The Rings of Power Premiere + She-Hulk Ep 3, House of the Dragon Ep 2 & More Ask the Maester | Crooked Media
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September 02, 2022
X-Ray Vision
The Rings of Power Premiere + She-Hulk Ep 3, House of the Dragon Ep 2 & More Ask the Maester

In This Episode

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On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight enjoy the Harfoot vibes! First in Previously On (2:10), Jason and Rosie recap and discuss She-Hulk episode 3, with theories abounding for the direction of the series; they also recap and discuss HBO’s House of the Dragon episode 2 (31:46), analyzing the show’s character driven relationships and more. Then in round three of Jason’s classic segment Ask the Maester (1:33:40), he and Rosie answer listener questions about House of the Dragon and Westeros. In the Airlock (1:59:49) they dive deep (deeep) in a NON SPOILER fashion into the 2 episode premiere of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – priming listeners on the series, some of the Tolkien lore, and what they love about LOTR’s vibes.


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The Listener’s Guide for all things X-Ray Vision!

The Defenders #17 – Introduces The Wrecking Crew; written by Len Wein, penciled by Sal Buscema, inked by Dan Green, colored by Glynis Wein, lettered by Gaspar Saladino and Annette Kawecki.


A Monster Calls – directed by JA Bayona.


Kyle Anderson’s Nerdist piece on 1977’s animated The Hobbit.

Rosie’s Nerdist piece on the sumptuous food of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.






Jason Concepcion Warning. This podcast contains spoilers for She-Hulk episode three, House of the Dragon Episode two, and we talk about the first two episodes of Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power, but it’s basically a spoiler free conversation where we just talk about that we love it. Hmm. Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion and welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast where we dive deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture. In today’s absolutely jam packed to the rafters episode on the Previously On, we will be discussing She-Hulk episode three plus House of the Dragon. In today’s action packed episode we will be discussing the She-Hulk episode three. We will be doing our recap of House of the Dragon Episode two. Plus, we’ll be answering your questions and Ask the Maester, round three in the airlock. We’re going to be talking in a general way because the show is premiering the Friday this podcast episode comes out. We will be talking about the first two episodes of Amazon’s new series, Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power. Spoiler alert we’re not going to spoil anything that much. And also the show is good. Of course, if you want to jump around and check out, you know, kind of go from topic to topic, check out the show notes for the timestamps. And of course, joining me today is the writer and comics encyclopedia and our guide through the different ages with The Lord of the Rings and our guide through all the references that we’re going to find in She-Hulk. It’s a great Rosie Knight. Rosie, how are you?


Rosie Knight Hello. It’s nice to be here. Yeah, I’m excited. This is like a we get into the jam packed season, baby, it’s happening.


Jason Concepcion We’re getting into the jam packed season.


Rosie Knight Fall is going to be absolutely wild. So strap in because there’s a million shows.


Jason Concepcion Let’s get into it. Let’s dive into She-Hulk, episode three, The People Versus Emil Blonsky. Written by Francesca Gailes and Jacqueline J. Gailes and directed by Kat Coiro. And we’re going to keep the recap very short because it’s obviously a super packed episode. But in the A story, Jennifer Walters defends Emil Blonsky in his parole hearing and successfully gets him paroled. This is with the help of Wong hilariously in numerous different ways. And in our B story, Pug takes on Dennis “Dickhead Dennis” Bukowski’s case of fraud against Runa, the light elf. From Asgard, I mean daughter of Alfheim  in the comics, but here we’re just conflating light elfs as being part of the Asgardian.


Rosie Knight She’s currently in New Asgard. So she could have come from Alfheim, but she’s in New Asgard now. Right.


Jason Concepcion And. Apparently Dennis was taken in by Runa who was pretending to be Megan Thee Stallion and defrauded him of upwards of $175,000. This is a super, man, this show continues to be great, continues to be really, really good. Let’s first talk about the appearance of Wong, who hilariously, Jen tells us, listen. Don’t get the idea that this is going to be a cameo of the week show. This is not going to be a cameo of the week show, despite the fact that there have been cameos every week.


Rosie Knight She’s like, Yeah, Bruce Wong. And she’s like, Oh, just remember, it’s my show. Yeah, no, this is this is probably my favorite episode so far because it leans so much into the fun absurdity of like, what you can do with a legal superhero show that it’s such a silly like we were saying this before, but like it’s so like Boston Legal, it’s so out there. It’s this ridiculous fraud case where Dennis Just absolutely sucks and you’re kind of like, who cares? But it is like really it’s it’s still illegal and worth. And the woman who plays Runa is so funny and she’s like so mischievous and brings that real elf energy to kind of everything that she does. And I mean, we always talk about how much we love Benedict Wong because he is like elevated the character of Wong to a whole different level. I’m like, give him a co-creative credit because he’s like a different character now. He is so perfect in this episode. So basically he, Jen has to call them in because Emile says, you know, Oh, this video came out of me fighting in a fight club with Wong in Macao. But I didn’t want to go there.


Jason Concepcion I didn’t want to do it. It was against my will, Wong made me do it. And I didn’t want to break out of prison. Which, by the way, you know, having seen Shang-Chi, not true, but that’s okay. There is a significant, I think like agreement between the two parties.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion That they weren’t going to do this.


Rosie Knight Wong interestingly sort of says he basically says he needed to train with someone.


Jason Concepcion Right.


Rosie Knight To become the sorcerer supreme. So he needed someone who was like good enough to help him fight, which is really funny because I feel like that’s not really a good excuse.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight My favorite line is like when he first walks into the parole board through like a slinging hole, they’re like, you know, Jen’s like second nature, and he goes, Have you ever heard of a Kumite? I know.


Jason Concepcion That’s so funny. I’s so funny.


I screamed. I was like you’re using, like a bloodsport logic. Like.


Jason Concepcion That’s so funny.


Rosie Knight And so, yeah, so, so. But, you know.


Jason Concepcion It’s a real cultural thing. Like, he’s from Bloodsport.


Rosie Knight And he’s just like, Yeah, Kumite is like, Oh, yeah, yeah, fight to the death. That’s a great reason to, you know, bring someone out. But hilariously, you know, Wong says, Oh, well, he chose to come back. I would say I’m Wong’s defense. Wong just goes there, takes all the blame. And the best part is that like you realize that like a federal crime, what you just admitted to and.


Jason Concepcion He’s lingering anyway, he’s just like I must depart, just like even like leaps through it. Also in the way he comes it like, so Jen is in the midst of this parole hearing. They’re getting a lot of testimony from different witnesses, most of them from inside the prison including a guard who who testifies to the fact that Emile is a changed guy who is extensively spiritual, obviously has gone through a lot of therapy and is actually helping other people in the prison with their issues. This guard is like weeping because of like the ongoing divorce that Emile helped him with. Also, we learned that Emile has changed the toilet wine to toilet kombucha. So that’s a significant upgrade to the to the quality of life inside the prison. And he’s.


Rosie Knight Like, people actually go to the library to read and meditate.


Jason Concepcion Not just kill each other. Yeah.


Rosie Knight He’s generally just like seems like he legitimately is doing loads of really good things and Tim Roth is just delivering like I’m in.


Jason Concepcion Line after like just delivering.


Rosie Knight If the MCU  is still getting put up for awards, I’m like you could he could get one of those, you know, when you get an Emmy and you’re only really in the show for like 15 minutes, but everyone’s like, He deserves the Emmy. I’m like, That’s Tim Roth. So really just smashes it.


Jason Concepcion Jen very anxiously is like crossing off her witness list and is like, Where’s Wong? Where’s Wong was Wong? So the way Wong comes in, he comes in like he slings rings in and dives through the portal like he is escaping from some sort of fight that we can’t see on screen. No. Oh, sorry. It is so funny.


Rosie Knight And he says, Oh, sorry, I lost track of time. And it’s like, Yeah, because you obviously fighting some fucking interdimensional demon or some shit and also like I hope the DODC do not get any ideas because I absolutely love the fact that they built this these insane high security prison.


Jason Concepcion Mega, mega prisons.


Rosie Knight The one Emile is in is so horrific from the outside. It’s just this blight on the level.


Jason Concepcion That absolute brutality.


Rosie Knight Nightmare. Yeah, yeah. And, and, and Wong can just like sling ring in like ta-da and the fact that like, we also know that multiple people just like have sling rings now. I feel like this is like a big problem. But as somebody who wants everyone to be broken out of prison, I am into this idea. So I love it and I love that this kind of I think there’s something She-Hulk does that I’m loving and we’ll get into more this, near the end of the episode is like, I love the way they’re like that, introducing things that are funny, but that could mean really massive things for the MCU.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely.


Rosie Knight Because what we’re seeing here is this essentially establishes a canon that magic. The D.O.D. C. doesn’t know anything about magic. They don’t know how to stop magic. They don’t know how to build a prison that stops magic. That’s probably going to become a massive part of whatever happens next. But here it’s just a very funny. Benedict Wong absolutely smashing it like comedy bit.


Jason Concepcion With let me ask you where do you think so we assume that GLK&H is probably in Century City or maybe downtown. But I’m going to guess Century City, that’s that’s usually where, you know, legal offices, skyscrapers like that are located. And so where do we think the DODC is? South Bay?


Rosie Knight Yeah, I was, I was trying to work out like so there is, there is a couple of.


Jason Concepcion In the valley maybe? Like North valley?


Rosie Knight It might be in the valley but there is, it did look a bit like valley ish to me, like a bit dry and desolate. But there is a prison just in the South Bay, like.


Jason Concepcion Right on that little.


Rosie Knight The little island.


Jason Concepcion The little island there. Yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah. I wonder if that kind of like alluding to it being something like that. And it’s very funny to see it because like they just have so many good moments in this episode. Like when they’re outside the prison, a reporter is like randomly just yells at SHe-Hulk that I heard you’re rejected from The Avengers. After she said she didn’t want to be in The Avengers.


Jason Concepcion It was so good.


Rosie Knight And then the best thing is someone like and then another reporter immediately says She-Hulk reportedly rejected from The Avengers. And it’s just like a random guy just said that. But they play with that so well here.


Jason Concepcion There’s also a wonderful like reference to her comics canon where it’s like any any comment on the story that you got your powers from a box of mob of, right? Yeah. Mob hit gone wrong, which is a wonderful like nod to her comics canon. But also one of the things I was thinking about was the tone of this. This is so Marvel Comics accurate. This is a world in which these heroes live quote unquote, like actual lives. They have jobs. They are part of the fabric of society. They walk around with people like yelling at them. They are celebrities in in a in a really significant way. And it’s very different than, not better, I’m just contrasting, but different than been the kind of like DC thing where it’s like, you know, Batman comes in, it’s like, Oh my God. Or, you know, or Aquaman where just holy shit, these whole. Wow, it’s amazing. You like to see these people walking around.


Rosie Knight In in in DC. You have that God pantheon.


Jason Concepcion Yes.


Rosie Knight Even though Bruce’s godliness is just that he’s rich.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Like they are like the gods. The this triptych of heroes, you know, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman. Here, this feels very Marvel and, like, very ground level, which is really great, because really, I feel like even in the MCU, we’ve only gotten glimpses of that, like the Shawarma moment, you know, from Avengers that so many people love. Hawkeye was very much more of that kind of ground level vibe. Also, of course, the especially homecoming, Spider-Man homecoming. We feel like this feels very in tone with that to me, like you’re walking around, you’re trying to do your job. People are like, Who the fuck is Spider-Man? Who’s She-Hulk? The fun thing we get here is everybody knows who She-Hulk is and they’re having a lot of fun with them. There’s a great moment in this episode where they kind of play different YouTube videos and people’s reactions.


Jason Concepcion So good. I mean, it’s still so present.


Rosie Knight Yeah, they and they do such a funny bit where they basically use those comments to kind of presciently see what people would say about the show and also.


Jason Concepcion Oh, so we’re just giving.


Rosie Knight Said in the.


Jason Concepcion We’re just giving men’s powers to women now.


Rosie Knight And there’s like hashtag He-Hulk instead of She-Hulk and all this kind of funny stuff. And it’s, it’s really great because it’s just it’s just very real and funny, but it’s not trying to tell anyone off. It’s just like, this is how it is and isn’t it silly and isn’t it funny? And I just I’m so blown away by how well they’re balancing stuff out. I mean, even in the credits sequence, there’s like a, there’s the art is so beautiful that they do in the end. And that’s her like holding a cop that says like Avongers. And even that is like a massive Easter egg because one of her most famous cases is she’s like, this is a more recent one, but she’s hunting down, I believe it’s like Juggernaut. Yeah, selling Bootleg Avengers merch. So like, everything is a really thoughtful, funny Easter egg, but that doesn’t overwhelm the show because really anyone could watch this show and just be like, lol.


Jason Concepcion Some important stuff that we’ve learned. Number one, Blonsky is in full control of his Abomination form. He is, we hope, this more grounded and chilled version of himself. Even when he’s Abomination, he turns into Abomination inside the cell. Shocking the parole board. And then Jen makes a great argument that, hey, he obviously could have escaped from DODC contained at any point, but he wants to do this because he wants to go through the process. He wants to leave as a free man who has fulfilled his debt to society and so he can go live on his farm with his seven soulmates who seem very wonderful, like nice simple and nice, supportive people.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I’m definitely interested in where that arc is going because like Tim Roth sells it so well, but there’s this deadpan kind of almost like a little bit cynical nature to the way that he’s doing it all, that feels like.


Jason Concepcion It feels.


Rosie Knight Like it could be something more.


Jason Concepcion You know, absolutely feels like, come on, do we think that the Abomination is never going to Abominate?


Rosie Knight He just casually abominated to be in like Kumite with Wong just for fun. And also like I still feel like even though we see the soulmates here and they’re just like lovely women of all ages, like with like funny flower crowns. Very cult-esque.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight I still feel like I love it because I’m just a chill guy. I love the idea that Abomination Emil Blonsky will live on his farm with his seven soulmates forever. I just don’t think that’s the way it’s going to go down. Maybe it will be that, you know, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. She’ll turn up and bother him and pull him in. Or, him and the seven soulmates are already scheming on something else. Well, so I would just the moment that I loved so much in this episode, that is another thing of these like really smart visual things they do. Jen knew he was going to transform when he just took off his shoes because that’s what she does.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight That’s just. That was to me, I was just like, you’re building these little moments of Hulk family law.


Jason Concepcion I love that. It’s so good.


Rosie Knight Visual catches is so good. But what do you think about the seven the seven soulmates?


Jason Concepcion I there has to be something more to it. Although they they seem very, very sincere in their dedication to him.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion That’s it. I agree with you. There feels just an undercurrent of something a little purposeful about the way he is going about all this, although it’s clear that, you know, going back to the garden, a different people in the prison, it’s clear that people have been very affected by their relationship with Emile over the years. But, listen, we can’t ignore the fact that the wrecking crew came out and they tried to steal Jen’s blood. So.


Rosie Knight There’s something bigger going.


Jason Concepcion It’s not just that Emile is a changed person and we should release him. I think I agree with that arguement. It’s the fact that he is also like a container of super, super powerful and transformative gamma blood that is intensely valuable and is sought after by unknown parties, probably and potentially multiple parties and that if we let Emile go, I think we should also figure out a way to make sure that nobody steals his blood or that he doesn’t sell it.


Rosie Knight That is a very, very good point. And I think, like, I would I would love to kind of see them play with what they’ve set up here, which would be like, I would love to see a special, you know, you could do like a spring special or whatever. Just, I would love to see an episode of even a series, but that seems unlikely. But of him running like his yoga retreat. But it’s all for superheroes because that would be really fun. You just have that moment of slice of life piece. You could even do it like the MCU shorts they used to do before the inevitable. Whoever comes to try and take his blood or one of the seven soul mates was always trying to take his blood. You know, we never. There’s definitely some interesting stuff. Tim is so good in this series that I am sure.


Jason Concepcion So good.


Rosie Knight The the the head honchos are like what do we do to keep you around? Like, how do we have you in more Hulk form?


Jason Concepcion Easy check for my guy, Tim Roth, who I’ve been a big fan of for years. Let’s let’s we got to talk about The Wrecking Crew. I was so delighted to see them. They are you know, long time Thor antagonists and who very similar to it seems like they’re their TV versions got their powers kind of in a kind of a very roundabout way from Asguardian sources.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion And they are much more in the comics. They’re notably more badass and villainous.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion But the TV show, I think, is also really it’s all it’s authentic in the fact that they’ve amped up what sad sacks they are, you know, like the the comics version of The Wrecking Crew. They are they’re really strong. Like they have Asgardian level strength. And when they fight Thor or whoever, it’s really destructive. They’ve been notable members of the Masters of Evil also. But whenever they show up, it’s always like rob a bank, you know, like they’re not high level criminal mastermind. They are. It’s very sad, their existence.


Rosie Knight Marvel’s kind.


Jason Concepcion They’re thugs.


Rosie Knight They’re Marvel’s prestige premier like street level villain.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Yeah.


Rosie Knight And and that’s why I mean, the thing is they did what they did with She-Hulk her what I think they’re very good at doing with a lot of things, which is like, I love The Wrecking Crew. I think they’re very cool. The Wrecker has an Enchanted Crowbar, which is probably like one of the coolest weapons in the whole world, which, like you said, you know, that was a mistaken case of identity where someone thought he was Loki and then he’s getting magical powers and then he’s sharing them. And they first debuted in like 1976. So you’re talking about an old team is Defender 17 by Len Wein and Sal Buscema , that’s like a killer creative team. The thing I find very interesting here is they basically have done that fan conversation thing where there’s people who love The Wrecking Crew and take them seriously like me. But there’s also like, it’s a guy with an enchanted crowbar, like why wouldn’t that be funny? Yeah, well, I’m very interested in. So you we see Wrecker, Bulldozer, Piledriver and Thunderball here. What I’m very interested in is I would say that Thunderball is like he’s quite a famous black Marvel character, and he is not played by a black person here, a black actor, but he is played by a very famous, brilliant Marvel stunt man. I. So this is going to lead into the theories that we have about. So they they they attack Jen.


Jason Concepcion I like where you’re going with this.


Rosie Knight Yeah. So they attack and they have like a really great there’s this really great moment when I spoke to Kat Coiro and Jessica GAO. They talked about how they wanted to introduce them. They loved the idea of The Wrecking Crew, but they wanted it to be a Jen focused moment. So you have this great moment where Jen freaks out because these guys are attacking her and then she’s like.


Jason Concepcion Oh, yeah, that’s right. I’m She-Hulk


Rosie Knight I’m She-Hulk and that’s kind of this wish fulfillment moment and you get this great moment. And I love that this establishes the way Jen uses her powers because a lot of Marvel heroes that we’ve seen in the past, if they just, like, throw you, you’re dead. Like they are, they are very strong. Jen lets them all live. She’s kind of throws away. But one of them, it’s Thunderball, tries to stab her skin with a needle.


Jason Concepcion Right to get the blood.


Rosie Knight Get the blood to get her blood. Which we were right. We’ve been saying for a while that her blood was going to get out there, that people were going to want it.


Jason Concepcion They figured out the adamantium needles yet. But.


Rosie Knight Exactly.


Jason Concepcion They’ll figure that out.


Rosie Knight I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the discovery of some vibranium needle could be great. But you’re right, it would be the adamantium needle would be the comic book version. So when they get in the car, and they sort of like this is a bad idea. This was a terrible idea, which is very funny. They say, you know, the boss isn’t going to be happy. So who is the boss?


Jason Concepcion Right.


Rosie Knight I, in my mind, I like to imagine that there is a version of this where. This team. I don’t think this is the most likely version. I think that we’re going to talk about the most likely version, which which is probably the right version. But I like to think so. Dr. Elliot Franklin That is the original Thunderball. He’s like this black super scientist who doesn’t want to be a for hire thug, but that’s just a way to make money. And he’s deeply connected with Bruce Banner because he was able to create this like gamma bomb that Bruce wasn’t. So in my canon, and because of the way I feel like this show deals with this stuff, I would love to see that Dr. Elliot Franklin, a.k.a. the original Thunderball, is the boss and he’s kind of like slow started, a bit of like a new Wrecking Crew to go out and do his dirty work, because I think it would be very cool to get see a comic book Thunderball on screen. But saying all of that, the way that they’ve done it is this kind of funny, bumbling crew. I think that there is a bigger, more likely Hulk villain who is the boss of them that they are worried about disappointing, who is someone that we’ve talked about before.


Jason Concepcion And possibly the leader, Sam Sterns, who we saw at the end of the The Incredible Hulk, gamma blood dripping on his brain, his brain growing to enormous sizes. That’s very similar to how he got his powers in the comics, although he was he was just a very dim witted, kind of janitor person who then came into contact with Gamma stuff, went to the hospital because they thought he was sick, and then all of a sudden was like, I want to read every single book while I’m in the hospital, and became this super brilliant supervillain. Although I got to say, I love your theory. I love that. It would be a great subversion for it to be Dr. Franklin, who is the actual person behind this. Because it’s like, where did that? Although they did, although Thunderball this version of Thunderball does kind of admit that they ripped off an Asgardian construction crew.


Rosie Knight Which I think is like very funny. And I kind of love the way that they’re building this into this kind of like space of Asgard is really now like the first superpower that’s publicly living among us with New Asgard. So of course, you’d have some people who ripped off like an Asgardian construction company. In my head canon, you know, is that maybe just something that Dr. Elliot Franklin, the real Thunderball, told them when he gave them this because he didn’t want them to know. But I did love I loved the way that they brought these powers to life. Like when I saw Becca looking at the enchanted crowbar, I was like, Oh, my God, this is so cool. The helmet, that was like lit up. The hand. They just did such a fun, good job. And also, you know what? It’s nice. It’s kind of fun to see street level heroes go in against street level villains that, like, make sense. And we don’t often get to see it. Like, if you think about poor Peter Parker, the babe.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight You know, he’s going against, like, someone with crazy tech who’s, like, got wings and all this, like, you know, Vulture’s, like, a pretty epic villain. So it’s kind of nice to just see She-Hulk, who just got her powers deal and just trying to live her life, dealing with some kind of bumbling people who ripped off a construction site, run by Asgardians.


Jason Concepcion Zooming out. We know that Armor Wars is going to be a response to the fact that Stark Tech has gotten out into the world and other people are using stark tech. We’ve seen already that, you know, the Vultures crew in the Spider-Man movies was taking, you know, chitauri discarded chitauri tech and street level criminals were coming into possession of that material and were able to rob banks from ATMs and do really destructive shit with it. And now we see that Asguardian powered stuff is getting out into the world. This, I agree with you, is really cool. It adds to the whole texture of the the TV and film version of the MCU, which is, again, very much like the comics where how many comics issues, all of them basically open with an action scene in which some street level like criminal group who have found some kind of technology are like robbing a bank that needs to be stopped by Spider-Man or Daredevil, whoever. So this is very much this is so comics accurate. It’s actually really fun and that but I we’ve talked about Siege here lots times and it feels like if more of this Asgardian stuff is getting out into the world and criminals are getting a hold of it, at some point there is going to be a reaction probably led by figures in the DOD and others who are like, okay. We need to clamp down on Asgard because they’re their weapons, their construction equipment, they are getting out into the world and now criminals are robbing banks and stuff with them and attacking regular citizens who are just coming home from winning parole hearings for the Abomination. Like you have to do something. Yeah, just normal cells and normal, normal stuff.


Rosie Knight You know what, I, I really love that because I think what we’re starting to see here as well, and this goes back to something we’ve been talking about for a long time. How do you introduce the X-Men? Yes, it always goes back to the X-Men. But like, I think that you’re right, you start laying the groundwork where it’s not about it’s not just mutants that people are scared of. It’s powered people. It’s people even, it’s people with the tech of Asgardians. It’s even just people with stark tech because those things are connected inherently to superheroes. So you start things with Siege or Armor Wars where you start to see this backlash against that technology, against people who hold these kind of supernatural powers. And that starts to set the groundwork for that huge wave of anti powered people, anti mutant feeling that is going to become really key to the MCU.


Jason Concepcion I think that I think that we’re going to go there at some point. Right. And it feels like at some point.


Rosie Knight It really does.


Jason Concepcion Whether it’s whether it’s the Contessa or someone like Norman Osborn or whoever who is going to rise to power on a platform of we got to do something about these powered people. And that means Asgard, that means, oh, whoever.


Rosie Knight You’re so smart. Because the truth is, it would make so much sense if it’s the Contessa, because then she can be like, Well, guess what? We need to do something about them. And I have this team right here.


Jason Concepcion That can.


Rosie Knight And can do that, but.


Jason Concepcion Bring them into line.


Rosie Knight You know, made up of old soldiers, made up of you need to be thinking about it. We need army.


Jason Concepcion And we need our Avengers. Now think about Nick Fury’s Avengers.


Rosie Knight Think about it. So I’ve been thinking about this a lot because of the sad passing of William Hurt. You know that.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight But I think there’s a version where they could basically use the memory of Thunderbolt Ross to be like a justification for the thunderbolt. It’s like he started this with, you know, Abomination, who’s now on our team as our Hulk. And because of that, we’re going with soldiers. This is a team of American, you know, soldiers. And you have but it’s funny because Tim Russ English, then you have Yelena, who was also a soldier in Russia.


Jason Concepcion They’ll follow orders now unlike the other Avengers.


Rosie Knight The orders are there and then obviously U.S. agent. So I think we could see something where they kind of pose this team as a In Memoriam team for Thunderball Ross, and it’s just like.


Jason Concepcion I love that.


Rosie Knight Soldier’s super soldiers. But the truth is also could be interesting to see whether they would bring Bucky in now because that was a very popular super. So that was a very popular Thunderbolts team that was like a relaunch that had Bucky as part of the team. So I’ll be interested to see because I think there’s something there where they sort of turn that militarized aspect of the MCU into the more anti heroic like villainous aspect where it’s like, this is what happens when the government has a team and then you have more of your magical characters and interdimensional characters who have to stay being the heroes for like the people.


Jason Concepcion I love that. And I, I think that I would not be surprised if that’s where eventually we’re heading. Probably a little while for now. But, you know, it feels like that’s how a Thunderbolts team would come to pass. Well, yeah, this is a super fun show. This is I think.


Rosie Knight It’s so fun.


Jason Concepcion Up there with Loki and Wandavision. It’s great. It’s really great. It’s just a great half hour of sort of superhero fun.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s just. What more can you want than just as a Marvel fan to just be watching a show and they’re like, Here’s Megan Thee Stallion, but also Here’s The Wrecking Crew. And also here’ s like some credits that reference multiple comic book issues. And there’s kind of this creeping, funny appearances of Titania but only on like news bits.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. I love that.


Rosie Knight So I think that’s the big, when is she coming back? When will we see the impact of Titania? Because she’s around and she’s threatening legal action, but we haven’t seen her since that first episode.


Jason Concepcion And of course, Matt Murdock’s still waiting in the wings. We’re waiting to see him.


Rosie Knight I’m ready to see him. I’m ready for the boy to be back. I mean, when that episode comes out, the Internet is just going to lose it and I cannot wait.


Jason Concepcion All right. Up next, House of the Dragon. House of the Dragon, episode two The Rogue Prince, written by Ryan Condal. Directed by Greg Yaitanes. First of all, we open with the original theme song. Fucking great decision here.


Rosie Knight Correct choice like and.


Jason Concepcion Correct choice.


Rosie Knight That theme gets people as hyped up as like the Power Rangers theme did for nineties kids. Like it really is that adult like oh shit theme. So it’s the right choice absolutely ties back in to this world that we know makes absolute sense. Hard to really top it. Great choice. I thought this was really cool and I love the choice they made for what the infographic is too.


Jason Concepcion That’s right. So don’t overthink it. We get the original theme song under the brand new intro graphic that shows us a blood filled Targaryen family tree with blood connecting all the different family nodes and branches on the tree. I think it’s really cool.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s really, really cool. I love how it kind of ties into Viserys’ little like Miniature Obsession and the Fed, the kind of legacy and the.


Jason Concepcion He loves his leggos.


Rosie Knight Legacy. I just yeah. Tonally, I just feel like they’re making so many good choices this year with this. I’m. I’m excited.


Jason Concepcion We open on the Step Stones where Cragas Drahar a.k.a. the Crab Feeder is feeding the crabs, folks. He is living up to the namesake. Crabs are swarming the beach, devouring the bodies of the dead and the not quite dead yet as the Triarchy’s war against Narrow Sea pirates in their bid to take over, the Step Stones continues apace. We go to the Red Keep, King’s Landing, the small council chamber and we announce R.I.P. the passing of Soraya red wine Lord, commander of the King’s Guard. We never. You were in one. Maybe a cup, maybe two very, very quick shots in the first episode. But R.I.P.. Right.


Rosie Knight We barely knew you. We barely knew you.


Jason Concepcion Legitimately barely knew you, folks. This, of course, opens a slot on the legendary squad of super Virgin unmarried knights. Not some of them obviously come to come to the Brotherhood after they’ve lost their virginity. That being said, unmarried knights. Sir Harold Westerling, who we’ve seen of late assigned to Princess Rhaenyra, is the new Lord Commander. And he has invited a number of candidates to court for auditions. Enter Master of Ships, Corlys Velaryon to the small council chamber. And Corlys is hot, hot because he’s hot, hot. Hot because listen, the Triarchy’s forces led by the Crab Feeder, they continue to make inroads on the Step Stones. And now he’s lost four of the realms ships, including ships of his own fleet and you know, he doesn’t say this now, but this is also hurting the the trade upon which his personal house depends. And we’ve got to do something or else the realm is going to seem weak. You know, what are we going to do? We have to invade. King Viserys we should go to the Step Stones right now and eject the Crab Feeder. Viserys doesn’t want to do that. Does not want war with the Triarchy right now. The Triarchy is in alliance with the Free Cities of Myr, Lys and Tyrosh, because I guess that would be destructive and expensive. And Master of Coin Lyman Beesbury points out, yeah, we, you know, we don’t need to be spending this money right now. Corlys is like, so we’re just going to do this. We’re not going to do anything and people are going to think we’re weak. Daemon Targaryen seized Dragonstone has been hanging out there with his Gold Cloaks, rent free for six months, and we’re just not going to do anything. Otto Hightower, Hand of the King is like, Hey, why don’t you cool your jets, Corlys. And Viserys also says, Hey, listen, I sent some emails to Pintos and Volentis to see if maybe they could, you know, do something and try to rein in the Triarchy a little bit. So let’s wait to hear back from them. And let’s chill out. Rhaenyra, of course, recently named Crown Princess, but also still fulfilling her duties as cup bearer in the small council chamber listen to all this and then puts her $0.02 in. We’ve got a lot of dragons. Nobody else has them. Why don’t you send us, i.e., me and whoever else out there ships are made of wood. Right? And let’s take care of business.


Rosie Knight Correct.


Jason Concepcion Show of force.


Rosie Knight I love this episode for Rhaenyra so much. Like the.


Jason Concepcion Same.


Rosie Knight Character arc that we get here and just the hints of like the power that she could wield are so good and she is not wrong. Like that’s the other thing.


Jason Concepcion She’s not wrong.


Rosie Knight Not wrong.


Jason Concepcion I will say it’s a great episode for both for Rhaenyra and Alicent because Alicent, man will get to that.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion But Alicent has Rhaenyra’s fucking back.


Rosie Knight She really does.


Jason Concepcion Like is as bad as the position that Otto put her in is, with the king and having to keep that secret. She is Rhaenyra’s biggest supporter, basically.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I would actually say I’m very interested and happy. I feel like book Alicent does not have this much empathy, compassion or or complex kind of character building. And it’s been really incredible to see what they’ve been able to do with these two characters in just a couple of episodes to build that, because Alicent is in a terrible position and Alicent knows what has to be done, but Alicent does have Rhaenyra’s back and you can feel, yeah, that the depth of connection and friendship and maybe more that is between the two of them and is so powerful.


Jason Concepcion It’s a great point because book Alicent, now we should remember that the book versions of these stories are sold Two Novellas and the Fire and Blood are written, you know, from the perspective of unreliable narrators, unreliable historians, some of whom may not have even been around for the actual events. And so I take this with a grain of salt. But Alicent is is shown as just as conniving as Otto, certainly ambitious and very, very aware of the moves that she is making in the books. Very, very different here. Corlys loves the idea of sending the Dragons in. He loves this. Otto, of course, doesn’t. Viserys is like, okay, enough piping up for today. Why don’t you go off with Sir Harold and go see about the new Kingsguard hopefuls? And there are several contestants, but their resumes are like I killed a starving dude who was hunting for deer in the King’s woods illegally. Okay. Big deal. Wow. Incredible.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s a bunch of noble suckers, basically. Oh, I won a tournament. I won a tournament.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, yeah, I should. I should be the the king’s bodyguard. Otto and Princess Rhaenys, The Queen That Never Was, are looking on. They were very interested of course, in Princess Rhaenyra’s governing style as it develops. They want to see what this young Crown Princess has made of. Rhaenyra, wisely, is thinking we need some, we need somebody with actual combat experience. Not just like I killed a starving guy in the woods, you know, like because this is this is one of the most sensitive jobs in the realm. Well guess what? Sir Criston Cole fits the bill. We watched him whip Daemon’s ass. He’s a good looking, good looking gentleman. He is the natural son. You know, meaning a son born out of wedlock, saying that in a nice way of the steward of Black Haven, seat of Lord Dondarrion, the ancestor of Lord Beric Dondarrion, who we remember from Game of Thrones, is the guy who held the Flaming Sword and who the Lord of Light resurrected time and time again. The the Dondarrions of Black Haven are one of the families of the Dornish Marches, and the Storm Lands. The Dornish Marches are the border area of the Storm Lands where incursions from from Dornish forces, incursions from forces of the reach are constantly an issue. And so these families are very influential, much more influential than normal vassal families of a particular region are and their castles are really, really strong and they are great soldiers because they’re fighting all the time. Here’s where we learn that, Cole. If this was in any way confusing after episode one, his biography in the show is exactly as it is in the books, except for the fact that we learned that his mom is Dornish. So is not directly from Dorne, is half Dornish, half from the Storm Lands. Again, it’s great that the features that they recognized are. He’s a he’s a good looking brunet. He’s a handsome guy with brown hair. Yeah. But Princess Rhaenyra chooses Sir Cole. It’s honestly an easy choice.


Yeah. Again, it was like, right. The right choice. Very easy, simple.


Jason Concepcion It’s the right choice. He bested Daemon, who’s one of the best knights in the realm, and Daemon was using Dark Sister like, so let’s choose this guy. Otto was like, Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What about, you know, these other knights are from very important families. We can’t just spurn them. And the princess is like, Well, sir, Criston’s an actual soldier, so he’s in. And Otto backs down. Later, King Viserys is with Alicent. He is pointing out the different features of his lovingly assembled model. We learned that the stonemasons actually make the pieces he just provides, see the blueprints, essentially. And he’s giving a little Old Valyria lesson to Alicent Hightower, whose looks seems as if she’s been hanging around a lot.


Rosie Knight Yeah, looks very comfortable there and looks like they’re having a nice little convo. She’s wearing another pretty dress, just another pretty chat.


Jason Concepcion He is telling her, you know, some little factoids about Valyria, about how the city was built into the side of a volcano, about how the Dragon Lords lived close to the source of the flames of the volcanoes. And talked about the bloodmages shows the building where the bloodmages worked and mentions that the freehold at its height had over a thousand dragons and a navy capable of projecting its power anywhere in the world. Alicent is like, Wow, this is amazing, Your Grace. This is so cool. The King drops a one of his little sculptures of the Little Dragon sculpture, and it breaks. Foreshadowing much.


Rosie Knight Just, just like there’s lots of good foreshadowing moments in this.


Jason Concepcion There really is.


Rosie Knight Alicent is like they do such a good job in this scene where it’s like she asks enough questions that you think she’s probably legitimately interested or is she just seeming interested? It’s so well done. But yeah, that dragon shattering doesn’t look good for the Targaryens, the old Targs.


Jason Concepcion King Viserys asks about Rhaenyra who he knows Alicent is very good friends with. He and Rhaenyra haven’t been speaking since Queen Aemma, Rhaenyra’s mother died. Alicent is like, Why don’t you? Here’s a crazy notion, King. Why don’t you just talk to her?


Rosie Knight Have a little chat?


Jason Concepcion You’re the king. You are the king. Invite her up here to talk. She has to come. And the king is like, Oh, that’s an interesting idea. Also, don’t tell her that we’ve been spending a lot of time together alone in my chambers. Don’t do that. Which is probably a good idea. Yes. So not a not a sustainable idea.


Rosie Knight Not a sustainable plan. Also another great moment. With Alicent here, where when he asks, She just looks so fucking gutted, like she knows what has to be done and she understands the role that she’s playing. But she feels so clearly uncomfortable with the fact that this that finally the thing that has not been set up until this point has now been set. This is a secret. She wouldn’t like it. And you know why?


Jason Concepcion Later in what I think is one of my favorite scenes in this episode, maybe my favorite scene in this episode. We go to the grand Sept, which is the Sept the previous Sept before the great Sept of Baelor was built. So this was the original Sept built on the Visenya’s Hill. Alicent and Rhaenyra are and are strolling the Grand Sept and they’re talking about King Viserys. Rhaenyra is still, still working through the fact that she has been named heir. She’s feeling maybe not up to it, maybe that the king did so for reasons that are not just about that he thinks she can do it. She thinks maybe her father named her heir more to spurn Daemon than to elevate herself. Alicent and Princess Rhaenyra kneel and Alicent begins talking about her mom, who passed away, of course, and unidentified in the books and unidentified thus far in the show as well. In the Sept under the statue of the mother. She’s a great, great little touch here. Alicent talks about how she feels closer to her, her her dead mother, and she’s openly wondering, like, if Rhaenyra might find the same kind of relief here after the death of her own mother, Queen Aemma. And it is a really, really touching moment. Rhaenyra breaks down and is saying, you know, I want them to see me as more than this little girl. And it’s just like we were saying, it is a wonderful example of their bond and their friendship and the lengths that despite the fact that Otto is actively pitting Alicent against Rhaenyra, against Viserys’ direct wishes about who the who the heir is going to be. Alicent is still just an incredible supporter and friend to Rhaenyra despite all that.


Rosie Knight And she even in that moment, like in the scene, she encourages. It’s like she knows she can’t tell Rhaenyra so she encourages Rhaenyra to actually talk to Viserys.


Jason Concepcion Talk to your father.


Rosie Knight She wants her to know. It’s like even in that moment, that’s not her manipulating her. That’s her being like, please talk to your dad so you two can fucking. So I don’t have to hide this anymore. And these two actors are just so incredibly brilliant.


Jason Concepcion They’re great. They’re really good.


Rosie Knight I’m so happy to see them come back, because, like I was saying before, that, like it’s Milly Alcock who plays Princess Rhaenyra and Emily Carey who plays Alicent. They’re so good like I am. I see.


Jason Concepcion The chemistry is great.


Rosie Knight I love Olivia Cooke. I’m like Olivia Cooke, superstan. I’ll watch on anything I love Thoroughbreds is like one of my favorite movies. I just think she’s so brilliant. But after episode one, I didn’t want to depart from this era of these two characters and these actors because they bring so much gravitas and love and friendship and history just in these two episodes is quite wonderful, actually. I feel like so many people bought up quite a lot in Game of Thrones, fairly, and there wasn’t a lot of like in-depth female friendship. There wasn’t really a lot of time for it, you know, that wasn’t the relationships that were kind of focused on. And when there was, it could often end in betrayal.


Jason Concepcion Missandei But any but that was also has a streaming that was.


Rosie Knight Dynamic and yeah, exactly. And it was more focused on like one of their fates over the other or, you know, Danny and and the woman who taught her how to like please people, but that ended up in betrayal. So like, yeah, it’s is I just feel like this is a really interesting character focused take on this world. And these two are especially kind of coming out really, really strong in building why this is so important.


Jason Concepcion And it’s, you know, I don’t think it’s I don’t think you have to be like a prophet to see where this is all heading. And it makes it even more heartbreaking to see how hard Alicent is really trying.


Rosie Knight Yeah, and she.


Jason Concepcion Alicent is really, really trying to make this work.


Rosie Knight She’s just like us. She can she has the dramatic irony of knowing exactly where this is going, even when Rhaenyra doesn’t. And she is putting in the work to try and make it so it could be something good for everyone, even though we know that that is just not how this stuff goes.


Jason Concepcion In the Royal Gardens, King Viserys has a private audience with Corlys Valeryon and Rhaenys Valeryon, his cousin, the Queen That Never Was. And the king apologizes for the little argument in the small council room and is like Rhaenys you know you’re my favorite cousin. And, you know, to Targaryens Vaeryons, we’re in this together, right? You know, it’s the two houses of Old Valyria. It’s us, baby. And and Corlys, an admiral. You know, this is again, this is a person used to being in command. He just gets right to the point. He says they fear the eyes of our enemies are currently fixed on the Red Keep. And then he goes on to say, listen, the queen has passed away. A princess is the heir for the first time in the history of Targaryen rule in Westeros. This is bucking over a century of established practice. Daemon, your brother, is squatting on Dragonstone without your leave. We’ve got invaders from Essos establishing a foothold on the Step Stones, and Corlys proposes the following, to kind of shore up the strength of the realm. Let’s get married. I’m talking about you, King Viserys, marry my 12 year old daughter, Laena Velaryon. And let’s unite these two surviving great houses of Valyrian lineage. What do you say? You can show the realm the Crown’s greatest days are ahead, he says, and the king is like, okay, let me think about this. Later, the king and Rhaenyra finally have dinner together. And it is awkward.


Rosie Knight It’s really awkward.


Jason Concepcion There’s a lot of stuff going on and it’s it’s awkward. The King, very haltingly with a lot of emotion, talks about Queen Aemma, his his wife that has passed, Rhaenyra’s mother. The princess brings up clearly wanting to score some points with her dad about like how, you know, she’s able to kind of take on some responsibility here. Brings up the experience with choosing Sir Criston for the for to be the newest member of the King’s Guard. And then the princess apologizes for, you know, speaking out of turn at the small council meeting. It’s all in all baby steps towards some kind of approachment. Meanwhile, we’re seeing that King Viserys is even more banged up than the kind of back sores that we saw in episode one. He’s got an infected cut that is on his back, and now the cut on his hand from the end of episode one, when he gripped the throne really hard while ordering Daemon into exile, has turned it positively necrotic. The small finger is straight up black. Grand Maester Mellos prescribes a tray of maggots, which is probably the best thing that he’s done thus far. Grand Maester that actually worked.


Rosie Knight That is actually the smartest thing. They still use that nowadays sometimes for a necro wound, it happens.


Jason Concepcion While Otto, of course, looks on with concern. He is, you know, as we’ve been saying, very, very attuned to any kind of intimation that the throne is weak, the king is weak, that the realm is weak. And he knows that if people are aware that the king is getting cut by the Iron Throne, they could take this as a sign that the throne is rejecting him and that they don’t, and he doesn’t want any part of that. So he’s very concerned here. The king tells his Hand, Otto that is, not his rotting hand about the meeting with Corlys and Rhaenys and the proposed marriage to Laena. Otto, and this is amazing. First of all, Otto’s like you should have discussed this with the small council. He’s like, You’re here, Grand Maester Mellos is here. What do you think I’m fucking doing?


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s like this is literally it.


Jason Concepcion This is it. Then Otto has the absolute gall after it for six months or more strategically sending his daughter in her best, in her mother’s best gowns.


Rosie Knight In her dead mother’s best dresses.


Jason Concepcion Into the king’s bedroom is all of a sudden like, Oh, oh, she’s, Laena is very young. And, gosh, I I’d hate to be in your position King, where your wife has just died. And all of a sudden you have to think about these things like taking on another wife. I’m sure that you should you should just press pause on that in fact. Why don’t you just, Alicent is free, if you’d like her to read you some history? It’s Grand Maester Mellos, meanwhile, thinks that this proposed Targaryen Valeryon marriage is actually a great idea. Otto is forced to admit that the reasoning behind it is pretty sound, Laena’s age aside. Otto’s best weapon here is the memory of his deceased wife, which he deploys now in this very cynical way to to stir some emotion in the king, forge a bond there saying, hey, I’ve lost someone, too, and I know what it’s like and maybe you should just not marry Laena. Viserys and Laena go for a stroll under Corlys’ very watchful gaze. They talk about dragons. Laena asks about Balerion, the Black Dread, and people have asked about this. Why doesn’t King Viserys have a dragon? He had Balerion, who was said to that point that like the oldest living thing in the world, the last living thing that actually saw old Valyria. All the other dragons that are around right now, Vhagar, etc., were born afterwards. Babies. And the king says, You know, I rode him for a little bit and then he died. And, you know, honestly, like once you ride Balerion and then you become king.




You know, why why.


Rosie Knight The dragon riders are something else. You’re the king. You don’t have dragon riders.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight You don’t need to be.


Jason Concepcion But then you don’t need to.


Rosie Knight This is also, like, a really solid point, because something that this episode does really well is like, it starts to really seed the groundwork for the fact that like Viserys, like, may be not like the strongest candidate for King. Like he doesn’t really like to make a tough choice. He doesn’t. The Dragon Rider thing is kind of an interesting like what does it mean to be a Targaryen? But like we see in this episode, he’s very easily manipulated. He already made a terrible choice in the first episode about Queen Aemma, even though we understood where it came from. But even that didn’t give him the strength he wanted too. He’s becoming weaker. He’s kind of, Otto is clearly really the puppet master, which is very traditional Game of Thrones kind of thing. But I think that’s really interesting to have basically a 12 year old be like, So why don’t you have a dragon?


Jason Concepcion The thing about Viserys, too, is he is he’s a consensus builder, right. Which if you have a small council with no agendas, with no personal agendas. That’s actually like really good.


Rosie Knight Yeah, that’s an idealistic king, right?


Jason Concepcion Yeah. He has some good qualities for a king. And, and also, you know, it just from a purely logical standpoint it actually doesn’t make sense to send the single most important person in the realm on a dragon in a very dangerous like mission to go do battles. And so you have a bunch of other dragons, a bunch of other warriors that can do that. At the same time you’re exactly right in the fact that King Viserys, kind of under because he is this man of immense privilege. He doesn’t quite grasp in the way that Otto grasps the importance of symbolism and projecting an image that people can rally around, even if it’s not necessarily true. And that’s kind of that’s his weakness.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion He’s a nice guy.


Rosie Knight He’s a nice guy. And the thing is, I like that point you make where he’s like a consensus builder in an idealistic world, right?


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight That would be a good place to be where you could have a a small council that supports you and duh, duh, duh. But then again, I feel and the other thing I think is really interesting is like he doesn’t necessarily know how to make the, it’s that privileging, he doesn’t know how to make those concessions. Like he should be more worried about the Step Stones and the Crab Feeder. But he doesn’t want the conflict. He wants a not an easy life but a non, you know, bank drenching war. Like that’s understandable. But at the same time, there are these little choices he’s making where you just know it’s going to come back and bite him.


Jason Concepcion Yep.


Rosie Knight And we see that happen very quickly this episode.


Jason Concepcion We have, there is a good question about why Viserys doesn’t want to engage with the Triarchy in Ask the Maester. So stay tuned for that. Leana is asks, What about Vhagar? Where’s Vhagar at? Vhagar was the mount of Queen, Queen Visenya Targaryen, sister of Queen Aegon and Queen Rhaenia, the oldest and largest dragon of that particular time. We learn here that Vhagar has been unaccounted for for some time and at any rate is too large to, you know, be be stable in the Dragon Pit. Viserys says that the Dragon Keepers think that Vhagar is like somewhere on the Narrow Sea coast, which thank you for narrowing it down because like thousands of miles of coastline. But then, Leana says, hey, you know the workers of Spice Town, which is a town on Driftmark of an important market town. Says they say that they can hear a Vhagar’s dragon songs and they sound very sad. And so this is a pretty strong clue that wherever Vhagar is, it’s close to Driftmark, the home base of House Valeryon. Laena then in a very off putting moment that clearly her dad scripted out for her, says, Hey, we should get married, I’ll give you lots of kids and we don’t have to do anything until I’m 14. I’m 12.


Rosie Knight And she looks.


Jason Concepcion Yikes.


Rosie Knight She looks so young. The actress is I know 12 is young, but this is also like a very young 12, so you really see the kind of horror of this notion of like a child bride. They do a really good job of establishing that.


Jason Concepcion Yes, this is what so I love Game of Thrones. There are obviously some sexual politics in there that I don’t know totally if it was always on them, just not always on the mark. This show is doing something super interesting, which is they’re just leaning into look how off putting and weird this is. This is not this is not good. This is icky. This makes you feel bad. And they’re leaning into that with, you know, the way they shot the two of them walking together to really bring out how.


Rosie Knight Tall he is. How old he looks? Yeah. I also think as well, like I love Paddy Considine, like I loved him ever since I saw.


Jason Concepcion He’s great.


Rosie Knight Dead Man Shoes, which just such a brilliant movie and like he’s so good in this. But I also understand so much more why they cast him now. Because like even next,next to Laena is obviously the most horrific kind of juxtaposition. But even those like scenes with Alicent are like really off-putting when he’s kind of like hunched over and talking to her quietly and, you know, there’s this kind of unspoken boundary. So I think you’re right because like there were characters who were meant to be teenagers in Game of Thrones, who they obviously cast older, so they could be like, Oh, but it’s kind of hot, though, you know, which is understandable kind of hard thing. But this is definitely going more for that historical horror. Like, what does it mean when a king.


Jason Concepcion This is fucked up.


Rosie Knight Marries a child?


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Very like we said, very Henry VIII, very medieval, very like adds real world inspirations.


Jason Concepcion Rhaenyra watches this from nearby. Of course, Princess Rhaenys also there, Corlys’ wife. And Rhaenys says, like, so this bothers you, huh? Well, pull up your Crown Princess pants because this is how the world works. And she gives her that kind of like download of like, listen, sister, I’ve been through this, I’ve been around the block, I’ve seen how this works. And this is how it works. This is the order of things. Your dad is going to remarry. He’s going to have kids and eventually a son. And that’s who the realm will want to rule, sister. And Rhaenyra is channeling her inner Danaerys, says yeah, well, when I’m on the throne, they’re going to have to listen to me. And I’m just going to reshape the way that this entire realm works. And Rhaenys in a really good comeback, is like, oh, is. Do you tell them that when you’re filling up their drinks in the small council chamber? And then she says, quote, Here is the hard truth, which no one has the heart to tell you. Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the iron throne. And your father is no fool. Now I this is one of the most interesting things to think about in this show and even, which is how I think Rhaenys is right to a certain extent. Like there is a lot of very, very influential and powerful people in this realm. Otto Hightower, hello, who would rather go to war.


Rosie Knight Yep.


Jason Concepcion Throwing hundreds of thousands of lives into the fire. Rather than use that power and influence to understanding the reality that the realm is misogynistic. Try and change it. Try and move them. Maybe you can move the margins a little bit. Build consensus. Let’s see if we’ve got some time. Viserys is alive still and you to do this. So why don’t you use your power to do that? And in that way, Rhaenys is really right, is that they won’t do that. They’re going to choose to do the other.


Rosie Knight It’s very interesting as well, because like it it opens up the conversation of why that’s kind of like these. They want you to ask like, why would these men rather go to war and potentially die themselves or do these kind of dangerous machinations than just letting the rightful heir go to the throne when they’re. You know, when Rhaenyra’s a dragon rider, she’s very powerful. She probably it would be very easy to make how well-liked. We’ve seen those kind of campaigns in Game of Thrones before she could become a princess of the people. But they don’t want to do that because that entire power set and structure is based on the idea that they only have to compete against other men. If they if they allow a woman to go on to the throne, that could change everything. And in their mind, the worst possible thing is that they could be treated like women.


Jason Concepcion And let’s and let’s be clear, Otto, for all his, you know, kind of like realpolitik kind of lens about what the realm would accept is also arguing for his daughter.


Rosie Knight Literally.


Jason Concepcion The queen. Like, it’s not like some kind of selfless. Like, I am just a truth teller here. He is saying this.


Rosie Knight So that.


Jason Concepcion While putting his daughter into the king’s bedroom.


Rosie Knight On her own throne. But the question is, it’s like the difference between being, you know, a queen regeant or a spouse or queen. You know, it’s it’s very it’s very interesting because I feel like the first episode did a really good bait and switch where they essentially set him up as almost like a Ned Stark esque, good man. And that kind of got a tease at the end of the first episode that that wasn’t the case. In this episode, you realize, yeah, that’s not the case. And also, like as we’re about get into, he’s pretty terrible at like politics and peacekeeping as well, arguably.


Jason Concepcion He really you know, he and Corlys remind me of Cersei in a way in that Cersei’s moves. You know, Tywin was like this master manipulator making moves behind the scenes that people never saw until it was way, way, way too late. Cersei was in your face making moves, and it was easy because of that to kind of discounter and go, I can take her, I can I can stymie that move any time but the thing that Cersei had was that she was just coming at you hard, hard, hard.


Rosie Knight And she was pure chaos as well. Like she didn’t care to do something so terrible and just in your face awful.


Jason Concepcion And it’s kind of that’s kind of what Corlys and Otto are like. These are not like putting your daughter in her mom’s best dress and sending her into the king’s bedroom. The king who just lost his wife. This is not some, like, masterstroke. But because it is so obvious, it’s, like, weirdly easy to overlook.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm.


Jason Concepcion Viserys is back in his chambers, of course, having lunch with Alicent. They’re talking about a potential wedding. How important it would be for the realm for the king to remarry. They discuss Leana. Alicent is like, Oh, yeah, good match. She’s great. I’m sure that would be awesome. You know, Alicent then gives the king a gift. And then beautiful a box, which is the the dragon figurine, which the king dropped. The stonemasons fixed it. Then the king is absolutely touched at the thought of this. And this is one of those moments where you realize that the king is, there’s not a lot of moments in the king’s life where somebody is just doing something nice for him.


Rosie Knight And then weird, wildest thing is this is obviously like a kingdom changing moment, like a world changing moment. But I do truly believe that Alicent did it because she actually thought it would be a nice thing to do for the king. And that’s that unbelievable balance that they strike. Yeah, this could be incredibly Machiavellian and puts him on your side. But I do also truly believe she just thought that would be something that would make him really happy.


Jason Concepcion That’s the thing about Alicent, this show version of Alicent and what Emily Carey is bringing to it. She is put into a terrible position. But she is a pleaser. She wants people. She’s a giver. She’s very, very generous. And you have to wonder, at what point does she say to herself, I’ve given enough. Now is time for me to be selfish, that when that happens, it’s going to be probably very devastating for the realm. They just knock on the door and it is Otto, Alicent’s dad. He says there’s an emergency. A dragon keeper comes in, he speaks in high Valyrian. He reports that a thief broke into the Dragon Pit and stole an egg and it was Prince Daemon. He left a note which says basically that, hey, I’m getting married to a second wife in the tradition of old Valyria and I need a dragon egg because my unborn child is going to be a dragon rider. And P.S., my second wife is the Lady Mysaria from Lys. And everybody is like, who the fuck is this? And Otto was like, That’s his whore. The egg, P.S., was the very same one previously earmarked for a young Prince Baelon, may he rest in peace.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And this is obviously absolutely infuriating to Rhaenyra and to the king.


Rosie Knight I love this as well because like the king doesn’t think to ask. It’s Rhaenyra who speaks in high Valyrian and asked the dragon keeper.


Jason Concepcion That’s a great point.


Rosie Knight And she knows in that moment she she can already tell, but she knows that’s the way to get her dad to take this seriously. He is not taking Prince Daemon seriously, but if it’s about slighting her brother, it’s going to be a problem. And it’s it’s a slight to Rhaenyra, who I have to say, her reaction to this is not one that she is trying to manifest some kind of response from her dad. She knows he needs to take it seriously, but she is so furious.


Jason Concepcion She’s furious. Absolutely fucking furious.


Rosie Knight She loves her dead brother. Like it is not, is it so well done because she feels that losses keenly as the king. But nobody cares that she feels it. But it’s what drives it. That’s one of my favorite moments from the episode when she starts speaking high Valyrian and the Dragon keeper’s like, What the fuck? And then, oh, it was Dream Fire. Sorry.


Jason Concepcion The note closes with Prince Daemon cheekily inviting his his brother to the wedding, which is in two days Otto and Lionel Strong, Master of Law’s Lionel Strong are like, This is sedition. You can’t let this stand. The king is like, ahh, he’s just trolling me. He just wants attention, which is true. But that doesn’t mean that you can let this stand. But then when he realizes, Oh, wait, that was Baelon’s egg, now he is like, I give me a dragon. I’m, you know, I don’t have a dragon. I’m going, I’m going to do it. And Otto is like, Oh, you can’t even sit on a chair without cutting yourself. Yeah.


Rosie Knight If you sit on that dragon, you’re getting a crisp. It’s not happening for you.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, no, no, no. You stay here. I will go. So, Otto gears up in what you have to imagine potentially is a suicide mission. I’m sure he knows this. Like Daemon as a dragon.


Rosie Knight It feels like it feels like he’s when he’s getting ready for it, feels like he knows he’s either going to die or he’s going to come back and all of his plans will have been worth it. Like, it’s.


Jason Concepcion Like either way.


Rosie Knight Gambit way, where it’s like you either lose everything, including your life or you like win everything, but your life is immediately shortened.


Jason Concepcion I think he thinks either way. If I live, I come back, I’m a hero. Right? And the better for me and and my designs to place Alicent on the throne. If I die, the King understands the threat that his brother poses and he’s going to see and I need the realm needs to be as stable as possible. I need to marry Alicent.


Rosie Knight Because of the sacrifice that Otto gave. Either way, it works.


Jason Concepcion Cast aside Rhaenyra and then have a male child and blah blah blah blah blah. Yeah, I think that Otto is just taking a gamble here that this is going to work out either way.  Alicent is helping her dad get into his armor. She’s clearly worried about a lot, a lot of things. Here again, we see the image of her nails, kind of picked at. And Otto’s like why do you do this to yourself? You’re so beautiful. P.S. get dressed real nice again to go see the king. You’re going to see the king. And Alicent very coldly says, like, if I guess if you want me to, you know, and then turns away. Otto then heads off with a force, including the rookie Kingsguard member, Sir Criston Cole, Rookie of the Year nominee. Certainly we’re going to see him hoisting that Rookie of the Year trophy at the end of the season, I think. And then Sir Harold Westerling, who has, you know, been through the worst.


Rosie Knight Also like I feel like Otto, those two choices are a great hint at how much Otto underestimates Rhaenyra and the loyalty that people have to her almost immediately. It’s I really.


Jason Concepcion He underrate the net. He underestimates his daughter.


Rosie Knight Yes, he does.


Jason Concepcion He understandably underestimates his daughter as well. On Dragonstone, you know, we’re on that long winding bridge from the main gate up to the castle itself. There, the delegation from King’s Landing meets Prince Daemon. He’s holding the egg like it’s a football. Lady Mysaria is at his side. Otto wants Daemon out of Dragonstone wants the egg back in royal hands. Daemon is like no, I’m not going to do it.


Rosie Knight Daemon does not care about that egg. Like, I love how.


Jason Concepcion He’s holding it very sloppy.


Rosie Knight And he brings it out. It’s like you could have kept that in Dragonstone, nobody’s getting in. But he wants.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight That’s what it says so much about him. He’s not even in that much of the episode. And you just learn his, his cockiness.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight It’s just his, his lack of care is just out there. He just wants to troll everyone and is just wants to fuck everyone off.


Jason Concepcion Swords come out.  Caraxes, the blood worm. Daemon’s dragon feeling the tension in the air Feeling probably the bond that he has with his master. Climbs up on a rock outcropping overlooking this scene. And we can sense that it’s about to get real. And then there’s the sound of another dragon somewhere in the fog. And here it comes, this dragon flying out of the low clouds. And it’s Rhaenyra on her dragpn.


Rosie Knight Yeah baby.


Jason Concepcion Syrax. The princess is fuckin clad in the awesome action action style Targaryen in black armor, yet very reminiscent of what we saw Denaerys using towards the end of the Game of Thrones.


Rosie Knight This is one of the most badass moments in it, to be honest, even to me. Like there’s so many great moments in the original Game of Thrones. But this gave me that chill when you realize it’s her. It’s like she went against her dad, she went against Otto. And not just that, but she comes in with a mindset that even Denaerys, at her strongest, struggled with. She’s there for a reason. But it’s not the Targaryen reason.


Jason Concepcion It’s such a good point. And many people have asked, what is that bolt that is visible like on the side of Caraxes neck and Syrax’s neck. You know, dragon plates, that their their plate armor is really, really thick. So it would not be a big deal. You know, much like, you know, nailing a horse shoe onto a horse’s hoof to like drill into partway into a dragon scale and mount something there so you could put a saddle and reins on a dragon’s back. So that’s just what that is. Otto wants Sir Harold to escort the princess, obviously. What are you doing? You should be here. Get out of here. And Rhaenyra is like, yeah, go ahead and touch me and see what my dragon does. That’ll be interesting to see. When nobody touches. Rhaenyra then lays into Daemon in high Valyrian she’s like, I’m the heir. You’re in my fucking castle. He’s like, Yeah, but not until you’re 16, 17. And she’s like, Okay, but what are you playing at? Why are you taking a second wife without the king’s leave? Why did you steal my baby brother’s dragon egg? And Daemon is like, Oh, I didn’t get to choose my first wife and my and my future baby needs a new pair of dragon shoes. And she’s like, You’re having a baby and it’s very clear at that point that this was a bluff because he’s like, Oh. Yeah, I want to try, one day in the future, you know, like at some point. Mysaria realizing that she’s been used as a pawn in whatever scheme this is, just kind of like, you know, stalks off. And then Rhaenyra basically calls Daemon’s bluff like, listen, if you want to be the heir, if you want to be king of Westeros, I’m right here. Kill me. Do it. Do it. You’ve got the egg. I’m here. Do it. And Daemon chickens out throws the egg over to Rhaenyra. And Rhaenyra is triumphant, which is a gigantic win for the Crown Princess. Otto, of course, does not seem happy that this happened.


Rosie Knight I wonder why?


Jason Concepcion Yeah and the princess flies back to King’s Landing. In the castle of Dragonstone, Daemon and Mysaria have a big old fight. We learn that Mysaria is probably French. I don’t know. And Ed, she’s like, Wait a second. You say we were going to have kids and that I was with child. And what you I told you back in France that I don’t want to have kids. And Daemon is like, Oh yeah, good because children can be such a bother. And honestly, misery is right to be pissed because. Daemon, with this kind of faultless kind of troll job of his brother, has put her in tremendous danger, tremendous danger. And we learn a little bit about his past as a courtesan, which was a time of, of course, extreme vulnerability for her, during which she had no agency in her life. And we learned that Mysaria in this relationship with Daemon for the security of it, for the ability to make her own choices. And in that, Daemon is not delivering. He is not living up to his side of what she thought the bargain was. Later, and this is an important scene, right? Because. We heard Rhaenys say the king is no fool. But it’s been you’ve been kind of wondering, like, is the king a fool? Because, like, Otto’s making all these moves, the king doesn’t see it. Here we see the king alone with Lionel Strong, asking Strong for an opinion. And this is the first kind of suggestion to us that actually Viserys is not he’s not a stupid man. He understands that Otto has angles and now he’s like, I need to I need to get a second opinion because potentially Otto is playing me. And so he asks, you know, What do you think I should do about Corlys? This guy seems really jealous of me, and Lord Strong is like, Yeah, I think that’s true. You know, like he’s, you know, again, is a ship’s captain and one of the most famous seafarers in the land. He’s not going to take kindly to looking up at someone. And what about the Leana marriage deal? You know, she’s so young, she’s still like listening to K-Pop and stuff. And Strong is like, I think it’s a good deal. She’ll mature. And listen, you got to marry. And if you reject Corlys, he will be very, very angry. Not to mention the fact that we are heading towards war at sea. And his ships make up the bulk of the royal fleet. So, like, let’s make nice with House Veleryon right now? You want them as an ally, you don’t want them as a foe. And he says you just you should just marry Leana. Don’t you know she’ll get older? And then just at that moment, the news of Rhaenyra’s triumph on Dragonstone reaches the king. Rhaenyra goes to see her dad, and he is angry that she disobeyed him, that she went to Dragonstone without his leave, and but it’s also clear like he’s as a father was scared that he was going to lose.


Rosie Knight And that’s where the anger really comes from. That’s something I think that says a lot about the man that he is. He.


Jason Concepcion I agree.


Rosie Knight Often like seems to get a bit annoyed if she like talks up too much in a meeting though surely the reason that she is is cup bearer so she can learn that stuff, right? But what he really gets upset about and kind of is to a fault sometimes with I’m sure will end up being to a fault with their relationship is like he he worries too much about her because she is the only surviving member of his family. And that is where a lot of his anger and frustration and control comes from. But again, just like Otto, he underestimates Rhaenyra in a different way.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely. And honestly like, that mentorship, it’s a good thought to have her in small council meetings, but, you know, having these kind of conversations with her is how this should be playing out. But, of course, what we’re seeing is the Targaryens one of the most dysfunctional, toxic families of all time. And you can’t talk to each other. Yeah. Rhaenyra’s like, why is everybody so upset? I got the egg. Nobody died. Mm. This is all.


Rosie Knight She saved Otto’s life, arguably. And the whole company like.


Jason Concepcion Otto, Sir Criston Cole, Sir Harold Westerling, other members of the King’s Guard, the other 20 or so really, really experienced and skilled fighters from Otto’s own household. I saved everybody’s life. Probably Daemon’s as well. Yeah, I did a great job. And then they bond over the loss of Queen Aemma, and the King apologizes for his lack of attention and care during this time. And they agree. They both agree. They come to an understanding, a really touching one in this moment where the King and Rhaenyra both agree that the king can’t stay single. He needs to take a new wife. And the king underlines, Hey whatever happens, you are my heir. I chose you. That’s not going to change. I’m doubling down on that. Tripling down. Whoever asks. I’m saying here is my heir. That’s you. Don’t worry about it.


Rosie Knight And he that is that is not only in this show, but across. He does mean it. And even in the book.


He means it.


Rosie Knight He does mean it. Like even in the history of Westeros, things do not always go the way you mean and things change. But especially in that moment he does. He is finally come to the realization of that, this unbelievable triumph, like one of the most badass Targaryen moments ever that will not be in the history books. You know, he’s realized that this is a a rightful heir. And it’s I think as a chance he.


Jason Concepcion He absolutely means it.


Rosie Knight It’s a chance to make up to Rhaenyra as well, even though she wouldn’t see it that way. I feel like there’s such a way in what he’s saying. He’s not trying to hand her off like he truly believes she’s going to be the heir. But also he’s making some decisions.


Jason Concepcion He’s made some poor decisions, I think. The king has come to a decision about who he will wed. The next day in the small council chambers, we’re having that meeting. All the members of the small council are there. Alicent Hightower is there for reasons that nobody seems to know and seems.


Rosie Knight No one seems to question it.


Jason Concepcion And the king says, Hey. I’ve got announcements to make everybody. I’m going to get married. Corlys leans forward and, like, rubs his hands together, like, Oh yeah.


Rosie Knight Viserys looks at Rhaenyra before he says it, and she gives him, like, an encouraging nod because.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, like, go ahead. So let’s, it’s okay.


Rosie Knight They haven’t really played on here I think because of the age difference. But like in the books she is, she becomes close to Leana. Like there is like there’s like a companionship there too. So, like, there’s so much in that glance. And she gives in the nod, she’s like, Yeah, I trust you. This is what you have to do. But *musical noises*


Jason Concepcion And the king says, So I am going to marry *musical noises* Alicent Hightower. And Corlys just is like this is it. This is an absurdity. He stocks off. Followed by Rhaenyra. Who’s like, Are you fucking serious, dad?


Rosie Knight She’s like, got the one single tear.


Jason Concepcion Mt friend from high school, what?


Rosie Knight She is looking. She is looking at Alicent horribly. They’re doing like a Star Wars style. Everyone’s looking at each other, shot like Alicent’s looking at Rhaenyra, Rhaenyra’s looking at Alicent. And Rhaenyra is like just the acting in that moment. Like, so quiet fury. And the worst thing is about it, like you said, look, she was never going to be happy about that, especially because they’re leaning into this potential that there was or has been some kind of romantic feeling between her and Alicent. But they were just by themselves privately bonding. He could have just bonded in that moment and been like, Look, I know you’re not going to be happy, but this is someone that you love. This is someone that means something to both of us. And I want to take her as a Wife, and you could done anything, but taking that into that room and then shaming her in front of everyone else.


Jason Concepcion Not to mention, for Rhaenyra and Alicent and her were just in the Sept bearing their stories and playing together. No hint of this. So Rhaenyra is has got to be extremely hurt and confused on multiple levels about her relationship with her father, about the quality of her friendship with the person who she thought was her best friend. On and on and on. Not to mention what this means for her future as the Queen who is supposed to rule this kingdom. Sir Harold also storms out. It’s funny. You know that Sir Harold went right to the fucking to the White Tower, like he went right to the King’s Guard barracks and was like, Oh my God, you guys are not going to believe what just happened.


Rosie Knight This fucking guy.


Jason Concepcion You guys are not going to believe what just happened in the small council.


Rosie Knight The funniest shit as well as they did such a good job on this show. Like we see Harold and Rhaenyra together, like in really one scene interacting, which is the first episode. But they do such a good job of just establishing like he really cares about her. He doesn’t want her to die. Yeah, he doesn’t want his head on a spike, but he actually thinks Rhaenyra is a good person who he cares about. And it’s like the that the way that Viserys is just like decimated all goodwill in that room. And it’s like now you have like your cool daughter heir, who just showed her fucking strength that you have never showed on her dragon in front of your whole company and your brother’s dodgy, like break off Golden Cloaks Company and you’re going to just do that. It’s like you’re just asking for really bad trouble, and then you’re going to get it. You’re going to get it.


Jason Concepcion And you’re going to you’re going to get it. Later, later on Driftmark, Lord Corlys is having a secret meeting with who? Daemon Targaryen. And he is talking about how House Velaryon, we were never dragonriders so in old Valyria, the ruling class were all dragonriders that was there was no like king of Valyria. Valyria was ruled by the dragon riding nobility, right? And which was often a very chaotic and violent system. But that was who ruled so House Velaryon, while they can trace their lineage to old Valyria, they were more like a working class type family who were not going to be able to call the shots in all this area, which is probably why they set sail and moved out to Driftmark, you know, centuries before the Targaryens have arrived in the neighborhood. And he basically says, hey, we’re the richest house in Westeros right now. And that is the case because of me, because I sailed all around this fucking world and sweat and fucking you know, sailed through.Storms to build this house into what it was. And we don’t get the respect that we deserve. And you’re like me. You don’t get the respect that you deserve either. So here’s my proposal. In order for both of us to get the respect we deserve, you and I will go to the Step Stones. We will take the Crab Feeder on ourselves. We will put the little bibs on. We will get the hammer down, and we will crack him and we will stymie the Triarchy. We will show our strength where the king has been weak. We will be strong. And and by the way, I’ll admit this to you. I had I didn’t say anything previously. It was all council chamber. The Step Stones are vital to Driftmark’s economy. Okay, so he hit me in the pocketbook also. So what do you say? And Daemon is like, just don’t be insulting about my brother. I can say shit like that, but you can’t. You can’t call him weak. I can call in weak. He’s weak. You can’t say it. But also, I like your plan. Let’s do it. And we’re on to episode three. Really great episode of House of the Dragon.


Rosie Knight Yeah. I really. I feel like there is something so interesting to me about the intentional nature of character building on this show. Yeah, there’s so many. I know that there’s always been a lot of politics in Game of Thrones. It’s part of what’s so enjoyable about it. But this feels so character focused and it has so far been pretty set on a smaller group of characters, so we get to know them a lot. Without having to jump around though, we can see that’s going to kind of expand out after this episode. But yeah, and I mean, I just love the Alicent, Rhaenyra stuff so much and I’m very interested to see how that plays out. And I kind of we are going to do a very good job of not getting into spoilers by talking about what happens in the books, because that does count as a spoiler when they’re taking so heavily.


Jason Concepcion This is this is already significantly like like the the kind of outline of what happens is in the books, but there is a significant amount of content I think the show is providing that changes it completely.


Rosie Knight So much context and so much character building that you would never get in any history book. So it actually makes a lot of sense. But like the tragedy of kind of the Rhaenyra Alicent stuff is so. Is at. There’s so much more weight added to it. And then like getting these moments.


Jason Concepcion Yes, absolutely.


Rosie Knight They got a great moment between Daemon and Rhaenyra in the first episode and we got that really brilliant one in the second. And if you kind of know that trajectory, trajectory, it seems kind of mind blowing to imagine how we’ll even get there. And I think that’s the funnest thing of this show, is taking something where you already know the fates potentially of the characters that you’re watching, but somehow still making it really engaging television where you don’t know the exact path it’s going to go. Yeah, I thought this was I thought this was really great. And any more and more Alicent Rhaenyra so this is probably actually top the first episode for me.


Jason Concepcion Same here. And you know, the other thing that I think is kind of. It’s something that’s glossed over, I think, in the show is that and, you know, Corlys kind of touches on it with the second son’s speech. Like House Velaryon has been integral to the success of House Targaryen. Aegon Targaryen’s mom was a Valeryon, a half Targaryen Valeryon, Alissa Valeryron, Aegon’s mom also named Allisa. There were two Alissa Valeryons. Alissa Valeryon gave birth to King Jahaerys and Queen Alison, as well as the current Lord of Storms End. And like the Valeryons have been a vital and vitally intertwined with the fate of House Targaryen. And I think Corlys here is feeling like, Hey, we’ve been part we’ve helped build this.


Rosie Knight Yep.


Jason Concepcion And we’re not we’re not getting the kind of respect in terms of, you know, having a say in the way this is all run that we should considering how important we’ve been and contrast that with Otto, who I think, is coming it from a different way. Otto, I think, is probably very aware of how important the Valeryons are to the realm, and he’s thinking, Gosh, the Hightowers are kind of vulnerable. We don’t have them. We don’t have that close connection to the king. So Alicent is that. Alicent is our chance at an Alissa Valeryon type figure that can build a bridge towards future power in the realm.


Rosie Knight I think that’s actually such a brilliant point because it also I love how it kind of showcases the two routes to power in Game of Thrones, which is like this very intimate, personal power play that comes from matchmaking. And then the wider, broader, like we did everything to bring you up to power. Why is this not being recognized as those of those are the kind of two ways and I think it’s it’s really it’s really interesting. I’m and I, I think Corlys is like a very interesting and currently, like, you know, apart from trying to marry off his child daughter which is terrible but but his other.


Jason Concepcion Very and doing it with with a plom.


Rosie Knight Just like a plom. He’s like committed, right. Let’s let’s leave the child brides out of it because there’s many of them in this season, but like his other issues were that are like really legit. So it’s like it’s really quite, it’s a really interesting space to kind of be in, which is seeing the political truth of what he’s saying, but like absolutely hating the route that he’s trying to go to make it happen for himself and his family.


Jason Concepcion Well, there’s more House of the Dragon talk next in Ask the Maester.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>


Jason Concepcion And to celebrate, we’re back in the Citadel to answer your questions.


Rosie Knight Okay, first question. Amanda asks, Like so many others, I have a ton of questions about the Song of Ice and Fire prophecy. I’m not clear on how it was passed down when the Iron Throne wasn’t following a smooth line of succession. Do you think it made its way to Rhaegar or do you think it was lost beforehand?


Jason Concepcion I do think it made its way to Rhaegar. We discussed this a little bit last episode, and there’s different, you know, bottlenecks and potential places where maybe this information could have got lost. So the rule of Bail on the Blessed is is certainly one of those. I want to shout out listener Sam F, who sent a really detailed email mapping out how he thinks this information would have been passed all the way to Rhaegar. And I do think whatever path it took, one thing we know from the books is that Rhaegar for a time became obsessed, not even for a time. Towards the end of his, you know, too short life, became obsessed with the prince that was promised prophecy. He thought it was him for a little while. Then he thought that it would be his child. And of course, there are the events with him and Lyanna Stark, which everyone thought was a kidnaping and a sexual assault, but really was a kind of eloping these two noble people, like running away together and being in love with each other. And of course, House Targaryen Fire. House Stark. Ice. The Song of Ice and Fire. You could see where Rhaegar was coming from. What we don’t know in the books is, even though it’s discussed, you know, the prince that was promised prophecy and it’s discussed that Rhaegar thought this could have been him. And they talk about, you know, born of salt and smoke and all these things. We don’t know where this idea originated. And what I think the prophecy in House of the Dragon tells the Aegon prophecy the way it’s displayed in House of the Dragon. I think that this potentially gives us where Rhaegar got the idea because we’re never given a book or a scroll or some way that Rhaegar came to this information. What if this information was literally family lore that was passed down, passed down, passed down. And that’s why he believes in it so strongly, because it’s never really explained why other than, you know, royalty has a very high regard for itself. Right. And his family did ride dragons at one time. Why? He would think, actually, that’s me or my son, that messianic figure. Now, it makes more sense, right. Why he would why he would run away with Leana, the kind of actions that he took. I think it did get to Rhaegar, and I think it explains a lot of the things that happened towards the end of his life.


Rosie Knight Jen asks. We were introduced to the Dragon Pit in the first episode. When we see Syrax return inside after that ride. We see Daemon with his mount, who is much larger later. Two questions Can we assume Syrax is smaller because they were born and raised in the Dragon Pit? Did Caraxes also spend their life prior to exile in the Dragon Pit?


Jason Concepcion Caraxes probably spent a significant amount of time in the Dragon Pit. This is somewhat conjecture, but I think we can assume that because they were locked up and this is talked about, this is in this is in the books a little bit when Danny’s Dragons are being held, you know, underneath the pyramids there that I think we can assume that the fact that they are kept stabled indoors for a period of time does cause them to be smaller. That said, the dragons are pretty big right now. And certainly Vhagar, who is wild, we can assume, is huge, although we haven’t seen them yet. All of which is to say I, I think though it’s never spelled out. I do think we can safely assume that housing dragons indoors stifles their growth potential in some way.


Rosie Knight Yeah. Erica asks during the field scene of episode one, the Lords all swear by the old gods in the new. However, in Game of Thrones, it seemed like people that worshiped the old gods were strange or old fashioned. Kat Stark made it a point to say she worshiped them, and it seemed like it was a point of pride, but also unique. But in this older world, it is apparently common. Can you explain the difference? And when the old gods went out of style like low rise jeans. Thank you.


Jason Concepcion I think, unfortunately low rise jeans are back. The nineties are back, though that said, the early 2000, I’d say are back. But I think you’re right, Erica, that the old gods, particularly in the south of Westeros, are seen as a more peculiar custom. And this is because of the ethnic makeup of Westeros, particularly south of the south of the north. The first men were the first human inhabitants of the continent, and they worship the old gods. This, by the way. So that’s like also shortening many centuries of warfare between them and the elder races, the children of the forest who originally worshiped the old gods, the first men cut down the trees, and then they went to war with the children in the forest. But then they came to an accord and the first men took up the religion of the the old gods for their own. So the first men worshiped the old gods. And then sometime many centuries ago, a group called the Andals, who are an ethnic group who come from Essos, north of where the free city of Pentos is now. These hills over there are called Andalos. They began migrating to Westeros, probably to escape the growing threat of the Valeryron Empire, who were a slave holding economy. Like if the Valyrian Empire were very aggressive in expanding and if they expanded into your territory, you had a great chance of ending up in chains, working in some fucking slave pit somewhere. And so many, many cities and groups were just like, Let’s get out of here. And the Andals were one of those groups. They weren’t like a unified group. It was like many, many tribes of and all ethnicities. And they brought with them iron weapons, better armor than what the first men had. And they brought their religion, which is the Faith of the Seven. And that began a long and and very violent process by which the kingdoms of the first men were overthrown and replaced by Andal kingdoms. Now, there were some notable first men, kings, who bent the knee, you know, they held out long enough and they were strong enough and they bent the knee and they are still around. You know, House Royce in the Vale is one of these House Strong from the Riverlands is one of these. And the Andal invaders never managed to get a foothold in the North. They could never get past the neck. And so in the north the blood of the first men remains essentially pure. And the old gods are the dominant religion there. They are worshiped everywhere. Generally, we should assume that the first men families in the South who survived converted to the Faith of the Seven, but probably not in every case. Right. And probably they maintained that respect for their history and that included a respect for the old gods. And certainly we can we can assume by the fact that the heart trees are still up in King’s Landing and elsewhere in other castles. They’re still there. They’re not cut down, as you know, that kind of embodiment of the worship of the old gods, that tells us that even though the Faith of the Seven is dominant, and the Andal culture is dominant north, it is dominant south of the neck. There is a respect for that religion, even though the dominant culture thinks of it as like strange or old fashioned.


Rosie Knight Havi asks, speaking of which, Corlys made specific mention of second sons to Daemon at the conclusion of Episode two. Do either of them have ties to the actual Second Sons from Game of Thrones?


Jason Concepcion This is a good question and maybe a little confusing, I think, for folks. So I’m glad you asked this. Corlys’ is making a reference to the fact that second sons in Westerosi society, this feudal society, are are in a subordinate position to the eldest male child, and therefore they don’t inherit anything firstborn sons or the heirs. Think back to Game of Thrones. Right. Robb Stark would have been Lord of Winterfell and leader of the North, leader of the entire North. Had things gone the way they should have, Bran would have got like a nice fortress somewhere and probably would have been an important advisor to his brother Rob. But you know, but you can see that the difference between those things like ruling the entire north or having a nice castle and being your brother’s like advisor, that’s that’s a wide gap, right? Similarly, Brandon Stark, Rikard, Stark’s eldest, was heir to Winterfell, but then the Mad King burned Brandon and Rikard. And so Ned Stark ascended to Lord of Winterfell. And as we heard him kind of talk about in Game of Thrones and he’s talks about in the books, it was never in the plans that was it was very unexpected that he he thought he was going to go away to war and and maybe die. And before that, he never even imagined that he would be Lord of Winterfell. So it was a surprise to him. So basically what Corlys is saying here, since Daemon is the younger brother of the king is, hey, you and me, we weren’t handed anything. We live in fucking castles, right? And we are in nobility but we were never handed anything. We had to work for everything we had. And so that, you know, that gives us an edge over these, like, soft eldest sons who are just handed stuff. And the same kind of holds for the second sons, the mercenary group. Their name, obviously, is a reference to the fact that a lot of the notable figures who made up that group were second sons from Westeros who weren’t going to inherit anything and therefore had to go and seek their fame and fortune elsewhere and joined the mercenary group.


Rosie Knight Alex asks, It seems like kings all hate their jobs or are they all psychopaths? Did any of them have a good work life balance?


Jason Concepcion It’s basically, no. I mean, old King Jahaerys had a very, very long and mostly peaceful reign. There were some, you know, issues in the Narrow Sea with pirates and corsairs and things like that. But no large scale wars. And yet he was always dealing with, like his kids either being wild to the point of being, you know, kind of embarrassing slash detriments to his reign. This is mostly his daughters who were just like, you know, Paris Hilton, wild princesses doing whatever they want in a way that was like not dignified or thought of as dignified by a Westerosi society, which is also obviously very male, hierarchical and not akin, not so, you know, focused on female freedom. So that was their actions were seen as kind of embarrassing to the king. And the king took a lot of heat, a lot of heartache about that. And then also his heirs kept dying in flukey ways sometimes. So even even what was probably the best king, best Targaryen king of Westeros and certainly who had the most peaceful reign, he was tremendously unhappy, particularly towards the end of his life when he was very, very lonely. So the answer is no. Heavy is the head that wears a crown. Somebody wrote that one time and that’s true.


Rosie Knight Very true. Zabi asks. This is more of an episode one question, but what’s with talking about the TRhoynar and especially their inclusion in the title scene when naming Rhaenyra on episode one because in Game of Thrones they would never name them and just mentioned the Andals and the First Men.


Jason Concepcion And I, I think they must have mentioned the Rhoynar in Game of Thrones at times, but maybe we missed it. That said, the Rhoynar are again another ethnic group from Essos actually all humans in Westeros came from Essos, the First Men too, migrated over across the arm of Dorne, which is now the Step Stones because the children of the forest used magic to break it. To stop the first men from coming over. Basically, all humans in Westeros came from Essos and the Rhoynar are another one of these migrations. They came from the banks of the river Rhoyne in Essos, where there were a bunch of free city states that got into a series of really, really brutal wars against the expanding Valyrian empire. Once again, the Rhoynar had this really cool, like river water magic that they used against the Dragon Lords and their fire magic. So that must have been really, really, like, amazing to watch. I would love if they ever depicted that on the screen. And though the Rhoynar are fought really well and won some really important battles against the Valyrians. The Valyrians like co-operated they they fought as a united front, whereas the Rhoynar city states kind of fought pell mell, they never banded together. And so they were picked off one by one in what was basically the final battle. The Valyrians used like hundreds of dragons to brutally crush the Rhoynar resistance.  Though, as a kind of doomsday scenario, after the Valyrians won, The Rhoynar used the river magic to cause the river to flood. And then a big fog came down and the fog was filled with like grayscale, and the Valyrians began to die of grayscale in great numbers. That said, having heard of this brutal defeat, Princess Nymeria of one of the city states of called Nissar was like, okay, we can’t fight them. Let’s get out of here. So she gathered every ship she could find 10,000 ships. The legend say. Who knows if that’s right? And she took all her people to sea. And the journey from the Rhoyne was, you know, across the world was extremely arduous. It’s very, very dangerous. Many ships were lost. They encountered pirates. They encountered storms. They encountered fierce Corsair kingdoms, endemic diseases, deadly parasites, religious cults and more. And eventually, after several years of this, the remainder of the fleet, because some left and some stayed in different areas, there are some, like communities on the Step Stones that say, hey, we are descended from, you know, a ship that left Nymeria’s fleet and decided to stay here so that the fleet that remained under Nymeria was, by that time, 80% women. And many of those were warriors in the Rhoynar Tradition. They landed in Dorne near the mouth of the river Greenblood. Nymeria then made an alliance with House Martell marrying their Lord Moors Martell. Moors was at that time locked in a battle for supremacy and Dorne with the other noble houses of Dorne. And he looked at the Rhoynar and said they know how to work metal. They have really great skills at leather working. They are fierce warriors and they know poisons and stuff like that. And because the place they landed was the home of the sandy Dornish, the more desert area of Dorne. The fact that they have this water magic, I’m sure, was like a big deal like that was going to that was really important to so Nymeria and Moors married and as a signal to her people that this was it. They were home, they were not going anywhere else, Nymeria burnt all the ships. Alicent and Rhaenyra are talking about this in episode one, in that in the gods, what they’re reading, you know that that history book about this event. Then Moors and Nymeria went to war and basically conquered Dorne. So Dornish Customs are heavily, heavily influenced by Rhoynar customs, most notably, the equality of the sexes. This comes directly from the Rhoynar. In Dorne, the eldest child, regardless of sex, inherits, which is a big, big difference, obviously, from the rest of Westeros. And that’s a direct result of the influence of the Rhoynar. So including the Rhoynar in the list of titles, it’s interesting, right, because Dorne is not part of the realm. This is more of a statement of intent, right. Than a statement of reality. This is the Targaryen saying, hey, one of these days we’re going to conquer Dorne. It just hasn’t happened yet.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I want to also just shout out Ian, who basically asked like a similar question. So I think that was a really good thorough answer to something that I think quite a lot of people were like. Rhoynar, I was like, This is an interesting choice. So I like. Statement of intent rather than a truth. Chang asks a question that I definitely have been wondering myself. Why is Viserys so concerned about provoking the Free Cities by taking out the Crab Guy that that presumably funding. But the Free Cities aren’t worried about provoking the throne by funding the Crab Guy in the first place. Do the Free Cities want a war or do they just know that Viserys will avoid one? So they’re taking full advantage of that situation?


Jason Concepcion Yeah, that’s a good question. I would assume, first of all, that the Free Cities have some pretty good intelligence about the kind of king that Viserys is. So I think that they’re doing this in a very purposeful way. Now, the Free Cities have mostly been kind of warring against each other over the years, and the free cities are not like Westerosi society, this kind of feudal society. They’re more like the way Valyria used to be, in which it’s a more mercantile, like, market based capitalist economy in which all the rich people rule. And they’re also like a slave holding society. Whereas Westeros, slave holding has been outlawed for a while, except the Iron Islanders still do it in their weird ways anyway. So. Recently in terms of the events of our show, like 15 years before the opening of our show, the Free Cities of Lys, Myr and Tyrosh, banded together to take on the powerful Free City of Velantys  for control of the so-called disputed lands, which is basically an area that’s like, right. If you walked across the Step Stones to Essos, you’d come to the disputed lands just north of there. That’s right there. So the Triarchy won, they beat Velantys and they are clearly like feeling themselves right now and have decided to move into the Step Stones. And as we’ve been saying this Dorne is not part of the realm at this point. And the Step Stones are right across from Dorne. So you can see how potentially, certainly if I’m a member of the small council, I’m worried about an alliance between the Triarchy and Dorne. I’m worried that that is either happening right now or that it could happen. I don’t think the Triarchy’s looking for war right now. I think what they’re doing is kind of like moving into a gray area. The Step Stones are basically, you know, they’re part of Westeros, but they’re also a place where, like the the laws of King’s Landing don’t really reach there, as evidenced by the fact that there’s intense pirate activity there. So I think the Triarchy is kind of like toeing up to the line to try and grab some land and maybe provoke a the the ruling regime of Westeros into making a mistake, maybe. But I also think listen, I think that they know who they’re dealing with. I think that they perceive Viserys as weak. And I think this is why they are doing this.


Rosie Knight Matt asks, Where is Aegon’s painted table? I thought that it was put into the main room of Dragonstone before the conquering. But in the scene with Daemon and Mysaria. That room was empty, except for that small table.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Dragonstone is a huge castle. I think Daemon and Mysaria were just in another room and not in the not in the painted table room. The Painted Table room is is, we should assume, still up since we see it in Game of Thrones and it’s still up. And of course, if you’re a Targaryen, you’re not going to touch that thing. It would be such a statement piece to have that you’re not going to move there. So I think they’re just in some other room.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s an interesting kind of statement potentially on like how comfortable Daemon feels there. Like he’s kind of sequestered away. This is a big question from Baloo, but I believe that you can do a good potted history version. How did Dragon Eggs work?


Jason Concepcion It’s a good question here is that funnily enough, I don’t think the Targaryens actually really know either. I think there’s a significant amount of magic at work here. But basically what the TARGARYENS would do is when a prince or princess was born and it was in its infancy, they would take a dragon egg and put it in the cradle. And if that egg hatched, the child would form a bond with that dragon, and that would be their dragon. That would be seen as a really, really good sign that this, you know, Targaryen prince or princess is a real Targaryen made of the same stuff of Aegon the Conqueror and could potentially rule. And it’s seen as a kind of like a mark against a Targaryen during this time. If you don’t bond with the dragon like Maegor the Cruel notably didn’t bond with the dragon for a little while. And people thought it was thought it was strange in terms of like how they work. It later on after the dragons die out, there are attempts by the Targaryen leadership to try and get these dragon eggs to hatch again, and they can’t do it. So I think that what is going on here is some sort of magic that they have not quite figured out. They put the egg in the cradle and that works. But in terms of do they know why it works, I don’t think they know why it works. And I don’t think anybody necessarily knows why not why it works either.


Rosie Knight It’s almost like they take it for granted and then that comes back to bite them when the dragons die off and they don’t know how to do it again.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Kirk is coming in with the the big final question for this week’s Ask the Maester. Very good question. I feel like he’s really question like everyone in Westeros and the wider world is asking this question, does no one clean the Iron Throne?


Jason Concepcion I don’t you know when I when I interviewed Patty for a for the official has the during a podcast I said like why don’t they throw some pillows on that thing?


Rosie Knight A cushion, no velvet cushion.


Jason Concepcion And he said something that is. You know, honestly, like. Absolutely right. And I think it’s and it’s what Aegon was kind of going for anyway, which is the seat should not be comfortable to sit on. Right. That’s how they view it. It should have these sharp edges. You should be on edge sitting there, you know, and be pointedly aware of the power and the danger all around you. That said, I think there’s also a significant amount of like. Obviously they don’t understand about infectious disease bacteria, one. Right. They don’t. They just don’t understand about it and they view as we have said, any kind of like cuts that a person would get from the thrown as some kind of sign that, you know, that that this person maybe is being rejected by the throne and therefore does not have the authority to rule. And also, I think there’s also like a little bit of magical weirdness going on, like Maegor the Cruel, I think, as we said, they felt when after six years. Six months. And what was it like? I think it was like six months and six weeks of a reign. Six, six, six. They found him dead on the throne with the blades of the throne, somehow, like stabbed through his body, like he was impaled on it. And how does that happen? That’s never been explained. So I think that there’s also like a significant amount of weird magic shit.


Rosie Knight Like the thrown can reject you.


Jason Concepcion In addition to the fact that.


Rosie Knight In different ways.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. In addition to the fact that it is just really, really gross. And probably no one has cleaned it and probably Maegor’s guts are still on that throne dried up and everybody just wiped it up. That’s it. Don’t miss the new HBO original series, House of the Dragon, now streaming on HBO, Max don’t forget, if you have questions, send them to us at Up next we can talk about Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power. And we’re stepping out of the airlock and we are streaming down a middle earth in a ball of fire that crashes right into a village of Horror Foot hobbits. And we are here to discuss the two episode premiere of the Amazon series Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power. Episode one written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, directed by J.A. Bayona. Episode two Written by Jennifer Hutchison. Directed by J.A. Bayona. And, Rosie, they spent half a billion dollars on this.


Rosie Knight Half a billion dollars just on producing the series.


Jason Concepcion And man, does it look like it.


Rosie Knight It looks like it. This is like this is long been hypothesized and called the most expensive TV show in history. And I would say it looks like the most expensive TV show in history.


Jason Concepcion It it looks like the movies it looks so good. And I wasn’t sure what to expect and I loved it. I., listen, episode one is a lot of exposition and a lot of here’s what’s going on during this particular age in middle earth with the elves and the humans and the hobbits. But then Episode two it just nails that really interesting Lord of the Rings like vibe mix of high fantasy adventure, good versus evil conflict and funny moments like light hearted comedy. And then and then a real, a real interest and dedication to people being really great friends.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion Like friendship. It is it is very much about friendship.


Rosie Knight I find the most interesting thing to me. Right. And I totally agree with you. Episode one is the homework episode. It’s the here’s where you are. But I will say I was a big fan. I think both the episodes together are a brilliant premiere, so I’m really happy that’s the way everyone’s going to get to experience them. I was really blown away by how much the first episode centered Galadriel and kind of recontextualize her story and introduced us to where we are in the story, which. So there’s been a lot made about the idea of this being set in the second age of Tolkien’s, you know, three ages. The third age is where Hobbit and Lord of the Rings take place. This is set in the Second Age predominantly, but I think a lot of people are going to be really excited because the first episode actually to set up Galadriel’s Story and the story of the Forging of the Rings. It has moments that are from the first stage, and I think people didn’t really know that was going to happen. And I think that’s going to be really exciting to people who love these stories.


Jason Concepcion So before we get deeper into this conversation, I just want to say, because this episode is coming out on the day that these two episodes drop, we’re just going to touch on that lightly right now. And hopefully the the least spoilery way that we possibly can, we’re going to dive into it, of course, in a in a much more comprehensive fashion in coming weeks. But right now, we’re just going to talk about it. I will say that that there are some legitimate like chill inducing moments in episode two where you could feel us moving towards the forging of the rings and. I particularly enjoyed like the getting the back story of Elrond and his relationship with the dwarves, particularly during.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion Durin the fourth, who is he’s just like a great  pal with.


Rosie Knight That moment and that scene is definitely probably that. I really love the Halford stuff. I love the the nature of food and coziness in Lord of the Rings. So I think that that really brings that element to it. But the Elrond- Durin the fourth stuff is very special. And the kind of like it’s them and Dyson have already seen a lot of excitement online about them as a kind of oat3, like a potential like ship and something that kind of it’s something we talk about a lot on this show, and I hope that it’s something that people also care about because I know it’s something we care about. It feels again like this is a show that is in conversation with the fans. People want the new Legolas and Gimli. They want those friendships. They want that connection that made Frodo and Sam be able to do what they needed to do and save Middle-Earth. And this show understands that with this innate kind of. They just get how important these friendships are and the Eldron Durin stuff I think is going to be like a fan favorite. And it’s really interesting to me because I think it would be very easy for a show that costs more money than you can ever really comprehend.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, it’s.


Rosie Knight Just like it’s money. Like you will never. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s it’s a myth. It’s like it’s it’s so much money that if you start thinking about it, it’s actually becomes terrible. Let’s not think about.


Jason Concepcion It’s legitimately insane.. It’s like legitimately, like bigger than the GDP of many countries.


Rosie Knight Definitely.


Jason Concepcion On this TV show.


Rosie Knight And it would be very easy for a show with that much money, with unbelievable production design, unbelievable costumes. It does. It leaves visually. It leaves most other shows in it’s dust. And I’m sure that will continue.


Jason Concepcion It can’t help but do that. It can’t help but do that.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s actually kind of really impressive to me that even in that scope, they understand that the focus needs to be on character. It needs to be on what drives Galadriel, it needs to be on the friendship between Eldron and Durin. And there is such a great moment and I can’t wait to dig into when we’re doing or spoilers that these really brilliant character and narrative moments that allow you to understand the differences, not just culturally but in lifespan and in experience. And it’s so well done and they’re beautifully directed. I am a huge J.A. Bayona fan. I love I love Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom, in case you didn’t already know. But really the movie that I think makes Jay the perfect, he directed that brilliant movie, The Orphanage. But like the reason I think he was the perfect choice for this is a movie called A Monster Calls, which, if you haven’t seen it, is so unbelievably brilliant. And it’s about a young boy whose mother is ill and he begins to be visited by this giant and like tree creature. And it is just the most incredible fable, kind of contemporary fairy tale about grief and about monsters and about what a monster is. And it’s so visually stunning that it just makes sense to me that they would pick him. And the opening two episodes just like to create a world that feels this real. And I’m sure so much of it was practical because they have shown from every single thing that they’ve done that they care about the practicality of making a real world. But obviously so much of it is CG and to be able to direct something that feels like a holistic world, that feels real and lived in and so many worlds, there’s so many. There’s like 25 characters that are important to the show that you meet in these first two episodes, and there’s so many different lands and worlds and scopes, but by the end of that second episode, you are invested and you want to know more.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. The the Elrond and Durin adventure is, you know, it’s kind of like a feat of strength and endurance. And that leads to these moments that you are talking about, where you really understand the kind of differences. You really understand the kind of obstacles between these two races elf and dwarf being friends, the different ways they approach friendship, the different perspectives they have because one has a limited lifespan, the other one lives forever. And what does that mean when you’re trying to be friends with this person? That was where I’m like, Oh, this is going to be great.


Rosie Knight they’ll crush it.


Jason Concepcion They figured out. That they did it.


Rosie Knight ,That’s the kind of most mind boggling thing is, you know, that you get the introduction here of I won’t actually say some of the names because this one did take me by surprise, though I suppose it’s publicly out there, but they do a great job. So Elrond, we know huge character. You’ve seen him played by Hugo Weaving. This is like a very famous elf character. But they introduce characters both old and new who were previously non-canonical. But when they come in, you start to see that story of the forging. And it really leads up to this one moment with Elrond and Durin that we’re talking about where there’s one line where you just go, Oh, okay, oh, you get it.


Jason Concepcion And you’re just like, Oh.


Rosie Knight It makes sense and it’s kind of amazing to talk about this in the context of House of the Dragon, because this is essentially a show that is also just based on appendices and moments throughout history rather than necessarily in-depth narrative novels. So even the House of Dragons, based on stuff that is a lot more extensive, there is a similarity here of building out an idea of a period of history that people have long thought about or wondered about based on small tidbits and building it into something more.


Jason Concepcion So I have read the books, but I read them after I saw the first movie because I was like, Now here’s my here’s my origin story with Lord of the Rings. As a kid we rented on VHS, the 1978 animated Lord of the Rings. And it scared me.


Rosie Knight It’s terrifying. It’s nightmare.


Jason Concepcion Like, I was very, very, very scared of it. And so I knew about the books when I started getting into reading and I was like, I’m not gonna read that, it’s just  scary. And then and then the movies were announced and I saw the first one, and I was like, fucking blown away. So I bought the books. I read them all. And the movies have been some of my favorite movie experiences. But I am not like, for me Lord of the Rings is like the way it makes me feel.


Rosie Knight Yes. I agree.


Jason Concepcion And less about, you know, I I’m not. It doesn’t engage my like desire to like dive into like, oh, what was the like the minuscule granular details of all of this? I just, like, love the way Lord of the Rings makes me feel. So how would so where does this take place? What period of time is this?


Rosie Knight So the second age is like this long period that’s around like three and a half thousand years between the first age, which was when which we kind of get a hint of here, which is Morgoth, who’s kind of the fire Dark Lord to throws the peaceful world into this horrific war. We see that there is a loss there that really drives Galadriel. This is the second age and Galadriel is just still chilling. And so that gives you an idea of how old elves are. And this is like thousands of years. The question is, we don’t necessarily know how close this is at the moment to where we join, you know, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. And I agree with you. Like for me, Lord of the Rings has always been like a vibey thing. Like I’m one of the guys who like when I read the books as a kid, I had like hand-me-down copies. I was just it was like when I play Zelda,  like I would just get stuck on any descriptions of, like, food or singing. I was like, This is great. Like, no, fantasy novels have these vibe, like party cozy atmosphere. I actually just wrote a piece about it. It’s Tolkien Week at Nerdist right now. So Kyle Anderson actually wrote a brilliant piece about that nightmare, fuel animated Lord of the Rings, and I wrote a big piece about food and comfort and safety in the franchise and why it’s kind of such an important part. So it’s been really interesting to get to dig into it in that kind of lore way that I’ve never really done before for the showcase. I’m going to be covering it and obviously we’re talking about it here and it’s there’s so much lore. This is like century plus of like lore and fandom. And it’s very interesting because the first age stuff comes pretty heavily from the Sumerian like especially like the stuff about Morgoth a.k.a Melcore and Amazon doesn’t have those rights. So it’s interesting to see where they can touch and what they kind of can do and not do. But generally this is a kind of unexplored part, but they are introducing a lot of characters either that we know, like Eldron, Galadriel, stuff like that from Lord of the Rings and also some characters that we haven’t really met, at least not for a long period of time. Some of them are in flashbacks in the movies, but the Nymoreans and characters like there’s a really sad inclusion we have. We don’t see them in these first two episodes, but he has been cast. This is a great example of how that kind of pulling Isildur, who is the guy who cut the ring from Sauron’s finger. And we saw him in Lord of the Rings, but he eventually got corrupted. But we’re going to see him here is like a younger guy. So it’s kind of interesting. You’re going to it’s that House of the Dragon thing. Again, it’s seeing the fates of these characters come to pass, even though we kind of already know who they are. And I think the biggest question people are going to have coming out of this is like. What’s the situation with Sauron? That’s the big question which drives these two episodes. And so far it’s been they’ve kept it pretty quiet even though there was there was a sort of a tease of a character who could be Sauron in his Annatar, the Lord of Gifts guys in the trailer. But that was never confirmed. So I think that’s going to be the interesting fan theory kind of segment of what happens next, because this is very much a tone setter. It’s this really expansive, beautiful, worldbuilding, building space that, like you said, sows the little seeds. There’s seeds of scary stuff. There’s, you know, some of the monsters you expect to see. By the way, creature walking. This is fucking fantastic.


Jason Concepcion Oh, unbelievable creature work. It’s like every kind of ingredient that made up the texture and feel of the Lord of the Rings movies is here.


Rosie Knight Including that.


Jason Concepcion Friendship. Yeah. The creature work. The the the incredible action.


Rosie Knight The landscapes the beautiful.


Jason Concepcion The landscapes.


Rosie Knight Also Bear McCreary score is is so good. There were moments in the first episode like the second episode I feel like is really where you get that expansive mix of cinematic and intimate character moments that make The Lord of the Rings movies feel so iconic. But there’s moments in that first episode, there’s just a really simple moment where it’s like some hobbits and they’re like, There’s some, as I should say, and they’re eating some blackberries. But the scoring, you just like, Oh, I’m watching a movie like I’m.


Jason Concepcion 100%.


Rosie Knight So he did such a brilliant job. He’s already he’s one of my favorite composers anyway. But it’s, it’s, it’s very special and I’m very excited. I in our Discord Channel, we have a Lord of the Rings channel and Lord of the Rings kind of, yeah, I think it’s called a channel. I’m old school, but yeah, yeah, there’s a Lord of the Rings section and people are just so stoked for it and sharing all that amazing like Lord of the Rings origin stories and stuff. And I’m so excited to see this is truly and I believe this about many things because I believe the accessibility of these stories can be for anyone. But really, this could be a story that, like your great granddad was really into that got you into and then five generations of your family could have been waiting to see this. That’s very special, and I really hope that connects with people in that way.


Jason Concepcion It feels like it will. Like this is the kind of fantasy. And this is why this show can perfectly coexist with the complementary, but it’s complementary to it. It’s the there’s some overlap in the Venn diagram in terms of like magic and, you know, knights and swordplay, etc., dragons, that kind of thing. But the tones are completely different. This is a show that you can watch with like every single member of your family and be sucked in.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And find something there that is worth dwelling on. And I think they really nailed it. Like, again, second, episode two, I was just like holy shit, they did.


Rosie Knight It really does feel like that. And then you’re like, Well, there’s only six more episodes. I want to know where this story goes. And also with five seasons confirmed, I think was the idea was that they set five seasons of this. How much are we actually going to get into those titular rings of power? You know, like, is this just the set up? Is this the foreplay or are we going to get into that? True, kind of the meat of the story.


Jason Concepcion To your point, there is already a you know, they’ve dropped a there’s a.Couple of little seeds where you feel like, oh, that.


Rosie Knight There was one character who when he turned up, I was like, oh, my God. I was like, I know that means something is coming, you know? So they’re not shying away from it. And it’s very exciting. It’s exciting to imagine because that’s what we like to do. How it’s going to play out and what the shape of it will be. And those first two episodes were long. Those are like over an hour each, I think. So will we get that for the rest of the season? I don’t know, but I would like to see it because I really like this world.


Jason Concepcion Well, we can’t wait to dive into it at it at a in a more comprehensive way. Let everybody catch up to these two episodes and hope that you’ll like them. We think you will. And we can’t wait to talk about it more. That’s it for us. A big thank you to Rosie Knight for joining us at X-ray Vision, Rosie, Anything to plug plugs?


Rosie Knight You can read about Lord of the Rings. I’m going to be covering that at IGN. You can read my piece for Tolkien Week is at Nerdist. I have a ton of She-Hulk coverage that is lined up and ready to go for the first four episodes. So check in at Nerdist if you haven’t already seen that. Loads of great interviews, explainers, all that kind of stuff. Theory pieces, the usual fun stuff. If you can still find a copy of Godzilla versus Batra, you should obviously pick it up because it’s really cool and all of his art is amazing, but I’m hearing they’re pretty hard to come by now, which is rad. And you can find me on Letterboxd and Instagram @RosieMarx with an X and then here, obviously.


Jason Concepcion The Takeline YouTube and Twitter channels are now dedicated to all things X-ray Vision, so go check out @XRVPod on Twitter and X-ray Vision on YouTube. Plus our X-ray Vision Discord, which you can find the link to in the show notes. Come join the community. It’s fun where Rosie and I are there on a regular basis. Chat that up and we love hearing from all of you. Catch the next episode on September 9th. Remember, Send your House of the Dragon questions to And we love your five star reviews. Here is one from H.W. 108. It’s absolutely nerd tastic. I’m here for it. I love just how unabashedly nerdy this whole thing is. It legit gives me joy, how excited they get about all the rabbit holes they get into. Thank you. H.W. 108.


Rosie Knight We love a rabbit hole.


Jason Concepcion Give us your five star ratings. We love a rabbit hole, we love a five star rating. X-ray Vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin. The show is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Our editing and sound design is by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot provide video production support. Alex Reliford handles social media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for our theme music. See you next time. Goodbye. Hey, Mike. just touched down from Maureen. Yeah. I want to talk about the events on Dragonstone today. Yeah, listen, my Daemon Targaryent is Prince of the Cities, one of the greatest knights, one of the greatest warriors that we have. But he’s got to tuck the ball in. Mike, you hold it out there like that with one arm, you’re going to fumble, Mike. All defenders, no swipe down on the ball. And if you hold it like that with one hand, extend it out, it’s going to get stripped. Mike And you’re going to give up six points on a pick six. You got to put that thing in. Daemon I’ll take my answer off the line. Thank you.