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‘House of the Dragon’ Fans React to Episode 4’s Brutal Battle and Shocking Betrayal

Warning: Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4, “A Dance of Dragons.” Don’t read on until you’ve watched!

House of the Dragon continued the vicious “Dance of Dragons” on Sunday with a pivotal battle seeming to claim the lives of even more central characters. 

The episode, titled “A Dance of Dragons,” played out the anticipated Battle of Rook’s Rest with the splintered Targaryen dynasty continuing to war amongst themselves over control of the Iron Throne.

After episode 3’s reveal about the late King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) true choice of heir, the battle culminated at episode’s end when Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) and his army arrived at Rook’s Rest, preparing to take the greens’ next stronghold on their march towards Dragonstone.

The blacks knew that they needed to respond with force, but Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) refused to let her son, Jacaerys (Harry Collett), lead the charge — instead sending Rhaenys (Eve Best) and her dragon, Meleys.

However, two surprises laid ahead during the brutal battle. When Rhaenys and Meleys arrived, they were surprised by the Targaryens’ most formidable dragon, Vhagar, and his rider, Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell), who were hiding in the woods.

Then, a drunken and reckless King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) also showed up on dragon back — eager to prove himself after a disquieting conversation with his mother, Queen Regent Alicent (Olivia Cooke). 

King Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Queen Regent Alicent (Olivia Cooke) discuss the war ahead in ‘House of the Dragon’ season 2, episode 4.Ollie Upton/HBO

The three dragons and their riders battled it out in the skies with Aemond shockingly aiming Vhagar’s dragonfire at both his enemy and his brother, the king. Ultimately, Vhagar beheaded Meleys, and Rhaenys and her dragon fell to their death.

Aegon and Sunfyre also fell, left smoldering in a patch of woods after Aemond’s attack. However, the king’s fate remains to be seen. In the George R.R. Martin book that House of the Dragon is based on, Aegon does not die from the battle, but is gravely wounded, leaving Aemond to take over as ruler while his brother recovers.

It’s an outcome that may have been Aemond’s plan all along, as just before Ser Criston found him in the woods, Aemond was unsheathing his sword above his wounded brother — perhaps to finish the job?

Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) looks on as the warring Targaryens battle on dragon back.Theo Whiteman/HBO

Fans of the series and its predecessor, Game of Thrones, are more than used to shocking episodes and epic deaths by now. However, that didn’t stop them from taking to X (formerly Twitter) in droves to react to “A Dance of Dragons.” 

See some of the best reactions below.

New episodes of House of the Dragon season 2 premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. PT/ET on HBO and streaming on Max.

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