rhaenyra hang heavy over the episode.

Bloody revenge

House of the Dragon season 2

(Image credit: HBO/Sky)

As the episode progresses, Rhaenyra’s grief leads her to call for revenge for her son. "I want Aemond," she tells her council, a plea that Daemon takes a bit too seriously. Using the White Worm, who’s now been taken prisoner in Dragonstone, he pries a name out of her about a potential spy in the Red Keep. Travelling in disguise, he recruits the guard, Blood, and a ratcatcher called Cheese to enter the palace to find and kill the one-eyed prince. However, a layer of ambiguity hangs heavy over what they should do if they can’t find him – something that will prove crucial very soon.

After entering the Red Keep, the pair sneak past Aegon getting drunk on the Iron Throne and up into the Royal Quarters of the palace, but they can’t find Aemond. Laying rat traps to cover their tracks, Cheese stumbles into Queen Helaena’s rooms, where two of her young children are sleeping. Holding a knife to her neck, the men demand that she tells them which is the boy and future heir to the throne. She points at Jaehaerys, who they then decapitate. 

Helaena grabs her daughter and runs through the castle to her mother’s rooms, where Alicent is in the throes of passion with Ser Criston Cole. Panicked, she asks what’s happened. "They killed the boy," Helaena tells her, before the screen cuts to black.

House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1 Easter eggs

House of the Dragon season 2

(Image credit: Sky/HBO)
  • New credits: Season 2 begins with some new opening credits, which see a tapestry being weaved in blood, featuring several major events for the Targaryen family so far, including the split between the Blacks and the Greens with both Rhaenyra and Aegon on the throne.
  • The Wall: The new season of House of the Dragon introduces a major family: the Starks. At the beginning of the episode, Jacerys has travelled to the Wall, which is shown here in all its familiar glory as he asks Cregan Stark for his support in the coming war. Not only does he pledge his greybeards, but he also warns Jace about a familiar foe on the way. "Winter is coming," Cregan tells him, as he says his ancestors built the wall to keep out "death", or as Thrones fans will know them as, White Walkers.
  • The rats: Early in the episode, Helaena tells Aegon that she’s scared, not of the dragons, but of the rats. We also see rat catchers walking around the palace laying traps for the rodents, which all sets up the grisly storyline to come.
  • Hugh Hammer: The first episode subtly introduces a pretty pivotal character in Hugh Hammer. We see him here pleading with King Aegon to give them the pay they’re owed for building weapons. However, his role going forwards becomes even more important, and you can read about those details here.
  • Blood and Cheese: Well, it finally happened. Book readers have been expecting this grisly storyline for a while and the result is predictably grim. However, there are some big changes from the source material, and you can read about the biggest ones right here.

House of the Dragon season 2 continues weekly on HBO and Max on Sundays in the US and on Sky and NOW TV on Mondays in the UK. For more on the show, check out our guides, explainers and interviews:

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.