Deadpool 3 News & She-Hulk Ep 7 + House of the Dragon Ep 6 & The Rings of Power Eps 5-6 | Crooked Media
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September 30, 2022
X-Ray Vision
Deadpool 3 News & She-Hulk Ep 7 + House of the Dragon Ep 6 & The Rings of Power Eps 5-6

In This Episode

On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight sweat it out in the yurt! In the Previously On (2:43) Jason and Rosie discuss a grab bag of news, including The Last of Us trailer and mutants galore with Namor and Deadpool 3, before sweating out She-Hulk episode 7, summarizing and theorizing about Jen’s blood and Josh’s identity. In the Airlock (38:45), Jason and Rosie dive deep (deeep) into House of the Dragon episode 6, recapping and exploring time jumps, friendships lost, and questionable alliances. Next, in round seven of Jason’s classic segment Ask the Maester (1:28:15), he and Rosie answer listener questions about the history and lore of House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones. Finally, another round of the Airlock (1:55:50) as Jason and Rosie, along with super producer Chris, return to Middle Earth to dive deeper (deeeper) into Rings of Power to unpack all things corrupted elf, Sauron, and whether Theo deserves some corporal punishment (which we’re totally against in real life, for the record).


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

Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines; the standalone arc started with Wolverine vol. 3 #66.


Man-Bull debuted in Daredevil #78 (1971) and created by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan.


El Águila debuted in Power Man & Iron Fist #58 (1979) and created by Jo Duffy, Trevor von Eadon, and Dave Cockrum.


Saracen debuted in Blade: Vampire Hunter #1 (1999) and created by Bart Sears. 

The first Porcupine debuted in Tales to Astonish #48 (1963) and created by Stan Lee, Ernest Hart, and Don Heck.






Jason Concepcion [AD]


Jason Concepcion Warning. This podcast contains spoilers for She-Hulk, episode seven. House of the Dragon, episode six. Rings of Power, episodes five and six. So be warned and be careful. Hello. My name is Jason Concepcion. Welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast where we dive deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture in this episode. A Packed to the Gills episode. We’re going to discuss the latest news. Last of US trailer. A bunch of Marvel news, including some lots of mutant news. And we’re going to discuss the super fun She-Hulk episode seven. In the Airlock. We’re going to talk about House of the Dragon Episode six. We’ve got your Ask the Maester Questions and answers. And we’re going to continue in the airlock with some Lord of the Rings talk. Big battle episode. Celibrimbor, Where you at? And of course, if you want to jump around, check the shownotes for the timestamps. And joining me today, she’s the best. She’s the number one fact checker of all stuff related to comics. Don’t you dare get a comic creator name wrong. She is Rosie Knight. Rosie.


Rosie Knight Hello


Speaker 3 How are you?


Rosie Knight I just want people to be credited correctly.


Jason Concepcion That’s right. I think that’s all we want.


Rosie Knight We all make mistakes.


Jason Concepcion We all make mistakes. But credit at credit. Write the names, right? Correct. Write the names correctly.


Rosie Knight Yes, please.


Jason Concepcion All right. Let’s get into it. First up in Previously On, The Last of US trailer has dropped. It comes to HBO sometime in 2023. And this, of course, is an adaptation of the Naughty Dog Studios hit game, The Last of US. It stars Pedro Pascal as as Joel, the the grizzled survivor of the fall of mankind who takes under his wing, Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey. You know her as as Leana Mormont from Game of Thrones. And together they cross the the ruined wasteland laden with clickers and other zombified creatures, not to mention killers of the human variety. This looks great. We will dive into The Last of Us as a property and as a story deeper in future episodes. But this made me very excited for this show.


Rosie Knight It looks so good. I think they’ve done the hardest thing, which it doesn’t, which is to make it look different to The Walking Dead, which is basically the definitive zombie story of our generation. It looks brilliant. I love the it got the balance right for me of the focus on the scope of the world, the relationship between Joel and Ellie and then the teasers of the clickers and that one kind of final.


Jason Concepcion Oh. Looks really good.


Rosie Knight Looks so good. I can’t wait.


Jason Concepcion My my one question is,  we were talking about this and pre-pro, well for me, The Last of Us has the most devastating like ending, in terms of a story beat, that I’ve ever experienced in a video game. Others might disagree, but for me, it was it was really a gut punch ending. We again will discuss this more in depth in later episodes. And I wonder how much I wonder how much the season will hew to the story of the first game, if at all.


Rosie Knight That, I think, is the biggest question. In my dream world, that first game is like a perfect one season of longform storytelling, but I think if they know what they’re doing and this team of people making this is like really legit, I would hope that the first season ends the same way as the game. I think that would be like, you’re going to win every Emmy, everyone is going to be talking about it because really like millions of people played this game and it was like a cultural smash. But there are still millions and millions of people who don’t know how it ends. And I feel like that ending would be like the episode everyone’s talking about. And I feel like the world of The Last of US is so expansive that if you wanted to continue on and do a second season, you could do it in many different ways, even following that ending. So I hope fingers crossed. And we know people who played the game know what we’re talking about. I hope that they they stick to that and I hope they find a way to land it because the thing that’s so hard about adapting video games and we’ve had this conversation about video game adaptations.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight In those, especially in games like The Last of US, you are the one making the choices. You are involved in the terrible things that are happening or the hard choices. So I’m really interested to see how they can translate that emotional involvement into a TV show where you’re not actively making the characters do the things they have to do.


Jason Concepcion That’s going to be the thing. And to your point about The Walking Dead, a thing that I think, in terms of story, that really sets potentially sets this series apart from The Walking Dead in an important way, is it grapples directly with are we trying to solve the problem of click? Are we trying to cure this disease or not? The Walking Dead really never grappled with that. It was just like the zombies are here, and that’s life. That’s reality now. The Last of Us directly takes on the question of if you could cure this, if you could save the world, should you? Would you? And what is the cost of that? And so I’m very excited to see it.


Rosie Knight Yeah, what does it mean?


Jason Concepcion What does it mean? So I’m very excited about that. Okay. Big Marvel News Blade Director, Bassam Tariq is apparently no longer associated with the project. This is from The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, due to continued shift in our production schedule, Bassam is no longer moving forward as director of Blade, but will remain an executive producer on the film. We appreciate Bassam’s talent and all the work he’s done, getting Blade to where it is. And then Tariq said in his own statement, It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel. We were able to put together a killer cast and crew, eager to see where the director takes the next film. My takeaway from this is this is just this happens in the production shift. People in this industry are usually scheduled back to back to back to back to back. And if one thing moves, it’s like a Jenga tower. Other things have to move as well. And clearly they just couldn’t get the schedule right.


Rosie Knight Yeah, and we’ve seen this happen in Marvel movies before. Scott Derrickson was supposed to make Doctor Strange 2, it ended up being Sam Raimi. So yeah, I’ll. I’ll be very interested and excited to see what Bassam does next and made a bunch of great stuff like Mogul Mowgli, and I’ll also be excited to see whoever ends up joining this movie.


Jason Concepcion A recent Empire article on Wakanda Forever confirms that exactly what we knew. Namor is a mutant.


Rosie Knight We were right. I’m just saying.


Jason Concepcion We were right.


Rosie Knight I don’t think a lot of people didn’t want to say Namor is a mutant because mutant is like a very heavily weighted word. But we said it. We saw his little cute wings on the back of his legs. And in this Empire article, which, by the way, has the most unbelievable cover, this like teal and purple cover. Oh, my God. That’s so beautiful. Yeah, he’s a mutant. I love to hear it.


Jason Concepcion I love it. And by the way, Namor played by ten a quarter. The character design, the costuming. Oh, it’s so good.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion It’s great. I am very, very excited about this.


Rosie Knight They also confirmed another thing that we talked about that we thought could be the possibility, which is the reason that Talocan, the space that Namor leads, is so furious at Wakanda is because by Wakanda announcing their existence to the world, the world has now been made aware that there are multiple secret societies and that has then put the Talocan in danger and they are going to come out to protect themselves as the world tries to, we assume, find vibranium, find these secret societies. So we were right again. And I can’t wait to see that. And I can’t wait to see Namor. I love Namor so much.


Jason Concepcion He’s great, a wonderful, grey character. Always comes down well, usually comes out on the right side. But it does it in a way all his own. Meanwhile, speaking of secret places, Savage Land Krakoa. Where are you? Very excited to. I bet you we get another. We’ve already gotten some Savage Land sprinkles.


Rosie Knight I think Savage Land.


Jason Concepcion I bet get more. I bet you we get more. Yeah, because vibranium is there. The comics


Rosie Knight Exactly. You know, in the comics, only other places. And I remember there was a there was some kind of leak from a casting notification that said someone was going to Antarctica to look for vibranium. So we can say.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight I think we can say the Savage Land is probably going to show up, in which case I will just put out there. That could be an X-Men space. That could be we could find the Savage Land, Rogue or something iconic like that. So and also now the marvel the thing that’s really interesting about this to me is there is not like a huge Kevin Feige approved quote here about mutants. This is an aside the empire just includes in the article. Yeah he confirmed he’s a mutant cool that to me says that and we’ll talk about this with She-Hulk as well. Mutants are now just in the MCU.


Jason Concepcion They’re here.


Rosie Knight This is the way they’re going to do it. And so I think we could see Wakanda Forever become a sort of lightning rod for mutants in the MCU.


Jason Concepcion It’s a soft launch of mutants, which is very interesting. The question is, speaking of secret societies, are there, if mutants are just around, are there mutant secret societies like a secret school in upstate New York or the Hellfire Club, etc.


Rosie Knight Or an underground group of Morlocks?


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight You know.


Jason Concepcion Speaking of mutants, in what is one of the most effective social media launches in recent memory, it was announced this week that Hugh Jackman, as Wolverine, is joining Deadpool 3, which comes out in 2024. Ryan Reynolds posted a announcement video on Twitter, which is very funny. Doesn’t have any movie footage per say, but it’s just kind of like a scene in which Ryan, not as Deadpool, and Hugh Jackman, kind of as Wolverine, give you an idea of the chemistry that these two characters are going to have in what is apparently a road movie.


Rosie Knight So yeah, that’s what we think is going to be. So for a long time, Ryan had talked about how angry he was at Fox. In fact, there’s a great BBC interview with Allie Plum where he says, you know, on the poster to Deadpool 2, it says from the studio that killed Wolverine. And Ryan was like, Yeah, I’m really angry about that because my dream was to do a Deadpool Wolverine team-up, you know, and it looks like now that’s going to happen. He had done a tweet last year where he said, you know, if before Disney bought Fox, Deadpool 3 was going to be a road trip between Deadpool and Logan Rashomon style. So like from all different perspectives, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what we’re going to get. Kevin Feige knows a good idea when he sees it?


Jason Concepcion He knows a good idea.


Rosie Knight The MCU is huge. And it is going to be R-rated and it will be very interesting. You had a great thought, when we were just chatting, which was like, Oh my, if, if we have to see Logan as old man Logan, that leaves the door open for X 23. And so Dafne Keen.


Jason Concepcion Well, because here’s the thing, it’s apparent that they’re going to have to cart Hugh Jackman off the field.


Rosie Knight He is going to be playing Wolverine.


Jason Concepcion Before he leaves Wolverine. And, you know, there’s been a lot of talk about when do we recast this? What do we do? A lot of the year, you know, the you know, Patrick Stewart, another one, these iconic actors who portrayed various mutants in the Fox versions of these films. Do we recast for for a new generation, for new movies? I think that there is a lane if they want to keep Wolverine as Hugh Jackman.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm.


Jason Concepcion You you go that route, right? Not well, obviously, old man Logan died and whatever timeline that was. But I think you keep that kind of archetype of a character, this grizzled, obviously older character who is more of a mentor figure. You know, I think Wolverine in the X-Men comic book series where he’s like the headmaster of the school, a more of a teacher figure who’s been through the wars. And then for Wolverine proper, you could use you could use Laura slash X 23 from the comics. In other words, just take Dafne from the Logan movie and make her.


Rosie Knight She was so good.


Jason Concepcion She was so good. Make her actual Wolverine dealing with the Wolverine stuff of anger issues. What am I? Like and have you could have Logan like helping her through all that and it would make sense too because like as we know in the comics, Logan’s like 200 years old.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion It had played a pivotal role in the early Super Soldier program. You could do that.You could still do that.


Rosie Knight We know that that’s going to be a big part of what Marvel’s doing next with everyone that they’re bringing back. I think that would be so cool. And like so they released this second video that pretends it’s going to give you answers, but it doesn’t. But one one thing they do that’s really interesting at the beginning is that Ryan has always talked about how he doesn’t want to mess with Logan because it’s like a perfect movie, which is true. So he basically was saying all that Logan dies in 2029. That’s the year of that movie, and this isn’t going to touch that. So I like the idea that it would like technically be set before, which if it’s in the MCU timeline could work. It’s like 2026. This is just some annoying thing that happened before. I will also just put it out there. I had always thought that the smartest thing that they could do when they did Deadpool 3, if they were going to do it R-rated, was do Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight I think with this announcement that Logan is going to be in there, I think there’s a version of this where this is Deadpool kills the Fox universe and they go full out Magneto. And it’s Deadpool has to kill all the other versions of the X-Men before he can join the MCU.


Jason Concepcion The Collasus.


Rosie Knight Or something like that. And he’s fighting every.


Jason Concepcion Negasonic Teenage Warhead.


Rosie Knight Who, by the way, Negasonic Teenage Warhead. I love the character in the comics, but that is one of my favorite castings of all time and I would want them to bring her into MCU so much. But I didn’t as a version where we could see something really meta, out there to kind of be like this is the MCU’s first R-rated movie we’re going to take from one of the most popular Deadpool tropes, which is also a popular Marvel trope with Punisher kills of Marvel Universe. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see a kind of version of that. But I’m most excited to just see Ryan and Hugh together, because that’s going to be really fun.


Jason Concepcion Also, Logan, the comic that.That is based on The Old Man Logan Limited Series by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven. Wonderful Art by Steve McNiven is itself an alternate universe in the MCU. You know, in accordance with, you know, MCU timeline structure, like it’s they created a whole like dystopian like, like miniseries, you know, Old Man Hawkeye, other Old Man characters based on that, that run. So it would make sense to do it that way and just have that be a splinter universe.


Rosie Knight Exactly. We live in the multiverse now, which, you know, Kevin Feige was even saying another thing recently, talking about how, you know, could Wanda come back? Yeah, anything’s possible in the multiverse.


Jason Concepcion She’s back. We called that.


Rosie Knight We knew that was happening. I will say that. But, Kevin, thank you for confirming it. But the other thing I’ll say, just when you said it’s so funny, I didn’t even really remember this. Just so you brought up the comic, but brilliant Steve Mcniven in Old Man Logan. That Old Man Logan is a road trip comic across this, like, destroyed version of America. So maybe.


Jason Concepcion Let’s see.


Rosie Knight Some world where Deadpool has to become a part of that. It would be so fun to have that kind of Ryan Reynolds Deadpool performance against that dark, gritty Old Man Logan World. And it’s extra funny because like, people our age will remember this and people who who’ve seen all the Wolverine movies, but like Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds, have been in an X-Men movie before when Ryan Reynolds first ever played Deadpool, but who was like, I think credit is Weapon X in that movie? And his mouth was seewn shut and it was like everyone was like, How could you do that to Deadpool? He’s Merc with a mouth. So this is really funny because it’s a reunion of sorts, but it’s obviously going to be a kind of rectification of that movie that not a lot of people liked, but is actually very fun if you watch it.


Jason Concepcion Screenplay X-Men Origins Wolverine. Screenplay by director Gavin Hood and Skip Woods and Game of Thrones Co-Showrunner David Benioff.


Rosie Knight It’s all connected baby.


Jason Concepcion It’s all coming together. All right. Up next, She-Hulk episode seven. She-Hulk, Episode seven,The Retreat Written by the wonderful Zeb Wells, directed by Anu Valia. Very, very fun story. Jen gets news that her client, Emil Blonsky, is inhibitor something’s gone wrong with it, its fritzz\ed out. So Blonsky’s parole officer says, I got to go up and see what’s going on. Can you come with because you’re a Hulk and I’m just a guy. Jen goes up there while this is happening. She is in the process of getting ghosted by Josh, the man she met. And had a wonderful evening and date and interaction, intimate interaction with at the after the wedding. Josh is not texting her back and this issue is amplified by the fact that there’s very, very poor cell service at Emil Blonsky’s beautiful property.


Rosie Knight Gorgeous.


Jason Concepcion Somewhere in the hills above Malibu or Calabasas.


Rosie Knight He he’s living life. It’s a.


Jason Concepcion He’s living life.


Rosie Knight Beautiful retreat, which, by the way, I will say. We were right.


Jason Concepcion We said that. We were right.


Rosie Knight We were like is he going to make like a meditation retreat for superpowered people? And that is exactly what he made. And this is another great example of what we have loved about She-Hulk this whole time. One, Tim Roth. Give him every award. He’s incredible. Hilarious. I love Emile Blonsky, but they they set up this unexpected what is essentially almost like a bottle episode, even though we have the connection to Josh.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight In this strange location where you can pull in all these really deep Marvel characters and it just feels like you’re reading a comic book, which makes sense because Zeb Wells is behind some of our favorite recent comic books. So it makes sense that he was able to bring that comic book issue energy. But this is just such a fun episode.


Jason Concepcion It’s really wonderful. It, it wonderfully depicts the feeling of getting ghosted and sending the text that you know, you shouldn’t send. Also, it gives us the on screen appearances of some amazing deep cut characters. So we meet at Blonsky’s Retreat, at the group session, and Jen is wandering around, she’s looking for cell service, and she wanders into this big barn where Blonsky is running his group sessions and and running them really well and very effectively and with a lot of generosity. Again, Blonsky has learned a lot in his time in killin it. Absolutely. We need the Man-Bull.


Rosie Knight Yes!


Jason Concepcion Who, who, well, actually, Man-Bull and El Aguila, we are having a having a fight before that, and they wreck Jen’s Prius. So we meet them previously, but we see them. We really get to know them in this group session. Man-Bull, first of all introduces himself as a kind of a lab experiment. El Aguila, who is a kind of deep cut Swashbuckler, street level mutant, who has some light ability to produce electricity through his body. He is a mutant in the in the books they call this when he sets off his electricity. Blonsky refers to it as Bioelectricity, which I think is interestingly how they refer to Spider Woman’s sting in the comics. So that’s something to keep track of. El Aguila, I mean, has tussled with the X-Men a little bit, with Excalibur a little bit, like is just a very low level, street level guy. Very, very funny. Also


Rosie Knight But is also a mutant. Yeah. So like, that’s.


Jason Concepcion Is a mutant.


Rosie Knight And also Man-Bull. I know everyone is waiting for certain Hell’s Kitchen hottie to turn up in She-Hulk. Man-Bull is a Daredevil villain.


Jason Concepcion Yes.


Rosie Knight Originally. So you’re getting the teases. You’re getting the teases.


Jason Concepcion Porcupine. Now, there have been like several different people to where to use the name Porcupine and to don this kind of porcupine like armor. And then Saracen, which I was a little mixed up because the Saracen I know is a nineties, late eighties Punisher villain who was like a mercenary who got killed by the Punisher. But this is a different Saracen.


Rosie Knight So I would say we never know because we haven’t spoken to whoever wrote it. We didn’t speak to Zeb. But my guess is I also was like, Oh, Saracen Punisher, he’s an assassin. That’s like a kind of from one of people’s favorite Punisher runs. But my guess is this is a character also called Saracen, who in the comics is a vampire. Here, they say he thinks he’s a vampire. This seems like we’re getting to vampire territory after the the Baroness Blood.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, Yeah.


Rosie Knight The Baroness Blood last week. But Saracen was first introduced in like this 1999 Blade reboot. Blade Vampire Hunt, a number one created by Bart Sears. And as is with so many characters that She-Hulk is introduced is only in a few issues. So I think it was very understandable for everyone to think of Saracen. Hey, maybe this guy’s a combo. Maybe he became a vampire while doing some cool assassin stuff after Punisher killed him. I mean, that was a time when Punisher was literally Frankenstein. So there is horror crossover there.


Jason Concepcion Let’s.


Rosie Knight He was literally that.


Jason Concepcion Let’s talk about that in depth at some point, because.


Rosie Knight Fantasy Castle.


Jason Concepcion This is one of my favorite things about comics is when you start talking about the stuff that has happened, it it is so insane. It’s just insanity. Yes, that’s right. You heard right. The Punisher was Frankenstein at one point.


Rosie Knight And it was a point in time that really absolutely relaunched the whole Marvel Comics universe to the place where it is now. So that was actually an important moment that we will definitely talk about, for sure.


Jason Concepcion And then, of course, The Wrecker.




He’s also a medium that was also involved in this in this group therapy session. And we learned that he feels very sorry for his actions. He takes he takes responsibility for attacking Jen and they talk about it and they help Jen work through her very complicated feelings about She-Hulk and whether people. She puts it in a really interesting way that I think was super effective, which is like, you know, that friend from high school who is like hotter than you, more athletic, taller, more popular, more confident. I am also that person like She-Hulk is that person. And so Jen is working through these feelings of Do they like me or do they like She-Hulk? And Josh really seemed, and in fact stated outright, like, I’m interested in Jen, I like Jen. And this is what is so devastating about Josh’s ongoing ghosting of Jen is she’s really is hurt by this rejection. And in a, in beautiful fashion, the group really helps her work through it.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And they get mad about it. They are like ready to ride or die for Jen.


Jason Concepcion They are like, we must kill him.


Rosie Knight Saracen’s like, we’re going to drain his blood. And everyone is just like, Please stop saying you’re a vampire. But I thought this was so fun. And I kind of love the idea that we could potentially see these characters come back as like a ragtag team of people backing up Jen when, when the inevitable battles happen over the next couple of weeks.


Jason Concepcion Superior foes of She-Hulk kind of thing.


Rosie Knight Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Like, and I think that it’ll be really cool. And then obviously, you know, Jen gets to have this really great, friendly, positive way of getting over it. She deletes Josh’s number, she heads back and you’re like, Oh, that was really good thing that happened. Like, I’m so happy for her. Then we get the three days earlier flashback event.


Jason Concepcion Now, we were right again.


Rosie Knight We were right.


Jason Concepcion We were right about this. But this is devastating. So this has me thinking is? One, number one, who is Josh working for? That’s the thing. So we see Josh in this flashback. He spends the night with Jen and then as she’s asleep, he is up and he’s cloning her phone. He’s like downloading her entire phone into his phone. Then he takes a picture of her to kind of prove that mission accomplished and then sends a text to whoever the Hulk King is saying. I did it. So, one, we? Who is the Hulk King?


Rosie Knight Yeah. And what is the purpose of the Intelligentsia? Because obviously somebody wants She-Hulk blood.


Jason Concepcion Right.


Rosie Knight What I’m really interested in, like, what are the two sides of the Intelligentsia? Because there’s like the the MRA like website side where everyone talks about how they hate She-Hulk and they want to kill her. Then we’ve seen the high tech lab side, and those are obviously both connected by Hulk King. But what does Hulk King want? And who are they? Why do they want the blood? Is it the leader? And they’re establishing a world where people don’t care about Jen or they want to hate Jen so they won’t care if something happens to her. Seems unlikely to me. This seems like it’s going to be. So that was a quote from Jameela Jamil. That she did on Instagram a long time ago when she was doing the premiere. And she said, you know, people are going to say this show hates men and duh, duh, duh. And she said, But Titania is the biggest misogynist of all. And I wonder if Hulk King is Titania. And the Intelligentsia is actually being run by Titania because she hates She-Hulk. She loves Hulk. She always dresses in Hulk colors and she maybe wants to like. I have a I feel it. There’s something here where the reason they want Jen’s blood is to create a cure, to take away Jen’s powers. I used to think it was about spreading the super soldier serum, but I feel like this is very specifically about only having one Hulk or only having a male Hulk and taking Jen’s powers away now.


Jason Concepcion I think. I don’t think it’s the leader we did. We wondered about that. Certainly the lab would seem to suggest that and that kind of funding behind a lab of that nature would seem to suggest the leader. That said. Because the leader. I mean, this is cheating again but because the leader is in Captain America 4, New World Order, I just don’t. It’s hard for me to believe that they would soft launch him in She-Hulk. I love the idea that it could be Titania as Saul, super producer Saul, is putting in the chat right now. It could be a cosmetics lab also.


Rosie Knight That’s really good.


Jason Concepcion You know She-Hulk very, very easily, without any kind of sweat at all, beat Titania in episode one. And then, of course, they had their court battle regarding the branding of She-Hulk. What? Maybe Titania’s thing is, I’m going to become Jen to beat Jen.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And then I will be that She-Hulk. I will take that. I’ll take the mantle and I’ll beat her because then I will be as strong as her. I could see a world in which she wants the blood to be as strong as Jen. And also, like, you know, the leader is not going to hire schmucks like The Wrecking Crew. Like this version of The Wrecking Crew. The leader would do something real, like legit.


Rosie Knight And  the cosmetics lab thing is so interesting because like, this is obviously we’re going to the distinguished competition, but like one of my favorite things from any superhero movie ever is when in Batman, Joker, Joker fires all the makeup and he makes. But what if Titania is doing something different where she wanted to take Jen’s powers? Hulk King, she’s the top of the Hulk food chain. But also, if you could make cosmetics that gave people superpowers, even for a few minutes, you would probably be making a lot of money.


Jason Concepcion Wow.


Rosie Knight And she has we know that she is this kind of millionaire influence. So that lab actually doesn’t seem so out of place. I think there’s a lot of really interesting stuff that’s going to kind of be revealed in the next two episodes. Like we said, there’s other options. Like it could be Hulk’s son Scar could already be here, can already be on Earth, trying to find out how who he is, how he was born. There’s all different exciting options. But Jessica, when we spoke to Jessica GAO, she said something really interesting about how there are these people on earth who know about these heroes. So obviously, some of them are trying to, like, live in their image or be like them. So I guess the other version is Hulk King is like a Hulk Super Stan who’s just really, really rich. Maybe it’s that guy who we saw who was one of Jen’s days who wanted to know about if her skin was impenetrable. And then we saw him with Mallory Book in the offices. Maybe he’s just a really rich guy who wants to be a superhero, and so he’s trying to get the blood to become a Hulk, though we know how that ends for people who try and do that badly every time.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. I, my other question is, Josh, is Josh just a character created for this show? Or is he an amalgam or an adaptation of another character? Because it feels like Josh will be around for a while. And certainly the way he’s going about his business, seducing Jen, manipulating her. Getting access to her phone feels like this is a trained this is a person who does this. This is not The Wrecking Crew level sloppy.


Rosie Knight And this is not just some like guy who can pull this off like that.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight I love that thought because it feels to me also there’s a there’s a maliciousness to it and a malevolence.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight He could have got Jen’s blood when she was drunk at the party eating fries. She was in Jen form, but he went out of his way to sleep with her, to be have her in the most vulnerable possible position, then take a picture of her naked. There’s layers to the evilness. And like you said, it feels more like a pattern than necessarily they just pick some random guy up off the street and gave him an enchanted crowbar.


Jason Concepcion Thinking about, you know, we know Armor Wars is going to be spread of technology. And in the comics, industrial espionage has always been like a big theme in the Iron Man stuff. I wonder if Josh if Josh is indeed a version of some comic book character. It would be someone like The Spymaster is is, you know, an industrial espionage person worked for Justin Hammer to, you know, steal Stark tech someone like that. I, I wonder if because again he’s too good at this way too good at this?


Rosie Knight Also, the actor who plays him is like so good and charming and interesting and easy to hate. Trevor Salter. You really liked him. You really wanted him. I mean, in our discord, people really wanted him to be a good guy. Like that was an ongoing conversation that people were having because they didn’t want Jen to be in that trap of everyone she meets is kind of this manipulative piece of shit guy, but he’s so watchable and he’s so believable. Is this like flip on a dime like, can be cruel, can be kind, can be charming. I think it would surprise me if he turns out to just be a character for this series. I think we could definitely see him show up again, and that would be so cool if he was someone like The Spymaster, especially this like modern version where it’s kind of you’re kind of a hacker, you’re kind of a con man, you’re kind of a pickup artist. Like that’s a really interesting way to to recontextualize the character.


Jason Concepcion He’s also like clearly into, like, we’re going to find out he’s in too good shape also. Like, I just feel like we’re going to find out he’s got some gymnastic ability to him. Stay tuned. We’ll see. This is we’re just guessing again, but we love to do it. Okay. Up next. Let’s let’s jump into House of the Dragon.


Jason Concepcion <A.D>


Jason Concepcion Let’s get into Episode six. House of the Dragon The Prince and the Queen, written by Sara Hess, directed by Miguel Sapochnik. When you ever see his whenever you see his name, you know that something special is going to happen. First of all, we open with a massive time jump. Ten years have passed and we watch Princess Rhaenyra, a now grown woman giving birth to her latest child. And then within moments of the child coming to the world Queen Alicent’s like, We want to see you, can you come? I understand that your body has just done the most traumatic, natural thing that it can do. But if you could just totter on over to the Queen’s chambers. We’d love. We’d like to talk to you.


Rosie Knight I think Alicent’s dream is that the baby,


Jason Concepcion Just the baby.


Rosie Knight Without Rhaenyra. But Rhaenyra is not silly. This is. This is such a brilliant one shot that immediately sets up where these two characters are. Rhaenyra hasn’t even the afterbirth has not been birthed and Rhaenyra is taking that baby because she does not want that baby alone with her ex-BFF turned nemesis.


Jason Concepcion Laenor, her her loyal husband is, of course, accompanying her. And we love to see that. We interviewed Miguel Sapochnik on the official Game of Thrones House of the Dragon Pod, and he said something super smart, which is that the inspiration for this one shot was that because of the ten year time jump, he just wanted the audience to spend time hanging out with these characters, watching them interact, essentially doing, you know, basically nothing, walking around talking to each other so that they could kind of get acclimated and understand who these people are now. Get get kind of get the measure of their energy and their personalities now that ten years has passed. I thought that was really smart and I thought it really, really worked well.


Rosie Knight You immediately understand their relationship and it introduces us to the baseline of their relationship, which is respect and loyalty. But then the episode does a great job of expanding on what the reality of the day to day of that is.


Jason Concepcion The King is delighted to see his new grandson. Tentatively soft launch on the name Joffrey.


Rosie Knight She’s like, Oh, we’re still deciding. No, it’s Joffrey, babe. And you know what? He is right. It should be Joffrey. Like three babies in, I think let the man have a son called Joffrey.


Jason Concepcion You know, he wanted to go Joffrey off bat and I think it was very wise for Rhaenyra to talk him out of that. But you know, you’re absolutely it, three in. Maybe we could maybe we could do Joff. Although I think let’s discuss that with your partner before getting into the room.


Rosie Knight You had the very long walk up the stairs.


Jason Concepcion Yes.


Rosie Knight But again, if we want to talk about this relationship and the way that they quickly established stuff in this episode that shows you he’s there, he’s loyal. But there is a a disconnect between the two of them and the way that they see their lives and their legacy and the weight of what they both have to do to keep their family alive, that Rhaenyra holds far heavier than than Laenor. And in that moment, that is a great bit of foreshadowing of what comes to pass.


Absolutely. It is. It is it’s heartening to see Rhaenyra kind of grab on to her responsibility in a way that makes you feel like she’s learned a lot in that ten years. The flip side of that coin is it is really a gut punch to see how hateful Alicent has become in the ten years. And Criston. We will get to him in a second. But the way Alicent, first of all, pulls down the swaddling on the baby, you got to check that hair. So a lot of questions about hair in Ask the Maester we’ll answer those. Sees that it is appears to be brown stubble unlike his the child’s father, Laenor, and certainly the child’s mother, Rhaenyra. And she goes over to its Laenor and says Oh, don’t do to keep trying. Perhaps one of these days you’ll get one that looks like you. It’s like.


Rosie Knight It is. So Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy just sell this. We have obviously been.


Jason Concepcion It’s wonderful.


Rosie Knight The ultimate young Rain and Millicent stans.


Jason Concepcion They were great.


Rosie Knight Right. But the way that they sell this is just so heartbreaking. Olivia Cooke is just shaking.


Jason Concepcion It’s poisonous.


Rosie Knight With tension and anger and poison and hatred. And the saddest thing, as we see in this episode, you mentioned Criston Cole. She is only surrounded by snake tank poisoners. Like you can understand how that bitterness has grown. And once again, it is the shadow of Otto and men essentially pitting her against Rhaenyra rather than that conversation that they always should have been having for many, many years.


Jason Concepcion You can tell in the way that  Alicent and Cole conversed. So after this meeting with the new babe Alicent leaves. She’s walking with Criston Cole, her sworn shield. And you can tell that these two have spent the last ten years complaining bitterly about Rhaenyra, who they clearly now absolutely hate. Criston Cole, in shocking fashion, calls her a cunt, which is.


Rosie Knight I will say.


Jason Concepcion Even posed Alicent.


Rosie Knight I love that because there’s there’s some moments here and this is the you know, everyone knows I’m sure you’ve all been waiting because you know how much I love Olivia. But like. The way that she balances the poison with those occasional moments where her common sense and empathy break through. And one of them is when he calls Rhaenyra a spoiled cunt.


Jason Concepcion You can’t do that.


Rosie Knight Then she is like. She stops.


Jason Concepcion Yes.


Rosie Knight And he has to apologize. And she says, like in her mind, what she’s fighting for is this idea of honor and dignity and truth and honesty. Because Rhaenyra is lying, which, by the way, we’ll get to later. So is everyone ever every man who’s ever been in charge of any place in and in King’s Landing. But there’s also a moment where you see that there is just those little moments of Olivia where she suddenly Alicent suddenly realizes the path that she has gone on. And by the end of the episode, she realizes very horribly.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, like how far she is. She has gone down this very dark path. So we go back to the to Rhaenyra’s chambers. Her children, her sons, Jace and Luke, Jacaerys and Lucerys have brought have very charmingly brought an egg in the warmer up from the dragon pit. This is going to be Joffrey’s new egg. They can’t wait to put the egg in the cradle. This is a delightful kind of scene of family life. And and Rhaenyra’s good friend. Her very, very good friend. The captain of the City Watch, Ser Harwin Strong, who of course, carried her out of the scrum on her wedding night, low those years ago. They’ve they’ve struck up a wonderful friendship. And he is here to check on her and and check on the new baby. And it’s a wonderful thing to see. That he has taken such an interest in.


Rosie Knight He is so interested and he wants to hold the baby. And there is just this really great moment. There’s so many great character moments, this episode. But there is this great moment where once again, look, the truth is those ten years are past, right? We are only going to we are moving towards the dawn. That’s what this has always been about. But there are these moments here that give you so much scope of how Rhaenyra and Laenor have survived and.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight You know Laenor, Laenor and takes the kids takes the two boys Jace and Luke and leaves and leaves Harwin and Rhaenyra with the baby.


Jason Concepcion The arrangement.


Rosie Knight Acceptance.


Jason Concepcion Their arrangement, which we saw them hammer out in the previous episode is, is clearly, as we see over the course of this episode, rocky, there’s it’s imperfect. But it’s working to an extent that, you know, Laenor is able to live his life. Rhaenyra is able to live her life. And in that sense, if you could shut out the kind of the whispering from the outside world, it is kind of working. We fast forward to the Dragon Pit across town. Alicent’s boys, Aegon and Aemmond are watching as Jace is introduced to his juvenile dragon Vermax and Jace does well in commanding the dragon in High Valerian. And then they with, we have to say, at Aegon’s urging. It seems like Aegon is the ringleader here. They then play a prank on young Aemmond. In which they tell him, Oh, we got you a dragon. Here it is. And they bring up what Aemmond is thinking is going to be a dragon but is actually a pig. And they say this is the Pink Dread. This is now, this is very interesting because, you know, you might be thinking well, why does Aemmond not have a dragon? As we’ve talked about before, dragons are going to be limited. We saw that Joffrey is got one, but also we should. We can surmise through this, that they’ve put Aemmond and they put eggs in Aemmond’s cradle. Clearly when he was a child and have probably introduced others to him and they have just not hatched.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion So and it’s clear that he is feeling very self-conscious about this. And we should add that there’s a lot of whispering about who, about Rhaenyra’s kids, are they bastards? Right. And they are taking the hair and the looks of the children as signals the critics of Rhaenyra that they are not. From the opposite side, there are going to be plenty of people saying, well, look at why why does Aemmond not have a dragon? What happened? The eggs didn’t hatch. The eggs hatched for Jace and Luke and they bonded to the Dragons just fine, so.


Rosie Knight And let’s talk about we know that there are maesters who can do things with hair dyes, you know, bleaches like let’s be real. That would those whispers would be there. Also this this sets up one of my favorite juxtapositions that I did not expect in this episode, which is tell. So let’s all go back. But Daemon Targaryen, good dad? Like sets up this juxtaposition between how Viserys raises his kids and the dedication that he has in the interest he has in them. And how Daemon, who we will meet his family, raises them. And Aemmond, just not sort of almost like they’ve given up on him. And having a dragon is very interesting in context of what we see with Daemon’s kids.


Jason Concepcion Definitely a better father than I think everybody expected.


Rosie Knight Expected.


Jason Concepcion Aemmond later, because of his obsession with dragons, goes down in the Dragon Pit and is frightened off by a dragon. Probably Syrax. Yeah, we meet Princess Helena.


Rosie Knight Bug girl.


Jason Concepcion Queen Alicent and yeah, Queen Alicent and Viserys’ third child. And it’s clear that she is very nerdy. She is described in the books as being kind of flighty, very different. And and we can see it here. She’s very interested in bugs. And Alicent is clearly confused by this.


Rosie Knight She’s like she’s like trying to be a good mom. So I have a question for you. We don’t see it in this episode, historically, Helena, has she bonded with a dragon? Does she have a dragon.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Or did they for some reason decide? So she does. We just haven’t seen it yet. We’ve.


Jason Concepcion We haven’t seen it yet. She has a dragon. She, she probably has it by now. And it very interesting she’s talking about this centipede and she’s saying, you know, it has eyes, but I don’t think it sees through the eyes. And then kudos to Alicent to it though is clearly frustrated by the way her daughter interacts is is loving and interested and she’s asking questions like, why, why? Why do you think it doesn’t see? And she says, well, nature is very strange. And then Alicent goes off to have another conversation when she gets the news that Aemmond again has like snuck down to the Dragon Pit and has come back he’s all dirty. And he almost got fried down there. And she Alicent is getting into Aemmond about his obsession with dragons. You’ll get one like what? You know.


Rosie Knight Also Alicent maybe hates dragons? The way that she talks about it.


Jason Concepcion She’s very well. It’s clear that she’s scared. She has a healthy respect, probably bordering on fear of them. And a thing to watch. So she says that to she’s she’s hectoring Aemmond and about him getting a dragon his obsession with it and Helena says, after Alicent says, you know, you’ll get a dragon one day, Helena says he’ll have to close an eye. Now, for book readers, I want to say for book readers. They will know that this feels like a very pretentious saying. And I think that what this is telling us is if there is currently a Targaryen, who has the Targaryen gift of dreaming?


Rosie Knight Yeah, it is. Helena.


Jason Concepcion Yes, it’s Helena.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion So going forward, let’s pay attention, folks, to the things that Helena says, because I think they will be important. And I think this was important.


Rosie Knight I think so, too. And I love the way that it could be. You could think she’s still talking about the centipede. So I kind of wonder if that her interest in those bugs is going to be kind of a channel for her to say these pretentious things. And most people are going to ignore them and she’ll become like a bit of a Cassandra figure. But yeah, it was. I thought that was a great moment.


Jason Concepcion Later, we see Alicent complain to the king about the parentage of of Rhaenyra’s children. And the king basically is in laws like do not. We’re not questioning the parentage of the princess anymore. That’s it. Don’t speak of this again. We go to Aegon’s room. After Alicent gets the news about the prank played on Aemmond, she goes to Aegon’s room. She doesn’t knock. Which is unfortunate for Aegon because he is standing in seemingly the window that Tommen will later jump out of and he is jacking off into the city.


Rosie Knight It just says so much like.


Jason Concepcion It says so much about this guy.


Rosie Knight It does. And it’s Ty Tennant who plays him and he is just like.


Jason Concepcion He’s great.


Rosie Knight So good. Like.


Jason Concepcion He’s very, very good.


Rosie Knight There’s this one that just it’s so gross and it’s really dark when you think about the Tommen connection.


Jason Concepcion It’s very, very dark.


Rosie Knight And then it’s like, Yeah, so we’ll get to it. But there’s one line delivery in this where I was just like, I want to see this kid play Aegon forever.


Jason Concepcion He he’s good. Yeah. The way he says it, she asks him, like, was it your idea? The thing with Aemmond. And he’s like, Aemmonnd, your brother, and she’s like, he’s your brother. Any he goes, he’s a twat. And he does it in a way that is like, of course, he’s like a twat, come on.


Rosie Knight It’s so organic.


Jason Concepcion It’s so good.


Rosie Knight It feels so real to the character. It’s really good.


Jason Concepcion And then she just lays into him about, Listen. Don’t you get it? If Rhaenyra comes into power, you could be killed. Your brother could be killed. We need to bond together. We need to stay united in the face of this threat, which Aegon clearly does not get. We then we go across the Narrow Sea to Pentos where Daemon on Caraxes and his wife, Laena Velaryon on Vhagar. Folks are flying across the Narrow Sea to to Pentos. They’re staying there in Pentos because Daemon just has a wandering spirit. Clearly doesn’t feel at home right now with the current political situation in King’s Landing. And he’s just basically wasting time in Pentos. Although the the his Pentosi host is clearly hoping that that Daemon and Laena will lend their dragons to the current fight against the triarchy, which clearly Daemon has absolutely no interest in. Again, he’s just there wasting wasting time doing nothing. And Laena, it’s very clear, is growing increasingly frustrated at this. She would like to go home, but Laena on Vhagar is huge. That’s a that’s a big deal.


Rosie Knight That’s a huge moment. And to see them again, if we talk about character moments, how people have been spending their time, the way that Daemon and Lena ride their dragons together, there is this level of comfort, of competitiveness, of companionship, of understanding, of fun. Like this is what they’ve been doing for ten years. Laena says, We’re travelers. We go from place to place. That’s what we do, you know? And she wants to go home. But they have clearly found a certain level of happiness and contentment in this ten years that basically no one else who stayed in King’s Landing has.


Jason Concepcion We get some important news here, also that the triarchy apparently has a deal with Dorne, with the Martell’s of Dorne, which is, of course, something that that the realm in general, the king certainly would be very anxious to head off. And certainly anybody, you know, any of the lands that are bordering Dorne, the Storm Lands, the Reach, etc.. We go to the Red Keep where the young princes. All the princes are training in the courtyard under the tutelage of Criston Cole. And Criston Cole is definitely giving a lot more attention to the sons of Alicent and Viserys, Aegon and Aemmond,  than he is to the future heirs of both the Red Keep, the Iron Throne, and Driftmark, Jace and Lucerys. And Ser Harwin Strong, who again, I think just a sports fan. He just loves to watch.


Rosie Knight He just loves sports.


Jason Concepcion He just loves to watch the sports and he watches fan watches. Yeah. And much as Viserys is like, oh, this is one or two. To Lyonel Strong is his hand. He’s like, Isn’t this wonderful young boys learning together, training together.


Rosie Knight They are going to bond. Lifelong bond.


Jason Concepcion Lifelong bond. Isn’t it great? And Lyonel’s like, We hope that that happens.


Rosie Knight Lyonel is like, maybe, yeah.


Jason Concepcion So Harwin Strong, who again, is just taking an interest in these young men, complains to Criston Cole that, Hey, could you maybe train Jace and Luke, also? You’re spending a lot of time with Aegon and Aemmond and Criston Cole says, Yeah, that’s a great idea. Young oldest boy versus oldest boy, Aegon versus Jace. Now there is like an eight year difference here. Aegon is probably 15 ish here and we can say that Jace is well, Jace is probably older, probably like ten or so.


Rosie Knight He’s like 10 at the oldest.


Jason Concepcion There’s a significant age gap.


Rosie Knight And an attention deficit because Jace has not been trained, because Criston Cole is the one who is training them and he has obviously trained Aegon to be a better fighter. Which, just saying, if you’re talking about rumors, look at where the attention is.


Jason Concepcion So Criston says when Harwin complains about this, well, you know you would know if you had ever been in a real battle that at an age advantage doesn’t matter. No one’s asking how old you are, how skilled you are when you’re on the battlefield, which I guess is a good point. But still, you get what Cole is going for here. He wants to punish these boys and by extension, punish Rhaenyra and Laenor and Harwin. So Aegon, you know, beats, basically molly wops Jace. Jace has a lot of spirit. He fights very, very hard. He never quits. But Aegon’s is bigger and stronger. And he. And he takes him down and he’s about to deliver what is, you know, basically a dirty blow as he’s already kicked Jace to the ground. When Harwin grabs his sword, stops him. Criston.


Rosie Knight Puts hands on him. Puts real his hands on him and throws him.


Jason Concepcion And, you know, Aegon, in fairness, says, How dare you? I’m a prince of the blood, which is true. Criston Cole also is like yo, what are you doing? Like, you fucking psycho. It’s weird that you have such an interest in these boys. Usually just a, you know, you know, only a family member would feel like, you know, like a cousin or maybe a brother or maybe like a son. And then that sets Harwin off. He pummels Criston Cole, and it’s eventually broken up. But this is a shocking scene. A lot of people witness this, including the king and Harwin Strong’s father, the hand of the king, Lyonel Strong. This is a big deal and it’s not good.


Rosie Knight It was nice to see. It was nice to see Criston Cole get his face punched in. Sadly


Jason Concepcion I really enjoyed it.


Rosie Knight Fatality, but it was cathartic after what he did to Joffrey.


Jason Concepcion I really enjoyed it because again, Cole in the intervening years, has become you can feel it’s a wonderful job by Fabian Frankel here.


Rosie Knight Oh he’s unbelievable.


Jason Concepcion Because you can really feel the anger and the resentment simmering. And he’s.


Rosie Knight He’s like his worst ex you could ever have. The most horrible.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely.


Rosie Knight Toxic, abusive piece of shit, won’t leave you alone ex. And he’s just determined to destroy Rhaenyra.


Jason Concepcion He is just mean. He’s a mean, mean guy. Rhaenyra hears about this, and she understands now that the kind of rumors that have been going around the Red Keep about who the real father of her kids are unfounded, as far as I’m concerned.


Rosie Knight Unfounded.


Jason Concepcion How dare? How dare you know.


Rosie Knight It’s treason to suggest that.


Jason Concepcion She realizes this is actually a threat now. And with with Harwin blowing up like this, people are going to start to talk. And when people start to talk, you know, appearances can become reality. Laenor comes in with his his companion, Qarl, who he has been sparring of late with, and the princess is enraged. And she lays into him. She’s like, You got to get it together. These are your sons. There are whispers that are absolutely potentially deadly to us in our family going around. Laenor brings up, Hey, you know, Qarl’s fighting. He’s been fighting in the Stepstones that the Stepstones is still a hot war zone. I would love to go down there. Clearly, Laenor is very bored. And Rhaenyra has to pull rank and basically say No, I order you not to go. How would that look? You’re these. You’re the father of three sons, one a newborn. What would it look like if you flee to the Stepstones? While the entire realm is ensconced in and rumor mongering about who the real father is? You can’t you absolutely can’t do that. And very wisely, she ordered him to stay. And I think too, to Laenor’s credit, he’s like, okay, I won’t go.


Rosie Knight That she does a great job of saying to him like, Look, we made an arrangement. I kept my side of it. You get to fuck the lustiest boys, you get to get drunk, drink the best wines, buy the best horses. And she’s like, And now your end of it has to be sticking by us. And he’s like, Yeah. But he also says the wise words. He’s like, The wise sailor flees as the storm gathers. Not.


Jason Concepcion Interesting.


Rosie Knight Waiting around for it. And we will see some interesting impact of that great statement.


Jason Concepcion That I found that metaphor fascinating because it is because it is the. It is the polar opposite of Corlys’ approach.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm.


Jason Concepcion Which is? You feel the storm gathering, and you, you head for it, you go through it, or you make your decision. You either go through it or you go around it, but you make your decision immediately. Whereas Laenor, and I’m not I’m not making a judgment over which the version of of.


Rosie Knight It’s interestingto wonder where he got it from. That’s what’s really intriguing.


Jason Concepcion Well, it says a lot, I think, about how he feels about himself, about his true nature and how he feels about conflict. And I also think it’s him. It’s it’s very telling that this is a he’s a warrior. He’s a true knight, as he says, to to Rhaenyra and because he can’t feel accepted in Westeros, because he’s a gay man. A thing, again, a concept that they would not understand and that he probably does not even understand. It is, I think, really telling that he feels like, I can express myself as a man, by going to war, because that’s the way I can be accepted as a warrior, as a knight, as a as a person, as a real man. And as a person of royal blood here in this in this society, I’m going to go to war. I’m going to ride my dragon. I’m going to fight.


Rosie Knight Also as well, likely with the knowledge of the historical kind of bent of this show and the real influences also probably absolutely acceptable in war situations to sleep with the men that you fight alongside and not be judged for it. So I think there’s like some really interesting stuff about where he feels comfortable to live his life, but he is sadly not in that position right now because of things that are occurring at court.


Jason Concepcion Speaking of court, we go to a small council meeting where we see that Alicent is now directly, she’s now sitting at the small council table along with King, the serious and the heir Princess Rhaenyra. They are talking about a an ongoing incident, the latest in a string of incidents in the in the very, very hot Bracken Blackwood feud. You know, Alicent is like we let The Tullys, let the High Lords of the Riverlands deal with as a Riverland issue, let the Tully’s deal with it, we’ll stay out of it. Rhaenyra says, you know, wisely and understanding the area, hey, the Bracken and the Blackwoods will go at it over anything, over anything. And it can easily spill out of control. Let’s talk to some of the local people to see what the truth of it is. And maybe through that, we will come up with a way to to figure out how to solve this. Alicent rolls her eyes. It’s very clear that like, the Alicent takes any kind of comment by Rhaenyra that seems to counter vien something that she has said as a direct attack, like her trying to one up her. Even though they’re both working at the same thing, which is the stability of the realm.


Rosie Knight And Rhaenyra as well. Everything that she says in the small council meeting, everything we see her do in this episode is so logical, so thoughtful, so smart, and in some ways very generous. And I feel like it’s really sad to kind of see how Alicent’s fear and bitterness has blinded her to what are often the best bets for that stability.


Jason Concepcion Also, it’s it’s great to see Rhaenyra as well, really kind of understanding what it takes to rule. She’s not just saying top down, here’s what we decree from the Iron Throne. She’s saying, let’s talk to the people on the ground. Here’s here’s how we can kind of like draw people to us. Let’s talk to the local people. They’re going to know this feud better than we can from King’s Landing. Let’s talk to them and see maybe they have a some information that can help us make a decision here. Also, it was really. I talked about this on the official pod, but they talk about they talk about Lord Grover Tully, who’s the current high lord of of of the Riverlands, you know, sitting at Riverrun. Lord, Lord Grover is the grandfather of of Elmo Tully and the and his great grandson is Kermit Tully.


Rosie Knight I think George R.R. Martin might be a fan.


Jason Concepcion George R.R. Martin having a little fun. And I appreciate it having a little Sesame Street fun here. It’s just like a really cute thing that George has done. And then as the council meeting is about to break up, Rhaenyra makes a really huge step. She addresses the council. She says, I felt the strife between our families. She talked about Alicent’s side of the family and her side of the family. She apologizes for any offense that might have come from her side. Clearly talking about the incident with the pig and her sons, Jace and  Luke, and their their potential role in all of that. And she says let’s, let’s bind up these wounds. Let’s unify right now. How about my son, Jace marry Helena. Let them rule together. And to sweeten the deal. We know that that Aemmond has been dying for that dragon. When Syrax, my she-dragon brings forth a clutch of eggs. We will set aside one for Aemmond. It is a great, great deal.


Rosie Knight It’s so clever.


Jason Concepcion The king loves it. It’s like, this is great.


Rosie Knight It would think that the kingdom would see it as a statement of strength and unity and stability. It is the opposite of the game of whispers, instability that is going on. It would be a huge moment. And what does Alicent do?


Jason Concepcion Points out that that Rhaenyra’s who has just given birth, that she is leaking mother’s milk into her dress, a way to call attention to her woman, to the fact that she is a woman. Certainly as a way to undermine her legitimacy, because there are so many questions about a woman ruling in this world. And is also a very, very useful way to kind of dodge any kind of decision over this very, very great gesture that Rhaenyra has said and then Alicent, in another really great telling moment. How did she react to this wonderful gesture of Rhaenyra’s? She says, well, that’s because Rhaenyra is weak. She’s under pressure. She’s giving us this now because she feels the pounds closing in on all sides of her. And she’s not wrong. But also, that’s a great deal.


Rosie Knight It’s a great response, too. We live in a world of King’s Landing, which, as we’ll see, is still just as brutal as we remember. A lot of people, when they feel the sands washing out from under their feet or the hounds coming in, they would do what Otto had threatened all those years. They would kill.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight They would lash out. They would do something conspiring and dangerous. And instead Rhaenyra reacts to that with an offer of unity, with an offer of what I would say is also submission, where she apologizes and she says We can unite our families. Like, I know I’ve caused you offense. She even says, you know, we were once friends. And sadly, Alicent cannot see what it is. And we get this like season-great line delivery from Olivia on the steps.


Jason Concepcion You may do as you wish husband, when I am cold in in my grave. It is actually I was I was shocked that she would. That she’s, you know, not to be patriarchal but like to speak to the king about his daughter in that way, was shocking.


Rosie Knight They’re telling him who’s in control. She is now in control. They she. She babies Viserys. Oh, my King, you must rest.


Jason Concepcion Yes.


Rosie Knight You know, she is in control and she has no qualms about just trashing Rhaenyra.


Jason Concepcion And the blame goes to Viserys as well. He is. He’s the ruler. He should be in charge. Clearly now, with children being born. His own children. Male child. The thing he’s always wanted. That male son. He’s got two of them now. Aegon and Aemmond and with his grandchildren now in the world, Viserys has taken his hands off the wheel. He is.


Rosie Knight He’s given up.


Jason Concepcion He wants to just be us. And honestly, I get it. He wants to enjoy now this family that he has waited and and and hurt for for so long. He lost Aemma in this terrible, tragic mission to create this family. And now he has it and he just wants to enjoy it. And he has completely taken his eye off the ball. Completely. When Lyonel, Hand of the King, comes to resign because he’s embarrassed over the behavior of his son down in the yard and because he’s a well aware of the whispers that are going on and he doesn’t want to, you know, kind of add to those by by continuing to keep his family in King’s Landing. The king absolutely does not want to hear it. But Alicent is like, no, no, no, no. Why do you want to quit? Why? You know, let’s talk about it.


Rosie Knight Yeah. Be plain in your language.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Be plain in your language. Let’s talk. Let’s say what’s on your mind, please. Lyonel, understanding, of course, that to actually to even refer to even like refer to the rumors just as rumors, would be potentially to damn his son to death, would be to potentially damn Rhaenyra and the children to death. And he just won’t go there. He’s not going to go there. He just wants out.


Rosie Knight Very sad.


Jason Concepcion He just wants to get out of it now. The King, I think, wisely understanding that Lyonel has been giving him some great advice over these years says, no, no, I’m not going to let you do it. You’re not? No.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion You know what?


Rosie Knight Even in this moment when many people who were the hand would have used that position to try and protect Harwin from the rumors by some kind of legitimization or blackmail or whatever. Instead, Lyonel’s like, I don’t want this power. I can’t do it with integrity. I need to leave. That proves once again that he is the best and that the king could want, and it traps Lyonel in this terrible position.


Jason Concepcion Lyonel says, Fine, if you’re ordering me to stay, I will stay. Let me at least escort my son, who is my heir to our seat at Herron Hall so that, you know, he can get situated there and get get prepared to to rule from there. And, of course, Harwin has been let go from the City Watch for his outburst. Alicent is furious that the king did not allow Lyonel to resign and also furious that the king just will not see what she feels is the truth, that Rhaenyra’s children are bastards, will not see the truth that is right before his eyes. So she goes to see Larys. Larys It’s interesting, right? Because Larys is Harwin’s younger brother and Lyonel’s son. But clearly the Queen feels like that she is an ally in this and she’s complaining about the, you know, about Lyonel and about the king. And Larys is saying, well, of course, you know, you know, of course he tried to my father tried to resign. You know, he’s he’s he he wears his honor like a millstone around his neck. And they schemed together about, oh, wouldn’t it be great if Otto was still a Hand of the king? You know, that would be wonderful. Although, and then Larys says there’s something very interesting. He says, although, you know, we have to admit that that Otto wouldn’t give unbiased. Like he’s your father. You couldn’t expect him to give unbiased advice. Also, and then Alicent just bursts, yes, but he’s biased towards me. That’s what she’s looking for. She feels like Rhaenyra is getting away with fucking murder out here. I need allies. My greatest ally, my father, has been exiled from the kingdom. I need him back. He would be partial to me, she says. And then Larys, you can see that the wheels start turning and he starts thinking about How can we get Otto back? He goes back to the dungeons and does some things down there.


Rosie Knight Does some nasty things. And the thing that’s really interesting, if we’re talking about power balance, establishing why these characters have been for ten years, Larys is like eating a meal in what must be the Queen’s chambers because the Queen has a handmade who comes who she dismisses and he eats the food. Without her there, he doesn’t wait for her. He makes some excuse about how the the pie shouldn’t be let to be cold. And she’s like, Well, you drank the wine, too. And he’s like, Well, meat without wine is a sin. But they obviously that is someone who feels that he is equal to her, at least when it is the two of them, which is very interesting.


Jason Concepcion He feels very, very comfortable.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion Let me ask you this. The Queen’s two greatest allies in this moment. Larys, the clubfoot, and Criston Cole. Criston? Are they in love with her? Like what is the what is what binds them? Criston Cole, clearly like the queen offered him her protection. You you would assume that Criston Cole would be a decapitated body if not for her protection and her insistence that he be fine. And he is absolutely dedicated to her. Larys, I think, sees weakness and sees an opportunity. But it feels like there’s also other things beneath the surface, particularly with Criston.


Rosie Knight It feels like I think the saddest thing is I think the top priority for both of them, for Criston. It definitely began, like you said, for protection. It is clear that he has never suffered any punishment for this. He wonders around the castle. He’s the he’s the kingsguard. He’s the one letting people into Alicent’s rooms. He basically replaced Rhaenyra with Alicent. Now, whether or not that includes romantically is unclear, but the truth is his top priority is his hatred for Rhaenyra. And I think the saddest thing about Larys, who’s for now, whose motivations are still very unclear, but his motivations are ambition. When we saw him before he was he was in the shadows. He was he was quiet. He was always quite looking, quite rundown and a little bit grubby when we see him here, he is in the queen’s chambers, dressed in finery, eating the finest food. He is ambitious and ruthless, and I just feel so sad for Alicent in that moment because I do think they’re in love with her, but I think they’re in love with the leverage that she gives them and the potential for what she can do for them rather than any. We know that Criston Cole is not a loyal person. He is like a little bitch. I am such a Criston hater.


Jason Concepcion Well, he’s very, very loyal to Alicent.


Rosie Knight For now.


Jason Concepcion Above all.


Rosie Knight Yeah, right now he’s loyal to Alicent and seemingly has been for ten years, maybe out of some. He’s very into this these these ideas of chivalry and loyalty, even though he doesn’t truly live by them, as we saw with the way he treated Rhaenyra. But I can imagine that because she saved his life, he feels like he owes it to her he’s loyal to her. But I also feel very sad because I feel like in Rhaenyra’s case we get to see and this is a great juxtaposition. We get to see all the people who are truly loyal to her. Laenor. We get to see Harwin, who, whatever version their relationship is, is clearly dedicated to her and protecting her and her family. Lyonel Strong, He is not loyal to Rhaenyra specifically, but he is thoughtful about the stability of the crown. There are people around her who are giving her a certain amount of structure and safety and support that Alicent clearly does not have because everyone around Alicent has an agenda and Alicent has and Alicent has her own agenda.


Jason Concepcion Doesn’t realize fully yet.


Rosie Knight She’s so sucked into her own agenda.


Jason Concepcion Yes. In fairness to her, she doesn’t. I don’t. It’s not until the end of this episode that she comes to understand that Larys has an agenda. Larys spring some criminals from the dungeons and sends them to Herron Hall to do some dirty business. We go back to Pentos where Laena’s giving birth, and it doesn’t go well. The. The Pentos she maesters can’t do anything for her. Somehow, she, she had said previously to Daemon that she had wanted to die a dragonrider’s death. And she gets out of the birthing, whatever room she is in. She goes to Vhagar and orders Vhagar to burn her. It takes several orders, heartbreakingly, for Vhagar to to decide to do it, but eventually does it, and thus perishes Laena Velaryon and her unborn child. Back at the Red Keep, Harwin says goodbye to his the young men that he has taken such an interest in Jace and Luke.


Rosie Knight His his favorite sportsman who he must keep up with.


Jason Concepcion His favorite young athletes and promises to return. Jason heartbreakingly asks Rhaenyra like, Is that my father? And she’s like, No, you are a Targaryen. You’re Targaryen, you’re Targaryen. Yoeu’re Targaryen.


Rosie Knight That’s all that matters. You are Targaryen.


Jason Concepcion And then we see a really kind of heartwarming moment where Rhaenyra in the yard sees Laenor sparring with Qarl and she says, Listen, we’re going to Dragonstone and we’re getting out of here. It’s getting too hot around here. And we can talk about whether that’s a wise decision or not in a second. But she says we’re going to need all the help we can get. You can bring Qarl That’s fine. Back in Herron Hall, a fire breaks out in the night. After, this is after Lyonel and Harwin arrive there. And in that fire, Lord Lyonel Strong and his firstborn son, Harwin Strong, Break Bones, perish. It’s interesting because in the in the books, the histories say, one, that this fire is mysterious and who knows how it happened. No one knows. And they also say of Larys, all the historians that the fictional historians that wrote these books say of Larys and the various things that he does throughout this conflict. That no one knows what motivates him and that, you know, they all write something that like historians will be debating for generations what it is that is in Larys Strong’s heart and why he did the things that he did. And I think it’s ambition, for one. But also, we should keep an eye on, we should just keep an eye on him because he is a dark individual who is just looking for any advantage for himself. And at least for now, it does not feel that his motivations or all of that, all that mysterious. He wants,  this benefits him. He gets Herron Hall. He is now the Lord of Harron Hall. He is very close to the Queen. He has something on her now. You know, she she he’s implicated her in this murder of a very, very notable figure, head of a very notable house of the Riverlands. And this is a big deal.


Rosie Knight And this has big I like that thing that you mentioned because there’s the there’s the motivation aspect of it. We’ve seen people do terrible things on Game of Thrones, but this man just ended his family line essentially for his own game. And it had big like he has big Ramsay Bolton energy. In the final scene of this where he’s kind of playing with the queen and sort of gaslighting her into saying, like, but you wanted this, like, this is what you wanted. And he’s kind of obviously having a lot of fun with the horrors that he’s wrought.


Jason Concepcion Yet he says, we get a narration of him. The queen comes to see him, and she is clearly, listen, she wanted Otto back. She wanted Lyonel out of the way. But not like this.


Rosie Knight She had never even conceived.


Jason Concepcion It was not it was unimaginable. And we will actually talk about this more in Ask the Maester. Kin slaying is the worst thing you can do in this world. Accursed is the kin slayer. And it would never have, it have, like, come to her mind the possibility that Larys Strong would murder his father and brother because she wanted him to do it. And it is it’s like a scales falling from her eyes moment. And she is shocked. And he says, as we see scenes of Rhaenyra and her family arrive on Dragonstone, you know, we hear Larys say what her children, but a weakness, a folly, a futility through them. You imagine you cheat the great darkness of death, of it’s victory. And then he continues to say, you know, we may know what is the right thing to be done, but love stays the hand. Love is a downfall. And this is some scary shit from Larys. And you can see that Alicent is scared.


Rosie Knight And we join him in that final moment like he was saying that to Alicent. So he’s basically like, look, I, I’ll kill my family because it’s what needed to be done. Love is a myth. Like, I don’t feel it. I don’t need it.


Jason Concepcion And and anything else you need, Queen, you know, if you need anything else like that, I’m here for you.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And it’s it’s really sad. But I rewatched. I made sure to rewatch the scene. He’s so compelling in that moment that I went back and rewatched the scene where they’re eating dinner together and there is just no reading of that conversation that could ever be seen that way. We’ve seen many conversations on Game of Thrones that have a dual meaning where someone may have made a a slight or an implication that then went on to have fatal consequences that they wish they hadn’t made. That is not what happened here. Alicent wanted an ally. She loved the idea of her father being there. She saw the power of having a a partial person who’s name.


Jason Concepcion She was thinking maybe, maybe you can convince the king to fire to actually fire Lyonel. She was ending something along those lines.


Rosie Knight Maybe he can stay in Herron Hall.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Maybe there’s a reason he needs to stay there. And she. Olivia sells this so hard that she is just absolutely broken and horrified, and suddenly, in that moment realizes who she has aligned herself with and who has been giving her advice for ten years. I wish it would be a scales fall off the eyes moment that would put her on a different path. But I feel like sadly.


Jason Concepcion Sadly.


Rosie Knight We know where this is going, you know, and we have just seen Rhaenyra leave to Dragonstone, which has its own huge implications. So I think that we know that battle is going to continue, but that moment is so scary.


Jason Concepcion I mean, you could say the first, the first shot in the war has been fired.


Rosie Knight Exactly. Going to Dragonstone is.


Jason Concepcion Alicent has her and I and I would, I would argue that that was actually an unwise decision. I think the king is aging. You want to be as close to the seat of power as you can. I understand that the desire to raise your family in safety from Dragonstone where the crown heir always sits. So that’s, you know, a sign of legitimacy. At the same time, I would argue, stay close. But you look at you look at the allies that our two major figures have. Alicent, Larys is using her basically as a vehicle for his own power and Criston Cole, who is like curdled and poisoned by rage at Rhaenyra and has Alicent as his ally in this. And then you have Rhaenyra. Her great allies, Laenor, who they have a mutual bond built on respect for each other’s lives. And though it’s imperfect it has worked thus far. And then Harwin Strong, who flat out was clearly in love with Rhaenyra like they were in love.


Rosie Knight And the who, who protected the secret in a way that Criston Cole would not, who was happy to be a partial part of his his potential children’s lives. And, you know.


Jason Concepcion And unwittingly or not Alicent’s side has made the first move and taken one of Ranieri’s allies off the board. And it’s a it’s huge. It’s a huge move. Up next. More House of the Dragon and Ask the Maester.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>.


Jason Concepcion And to celebrate, we’re back with some Ask the Maester from The Citadel to answer your questions. Let’s go.


Rosie Knight Kristin and many, many others asked us, can we infer that the father is the one who contributes the silver Targaryen hair gene from the way that we’ve seen Reiner’s children be portrayed in the show?


Jason Concepcion Right. Harwin Strong is allegedly.


Rosie Knight Just allegedly. No proof.


Jason Concepcion Is it is allegedly. The father of Rhaenyra’s now three children. And of course, they all resemble him, certainly in terms of their hair, color, brunet hair. No. First of all, we have no better exampl.Than Jon Snow, whose father is Rhaegar Targaryen, whose mother is Lena Stark, and who he himself, you know, very fatefully and honestly. Luckily for him, had the brown hair because had he had the silver hair, Robert Bresciani would have wanted him dead and would have been would have easily been able to identify him. There are other examples now. Certainly it seems like hair color is more dominant coming from. The male side of of the parentage. That said, it’s not always the case. There’s other examples throughout history. Aegor Rivers is one of the bastards of Aegon the Forth. One of the worst Targaryen kings had black hair. Daron Targaryen, whose son of of make r had sandy brown hair and a blond beard. Rayney’s Targaryen, daughter of Rhaegar and Elia Martell. May she rest in peace. Brown hair. So it’s not always the case. This is just.,This is just luck, basically. That that these three children. Weren’t born with the silver hair. They could have been, but it just didn’t happen. It’s a it’s it’s not necessarily a coin flip, but it seems it does seem more likely, again, that if the father has the silver hair. They will be likely to have it. But again, it doesn’t have to happen.


Rosie Knight Okay. This was a big recovery covering a.


Jason Concepcion Big, big, big, big, big topic.


Rosie Knight Read Tania Pizza, Erica and many, many others wanted to know. And I think this is very interesting today because we see a scene that made me think of this to all the Targaryens fireproof? Daenerys’s survived the fire when she was held captive captive by the Dothraki. But Lena died by the Vhagars flames. What gives? I will also say we saw Daemon just ride through the Dragon Fire today and come out unscathed. So what was what gives?


Jason Concepcion Well, first of all, we need to draw a distinction between regular fire. A lot of people who ask this question said, you know, Daenerys walked out of that Dothraki long house completely unscathed. She kicked over the braziers. Nothing happened. And of course, we saw her touch a scalding hot dragon’s egg earlier in the run of Game of Thrones in season one. Nothing happened. She was in that, you know, she walked into the the funeral pyre of Mirri Maz Durr, and then nothing happened and then her dragon eggs hatched. Well, I should add, first of all, that Targaryen’s being fireproof in the books, is is not really a thing. George has said specifically that when Daenerys walks out of Mirri Maz Durr’s funeral pyre unscathed and she has her three baby dragons, that was a specific and unique, magical event. That is not meant to to suggest in any way that she has, you know, any kind of resistance to fire, that Targaryens in general have a resistance to fire. That was a that was a one off unique, essentially miracle event. It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between fire and dragon fire. Dragons are magic, right? They how do how do they just understand Valerian speech? As they did? You know, Daenerys is a great example of this, right. You know, we’re seeing the dragon trainers at work in the Dragon Pit now, but Daenerys’ dragons, Dany’s dragons just knew speech. They understood it. They understood the commands immediately. How does a bond between the Dragon Rider and the Dragon work? We don’t know a lot of these things, but the thing we do know is that dragons are magical creatures. They are referred to in the books, often as fire made flesh and the fire they generate, is just different than regular fire. First of all, just in terms of temperature and intensity, it comes out as a constant jet of flame. Unlike the other kind of fire that you find in this world, it’s more like ambient heat and smoke, right? This is a jet of focused flame on something. And it’s been used for magical purposes in the past. Valerian steel, we can surmise it’s not, this isn’t for sure known, but it is heavily suggested that Valerian Steel was forged using magical spells, some kind of understanding of metallurgy that is advanced and now has been lost, and dragon fire as the catalyst for forging this material. And of course, Valerian Steel, along with Dragonglass are the only two substances that can slay white walkers. And what do they have in common? They’re kind of solidified fire, so. Yes. Yes. Targaryens and those with Targaryen lineage are resistant to fire. But there’s a difference between fire resistant and fireproof, and there is a difference between Dragon Fire and regular flame. Now we do see Daemon and Laena playing with the fire. They’d kind of like roll through this kind of like, plume of dragon fire up in the sky again.


Rosie Knight Resisant.


Jason Concepcion Like that’s resistant. We’re flying through a kind of, like, burst of fire. It is very different than a dragon. And we’re talking about Vhagar, the biggest, oldest dragon alive right now releasing a constant and focused jet of dragon flame onto a Targaryen person, that’s going to that’s going to incinerate a Targaryen, that’s going to incinerate metal. That’s going to that’s how the Iron Throne was forged. That has taken out armies. That is just a different kind of flame.


Rosie Knight Okay. Zachary asks, Could King Viserys have sent Daemon to the wall? Was the watch relevant during this time period?


Jason Concepcion So I’m assuming this is for this would be for the crime, or the rumor that he had slept with Rhaenyra?


Rosie Knight Or just getting him out of getting rid of him.


Jason Concepcion Get him out of the way.


Rosie Knight Get him out of the way.


Jason Concepcion He could do that. Although to do that would be to admit that Rhaenyra, in this kind of patriarchal society, was, quote unquote, sullied and that and who and you know, we’ve heard Viserys say, well, who would want to marry her? And in a situation like this, says this to Damien. And to admit that would be to essentially damage any kind of like future marriage hopes for her. And so he would never do that. But, to answer your your other question, yeah, the Watch was was relevant. During this time period, though, the Watch has been like steadily losing its importance ever since the the its formation during the long night when they, you know, played a pivotal role in beating back the white walkers. Unknown centuries ago, like 10,000 years ago, something a very, very long time ago. They’ve been steadily losing prestige because, of course, the Walkers don’t return until the events of Game of Thrones again thousands and thousands of years later. And so the mission had kind of changed from, you know, saving the world to basically wildling management, you know. Not to not to underrate some of the severity of these occasional wildling incursions. Sometimes they do they have seized significant territory or even sacked important castles over the course of history. But it’s a it is a it is significantly a less prestigious mission than like saving the entire world from ultimate evil. Right. That said though, the Watch has been kind of like eroding before the realms eyes. It is still it is a it is in much better shape than it was when we catch up with it in Game of Thrones. First of all, records indicate that when Aegon came ashore, there were 10,000 men in the watch that dwindled to like less than 1000-900 something by the time Game of Thrones hits and Jon Snow joins the order. So we should assume 200 years prior to to the events of that show that the Watch is in just better shape than it is when we meet it in Game of Thrones. And also it had received a kind of a boost semi-recently, 50 years before House of the Dragon, when King Jaeherys was early in his reign, he was touring the realm, kind of like getting to know the realm and meeting with his lords and the various people that he rules over. Queen Alicent came with him and she she took a real interest in the Watch, toured the castles, spent time with them, and it was at her urging and with consultations with Lord Alaric Stark, who was the Lord of Winterfell at the time that the Watch was given an increased amount of land with which to forage from something called the New Gift. Originally, the Watch was given this kind of band of land south, directly south of the Wall that was called The Gift. And at Alicent,’s urging, that amount of of land was doubled to 25. Another 25 leagues to 50 leagues south of the Wall. All of this constant band of of land south of the Wall, so that the Watch could more readily provide for itself. And this was this really kind of like upped the prestige of the Watch. And Alicent Queen Alicent was like was beloved by the Watch for this. And this was within living memory. So the Watch is relevant at this time, though, really not an option for King Viserys in order to get rid of Daemon at this time.


Rosie Knight Yeah, that makes a lot. I like your reasoning there of like the admittance of guilt if you banish him, because like you said, the Watch is relevant, the Watch is relatively prestigious, but you can’t send him there because people will know.


Jason Concepcion People will be like, yeah, okay, that’s true. Yeah.


Rosie Knight Right. Okay. Mike asks, and this is another one I think a lot of people are really interested in, who can ride dragons? Has there ever been someone with no Targaryen lineage at all who has ever tamed and ridden a dragon? Can you explain the concept of dragon seeds?


Jason Concepcion Sure. Well, the the Targaryens are one of the family of dragon lords, the oligarchic kind of rulers of old Valeria. There are many families, such as it’s like 30 or so families of which the Targaryens were kind of like a not that important member of. So yeah, there were previously many, many, many families that could ride dragons. Only the Targaryens survived the doom of the Dragonriders. There’s lots of people with Valerian lineage. In fact, a lot of the population of the free cities of Essos, as we’ve talked about, are people that, you know, are Valerian colonists and people with Valerian lineage. But. But the Targaryens are the only dragonriders that survived. Post Doom, we don’t know of anybody who is not Targaryen or have some amount of Targaryen lineage that has ever ridden a dragon. We don’t know that that has ever happened. So by for all intents and purposes, you have to be a Targaryen, at least in part, to be able to ride a dragon. The dragon seeds are Targaryen bastards, who have, again, some saw some, you know, one quarter a half some amount of Targaryen blood but are not, you know, produced by royal marriage and any kind of authentic, legitimate means who potentially could have the ability to ride dragons because they have that Targaryen blood. So basically the only people that can ride dragons right now, as far as we know, are people with Targaryen blood.


Rosie Knight Okay. So this is, this is like I love this one because I feel like.


Jason Concepcion This a hot theory.


Rosie Knight This episode is really, really leans into it with the appearance of all the rats and kind of the focus of the rats. So there is someone in our discord who had also proposed this theory. But there’s so many people in the House of the Dragon Discord that I couldn’t find it. But I want to say that that was the first place I saw this theory, like almost straight after the episode came out. So I want to shout out to them, but we got questions from a lot of people about this. Nathan, Tony, a bunch of other people. Do you think it’s possible that anyone we currently know in this show is a green seer, warg, skin changer? There is a theory online that that credit to Joe Magician.


Jason Concepcion That great Joe magician, who is a good friend and a great a great content creator in the Song of Ice and Fire House of the Dragon, Game of Thrones community.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And and that prediction, which currently feels very likely, is that Larys Strong is a warg who is potentially using rats as his whisper network in King’s Landing.


Jason Concepcion I, I would say that, of course, it’s.Possible that Larys is warging into the rats and that is how is he’s hearing all these conversations. And we know from seeing him over the course of this series that he loves to put himself in the middle of conversations and just kind of sit there understanding that because of his disability, people are not going to see him honestly as a full person or to see him as like an object that is sitting there.


Rosie Knight Hmm.


Jason Concepcion Now, that said, I lean against it only because, well, for various reasons. But mainly because most of the wargs, the green seers, that we that we know of from the books are northerners. Starks included. And folks from north of the wall. Wildlings. There are very, very few examples of wargs being born south of the neck, not in the north. Brendan Rivers, a.k.a. the Three-Eyed Crow. Remember him? Famous Targaryen bastard was very involved in the Blackfire rebellions and then was sent to the wall in what, after the revelation of Aegon’s prophecy now seems like a very, very pointed plan hatched by Aegon the Fifth with his allies, to kind of prepare for the appearance of the white walkers. Brendan Rivers, the Three Eyed Crow had some green seeing ability. We know okay, there’s a Southerner. That’s basically it. That’s basically it. There’s some other rumors of houses, like the far winds who, you know, could take on the forms of lions and walruses and stuff like that. That’s just kind of like rumor and conjecture. And so I lean, I lean away from it only for that reason that. Well, there’s other reasons, but I lean away from it for that reason because it feels like this is a thing that we associate with, one, the blood of the First Men, Brendan Rivers aside, who knows how that happened and the North. The culture and the quote unquote magic of the North and the kind of like bloodlines that seem very strong beyond the Wall, because like all the the preponderance as start again, Stark family aside, because we think that certainly the bonds that the Starks showed that they had with their with their direwolves is very wargy. Okay. And then Aria, in the books, Aria has many dreams where she is like running with her, with her, her former direwolf. And that feels very wargy and certainly Jon Snow does things that feel like a warg. But aside from them, it’s like all wildlings. Those are all the all the wargs, so. Now the Strong’s are a family descended from the blood of the First Men. Okay, so I’m going to say that it’s possible, but I kind of lean against it. And then the kind of cheating reason is. It feels like not it story wise, It feels like a thing they wouldn’t do. But who knows? It could, certainly, we are meant to look at those rats and wonder where they are coming from. I feel like it’s an allusion to the fact that there are these secret passages that riddle the castle and not to do anything spoilery. But those passageways absolutely come into play in a way that, in a way that deals with rats, I’ll just say. So, so I lean no, but you never know. And certainly, again, the Strongs descend from the blood of the First Men. So maybe maybe there is a random warg out there that that knows how to do this and certainly Larys feels like a very ominous figure. But I kind of doubt it. But we’ll see.


Rosie Knight I like your I think you’re right. He wouldn’t even if hypothetically it was a green seer. The way that society is set up in King’s Landing, he would not even need to warg because he is just invisible to everyone else because of his disability and his standing. Okay. Now, this is a very interesting one from Emily that I really like, because it also leads to a question I want to ask you that’s kind of very related to this. Laena was talking to her daughter and she mentioned that Laena herself didn’t get a drag until she was 15. Does that mean the egg didn’t hatch until then or that she got it another way?


Jason Concepcion That means, first of all, we should understand that that as a member of the Valerian family, it’s only recently that the Valerians became Dragonriders when Rhaenys married Corlys and brought that ability through the through the joining of Velaryon Blood and her own dragon, which, you know. And the fact that Vhagar is out there, you know, laying eggs and flying around is a wild dragon and brought that possibility to House Velaryon. But no, what this means probably, is that. It may be that it may be that Laena was presented with an egg and it didn’t hatch. But she rides Vhagar, which we knew from earlier in the from a conversation that she had when she was like 11 with the king. Remember that when they were walking in the gardens and she said, you know, tell me about Baelerion. Vhagar is still, you know, what do you remember of Vhagar? And then she talks about how the the fishermen down in Spice Town, which is a trading town on Driftmark, which is the seat of house Velaryon, are always talking about they can hear the dragon song of Vhagar and that it sounds sad. That was meant to heavily suggest to us that wherever Vhaagar has been since the death of its last tried rider, Baelon the Brave, the fourth son of Jaehaerys. That it’s probably been nesting around Driftmark. So while we don’t know the circumstances and I’m sad that this happened offscreen, my assumption is that Laena found where Vhagar was nesting and then she has that Targaryen lineage through through Rhaenys, so would be able to to make that to forge that bond with a dragon. And then my friend Azis, who runs the History of Westeros podcast with his partner Shaya tweeted today, quote, Seems like a good time to remind folks that there are none, zero, zilch known examples of a Targaryen trying to bond with an unbounded dragon and getting hurt or even killed in the process.


Rosie Knight Hmm.


Jason Concepcion All of which is to say what we know from the books is that when Targaryens approach a dragon that is free to bond with, they’re, they’re almost always successful. And certainly always successful. It never fails. So that’s. Laena probably just found where Vhagar was nesting. Made the approach. Clearly, it was successful.


Rosie Knight Okay, so when one of my favorite moments is Laena says to Rhaena, her daughter, who hasn’t, you know, the egg hasn’t hatched. She says, you are Targaryen and you’ve just got to claim it. That’s obviously what Laena did with Vhagar. What do you think the likelihood is that Rhaena claims Vhagar now Laena is dead?


Jason Concepcion I think that that’s the plan.


Rosie Knight Yeah, right.


Jason Concepcion I think that that’s the plan. And and I think that that is the plan. I’ll just say that. I think that’s the plan.


Rosie Knight That’s the that’s a good idea that somebody may have. I thought that was I really like the way they set that. And finally. I mean, this is just I think everyone I don’t know if you’re going to have any necessary insight into this, because I didn’t it’s just a question that the show will likely answer at some point. But Owens says it seems like Daemon has everything he needed to seize power for himself. True. What has he been doing for ten years?


Jason Concepcion I. I understand the the feeling and the suspicion even that that would be Daemon’s end goal. First of all, I think everything that we’ve seen is that Daemon greatly loves his brother and honestly just wants attention from his brother. Everything he does is to get attention from his brother and when he doesn’t get it, that’s when he loses his bearings. Next, I think that we also need to understand, remember Alicent’s shock that Larys would do what he has done, which is set, which is basically murder his father and his brother. Kin slaying is the worst thing that you can do in this world. You are cursed. Even in even in war, if a if a family member kills another family member, that is a stain that stays with you. Maegor the Cruel, third king of Westeros, usurp the throne from the heir of the second king of Westeros, Aenys, when he killed yet another Aegon, when he killed Crown Prince Aegon, son of Aenys. The stain of the Kin Slayer was on him, and he was seen even from that moment even though it was in the midst of a war, technically, you know, an illegal war, you have to say. But like in it was in war that he slayed him. That stain of kin slaying stayed with him. So it’s it is really it’s actually unthinkable weirdly, it sounds weird to say it’s unthinkable for everyone in this world, including Daemon, that Daemon would do this. And when that when the possibility is raised earlier in this season by I think it’s master of coin, Lyman Beesberry, it’s a shocking he doesn’t come right out and say it he kind of suggests it like, oh, what if plots were out there against the king or something to that effect? That is is that’s a shocking charge to even bring up. And it’s just a thing that no one would do. They wouldn’t. They actually wouldn’t do it. If Daemon was actually going to depose his brother, he would do something like lock him up in a dungeon forever. He wouldn’t actually kill him. Because, you know, in this world, your family is the only kind of security that there actually is. You know, everybody can turn against you, except your family. And that is a sacred, sacred, sacred thing to these people. And to uphold that. All but the most evil of these character, would never strike out at their family members. Why do we know that Larys is an evil, cold hearted son of a bitch? Because he went through with it. He was like, Yeah, I’ll kill my I’ll kill my dad, I’ll kill my brother. No problem. So, yeah, Daemon would actually not do that. He would never do it. That’s it for this week’s Ask the Master. Don’t miss the new HBO original series, House of the Dragon. Have you heard about this show, folks? Streaming now on HBO, Max Sundays at 9 p.m.. And of course, we want to hear from you. Send your questions to Up next, we leave Westeros for the the beautiful south winds of Middle Earth to discuss Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>.


Jason Concepcion We’re stepping out of the Airlock and into the Southlands looking for a king right now. It’s an open position if anybody wants to take the job. To discuss Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power. Episodes five and six. First of all, a quick recap of Episode five, which is basically the set up episode for the battle that we see in episode six, we see the stranger protecting the Harfoots, using some kind of magic and certainly some kind of ominously magic that involves cold, leading us to suspect heavily, heavily, heavily suspect that potentially the stranger is Sauron, although a Sauron who doesn’t remember who he is.


Rosie Knight Yes, Sauron, or potentially someone who will become a ring read some kind of connection. Because when Galadriel in the first episode is she describes the places that she finds Sauron’s m,ark is like so cold that they will freeze any flame, you know. So this ice magic seems like a bad, bad times for the stranger.


Jason Concepcion Over a Numenor, Galadriel convinces the mysterious Halbrand to join the Numenor expedition that is heading for Middle Earth by telling by sharing with him her previous experiences. Going to battle against Sauron. Kemen, son of the advisor, Pharazon attempts to destroy the expedition ships. Isildur catches him and saves him when the ships explode. And then Isildur manages to kind of sneak into the expedition kind of through the back door. Gil Galad reveals that the true motivation for sending Elrond to Durin is that, folks, the the tree is dying. The tree that is the source of life. On the long life of the elves is rotting from the inside. There’s a darkness inside of it. No one knows what to do. They’ve been keeping the secret which I’m sorry, Gil Galad is a dick. You got you. Why are you keeping this to only, like, the leadership?


Rosie Knight Yeah. You should have just told Elrond.


Jason Concepcion To tell Elrond, tell everybody. Because what’s going to help solve this is as many elves working on this problem as you can get. The fact that you are keeping this secret is stupid.


Rosie Knight You don’t know. They might know some other source of mithril you don’t know.


Jason Concepcion It’s absolutely dumb. And so Elrond, who had suspected the dwarves had found a kind of a source of liquified light that had dripped into the caves, into their caverns, into their mines, has sent Elrond unwittingly there to seek out this source of light. And Elrond admits to Durin that, yeah, I. I didn’t come here just because I missed my friend after decades, it’s actually because the elves are not going to survive. Theo shows the black sword hilt to Waldreg, who then is like oh yea yeah Sauron baby. This is going to help Sauron conquer the Southlands. He thinks that Adar is Sauron and so he brings half of the Southland people over to a Adar to pledge their allegiance to him. And we’re preparing for battle. That brings us to Episode six. Udun, which is another word for Mordor, which is directed by Charlotte Brandstrom, written by Nicholas Adams, Justin Dobell, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. I immediately thought of the very first words spoken in this series, which is nothing is evil in the beginning. I think that is the theme of our show.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm.


Jason Concepcion I think that is what we are meant to take away from everything we are seeing. And I thought of that because the very first thing we see in episode six is what we think is I was immediately like, Oh shit, it’s Sauron. We see this black mailed armored fist digging in the dirt. Is it Sauron? No, it’s Adar. And Adar is planting seeds and saying in Elvish, new life in defiance of death. He then makes like a college football speech to the Orcs, saying and saying, Hey Orcs, us and our human allies, we are going to seize these lands. We are going to make a homeland for ourselves. And they then enter the fortress of the elves that had been protecting these lands. Of course, they find it empty, but Arondir is there. He’s been lying in wait and it’s at the most heroic possible moment. He fires an arrow that severs the cables that are holding up the tower. The tower then crashes down on the Orcs. He takes out a bunch of Orcs. Down in the village, Bronwyn and the townsfolk celebrate and then they go about preparing their defenses. Elf’s doing elf shit. The fucking elves, man.


Rosie Knight Elves. Elves ing.


Jason Concepcion Adar’s motivations are really fascinating over the course of this episode. This is like a really, I find myself thinking about this character of a corrupted elf who, you know, one of the one of the things we’ve always wondered about the orcs is like, what makes them tick?


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And here we are seeing someone who feel despite being an elf, feels a kinship with the Orcs. And wants to build a safe haven for them where, you know, I mean, to hear him tell it, where they can just be away from everyone and have their own land, you know, away from threat. But clearly, it is a much more ominous mission than that.


Rosie Knight Yes. And we we learn that there is we learn the reasons why as we get into this episode and there’s kind of a massive reveal that again, answers a question that a lot of had been very contested about the origins of the orcs. So this is just so interesting. And to Adar, what is essentially humanity to the Orcs, who have often been seen as like you can just get any any orc can just get in a fight with another orc and kill it like there’s no loyalty, there’s no family, there’s no kinship, there’s no brotherhood. So to contradict that by introducing a character who, you know, they his name means father, they call him father. That’s that’s what they call him. He’s the father of the orcs who has this mission that is allegedly. A selfless one of creating a space.


Jason Concepcion Alleged. In a wierd, twisted, evil way.


Rosie Knight He’s not doing it in a good way, but he is so desperate to help the people that he sees as his family is falling, that he is willing to create this this land. And as we find out to to so from what we learn this episode, he is not doing it in service of Sauron, he is doing it to subvert Sauron’s plan.


Jason Concepcion Against Sauron. He is, he is, he is, to hear him tell it, and who knows, is manifestly opposed to Sauron’s mission and wants freedom of the orcs from Sauron, wants them to be able to chart their own course. Now I found it. One thing I found really fascinating and I found myself thinking about a lot is that the elves were stationed here in the southlands for generations, and the humans hated it, viewed them essentially as like colonial oppressors. Here come the orcs, who are who, whose mission is very aggressively to seize this land and colonize it for themselves. And yet. A non, non insignificant part of the human population of this area have said, yes, okay, we are in. If this will better, you know, better our station in whatever future paradigm comes to emerge. I found that really fascinating that they were so against the way the elves had kind of like haughtily and kind of arrogantly run the area that they were willing to throw in with Sauron or Adar or whoever and say, okay, we want to, but we think this is actually a better deal. We’re going to do this.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And it’s really it’s this really sad exploration of not learning your lessons because the reason the Southlands were under the elves control and kind of, I would say like purview because it’s unclear what the elves, how the elves were really treating them, but they were being watched. That’s why Arondir was there, is because they sided with Morgoth in the War of the Wrath. That that is the mistake they already made. And some of them are so willing to make that same mistake again, to bow to a dictator, to somebody evil for what they perceive as. The benefits that they will get from it’s very timeless horror story.


Jason Concepcion Agreed. And also an interesting, it’s an interesting statement about forgiveness and moving past something. Like the fact that they had cast their lot with Morgoth, is constantly being brought up to them and they resent it. Certainly like even the people who don’t throw in with Adar resent that this is constantly being brought up to them. And so their decision their decision is basically to double down on it. And throw in with Adar because this thing is constantly being thrown in their face. And at the same time. The way like Theo is treated with this absolute generosity, despite the fact that he brought this like terrible tragedy down on everybody’s heads, is like, you almost wish the elves could have treated the people of the Southlands with the kind of generosity that Arondir treats Theo because maybe things would have turned out different.


Rosie Knight Yeah. Yeah. It’s a really complex character study of the kind of wreckage of war. But thousands of years later and kind of how people are still living with the impact of the decisions that people centuries and and, you know, generations before them made. And Arondir is obviously meant to kind of be the best of the elves. And you see that in that generosity that he has and the way that even though he is someone who they never accepted, who they never welcomed to, they feared,he is taking on this sacrifice to lead them because he believes it’s the right thing to do.


Jason Concepcion I mean, he’s he believes in the humans of this area, the men of this area, you know, for lack of a more specific term, the people of the south. And he believes in them in a way that elves don’t and clearly like he is invested because he’s in love with Bronwyn. But still, he you’re absolutely right. He is the best of the elves.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Arondir and the townspeople are preparing their defenses. Arondir is trying to bang this key out of shape, hopefully to destroy. No go. They know that the orcs are coming at certainly by nightfall. And so Bronwyn and Arondir make their version of the college football speech, they say, and they fire up the townspeople. Arondir says, you know, do you believe? You know, essentially, do you believe it? Do you believe that we can win? A version of the Helm’s Deep speech? I kept thinking, like, this is like Helm’s Deep jr. inmy head


Rosie Knight Yeah, yeah, definitely. They’re definitely doing a lot of fun foreshadowing in this episode.


Jason Concepcion And the plan is a trap. We get the orcs in to the town, and that’s when we strike so that we can take out as many of them. We get them close, we grab them by the belts and we take out as many of them as we can. And then, of course, much like Helm’s Deep, we’re going to put the vulnerable in this stone house. This is the strong point we fall back to here. And we keep the the weak, the infirmed, the children will be in here for hopefully for protection. Theo finally kind of apologizes, sort of for all of this. And later in a private moment, Bronwyn and Arondir kiss in which is super heartwarming. I got to say, Bronwyn, is, I am not one for corporal punishment, but Theo got to get his ass whooped for this. I’m sorry. Like.


Rosie Knight Jason’s like, I will make an exception in this case.


Jason Concepcion We will get, like, we’ll get to it, but, like, people get their throats cut. People get stabbed brutally by Adar and other orcs. People die. Many people die. The end result of this is the entire southlands gets fucking leveled and Theo is just like, Hey, I’m sorry. I guess I made a bad decision.


Rosie Knight Theo’s definitely like a big. This is a big curiosity killed the cat lesson.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely.


Rosie Knight Bronwyn should have been telling him, like, don’t be digging up. And if you find a weird sword, like, let me know. Don’t touch it. Don’t let it cut into you and do away with what you like, please. And also, if we leave, just like leave it, probably.


Jason Concepcion Just leave it and and talk to someone and say, you know, hey, does anybody know what this is like?


Rosie Knight But not Waldreg. That’s the one guy you shouldn’t talk to. And lo and behold, guess what happened? Guess. You just go.


Jason Concepcion Well, we’ll get to that. So night falls, the battle begins. It is brutal. Arondir almost dies. Many people do die. Bronwyn saves him. It seems the plan works. There are losses and it is expensive. But it seems like they’ve beaten back the threat. And at a certain point, the townspeople horrifically realizes that they’re fighting against humans, too. They’re fighting against people of the Southlands who treacherously have have thrown their lot in with the orcs and Adar. And then all of a sudden, the real the Orcs have flipped the tables. Right. It was supposed to be a trap in which the orcs are lured in and in their vulnerable moment pounced upon. But it’s really the orcs who have done that to the to the to the people of the Southlands. And they’ve done it in a way that shows how little they actually care about ORC life. Like they’re more than willing to just burn 100, 200 orcs. So that Arondir, Bronwyn, and their allies can get lulled into this false sense of security. And then all of a sudden, here come these arrows out of the darkness. Bronwyn is hit. Lots of people die and they fall back to the keep. Arondir and Theo do some some surgery. And it is a tense moment and you think maybe we’re going to lose Bronwyn but they stabilize her just as the orcs lay into the stronghold. Meanwhile, in a thrilling, slow motion, horses on the gallop scene, we see that Galadriel and the gang from Numenor are riding hard to the rescue. We hope that they get there in time. The orcs break into the into the stronghold. Theo and Bronwyn are taken hostage. A doctor comes in. He’s just slaughtering people left and right. He’s like, Where’s the key? I want to know where it is. He’s basically saying, Are you going to tell me where it is because he’s killing everyone and then he’s about to have Bronwyn put to death when Theo, fucking Theo again.


Rosie Knight This is going to become like this is either the real, you know, like in people like the real villain of Star Wars is R2-D2. This is like this is going to be, Theo is  one of those, like the real villain of Lord of the Rings with Theo all along.


Jason Concepcion You know, hopefully, you know, prayers to the Valar that the people of the Southland survive. If they do, Theo is an outcast after this, right? I mean, you know, like you you survived this and Theo survived. Wouldn’t you be like, fuck, honestly? Fuck that guy.


Rosie Knight Yeah, fuck that. I think also, like, what they what they do with Theo’s character here and throughout is like Theo is the, he is the personification of always making the choice for yourself and not for the greater good in this moment. He cracks. He doesn’t crack because they’re killing all of his people. He cracks because it’s they’re going to kill his mom. And it’s that choice of.


Jason Concepcion He was more than happy to let all these other people die.


Rosie Knight He was more than happy to let other people die, but when it’s his mom. So it’s this really interesting. Kind of flip on a dime like this is the person who is already potentially being corrupted just by touching the key slash sword. And how far will that continue on into the show?


Jason Concepcion And by the way, hold out for another 35 seconds, because the the the the.


Rosie Knight Literally 20 seconds.


Jason Concepcion The cavalry from Numenor has fucking literally the hooves are pounding in the distance as he is giving up the fucking key. Theo, what the fuck? Would we have lost, Bronwyn? Probably. But like.


Rosie Knight My guy. You know, you’re going to see Theo. I hope that Theo has to truly reconcile what he has done, because the key is much more than we could have ever considered. Oh, it was a magical sword.


Jason Concepcion Yes.


Rosie Knight Is over. Thanks, Theo.


Jason Concepcion It’s the lives, and homes, and and dwellings of every being that lives in the southlands of the area of the crown dunes.


Rosie Knight And foxes like not even just humans. Everyone is gone.


Jason Concepcion 20 more seconds, Theo. Just hold on.


Rosie Knight My guy.


Jason Concepcion What is that? Horses. Can you just. Oh, my God.


Rosie Knight He’s like, maybe its more orcs, better give it up.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. And so the battle begins. With the cavalry arriving. Adar flees with the key. It is a wild fight. Galadriel goes absolutely into a frenzy at the sight of orcs. Halbrand Saves Elendil’s life. Galadriel and Halbrand go off in search of Adar who has galloped off with the key. They catch him. And very interestingly here, this was fascinating. Galadriel says basically genocide shit to to Adar. Hundred percent I will. I want to wipe you out. I want to wipe out all of your orc children. Root and stem. I want you to watch as they are killed before you. I want you to know that every last one of them has been exterminated.


Rosie Knight Killed before I kill you.


Jason Concepcion Yes. Before I kill you and Adar, honestly, quite fairly says, look, you know, I’m paraphrasing now, but look, you have become the mirror image of the thing that you are fighting, have you not?


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And it’s telling.


Rosie Knight She is a corrupted elf. It’s the truth.


Jason Concepcion It’s interesting because it is she who stopped Halbrand from from from murdering him. And it is the reason that she wants to. She reason she wants Adar alive is so that he can witness her wiping out everything that he loves, absolutely hates him.


Rosie Knight And I will say, we learn something really interesting here on a lower level. For a long time, there has been highly contested lore of whether the first orcs and the orcs in general, the IRC, were in fact corrupted elves who had been tortured. This show confirms that the at least Adar and the first orcs were Morgoth’s creations, and they were elves who were tortured, twisted, corrupted and turned into orcs. I’m so interested to see how that goes down, because that is like one of those really divisive, like some academics, Tolkien academics say it’s true and some don’t. And so now we know in this canon they were elves. And it is this really interesting juxtaposition against, just like Adar says, like Galadriel is now corrupt too. Galadriel is wanting to commit a genocide on a group of people. Essentially like enslaved but of her own people.


Jason Concepcion I mean, and it’s here’s the thing. I’m not saying that that we should live in peace alongside the orcs, humans, and elves. And everybody and orcs holding hands together. That’s impossible. I think we know that. But it is. The obvious glee. Maybe glee is too strong, but is the obvious satisfaction with which Galadriel talks about doing this that really brings you up short when you’re like, Whoa, Galadriel.


Rosie Knight She’s consumed by it.


Jason Concepcion Yet you’re obsessed with this in a way that you need to, you need to pull back from this.


Rosie Knight And what they do with Adar that’s really interesting is, like you said, no one’s like, oh, it’s going to be like animal crossing. But the orcs live over here and across the bridge are the elves. I personally would love that obviously. But like, yeah.


Jason Concepcion I think we understand that that would never happen.


Rosie Knight Never going to happen, right? But what they do here with Adar, is they take the orcs out of the context that we’ve tended to see them, especially in on screen adaptations which are soulless killing machines, who will kill each other, who will kill anyone. With Adar, they add a context and a level of soulfulness and backstory and history and connection that makes Galadriel obsession with wiping them out have a far darker bedt to it.


Jason Concepcion And then Adar gives us really some important lore.


Rosie Knight Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun.


Jason Concepcion He talks about how, in the wake of Morgoth’s defeat, Sauron tried to, whatever this meant to Sauron, heal Middle Earth. To bring the world together. Now I think that there’s this is a this is an important point to make and I think a good place to make it, that there is never either in storytelling or in the real world been a bad person who thought they were doing bad things. No, they think that they’re doing good.


Rosie Knight They’re bringin the love together. You’re doing something important. It’s unity.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight You’ve got to seek power to do it, though. You’ve got to consolidate. We all know what. Right?


Jason Concepcion And we have to wipe out. We have to wipe out these bad elements that are corrupting the this attempt to unify the world. But that’s it. We’re going to take out these corrupt elements and then the world will be pure. And so I’m sure Sauron’s attempt to, quote, heal Middle Earth is probably let’s purge everyone we don’t like and it’ll just be the people like us. So but that’s the way Adar frames it. And to do this, he sought the power of the, quote, unseen world. Did he find it? Unclear. But Adar then says something fascinating that he killed Sauron in order that his kind, his children, the orcs, the orcs would be free. And then he says my children have no master. Do you think he’s telling the truth?


Rosie Knight This is the biggest question. And I we have had so many great theories in our and theory discussions in our Lord of the Rings, like Rings of Power, discord, space. And I am so interested to see what our listeners think because. This could take on so many different meanings. A lot of people thought Adar was Sauron, you know, I think you could still I think that’s unlikely. But I think if you’re in that camp, you could read this is him talking about how he killed Sauron as a personality. He killed Sauron as a leader and he became part of the IRC. I think that’s unlikely. But do I think he really killed Sauron? Well, do I think he thinks he killed Sauron? Possibly. Like maybe. And maybe what we’re seeing with whoever really is Sauron, if we’ve already met him a.k.a Halbrand or, you know the stranger maybe resurrected from death. There is an amnesia there. Or, you know Halbrand says this is very tinfoil hat, but it is fue if it’s if it came out to be true. Halbrand says.


Jason Concepcion I want to do it. Let’s go there.


Rosie Knight He says to Adar, that Adar killed his family. He says to Adar, that Adar destroyed the things that he loves. Maybe he is Sauron.


Jason Concepcion There’s clearly history there and.


Rosie Knight But maybe he’s Sauron come back to life and the family that he killed was this his his legion of orcs by taking them away? You know, I think that is very interesting things. But I I really thought this was a very smart twist to the story where it was this he is a he’s an antagonist to Sauron rather than his new. He’s kind of new, like puppet that Sauron is controlling. I thought that was very interesting. Is it true? I don’t know. This episode is like that. I was really, like, thinking a lot about this episode. It it it has all these I’m putting them in ecommerce confirmations, but really every single confirmation could just be upended. Next episode.


Jason Concepcion This, we will talk, we will dive into this in a second. So post battle, the people of the Southlands and Arondir, we’re kind of in a celebratory mood. It’s been tough. And of course, the forces of Numenor, they’re there. They’re taking in the fact that they have won. There’s like the kind of, like satisfaction of of a victory on everybody’s face. People are being introduced to Halbrand  and of course he’s wearing the the that symbol that he’d formerly been wearing around his neck. And he is then introduced to the people as the true king of the Southlands. And it is a very interesting moment where they ask him if it’s true and he says. He’s a long pause where he kind of looks away and then he’s like, Yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah, that’s me. mj I think as well they call him like the king who was promised. And I was like, Oh, that’s very cheeky.


Jason Concepcion Very interesting. We’ll get back to that in a moment. I want to hear.


Rosie Knight Something else that I think is really interesting here. When the Numenorians, we get this really interesting moment where one of the side characters from Numenor, who is friends with Isildur, he’s like part of Isildur’s trade trio. He says that he’s going to stay in the Southlands. He’s going to go and fight. So we’re getting these hints of the Numenorians and people from Numenor who who stayed and who made a home in Middle-Earth, which is kind of like a big part of the of the Numenor history. So I thought that was a very interesting little like quiet moment that they that they popped in there.


Jason Concepcion Arondir and Theo have that wonderful moment where Arondir’s like don’t worry. You know, Theo is is talking about how badly he feels that, you know, he set events in motion that caused unknown amount of people to die and terrible terror to befall the Southlands, etc., etc., etc.. The rebirth of the orcs potentially like yes and and Arondir is like, don’t worry about it. Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s the key. I’ve wrapped it up nice and neat for you in this little brown paper bag. When we when we sail back to Numinor, right, you throw it in the water and be done with it. Won’t that feel good, won’t that feel like you’ve done something? Here it is. You take that up and Theo’s like, Yeah, let me take one last look at this key one last time. Any unwraps it. It’s a fucking ax. Uh-Oh, the key’s missing. Arondir, I don’t know how you fumbled the bag, but you did.


Rosie Knight Terrible. Just like, also, I will say, I feel very out of character for Arondir. I’m gonna put theory out there. Okay? I’m back there out there. Theo says in this moment that he feels, like, connected. He felt like powerful when he held it. They definitely are leaning into some kind of one ring similarities of like he controlled.


Jason Concepcion The corruption of the holding it.


Rosie Knight The corruption of holding it. What if this was another Theo betrayal? Like, what if he was somehow involved with swapping it out because Waldreg sees him as his companion because they’re both marked with the map. So I just wonder, I know in that moment it feels like they’re having this this time. But, like, why did Theo need to look at if if he knew what was there? I feel like I would love to see if that if that ends up becoming true because otherwise Arondir, how did you mess that up?


Jason Concepcion What is it? What will what do we say about the what do they say about the ring of power? It wanted to be found. It wants to be found. I think the key wanted the key wanted to find the lock. It just did. And however it managed to outwit these people, it absolutely did. Waldreg has the key, he puts it in the fucking lock at the top of this, you know, at this level of at the top of a dam that’s built into the side of the mountain. And it sets powerful forces free that unleash the dam, the waters of the dam, the waters flow down into the the caverns of lava under the.


Rosie Knight Tunnels that the orcs had been digging.


Jason Concepcion All of that stuff, all of these roots preparing it for this moment. The waters react with the lava and there is just an intense explosion and that seemingly wipes out all of our heroes that have been there in the Southlands. And clearly we are witnessing the creation of Mount Doom and the formation of the the lands of Mordor. Who knows if Arondir, if Bronwyn, if Theo actually, Isildur and the rest, how they survive this, we don’t know. Or how many of them do. Clearly Isildur must live. But how do the rest of them survive? TBD. But that was such an oh, shit moment.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And again, if Theo fucking lives, Bronwyn, you got to take the belt off and.


Rosie Knight He’s getting thrown into Mount Doom.


Jason Concepcion He’s saying We got to have it. We got to have a real serious talk with him because this is fucking crazy what he has done. Now to the question at hand. Where’s  Sauron at?


Rosie Knight Where’s he at?


Jason Concepcion Where is he? It seems to me, you know, the obvious. It seems to me that the really obvious thing is that Adar is telling, telling some form of the truth. He killed air quotes Sauron, who then fell to Earth, unknowing, without being able to remember who he is, and that is who the stranger is. This person who has this mysterious power, who seemingly is pre-verbal, barely verbal, does not seem to have any memory of who they are and is just kind of like a almost existing in a state of of nature, almost. That said, I don’t know how it would work, but it feels to me like it would be an amazing, amazing like, like stomach punching moment if it is somehow Halbrand.


Rosie Knight And it really would, especially because of the way that Galadriel has taken him back to Mordor. She is the one who encouraged him to go to the Southlands and she is the one who took him back to the place that he swore he would never return to. It would be absolutely brutal. I also think, look, what do we know about the anatar, which is the name that Sauron gave himself when he was manipulating Celibrimbor into forging the rings that give them the gifts. He was Celibrimbor? We haven’t seen him. We haven’t talked about this episode. But he is involved because I will say so Halbrand, he’s charming. He is good at forging metal. He is easily accepted into groups. There is a world where he would fit into the the the anatar personality. I will say, though, I and we’re going to bring in producer Chris, because he also has good theories about this.


Jason Concepcion Yes, he has a theory on this.


Chris Lord Yeah. So, Rosie, you hit a lot of what I have been thinking, too, which is basically everything that Adar says feels like it could go multiple directions.


Jason Concepcion I agree.


Chris Lord Yeah. Like we know Halbrand has a grudge against Adar, but we don’t know. He’s like, it’s implied that it’s like a family thing. We don’t know 100%. But yeah, it’s like implied that it was his families killed. Like if Adar seemingly killed him, he’d be pissed and he would want revenge. And your other point about, like, his relationship with Galadriel. She is definitely like turning dark. And I could see Halbrand be like, Oh, this could be my new Adar. This is my new second in command.


Rosie Knight I love that.


Chris Lord Someone esle I can corrupt to do what I want.


Jason Concepcion I love that. I love that. And I love that, you know, looked at from that perspective. It being Halbrand’s plan kind of that he knows that Galadriel would step in in that moment and then take it further. Even then, maybe she was prepared to go and be darker. This could all be a plot to corrupt an elf. If you get them so obsessed with feelings of revenge and justice and goodness that they are doing something good, a good mission, and you push and push and push and push and put them in a position to go too far. I actually love that.


Rosie Knight Me too.


Jason Concepcion That said, just don’t.


Chris Lord Yeah.


Jason Concepcion But I don’t know how it could work, but it would be amazing. Why doesn’t then? Question. Why doesn’t Adar sense who Halbrand is? Why does he kind of reciprocate that he did somehow murder people. Why does he seem to know that he murdered Halbrandt’s family, if that is what we are meant to believe?


Rosie Knight I, I, I to that more is like.


Jason Concepcion Are they working?Are they actually working together?


Rosie Knight That would be a huge twist. Yeah, I love that. No, I took it more as that kind of like in Street Fighter, you know, M.Bison. There’s this, like, really famous scene in the movie where he’s like, you know, I killed you. It was like the most important day of your life. But me killing your family was just like a Tuesday. My assumption was just like, Adar was like, yeah, I probably did kill your family. Like, I killed a lot of families.


Jason Concepcion I’ve killed so many people. Yeah. Yeah. Back in the war. Forget about it. Like I wiped out so many people and elves that I actually don’t recall.


Chris Lord That’s just a normal day for him. I am just gonna go kill some families. No big deal.


Jason Concepcion That said, I do wonder if, as the master strategist, the ultimate corrupt or manipulator, if Sauron and Adara are not running some kind of very, very subtle and complex play to then corrupt more elves and powerful elves and take not only take a powerful opponent in Galadriel off the board who’s been pursuing Sauron for untold centuries but turns her into an ally in some fucked up way.


Rosie Knight Yeah. Also, I think that this is like I love that we came to this place with this theory, Chris, because like this also fits in. So the whole thing about the elves getting the mithril because they’re going to die. That’s that’s new. And we never really knew how the elves got mithril, we just knew that they did process it. So this is kind of mind blowing because also the elves are in the weakest position they’ve ever been in. Of course, it’s going to be easy to manipulate them into forging the rings, Ceibrimbor, because they need them to survive. So this is like very we’re in a very interesting space here. I think the only thing I would say is if Celibrimbor is already thinking about making the rings, there is a chance that Sauron or anatar, whatever version is already there, manipulating him. And if that’s the case, I’ll be very interested to see if we get to see him come up against one of our potential Saurons and realize, or if it is that character from the trailer with the bleached hair and the the white cloak, I think a lot of people assumed was was Sauron.


Chris Lord I’m pretty sure it’s ultimately going to be the stranger. Like, I actually don’t know anything about Lord of the Rings. I’ve just become very invested in this one show. So I’m approaching it.


Rosie Knight It’s good. I’m glad.


Jason Concepcion It’s great.


Chris Lord Yes, I’m approaching it as some like a storytelling perspective. And maybe it is because I’ve also been watching House of the Dragon. And so I’m thinking like Criston Cole is like the handsome, charming one becomes a total heel. And I’m in that mindset and I think that’s going to happen again with Halbrand. But I don’t know. We shall see it.


Jason Concepcion I.


Rosie Knight I’d love if Galadriel is Adar.


Jason Concepcion I don’t exactly know how it would. Yeah, I don’t exactly know how it work, but it would be amazing if he is, if Halbrand is Sauron. And as super producer, Saul, is pointing out in the chat, remember how Galadriel reacts when she discovers that Frodo has the ring, that kind of explosion of of self-regard and arrogance that she has to, like very, very mightily pull back from. It feels like we are seeing the roots of that now. I can’t wait to find out what happens. And I can’t wait to find out. I can’t wait to watch the next episode, which feels like it’s got to be the Sauron episode.


Rosie Knight It has to be. I feel like there’s only two episodes left. And as we know from the way that we watch Prestige TV seven, your last your penultimate episode is usually a big reveal episode, and the finale is the fall out episode. So fingers crossed, we will find out who Sauron is. If not that next week, then the week afterwards. But I can’t wait. This was so much fun to talk about. Thank you, Chris.


Chris Lord Thanks for having me.


Jason Concepcion A big thank you to Rosie Knight for joining us. And, of course, for super producer Chris for adding so much to our who is Sauron conversation. Rosie, what do you have to plug? Corrupted Galadriel.


Rosie Knight I’m obsessed.


Jason Concepcion I really I got chills as we were talking about Chris.


Rosie Knight That is so good. You can follow me on Letterboxd and Instagram. Rosie Marx. You can read all my articles on IGN. I write about Lord of the Rings. Nerdist I write about a bunch of other stuff. She-Hulk All that good stuff. Also, Polygon, you can find comic book more comic book specific stuff, but also around all these topics I kind of drift around. I can now confirm I will have exciting comic book news that I can share soon. Yeah. So just and obviously here, talking about all this cool stuff every week.


Jason Concepcion Catch the next episode of X-ray Vision on October 7th. Subscribe to the show on YouTube and don’t forget to follow @Xraypod on Twitter. And check out our Discord links in the show notes where you can hang out, have great conversations with other fans of the show who love talking about the stuff that we love talking about. Rosie and I are active there and we can’t wait to see you there. Remember, you have House of the Dragon questions, send them to and leave us the five star reviews. Those five star ratings we love and we got have when we need them. We absolutely have to see them. Much like Adar has to build a homeland for the orcs. We got to see the five star reviews and here’s a great one from CorgiCMH: I love the show, the commentary, the knowledge on the subject matter and the banter between hosts Jason and Rosie are so full of life. Thank you. And excitement and amazing chemistry that’s wonderful. Thank you. CorgiCMH. Love to hear that. 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 the Vasilis Fotopoulos. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot provide video production support. Alex Reliford handles social media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for a music folks see you next time. Bye.


Jason Concepcion Hey Mike this is Gustave from Maurreen, yes. I just want to talk about the events that went down in the chaotic of King’s Landing today. First of all. Yeah, I do. I think it’s bad coaching from Criston Cole. You gotta you gotta coach up your young players. You got to develop them, not just Aegon and Aemmond. You got to develop Jace and  Luke also. And I think Harwin Strong, while he was just the guy, you know, there not putting the coaching staff, not part of officially the coaching staff. He’s just a fan. While he did get involved and I think he overstepped a little bit. A little bit, Mike. He’s right, Mike You got to spread it around. Jace is going to be the Crown Prince. You got to make sure that he’s trained up also. And about the rumors Mike. Yeah. I heard so much about the rumors that tearing up the locker room. Everybody’s talking about them, you know, I don’t want to get into them because I you know what they are.  I know what they are. I just think they’re scurrilous. They’re terrible rumors. Harwin Strong is just that guy. Listen, I don’t know him, but I know a lot of people who are close with them and they just say he’s a great guy. He takes a lot of interest in and the young people and the youth, and he’s just a big fan of amateur sports, Mike. So I’ll take my answer off the air. Thank you.