Every spoiler we know for House of the Dragon season 2

Battle! Death! Incest! All that and more awaits in the second season of House of the Dragon season 2. Here's everything we know:
Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon season 2
Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon season 2 /

The second season of House of the Dragon is almost upon us. Rhaenyra Targaryen and her younger half-brother Aegon are ready to go to war over the Iron Throne, with all of their supporters and dragons in tow. If you've read George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, you know we're in for a bloody good time.

But what exactly is going to happen? The broad strokes are laid out in Fire & Blood, but the show changed plenty about the source material in the first season, and star Bethany Antonia (Baela Targaryen) has promised more changes on the way, teasing "new narrative avenues, enabling the incorporation of the characters into scenarios not found in the original books." So even if you have read Fire & Blood, you won't be prepared for everything.

That's why we're compiling all the spoilers we've gleaned about the upcoming season here in one place, combined with some rumors we think are supported by the evidence. Obviously, read no further if you wish to avoid spoilers, but if you're curious about what's coming on House of the Dragon season 2 — and keep in mind we don't know everything — read on:

The basics

Let's get some of the basics out of the way up top. House of the Dragon season 2 will premiere on Sunday, June 16 on HBO and Max, and will come out at a rate of one episode per week. There will only be eight episodes in season 2, as opposed to 10 in season 1. Here they are:

  • Episode 201: June 16 — Directed by Alan Taylor (Episode Title: "A Son For A Son"
  • Episode 202: June 23 — Directed by Clare Kilner
  • Episode 203: June 30 — Directed by Geeta Patel
  • Episode 204: July 7 — Directed by Alan Taylor (Episode Title: "A Dance of Dragons")
  • Episode 205: July 14 — Directed by Clare Kilner
  • Episode 206: July 21 — Directed by Andrij Parekh
  • Episode 207: July 28 — Directed byLoni Peristere
  • Episode 208: August 4 — Directed by Geeta Patel

That may be disappointing to some, but at least we're getting into the heart of the story. We know all the characters now, and we've met the actors who will play them for the rest of the series; there will be no more big time jumps like there were in season 1. Showrunner Ryan Condal has said that this second season feels more like House of the Dragon's mothership show Game of Thrones than the first one did. We have our cast, and they have their conflicts. The Dance of the Dragons has begun, no one gets off until the music stops.

Director Clare Kilner has promised wild times ahead. “There are eight wonderful episodes with so much happening in every episode, and we have trouble, at times, bringing them down to one hour,” Kilner said. “Ryan’s decision was to give it a good opening and a good ending, and they’re jam-packed with emotional and visually exciting events.”

Let's start with that "good opening." What does House of the Dragon have in store for us out of the gate?

House of the Dragon season 2 /

House of the Dragon will take place "about 10 days" after the end of season 2

At the end of season 1, Aemond Targaryen killed his own nephew Lucerys Velaryon while chasing him on Dragonback. Aemond may not have meant for things to get that far, but it's too late to go back now. The last thing we see in season 1 is Luke's mother Rhaenyra glare into the camera in cold fury. Before, she was trying to keep a potential war between herself and her half-brother Aegon under control. Now that Aegon's brother Aemond has drawn first blood, all bets are off.

Actor Steve Toussaint — who plays Rhaenyra's advisor Corlys Velaryon — revealed that season 2 picks up "about 10 days" after the end of season 1. That's probably enough time for Aemond to have returned to King's Landing and report what he's done to his mother Alicent Hightower, his grandfather Otto Hightower, and his brother, King Aegon II Targaryen. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra has been looking for Luke's body. Whether she finds it or not, there will a funeral held for Luke. In the picture above, Rhaenyra and her sons Jace and Joffrey mourn Luke's death.

But after the mourning comes the revenge. What, if anything, will Rhaenyra do to avenge her son's death?

House of the Dragon season 2 /

Blood and Cheese

Well, Rhaenyra's going to war against her half-brother in an attempt to boot him off the Iron Throne, which she thinks is revenge enough.

But it's not enough for her husband Daemon Targaryen, Luke's step-father. In Fire & Blood, he hatches a plan to have one of King Aegon's children killed in exchange for what happened to Luke. Daemon promises Rhaenyra "a son for a son," which is also the title of the season 2 premiere. He reaches out to contacts he has in King's Landing — probably Mysaria, his old paramour currently working as a spymaster — who then hires a pair of mercenaries to infiltrate the Red Keep and carry out the deed.

The mercenaries, a butcher and rat-catcher known only as Blood and Cheese, are successful. Cheese, who worked in the Red Keep for years, leads the two of them into the castle through secret passageways. They find King Aegon's wife Helaena with her mother Alicent and her children with the king: the twins Jaehaera and Jaehaerys as well as the baby Maelor. Blood and Cheese bind Alicent, and then tell Helaena that she must choose which of her sons will die: Jaehaerys or Maelor. Panicked and terrified, Helaena eventually chooses Maelor. Blood kills Jaehaerys instead, and takes the boy's severed head with him when he leaves the Red Keep.

This brutal, horrible scene will happen early in the season, either in the first or the second episode. We expect some differences from the book. For instance, while we know that HBO has hired a pair of young blonde twins — likely to play Jaehaera and Jaehaerys — it's possible that the show will leave Maelor out. So Helaena may be forced to choose between the lives of Jaehaera and Jaehaerys, not Jaehaerys and Maelor.

It also looks like Daemon will be more directly involved. He won't invade the castle with Blood and Cheese, but we have heard about a scene in the premiere when he sneaks into King's Landing on a fishing boat, probably to seek out Mysaria and help plan the assassination.

Ryan Condal has also mentioned that the team has researched medieval rat traps, which suggests an attempt to make rat-catcher Cheese as believable as possible. Talking about Blood and Cheese back when they were still writing the season, House of the Dragon writer Sara Hess said of the scene, "I don't think you will be disappointed." That's one way to put it.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon season 2 /

The aftermath

If Luke's death was the spark that lit the fuse of war, the murder of young Jaehaerys blows up any remaining bridges. There's no going back after this, not for Rhaenrya and her supports (known as the Blacks) nor Aegon and his (known as the Greens). War was already afoot, and now it's stomping.

Naturally, the Greens are devastated by Luke's loss. Based on images from the trailers, it looks like Aemond may find the secret passageway that Blood and Cheese used to sneak into the Red Keep. Naturally, he is agog. We'll also see a funeral procession through the streets of King's Landing that probably takes place in the second episode. Someone will yell, "Behold the work of Rhaenyra the cruel!" So the procession isn't just an opportunity to mourn Luke. The Greens also use it to impress upon the citizenry that Rhaenyra is their enemy.

However, that ploy make backfire, as we've heard that some peasants attack the funeral procession as it passes, booing Alicent and Helaena and even calling out support for Rhaenyra. So Rhaenyra either has loyal followers in the city or has found a way to win some people over.

All of this goes down in the first two episodes. George R.R. Martin actually got to watch those two episodes early, and wrote about his impressions back in December. "I thought both episodes were just great,” he opined, reminding us that they weren't finished when he saw them. "Dark, mind you. Very dark. They may make you cry. (I did not cry myself, but one of my friends did). Powerful, emotional, gut-wrenching, heart rending. Just the sort of thing I like. (What can I say? I was weaned on Shakespeare, and love the tragedies and history plays best of all)."

Welcome to Harrenhal

In the final episode of House of the Dragon season 1, when the Dance of the Dragons was starting to pick up, Daemon Targaryen resolved to set up a home base for the Blacks at the castle of Harrenhal in the Riverlands, which he thinks is in a good strategic position. He'll make good on this plan eally in season 2, flying his dragon Caraxes to the castle and accepting the surrender of its castellan Ser Simon Strong. The Strongs are technically with the Greens, but Harrenhal is not well-defended at this point, and you don't want to argue with a hungry dragon.

At Harrenhal, Daemon will meet a new character named Alys Rivers, a servant and local mystic who will become more important as the story goes on. Actor Gayle Rankin described Alys' story as "very wild, but contained," at least in season 2.

So far as we can tell, that's Martin on the Harrenhal set alongside Ryan Condal in the picture above. Expect to spend a lot of time at Harrenhal for the rest of the show. This season, Daemon will use it as his base of operations as he convinces noble houses in the Riverlands to join Rhaenyra's cause (and immolates those who support Aegon). Within the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Harrenhal is considered cursed, and apparently Daemon will experience some weird things while staying there. "He can't sleep," producer Sara Hess told Entertainment Weekly. "We just wanted to have unexplained things and then use that as a conduit to lay him open a little more than he would be in normal life."

House of the Dragon season 2 naked Aemond
House of the Dragon season 2 /

Aemond Targaryen gets laid

The final trailer for House of the Dragon season 2 had a surprise for us: a shot of Aemond Targaryen, last seen killing his own nephew in the sky, naked and contemplative cuddling with an unidentified someone. Aemond is a very intense guy who seems almost monk-like in his devotion to power and legacy; it's hard to picture him getting intimate and vulnerable with anyone, but there we have it.

But who is Aemond with here? Fans did some detective work and matched the hand wrapped around Aemond to actor Michelle Bonnard, who in season 1 played a brothel keeper who had clearly met Aemond before, if you know what we mean. We'll get a little more up close and personal with these two in season 2.

House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

The Battle of the Burning Mill

The death of Rhaenyra's son is the point where the Dance of the Dragons goes from being a cold war to a hot one, and the Blood and Cheese incident is where it blazes into an inferno. However, neither of those are battles. This is a war, so we should see armies clashing at some point, right?

That will happen at the Battle of the Burning Mill, fought between houses Blackwood and Bracken. These two Riverlands houses have been rivals for centuries, so when the Targaryen family splits into factions that declare war on one another, naturally the Blackwoods and Brackens choose opposite sides, with the Blackwoods declaring for Queen Rhaenyra and the Brackens for King Aegon. Lord Samwell Blackwood and Ser Amos Bracken will lead their followers in a clash near a mill, which is burned down. By the end of the battle, both Samwell and Amos are dead.

The Battle of the Burning Mill is more of a skirmish, but it's still the first time two groups of people go at it over whether Rhaenyra or Aegon should sit the Iron Throne, so it's important. We've heard it happens early in the season.

House of the Dragon season 2 Cregan Stark Jacaerys Jace Velaryon
House of the Dragon season 2 /

Return to the North (for the first time)

At the end of season 1, Rhaenyra dispatched Jace off on a diplomatic mission. It's his job to secure allies for her cause, a mission that takes him to Winterfell in the North to treat with Lord Cregan Stark, known as the Young Wolf.

That means we're going back to the North, which we haven't seen since the end of Game of Thrones. Jace will stop by Winterfell and win the allegiance of Lord Cregan Stark, played by Tom Taylor. What's more, they'll travel to the Wall, which we catch glimpses of in the trailers.

Jace and Cregan don't go to the Wall in Fire & Blood, but it is said that they become friends, so maybe this is part of a joyride they take together. Or perhaps Cregan wants to show Jace the Wall and impress upon him the importance of the Night's Watch before agreeing to commit his army to Rhaenyra's cause. Or maybe the writers just wanted an excuse to visit this iconic Game of Thrones location again. Whatever the reason, it'll be fun to get back there. Expect Jace to hang out with Cregan in the North in the first half of the season.

We've even gotten hints that some members of the undead may show up; remember, this is long before Arya Stark kills the Night King, so the White Walkers and their wights are still out there. They don't play into this story, though, so if we do catch sight of a zombie, it'll only be as a winking nod to longtime fans.

Return to the Vale (for the first time)

Rhaenyra also charged Jace with heading to the Vale of Arryn and wooing its leader, Jeyne Arryn. This is exactly what he does in the book, and by all accounts the show will follow suit. Jeyne Arryn will be played by Raised by Wolves veteran Amanda Collin. This will likely also happen in the first half of the season, during Jace's trip around the Seven Kingdoms.

Jeyne Arryn will not only lend Rhaenyra her armies, but also provide safe harbor for some of the younger, more vulnerable people in Rhaenyra's life while the war rages on. Late in the season, we've heard that Daemon Targaryen's daughter Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell) will arrive in the Vale, just as she does in Fire & Blood. She'll stat at the Eyrie, the ascestral castle of House Arryn located high in the mountains.

However, on the show, Rhaena will be joined by Aegon III, Rhaenyra's son by Daemon. This does not happen in Fire & Blood, where Aegon III is put on a boat bound for the Free City of Pentos. The boat is attacked mid-journey and Aegon III just barely manages to make his way back to Dragonstone with the help of his young dragon Stormcloud. It's unclear if the show is skipping this story or just saving it for later, but either way, his story is changing.

House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

Farewell, my brother

In the first season, we were introduced to twin brothers Arryk and Erryk Cargyll (played by real-life twin brothers Luke and Elliot Tittensor), both members of King Viserys' Kingsguard. At the end of the season, they found themselves with divided loyalties; Arryk Cargyll supports King Aegon and stayed in King's Landing while Erryk fights for Rhaenyra and left for Dragonstone.

In Fire & Blood, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) eventually gets the idea to have Arryk Cargyll travel to Dragonstone and infiltrate the place by pretending to be his twin brother. His assignment is to find Rhaenyra Targaryen and kill her. Obviously, the brothers stumble across each other and get into a swordfight. By the end, both lay dead, another example of the Dance of the Dragons tearing families apart.

We've seen flashes of their fight in various trailers. Max Wrottesley, who play Rhaenyra's Queensguard knight Ser Lorent Marbrand, called the dynamic between the twins "really interesting." Hopefully that means we'll get to know them a bit better before the kill each other. If the show sticks to the timeline of the book, The Cargyll brothers should fight around Episode 3, but I can see this event being pushed into the back half of the season.

House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

The Battle at Rook's Rest

The Battle of the Burning Mill is a skirmish. But in the fourth episode of season 2, we will get a proper battle to rival anything from Game of Thrones, or at least that's the idea. The Battle of Rook's Rest is almost here, and it promises to blow all of our faces clean off.

The setup: after the Blood and Cheese incident, King Aegon steps up his attempts to take control of the Seven Kingdoms. He, Aemond, and the Kingsguard knight Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) hatch a plan to ambush Rhaenyra. Criston Cole leads an army to the castle of Rook's Rest, which is loyal to Rhaenyra and the blacks. Lord Staunton of Rook's Rest sends a plea to Rhaenyra for help, so Rhaenyra dispatches Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) with her dragon Meleys.

Usually, an army doesn't have much hope against a dragon. But the Greens are ready. Both Aegon and Aemond are there with their dragons, Sunfyre and Vhagar. Together, they kill both Rhaenys and Meleys, who leaves a giant crater in the ground where she lands.

You can see lots of images from this fight in the trailers. It looks like the sequence where HBO spent the most money this season.

One difference is that, in the show, Rhaenys' granddaughter Baela will be there on her dragon Moondancer. In the book, Baela doesn't really get involved in the fighting until late in the war. On TV, she'll be involved much earlier. We expert her to live through the battle even as her grandmother goes down.

The aftermath

Like the Blood and Cheese incident, the Battle of Rook's Rest will be a turning point for the season. It's a victory for the Greens — there will be a parade where the victorious soldiers cart Meleys' head through the streets of King's Landing — but it comes at a high cost: King Aegon is badly injured in the fight, and cannot sit the Iron Throne for a while. At one point, the spider-like counselor Ser Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) will comfort the king by telling him, "You have already written yourself into legend. You survived dragonfire."

While the king recuperates, another must take his place on the Iron Throne. That ends up being Aegon's brother Aemond, who you may recall already said in the first season that he thinks he'd be better for the job than Aegon. He'll get his chance to prove himself.

House of the Dragon season 2 Dragonseeds Rhaenyra Baela Hugh Hammer Ulf White Addam of Hull Jace Jacaerys Velaryon
House of the Dragon season 2 /

Meet the Dragonseeds

After Meleys dies during the Battle of Rook's Rest, Rhaenyra and her team take stock of where they are in the war. In the book, Jace comes up with an idea: there are several riderless dragons who make their homes on the islands of Dragonstone and Driftmark, which the Blacks control. Why not make use of them? So Rhaenyra puts out a call to the masses: anyone who can mount and tame one of these dragons will be given lands and titles, provided they fight for Rhaenyra in the war.

Many try and fail to mount these riderless dragons; we've seen some behind-the-scenes photos of would-be dragonriders getting flash-fried. Taming dragons isn't for everyone:

However, in the end, several candidates do manage to tame the riderless dragons. They include:

  • Ulf White (Tom Bennett) bonds with Silverwing, previously ridden by Queen Alysanne Targaryen
  • Hugh Hammer (Kieran Bew) bonds with Vermithor, previously ridden by King Jaehaerys Targaryen (we saw Daemon visiting Vermithor at the end of season 1)
  • Addam of Hull bonds with Seasmoke, previously ridden by Laenor Velaryon

These three come to be known as the dragonseeds. Along with Rhaenyra's son Jace, who rides the dragon Vermax, they will join Rhaenyra's dragon air force. That's them sitting around a table above. They'll be important characters in the long run of the show, but won't do much more than get introduced in season 2.

House of the Dragon season 2 Rhaena Targaryen
House of the Dragon season 2 /

Laenor, Nettles, and dragonseed confusion

There's some uncertainly regarding the dragonseeds. In Fire & Blood, there's a fourth dragonseed named Nettles, a dark-skinned young woman who, unlike the other dragonseeds, doesn't seem to have any Valyrian ancestry. She bonds with the dragon Sheepstealer by giving it a meal everyday until the dragon trusts her, relying on her wits rather than her lineage.

Although nothing's guaranteed, it's looking more and more like Nettles may be cut from the show, or at least from season 2. We've mentioned that Baela Targaryen has more to do in the show than in the book. In the picture with Rhaenyra and the dragonseeds, Baela is sitting at the table with them, implying that she is a part of the dragon air force. Nettles is nowhere to be found.

Furthermore, we've heard a rumor that Baela's sister Rhaena Targaryen will bond with a sheep-eating dragon while in the Vale, something she does not do in the book. If this is true, that Baela and Rhana together will take Nettles' place on the TV show. Personally, I think this is a big loss, since Nettles is a fantastic character.

House of the Dragon Episode 7 /

Another point of confusion is the character of Laenor Velaryon, the son of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen; he was Rhaenyra Targaryen's first husband. In Fire & Blood, Laenor dies under mysterious circumstances, leaving his dragon Seasmoke without a rider. Later, the dragonseed Addam of Hull mounts him.

But on House of the Dragon, Laenor escapes with his life, absconding to Essos with his love Qarl Correy. So Seasmoke's rider is still out there. What's more, there have been reports that John MacMillan — the actor who played Laenor in seaso 1 — was back on set for season 2.

Does this mean that Seasmoke will have two riders? Will Leanor show up only briefly (we haven't seen him in any of the trailers) and then show himself out? These are points of confusion the season itself will have to clear up.

House of the Dragon episode 3 /

The Triarchy returns

Early in the first season of House of the Dragon, Corlys Velaryon and Daemon Targaryen fought against the Triarchy, a military alliance between the Free Cities of Lys, Myr and Tyrosh that was disrupting trade in the Narrow Sea. Corlys and Daemon defeated the Triarchy's agent, the Crabfeeder, but they didn't go away.

In Fire & Blood, Otto Hightower reaches out to the Triarchy and cajoles into joining the Dance of the Dragon on the side of the Greens, playing on their bitterness over having been defeated by Corlys and Daemon years before. It works.

We expect this plot to appear in House of the Dragon. We know that the team has filmed scenes involving the Triarchy, and that several actors will play Triarchy pirates. Sharako Lohar, an admiral who leads a fleet of Triarchy warships in Fire & Blood, will appear.

House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

Corlys Velaryon becomes Rhaenyra's Hand of the Queen

Speaking of Corlys Velaryon, he is the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms during this time as well as the proprietor of the largest fleet of ships in the world. This makes him indispensable to Rhaenyra's cause. Accordingly, she makes him her Hand of the Queen, essentially her number two. We can see a Hand of the Queen pin on his chest in one of the trailers.

House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

Corlys Velaryon will interact with illegitimate children

Talking about the new season last year, Steven Toussaint said that Corlys will go on a "very long, emotional journey."

"[I]nitially, before I’d seen the scripts, I presumed he’d be all rough, ‘I’m gonna just lay waste to my enemies!’" Toussaint said. "But in actual fact, without giving anything away, a lot of his past deeds come back to haunt him, and he has to be very humble."

But what exactly will catch up with him? Well, it ends up that one of the dragonseeds is Corlys' illegitimate son: Addam of Hull. Addam's brother Alyn (Abubakar Salim) will also become an important player. Addam and Alyn don't come into the picture until after Corlys' wife Rhaenys dies, so we probably won't get to see her reaction.

House of the Dragon season 2 Velaryon fleet ships
House of the Dragon season 2 /

We probably won't see the Battle of the Gullet

We're getting to the end of the season now, and things are a little less clear. During filming, he heard hints that House of the Dragon season 2 may feature a battle at sea, which got us thinking of a key sequence from Fire & Blood: the Battle of the Gullet, where all of the dragonseeds mount up to take on the Triarchy fleet.

All the pieces are there, but we don't think we'll actually see this battle go down in season 2, although it may have originally been planned for the end. Back in March, Deadline reported that "a portion of the plot originally intended for Season 2, including a major battle" had been moved to season 3. We think that major battle was the Battle of the Gullet.

The Velaryon fleet will still play a role in House of the Dragon season 2 — we can see it in action in the actions — but this major set piece will have to wait.

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO House of the Dragon Emma D'Arcy Olivia Cooke Rhaenyra Targaryen Alicent Hightower The Lord of the Tides Episode 108 /

Finale rumors

The season 2 finale is the most mysterious episode on the docket. We know little about how exactly the show will end the season, but we do have juicy rumors to bite into, both of which have our characters breaking from the source material.

First, rumor has it that Rhaenrya will travel to Harrenhal to confer with Daemon and a group of lords. Rhaenyra never goes to Harrenhal during the Dance of the Dragons in Fire & Blood, but it's not crazy to think she might want to visit the center of her war effort in the Riverlands.

The other rumor is a bigger deal: according to these whispers, Alicent Hightower will visit Dragonstone in the season 2 finale and talk with Rhaenyra in an attempt to deescalate tensions before even more people die. This may be an extension of a section from Fire & Blood where the Greens float among themselves the possibility of trying to divide up the Seven Kingdoms between themselves and the Blacks, so King Aegon would rule a few and Queen Rhaenyra the others. In the book, the two sides don't discuss this idea between each other, but on the show we'll see what happens when Alicent suggests and, I imagine, Rhaenyra rolls her eyes.

We also don't know on what event the second season will end, assuming they want to end on something big. We've already ruled out the Battle of the Gullet. Another possibility is Rhaenyra's invasion of King's Landing, after which she sits the Iron Throne for a time. That would certainly make for a memorable end to the season, but will there be time for it?

So we don't know everything that will happen in this season of House of the Dragon, but we do know a lot. We have a few more weeks to ponder the remaining mysteries before the show returns to our screens.

dark. Next. All 15 Targaryens from Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, ranked worst to best. All 15 Targaryens from Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, ranked worst to best

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