House of the Dragon Season 2 Recap: Episode 3 - The Burning Mill

“It’s too late, Rhaenyra.”


Episode 3 opens with our first good look at the Riverlands this season. It’s pretty green and idyllic - but not for long. Knights of two feuding houses - the Brackens and the Blackwoods - come across each other in the shadow of a windmill. The soon-to-be-burning mill of the episode title.

These two houses have bad blood going back centuries, which is only exacerbated by the fact that the Brackens have declared for Team Green (Aegon) and the Blackwoods have, naturally, sided with Team Black (Rhaenyra). It isn’t long before swords are drawn and… we smash cut to the aftermath of a bloody battle.

Would it have been nice to see said battle in all its gory glory? Of course! Who doesn’t love a bit of bloodshed? But to be fair the cut is pretty effective, more so than Tyrion Lannister getting bopped on the head and sleeping through the Battle of the Green Fork in Season 1 of Game of Thrones, which seemed to be more about cutting the budget than any kind of artistic choice.

I just hope we do get a little bit of actual war in our civil war eventually.

Speaking of war - over in Dragonstone, Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) is still trying to stop her advisors from diving headlong into one, a feat that’s becoming increasingly more difficult as time goes on. It’s almost as if her council wants to see epic dragon-on-dragon violence as much as we do.

But avoiding war doesn’t mean Rhaenyra isn’t taking action. Wanting to avoid any more retaliatory child murders, she decides to send her youngest kids away, under the watchful eye of dragonless step-daughter Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell) and accompanied by four dragon eggs.

Are these the eggs that end up being gifted to Daenerys in Game of Thrones? They sure look like it.

Daemon (Matt Smith), still smarting from his verbal lashing at the hands of Rhaenyra last episode, arrives at spooky old Harrenhal - the Westerosi equivalent of the haunted Overlook Hotel. While there he secures the allegiance of its warden, Ser Simon Strong (Simon Russell Beale), has a creepy dream and meets a witch, who tells him that he will ‘die in this castle’. What a cheery place.

Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) continues to be a pretty ineffectual ruler, filling the depleted Kingsguard with his drunken mates and almost flying off on dragonback to - more than likely - get himself killed. That is, until conniving Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) convinces him otherwise. In the same conversation, Larys also manages to get himself appointed Master of Whisperers. What could possibly go wrong?

This episode’s big scene comes right at the end, though. Thinking that if she could just talk to Alicent (Olivia Cooke) they could iron out this whole mess, Rhaenyra sneaks into King’s Landing disguised as a nun and ambushes her old bestie as she is lighting her prayer candles.

They have a whispered argument, the upshot of which is the revelation that King Viserys’s last words - the words that this whole war of succession is based on - were not about Aegon at all. They were nothing more than delirious mumblings about an ancient prophecy, and Alicent got the wrong end of the stick.

It’s a chance for Alicent to realise her mistake and try to make things right, but instead she doubles down and now there seems to be no way to stop the bloodshed to come. 

This was a fun scene but it didn’t make a lot of sense. Is it really that easy to sneak into King’s Landing and get some alone time with the King’s mother? If so, why not just assassinate her? And while we’re on that subject, why didn’t Allicent call for her guards and take Rhaenyra off the board while she had the chance?

I suppose it’s best not to think about it too hard.

Death Count: No major characters this week, but a whole bunch of Brackens and Blackwoods met their maker at the Battle of the Burning Mill. It’s just a bit of shame we didn’t get to see any of it.


  • It’s nice to see Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy sharing the screen again. The two of them have undeniable chemistry and it’s fun to watch them spar - even if this scene didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
  • It’s also nice to see Milly Alcock (aka Young Rhaenyra from Season 1) return, if only briefly in Daemon’s creepy nightmare.
  • The great Simon Russell Beale brought warmth and depth to the character of Ser Simon Strong, and I hope we see a lot more of him.
  • It seems like there might be a fair few Dragonseeds - Targaryen and Velaryon bastards - peppered around the Seven Kingdoms, like Ulf, who drunkenly tells the whole tavern about his illegitimate lineage in this episode. I’m sure they’ll become very important in due course…

Verdict: Another strong episode, even if it still feels like the showrunners are setting up the board and moving the pieces into place for the coming conflict. It’ll all be worth it if the show actually delivers some of the action it’s promising.

House of the Dragon airs every Monday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, and can be streamed from 2am the same day.

Call an expert image

Need help to find the best deal?

Get in touch with our expert team.

020 4525 0221

Our trusted providers

  • Sky logo
  • BT logo
  • Virgin Media logo
  • TalkTalk logo
  • Now logo
  • Freeview logo

Need help? Get in touch

Call us: 020 4525 0221

Send us a message

Don't miss our latest deals

Sign up to receive unmissable offers and the latest news on TV, broadband, energy, phones and more.

Information regarding how we process your data can be found in our Privacy Policy.
× Need help choosing a great deal?
Call us on 020 4525 0221