House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 recap and Easter eggs: Dragon fire and big battles

Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4
(Image credit: HBO/Sky)

House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 is the most dramatic hour of the fantasy series we’ve seen this year. No one is safe as the dragons descend on Westeros in a brutal episode that isn’t without its casualties. So if you’re still reeling from the latest outing, then you’re in the right place because we’ve got a spoiler-filled deep-dive for you below, breaking down all the big moments and what they mean for the coming war.

We’ve also compared some of the major moments to the books, detailing how they differ, as well as picking apart some big House of the Dragon Easter eggs. It goes without saying though, that from this point on we’re getting into heavy spoiler territory – and this week, there’s plenty to be spoiled. So please make sure you’ve seen House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 before reading on. Those who have, let’s get this fire burning…

If you're looking for our verdict on the episode too, check out our House of the Dragon season 2 review.

Seeing ghosts

Daemon and Alys Rivers in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4

(Image credit: HBO/Sky)

The episode begins with Daemon still in Harrenhal and still suffering from confusing visions. Milly Alcock’s Rhaenyra is back once again, taunting her uncle-husband about his past and about her gaining the succession over him. He beheads her in a grisly moment, before waking up to news of a raven about Aegon’s conquest over Westeros is growing stronger with Harrenhal as their destination. Daemon confronts Lord Tully’s representative to pressure him to give him an army to help him – it doesn’t go well when he calls them a "fish with no head". Ever the charmer.

Meanwhile, Rhaenys Targaryen meets Alyn of Hull (brother of Addam of Hull) for the first time, before confronting Corlys about exactly who he is. Ah, the dragonseeds aren’t as hidden as previously thought, then. Back in Dragonstone, Baelor and Jacaerys are trying to plot their way ahead at the war council table before Rhaenyra returns from her jaunt to King’s Landing where she tried to dissuade Alicent from battle. 

Ser Criston Cole’s war effort is going well as he continues to recruit men for Aegon’s banner by destroying castles and beheading those he views as traitors. He’s also been keeping Aemond updated on his movements, much to the consternation of Aegon, as they turn their attention to Rook’s Rest. It seems that Aemond has been taking some inspiration from his Uncle Daemon too, as he successfully manipulates his brother into believing his involvement is for the best.

War is inevitable

Corlys and Rhaenys in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4

(Image credit: HBO/Sky)

Alicent is still reeling from the revelation from Rhaenyra about Aegon, as well as seemingly dealing with an unwanted pregnancy from her relations with Criston. Larys Strong isn’t much help to her, as the dowager comes to terms with her fate and the war to come. "The significance of Viserys’ intentions died with him," she sagely tells him, disregarding the details she found out. It seems Rhaenyra really was too late.

Daemon’s visions haunting him in Harrenhal continue, as it’s teased who is behind them. It’s the woman first introduced in the last episode who warned him he would die in the castle, and now we know she’s called Alys Rivers. She reveals she’s a bastard for House Strong and has been working as a maester, as she warns him that Harrenhal is cursed. "Witch," he calls her, before taking the potion he gives her and wakes up in a council meeting with no idea how he got there seeing his dead wife in the room. Spooky.

After being absent for most of the episode, Rhaenyra returns as she decides which dragon she can send to battle. The decision falls on Rhaenys and Meleys to meet Criston on the battlefield, as Rook’s Rest becomes the focal point. It seems all sides are trying to decide how to prove themselves too as Aegon reckons with his place in the coming fight, as do Rhaenyra and Jacerys. 

Dance of the dragons

Ewan Mitchell as Aemond in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4

(Image credit: Sky/HBO)

The fight begins as Rhaenys and Meleys head to the field, burning soldiers in their hundreds. But wait, it seems like she’s not the only dragon lying in wait. Aemond and Vhagar are hiding in the forest, deciding on the perfect moment to strike – and Aegon and Sunfyre too? It all goes about as well as expected as the dragons take to the skies. For a while it seems like Meleys may be getting the upper hand, before Vhagar appears, firing dracarys at Sunfyre as his brother falls from the skies.

However, never one to shy from battle, Rhaenys turns back and fights to the bitter end against Vhagar and Aemond. The huge dragon is responsible for another Targaryen death, as he bites Meleys's neck, sending the Queen Who Never Was to the ground. The bloodshed doesn’t seem to end there either so just a warning – don’t turn off your screen as soon as it turns to black, there’s another moment tucked away right at the end. 

Criston wakes on the battlefield with the destruction of the dragons all around, before heading in search of the king. Aegon and Sunfyre are on the ground in the forest looking very worse for wear, but it seems Aemond has beaten them there. He’s putting away his sword (or is he getting it out?) when Criston appears, looking pretty suspicious as he backs away from his brother’s body. Just what was he planning there, and what would have happened if Criston had not appeared? Well, we may never find out. Right now, at least, it seems we should be very worried about Aegon ahead of next week’s episode.

House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 Easter eggs

Aegon in House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)
  • Opening credits: Keep an eye on these in the latest episode as once again they give a bit more context on the season so far. As well as Blood and Cheese, there’s also what seems to be an added nod to the Burning Mill from the last episode too. 
  • Alicent Hightower and Criston Cole: The relationship between Alicent and Criston is one of the big changes from the book, where they are merely courtly rivals. In the latest episode, we see that Alicent is seemingly terminating a pregnancy from her relationship with the Hand of the King. 
  • Alys Rivers: We finally, officially, meet Alys Rivers in this episode, who will prove to be a pivotal character as this story continues. Interestingly, Daemon calls her a witch, and in the books, she is often referred to as such too despite it remaining ambiguous whether she actually has powers or not. It seems the show is doing away with subtlety on this one.
  • Ser Willem Blackwood: At the council table in Harrenhal, we see a much older version of Ser Willem Blackwood. We first met him as a child in season 1, when he was one of the suitors vying for Rhaenyra’s hand, something he makes reference to here.
  • Cameos: After Milly Alcock first returned last week, she’s back again in the latest episode of House of the Dragon, along with another dead woman from Daemon’s past. His previous wife Laena Velaryon appears to him at the council table serving drinks. 
  • Battle at Rook’s Rest: In the book, the battle plays out very similarly, with one key difference. Aegon is actually included in Criston’s plan in George R.R. Martin’s version and works together with Aemond to take Rhaenys down.

House of the Dragon season 2 is airing weekly on HBO and Sky – don't miss an episode with our House of the Dragon season 2 release schedule. We've also got guides and stories on:

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.