Power and influence are more prevalent than ever in the Game of Thrones prequel.
Despite losing Aemma and Prince Baelon in one fell swoop and naming Princess Rhaeynyra as heir to the throne, Viserys' reign is still being questioned.
If "The Rogue Prince" taught us anything, it's that Viserys crumbles under pressure. There must be some deeply rooted issues preventing him from acting like a king who has it together.
Deep down, there are shades of a good man in Viserys. You could argue that his insecurities govern his actions while sitting on the throne.
When people are in power, there will always be naysayers. It comes with the territory, but his success as a king will come down to whether he makes the right decisions at the right time.
Staying away from war is probably a good idea, but it also forced Corlys' hand to draw a line in the sand.
Rhaenys: It bothers you, right?
Rhaenyre: My father is the King. He must remarry and strengthen the bloodline.
Rhaenys: I asked if you mind.
Rhaenyra: Laena is your daughter.
Rhaenys: Does that bother you?
Rhaenyra: Clear. But I understand the order of things. I doubt this is your case. If your intention was to arouse my anger, know that you have failed, princess.
Rhaenys: On the contrary. Let it be my daughter or someone else, your father will have a new wife. .. will generate new heirs... And one of them will inevitably be a boy. When he comes of age, you will be considered the heir to the throne, not you. Because that's the order of things.
Rhaenyra: Once queen, I will disturb you.
Rhaenys: I wish it were possible. But the kingdom could have appointed a queen to the Great Council of Harrenhal. He rejected the idea.
Rhaenyra: They rejected you, Princess Rhaenys "The Queen Who Wasn't" Not the idea of a female queen, in fact those same men bowed to me.
Rhaenys: And do you remember them bringing them the wine? Here's the hard truth that no one dared to tell you. Men would give fire and blood to the kingdom instead of seeing a woman rule. Your father is not naive. The Select Council urges me to remarry.
Rhaenyra: The kingdom asks for a new queen. A kind and generous queen will reassure her subjects.
Corlys is understandably resentful of Viserys because his wife, Rhaenys, had a much more substantial claim to the throne.
As a result, there will always be some animosity between him and Viserys.
Complicated family dynamics play very well in this setting, but I was blindsided when Corlys turned to Daemon to work together.
Daemon is unpredictable, and those types of characters are the best to watch.
Daemon's actions result from his feeling like he has been robbed of a chance to sit on the Iron Throne.
He knew sending the wedding invitation would elicit some drama, and it begs the question of whether he'll ever truly be fulfilled even if he gets a seat on the throne.
He lives for chaos, and you could tell Mysaria wasn't fond of how she was used. She doesn't seem as concerned about power and influence as she is about protection.
Daemon stealing the dragon egg and lying about her pregnancy was a giant middle finger to Viserys, and the events at Dragonstone could have ended in bloodshed.
"It is with pleasure that I, Daemon Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and rightful heir from the Iron Throne, I inform you that I am about to have a second wife, as in the days of ancient Valyria. Will take the title from Lady Mysaria of Dragonstone. Your Grace is pregnant. Also, a dragon egg will be placed in the crib, as tradition dictates from House Targaryen."Grand Maister
Rhaenyra was at a loss for words when she realized that Baelon's dragon egg had been stolen and her devious uncle had taken over the place that was to be left to her.
Knowing that she's the only heir to the throne, she should have probably taken backup or, at the very least, told her father about her decision.
Anything happening to Rhaenyra would further derail Viserys' reign.
Then again, Rhaenyra's decision resonated with her uncle, and she managed to get the egg back, something that Otto would like to think he would have accomplished.
Rhaenyra going rogue allowed her to have the first meaningful conversation with her father in months.
For such a young woman, Rhaenyra must have a lot of conflicted emotions.
Things are changing on a dime, she's lost her mother and brother, and now, she's probably lost her best friend in Alicent.
Viserys choosing Alicent seemed more about not doing what Corlys and Rhaenys wanted him to do.
Viserys: Hello, gentlemen. I decided to take a new wife. I'm getting married... .. Lady Alicent Hightower in late spring.
Corlys: But it doesn't make any sense. My house is of Valyrian descent. The most powerful in the kingdom.
Viserys: And I am your king.
There's an argument to be made about strengthening the bond between the Targaryens and the Velaryons, but Viserys wasn't fond of the idea of marrying a 12-year-old.
Corlys and Rhaenys clearly thought this would be a move of power that would show the importance of these familial bonds.
There was probably also an ulterior motive because it would potentially mean people closely associated with them could wind up on the throne.
You could tell Laena had been coached to say what she thought Viserys wanted to hear, so it was nice that the King could see right through that.
The war of words between Rhaenyra and Rhaenys perfectly shows what is going through both of their minds.
It's hard to tell whether Rhaenys is deflecting on Rhaenyra or if she wants to prepare her for the inevitable time her heir status will be called into question.
Deep down, Rhaenys was robbed of ruling the Seven Kingdoms, which isn't something she'll be able to come to terms with.
Corlys: House Velaryon originated in the times of ancient Valyria. It is older than House Targaryen, according to some writings. Unlike the Targaryens, we were not dragon lords. For centuries, my house drew its sustenance from the sea. With tenacity and luck. When I ascended the throne of Driftwood, I knew what I wanted. Then I understood. Unlike other gentlemen, I built my throne with sweat on my forehead. I always thought that you and me... We were made of the same fabric.
Daemon: I didn't know your brother was king.
Corlys: We both have to chart our destinies. We have been ignored far too often.
Daemon: Did you take me to Driftmark to remind me of my post? Or is there another reason? A conflict shakes the sept. A Myrien prince... He feeds the sailors crabs. I asked the king to send my fleet to this area.
Corlys and Rhaenys clearly feel slighted by Viserys because they thought this move was a slam-dunk, and they will feel a certain kind of way about it going forward.
On top of that, Corlys needs help with the pirates who are making life at Driftmark's shores a living hell.
Alicent continues to be the most difficult character to read, but now that she's being elevated to Queen status, you just know the animosity between her and Rhaenyra will come out to play.
Alicent firmly believes in following the rules, while Rhaenyra is not. It will be exciting to see how their relationship is affected by this move.
I hope Otto's smug look to Corlys when the news broke comes back to bite him.
"The Rogue Prince" was all about moving the puzzle pieces, preparing these characters for the war(s) to come, and whetting our appetite for all of it.
What did you think of Viserys choosing Alicent?
What are your thoughts on Daemon's decision to steal the egg and then give it back?
Do you think Daemon and Corlys will work well together?
What's your takeaway from the verbal sparring match between Rhaenyra and Rhaenys?
Hit the comments.
House of the Dragon continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.