If you thought last week’s House of the Dragon outing was intense, Season 2 Episode 4, “The Red Dragon and the Gold,” is here to tell you to hold its beer. 

House of the Dragon, Season 2 Episode 4, “The Red Dragon and the Gold”

Rook’s Rest alone makes this one of the show’s strongest episodes. The battle is a pedal-to-the-metal, guns-blazing affair, chock full of dragon action and more kinslaying. Seriously, maybe if Aemond kills enough family members, his 10th visit to the brothel will be free. It’s time to bust out that parricide punch card.

Anyway, we’re past the point of no return now. It’s about to get even bloodier from here. I imagine the Dance of the Dragons may make the Red Wedding look tame in comparison. Bring it on. 

RELATED: Read our recap of this week’s House of the Dragon episode, “The Red Dragon and the Gold”

In honor of this week’s stellar episode, here are my top five favorite moments from “The Red Dragon and the Gold.” 

Daemon and Alys Rivers at Harrenhal 

Daemon Targaryen and Alys Rivers stand face-to-face in Alys's dimly lit quarters in Harrenhal. They're locked in a serious conversation on House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4, "The Red Dragon and the Gold."

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Season 2 Episode 4, “The Red Dragon and the Gold.” Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

Daemon (Matt Smith) experiences quite the mental trip at Harrenhal. Is it the cursed foundation of the ancient House Strong ancestral seat, or could something (or someone) else be at play? Alys Rivers (Gayle Rankin) seems like a viable candidate for magical mischief. 

I love the opening scene, in which Daemon hallucinates young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) again, only this time, she sits on the Iron Throne. It’s creepy that this is how he sees Rhaenyra, considering how young she is when they start getting their flirt on. Anyway, I love seeing Daemon stalk who he believes is Aemond through the castle corridors, but it’s himself with an eyepatch. Daemon and Aemond’s storylines mirror each other on this show, especially as both seek power.  

Daemon and Alys’s official meeting depicts the latter as an eccentric “maester” who tries to appear innocuous—however, her subtle manipulation ripples beneath the surface. I can’t wait to continue watching her deconstruct Daemon’s mind, bit by bit. 

RELATED: House of the Dragon: Top 5 Fiery Moments From Episode 3

Corlys and Rhaenys’s Conversation About Alyn of Hull 

Rhaenys Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon stand before Rhaenyra's small council on Dragonstone on House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4, "The Red Dragon and the Gold."

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Season 2 Episode 4, “The Red Dragon and the Gold.” Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

Corlys (Steve Toussaint) and Rhaenys (Eve Best), my favorite Westerosi couple, have a serious chat before the latter perishes in battle. I don’t like that this is one of their last scenes. Corlys won’t get the opportunity to add context later. That said, this conversation needed to happen. Alyn of Hull (Abubakar Salim) boasts a connection with Corlys, and if you read between the lines of this scene, you’ll know what that is. (Also, read Fire & Blood.) Side note: Eve Best can say so much with her face without uttering a word. What an incredible talent she is. 

Aegon and Aemond Speaking in High Valyrian 

Aegon Targaryen stands up in front of his chair before the small council table as a knight of the Kingsguard stands behind him on House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4, "The Red Dragon and the Gold."

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Season 2 Episode 4, “The Red Dragon and the Gold.” Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) is a goofy little dude who emits emo kid vibes. I love seeing him interact with his polar opposite bother, Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), and this moment scratches that itch for me. Of course, the studious and erudite Aemond would speak fluently in High Valyrian.

Meanwhile, Aegon, who spends more time in his cups and in bed than anything, would struggle to string together a sentence in High Valyrian. This scene is simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. It showcases Aemond’s ambition and his lack of faith in Aegon. As for Aegon, we see how small and worthless he feels.  

RELATED: House of the Dragon: Our 15 Favorite Looks From Season 1

Alicent and Larys’s Layered Scene 

Larys Strong sits in his dimly lit quarters in the Red Keep with his cane in one hand and a book in the other.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Season 2 Episode 4, “The Red Dragon and the Gold.” Photo credit: Theo Whiteman/HBO.

Some of my favorite Game of Thrones scenes are dialogue-heavy, where the political machinations take center stage. This Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Larys (Matthew Needham) scene is a prime example of nobody speaking plainly. Neither character truly says what they mean. Thus, the subtext of their dialogue is crucial. Thankfully, you can understand precisely what’s happening because of the writing and Cooke and Needham’s nuanced performances. 

Larys has always kept Alicent under his thumb while the latter strove for power above the patriarchy, having always felt like a bird in a gilded cage. I love how Larys prods her a bit here, especially regarding Viserys and whether he meant to name Aegon as his successor. Alicent’s response hits the nail on the head regarding this family civil war — what’s “right” won’t matter in the end. Either Rhaenyra or Aegon will win, and that’s that. 

Rook’s Rest Battle 

Gwayne Hightower and Criston Cole sit astride their horses while wearing battle armor. They stand among the tree line of a forest while looking at something off screen.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Season 2 Episode 4, “The Red Dragon and the Gold.” Photo credit: Theo Whiteman/HBO.

I saved the best for last, my friends. “The Red Dragon and the Gold” expertly builds momentum toward Rook’s Rest. While this seat is relatively small (and a win for Team Green), the events of the battle lead to devastating repercussions for both sides. Team Black loses Rhaenys and Meleys, their biggest dragon. Meanwhile, Team Green will surely scramble with a severely wounded dragon out of commission and a felled king whose injuries could also be fatal. Side note: I’m sad we got so little time with Sunfyre, the best golden boy in the realm, while he was in full-fighting form.

RELATED: Book Review: Unbecoming

The dragons battling in the sky is easily an episodic highlight. One word springs to mind: epic. Vhagar’s entrances and movement remind me of Godzilla or a dinosaur from Jurassic Park. There’s a monster movie/horror aspect to the Rook’s Rest scenes. 

Additionally, I love seeing the unique relationships between each dragon and their riders. For example, while Rhaenys and Aemond speak to their respective dragons in High Valyrian, Aegon mainly uses English with Sunfyre. 

Rest in peace, Rhaenys and Meleys — you were bona fide, unadulterated badasses until the end. Side note: Aemond, we know you tried to use Murder Granny (aka Vhagar) to take out your own brother. We know

What are your favorite moments from House of the Dragon‘s “The Red Dragon and the Gold”? Sound off in the comments below. 

House of the Dragon drops new episodes every Sunday at 9 PM on HBO and Max. 

Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week: RHAENYS TARGARYEN

Melody McCune
Follow me!