House of the Dragon Ep 5 & Ask the Maester + LOTR: The Rings of Power Eps 1-4 | Crooked Media
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September 23, 2022
X-Ray Vision
House of the Dragon Ep 5 & Ask the Maester + LOTR: The Rings of Power Eps 1-4

In This Episode

We’re releasing two episodes this week! The episode you’re currently reading about contains all things House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.


On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight attend a red wedding…no, not that one! In the Previously On (4:23), Jason and Rosie recap House of the Dragon episode 5 and discuss floundering friendships. Next, in round six of Jason’s classic segment Ask the Maester (59:27), he and Rosie answer listener questions about the history and lore of House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones. Then, in the Airlock (1:26:00) Jason and Rosie dive deep (deeep) into the mines of Moria with the first half of season one of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, discussing friendship, mithril, who may or may not be Sauron, and (*fantastical voice*) Celebrimbor.


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Jason Concepcion Warning. This podcast contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Episode five and Rings of Power Episodes 1- 4. We’re releasing two episodes again this week, so be sure to check out both for our full conversation, which contains spoilers.


Jason Concepcion Hello. My name is Jason Concepcion. Welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast, where we’re diving deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture. It’s another multi-episode week. There’s so much to talk about. So we’re releasing once again two episodes. Episode one, we’ll have our continuing coverage of House of the Dragon. Including a recap of Episode five, plus the Ask the Master segment and a discussion of the first half of Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power and Our Good Friend, Celebrimbor. Episode two will feature conversations about She-Hulk Episode six, plus our interview with the awesome lead talented show writer of She-Hulk, Jessica Gao, and a discussion of the Disney Plus series and the latest in the Star Wars television offerings Andor, episodes one through three, that have been released on Disney. Plus, if you want to jump around as usual, check out the show notes for the timestamps. And of course, joining us today, first of her name, number one, comic book historian, straight from the Citadel. Straight from the archives of Marvel and DC and Image. And all the rest. Is the great Rosie Knight. Rosie, how are you?


Rosie Knight I’m good. I’m happy to be here. I’m ready to talk about House of the Dragon. I’m feeling passionate.


Jason Concecion Folks. It’s wedding season, it’s cuffing season. It’s getting busted in the face season. So let’s talk about it. House of the Dragon. Episode five, We Like the Way, written by Charmaine DeGratey and directed by Claire Kilner. It’s a doozy. First of all, we open an Runestone in the Vale where we get to meet Lady Rhea Royce, who we have to say has been slandered by her of late husband Daemon Targaryen, who is comparing her to farm animals. Obviously shouldn’t do that to anyone, but the initial reaction upon meeting Rhea Royce is she seems really cool.


Rosie Knight She’s hot, she’s cool, she’s a talented rider, she’s badass, she has armor, she’s a good fighter. The funniest thing is she also very much looks like Daemon’ alls type. Like that’s the irony of it.


Jason Concepcion What’s going on?


Rosie Knight I think it’s like it’s all about, one, chaos. Two.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Power. He doesn’t like someone telling him what he has to do or who he has to marry.


Jason Concecion That’s it. That’s the thing.


Rosie Knight Because the truth is she seems like a great match. And also, again, very cool. Definitely going to go down as one of the legendary brief appearances in Game of Thrones history.


Jason Concecion There’s a question about lots of questions about the Arryns, about Daemon going to the Vale and other things regarding this episode. So stay tuned for that. I will say it was nice to see this being House Royce. It was nice to see the bronze detailing on the armor of both Lady Rhea and Ser Gerald. This callback to kind of ancient lineage of the Bronze Kings of House Royce. So that was really cool to see. What was not cool to see was Daemon flat out murdering his wife. That was terrible.


Rosie Knight The worst thing is he murders her in the most cruel way because he murders her in a way that essentially can be seen as a hunting accident.


Jason Concecion Right.


Rosie Knight Which also manages to smear her reputation as a brilliant hunter and a famed rider.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight So it’s really bleak on many levels, but it’s also so horribly cruel.


Jason Concecion It was cruel.


Rosie Knight Though. I will say she does get a very sick burn in just before she dies.


Jason Concepcion She gets a burn in and it’s not inaccurate burn, honestly, for knowing what we’ve seen about Daemon.


Rosie Knight Oh, we’ve seen it. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion We’ve seen Daemon quote not be able to finish. And we should also say that man. So, of course Fire and Blood and the various novellas, again, are fictional histories written from the perspective of various unreliable narrators. And, Daemon, What we know from the histories is that Daemon does get away with it because this two book readers, I think, should have come as a surprise, though there are kind of like slightly mysterious undertones about the way her death is described in the histories is basically, you know, a hunting accident. She dies hawking. So Daemon gets away with it, which sucks. But I would also add that part of what makes her death seem a bit suspicious to readers is that any death that is just like oh, he got a stomachache and he died.


Rosie Knight What a terrible accident. It was almost natural causes. But, probably not.


Jason Concepcion Or he died in a fire.


Rosie Knight He died in a hunting accident. We all know what that really means.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Yeah, you’re just primed to look at that with a suspicious eye. But yeah, again, Daemon got away with it, which sucks. We go to the Narrow Sea where King Viserys’ flagship is sailing to Driftmark where he’s going to kind of nail down the marriage deal that would see Rhaenyra Targaryen betrothed to Ser Laenor. Oh, I want to say one thing. I want to address this about the pronunciation of Laenor and Laena. First Laenor and Laena, as a book reader and a person who’s spent many years of that portion of being a book reader. Not like having any interaction with the audiobooks.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm.


Jason Concecion I just have the pronunciation of these really, really weird character names. Now, some people are going to say, Oh, it’s phonetical. Okay, set that aside. I’m done there. But I just have the pronunciation of these characters in my. I have said that in my head for many a year without ever hearing anybody say them back to me or hearing like any kind of like audio content that has the correct pronunciation. Another example of this, I think we talked about this previously is the comic book artist, Bill Sienkiewicz.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concecion Of Marvel Comics and other fame for years and years and years. Because I’d never heard anybody say that name. I had read that name as Sienkiewicz and had said so in my head. Who’s Bill Sienkiewicz? And it was legitimately not until maybe eight months ago, that  I heard pronounce his name and I’m like, Oh, shit.


Rosie Knight He actually now signs it with phoneticals to explain it because he has a really unique name. But yeah, no, no. I feel you when we know this stuff. We read it in our heads and then it takes something like an adaptation or hearing the creator say it for us to know the correct inverted commas way.


Jason Concepcion Yes, it absolutely had curdled in my head. You know, many of these pronunciations over the years. And so that’s what that is. I’ll say it correctly from now on. And I apologize. But like.


Rosie Knight We were both guilty. But Laena is innocent.


Jason Concecion That’s where it comes from. And I would imagine I’m not alone out there. Okay. We go to King’s Landing, where Queen Alicent says goodbye to her good father, Otto, who she got fired. Now she’s the queen, and she would like her father not to leave. But of course, it is the king’s decision. And Otto very graciously, completely blames his daughter for it.


Rosie Knight I’m a Otto hater. I truly am. Like he is such a sucker. He can’t. Can we just please remember that she is in this situation because of him, because of his scheming, and she has been trying to do the best by everyone. And Alicent has just been put in a terrible situation of the terrible situation. And he didn’t even have the grace to be like, It’s okay, this is the game. I understand. He was like, You did this. You picked your friend over me.


Jason Concecion That’s right.


Rosie Knight Everything’s going to go to shit now and you better get ready because it’s going to be a problem.


Jason Concecion Alicent says, Listen, I believed Rhaenyra when she told me that she didn’t couple with Prince Daemon. And also, shouldn’t you have, like, been a little bit more chill about trying to put your grandson, my son, Aegon, on the throne? And Otto was like, listen, the king is going to die. War is coming. Rhaenyra is going to kill your kids, which like maybe it’s not a completely unfounded fear. Let’s put it that way. But also, like Alicent and Rhaenyra should actually just talk this out. Why are we letting all these interlocutors, like, be in between this thing and stoke all this paranoia?


Rosie Knight This episode is, like, the most painful, yelling at the screen.


Jason Concecion And it really is.


Rosie Knight Please just have a conversation.


Jason Concepcion Just have a conversation.


Rosie Knight Because the truth is, the thing I think is really messed up in this moment is when I first watched it, I thought, oh, like in his final moments with her, Otto is actually giving her some some good advice. And then when I rewatched it before the episode, I was like, Wait a minute, is he actually just stoking her worst fear and playing on her darkest paranoias to cause a problem? When I mean, look, Rhaenyra, like everyone in this show and kind of what makes the show so special, everyone’s making mistakes. Alicent’s making mistakes. Rhaenyra’s making mistakes.


Jason Concepcion There’s a lot of blind spots here.


Rosie Knight Everybody is flawed. But Rhaenyra is not murder a child flawed. Rhaenyra is not Daemon. Rhaenyra is not murder her best friend’s child flawed. Like, there is a conversation that could be had. I mean, to not get too into the weeds of, like, succession and stuff, Rhaenyra could just have a kid and marry it to Aegon. Like that seems like.


Jason Concecion They could do that.


Rosie Knight A very good plan that they could make, you know.


Jason Concepcion They could do that. Now, I think everybody’s blinded by their own personal ambitions. And again, it’s not necessarily unfounded. This is assuming that Alicent and Rhaenyra never talk. Alicent at this point in time. And we would imagine going forward would certainly never leap at the opportunity to murder Rhaenyra’s children, should she have children down the line. And Rhaenyra, from what we’ve seen of her, is not the sort to be like, let’s chop off young Aegon’s head.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concecion That said, there are people around them.


Rosie Knight Oh, definitely.


Jason Concecion I mean, look at Otto.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concecion Otto right now is basically saying, like, RHAENYRA will probably she’ll have to kill your children in order to seal her authenticity, to really shore up her reign.


Rosie Knight He was ready to essentially kill Rhaenyra a socially and potentially literally.


Jason Concecion Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Rosie Knight Because of this scenario. So it’s a tragic. We are truly. The thing I think is most interesting about this show is the lengthy and kind of drawn out version of the fall of the Targaryens that we’re kind of getting to see. Just every single misstep and miscommunication and paranoia, it’s all leading to what we know happens because of Game of Thrones. But it’s so interesting and it’s so tragic. I was so upset this episode.


Jason Concepcion It’s tragic. It’s so sad. It’s very sad. I mean, do we forget that, like, Alicent and Rhaenyra are like 14 years old?


Rosie Knight They are babies.


Jason Concepcion 15 years old. They’re babies. They don’t have any, like, idea how any of this shit works. And here is Otto saying Rhaenyra’s going to kill your kids in order to solidify her grip on power. And what is the flip side of that? The flip side of that, it’s implied, it’s not directly stated, but it’s certainly heavily implied that Alicent should seal herself for that exact action. You might have to think about doing that. And Otto closes with You’re no fool, and yet you have chosen not to see it. Either you prepare Aegon to rule or you leave to Rhaenyra and pray for her mercy. Man, Rhys Ifans has a way of, like sounding like he is dredging up, like, the gravel of his soul while he is delivering these lines. And then they embrace. And Otto leaves.


Rosie Knight Everyone’s coming for an Emmy.


Jason Concepcion Oh, big time.


Rosie Knight Every episode. I feel like they are lining up. I mean, Paddy and Rhys in this episode is just like once again. And I thought in the last episode they sealed it. But this episode is just so great.


Jason Concepcion On Driftmark, Lord Corlys is playing power games. He doesn’t come out to meet the Royal Party, an incredibly egregious snub that Lord Lionel Strong, the hand of the King, is fucking furious about. The only one there to meet the Royal party is Ser Laenor playing at swords with his boyfriend, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth. Lady Laena comes out to say sorry about this. And then when they finally do run into Corlys, the king has to meet him in the Hall of Nine. Where Corlys is ensconced with the Driftwood throne surrounded by all his trophies. It’s like one of it’s an ultimate power move to say, King, you have to meet me in my trophy room. I’m not even come see you. The dick moves.


Rosie Knight Yeah, and not just that. It’s all so intentional, as we see.


Jason Concecion Oh, yeah.


Rosie Knight When we get back. Corlysl is has plans and designs. The honestly very relatable and probably good plans and designs.


Jason Concecion In the gods wood, back a King’s Landing, we get our first real extended taste of what Larys “the Clubfoot” Strong. That’s what the realm has nicknamed him, not us, has in store for us over the course of this story. He just happens to run into Queen Alicent there. Oops. He’s just hanging out there. Casually hanging out there, as he always seems to be in the right place and then he’s just kind of making small talk. He’s was terrible about your dad. He got fired in the realm is so much weaker now for this. And also, you know, it’s like so weird what happened with Rhaenyra. Oh, you didn’t hear about this?


Rosie Knight Oh, she was really sick or something bad must have happened.


Jason Concepcion She must have been ill. I hope she’s okay because I saw Grand Maester Mellos dropping off some Plan Tea. What? You didn’t? Oh, yeah. And hopefully she’s all right. For the good of the realm. One can only pray for her quick return to health. And Alicent is clearly shaken by this as Larys wanted. But this is what Larys I think will do as we go forward.


Rosie Knight Just saying we told you to keep an eye on him.


Jason Concecion Yes.


Rosie Knight When he made his little move into the tea room of like the highest royal women in the world and was like, oh, I’m too weak to fight. Can I just sit here and definitely not listen to all your secrets? This is what his currency is. And he’s making moves, as we see in this episode, that are just like bold faced.


Jason Concepcion I’m eager to kind of dive into what the fuck makes him tick, because I think book readers will know that the histories often say of Larys that he’s an enigma, that nobody really knows what his motivations are. And I’m eager to see if those are more clear as the show progresses, because, you know, some of the context they’ve been adding has been really amazing. Like you look no further than the death of Lady Royce. So I’m eager to see if we learn more about what exactly makes Larys tick, because certainly Lionel, his dad, seems like a good enough guy.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm.


Jason Concecion You know, there’s no suggestion that he’s been mistreated in any way. And then his brother, Harwin, who we meet for the first time here in this episode, also seems like a solid guy. They’re sitting next to each other at the at the wedding later in the episode and talking among themselves. So it’s interesting to see, like, why did Larys turn out to be such a poisoned figure?


Rosie Knight I wonder if, there’s two things. I think he has so far from what we’ve seen, like a kind of chaotic streak, like he enjoys kind of sowing the seeds of instability. But I wonder if it’s also like softening in concerns about one’s own station.


Jason Concecion I think it’s that, too.


Rosie Knight And like ambition. And maybe he doesn’t think Hand of the King is even a good enough place, and he knows he’ll never probably be there because of his disability. I wonder if they can do it because they do a really good job of even though with dramatic irony, we can watch it and be like, Wow, this guy’s a snake. In those moments, he seems incredibly empathetic and like, he’s, like, giving good advice. I mean, even in the wedding that we’ll get to later when he’s talking to his very chill brother, and I’m like my guy, I know you’re trying to start a war. Like you’re. You’re just saying these chaotic things.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Right.


Rosie Knight That could essentially even like. I mean, you just went to Alicent and acted like you were a friend, and now you’re saying things that could make her seem to be a traitor. Like, I’m so interested. He’s definitely. I think this episode with the introduction of Rhea Royce, R.I.P..


Jason Concecion R.I.P., Big R.I.P..


Rosie Knight And this expansion of Larys is like, we’re getting more to that Game of Thrones scenario that we talked about, like with these exterior characters on different lands and each one having their own different agendas and how they play into the main action of what we’re seeing, which I think is really exciting.


Jason Concecion I think you’re right on about the way Larys’ disability frames him for the rest of the realm, because this is an intensely patriarchal society as this whole story is about that. And, you know, the basis of power in this patriarchy is the way that these people perceive manhood. And manhood means strength. Manhood means you’re a great warrior. And Larys would have been roundly dismissed because of his disability. Dismissed, you know, almost completely as a man and as a human being, probably, if not from the fact that he’s, you know, related to the son of a very important lord. That said he would have been looked at in a way that would have cast him outside of regular society, and he would have been aware of that. And surely that has not felt good to him.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concecion Back in the Hall of Nine, Corlys and Viserys with Rhaenys at their side get to brass tacks about okay what is this wedding? How would it work? What does the wedding mean? So whose name am I to assume? Corlys asks, hilariously.


Rosie Knight So cheeky.


Jason Concecion So Rhaenyra’ll take Laenor’s name, right? I mena, Rhaenyra Velaryon. And the kids, what’s up with that?


Rosie Knight And the kids will be Velaryons?


Jason Concepcion And, you know, Viserys, I think, gives him a really good deal. For course, Rhaenyra is going to keep her name. Like we don’t do hyphens in Westeros. So, so she is going to be Rhaenyra Targaryen. Don’t worry.  Okay. That’s going to stay that. But their kids, you know, will turn Velaryon and certainly upon their ascension to Driftmark, etc. And this seems like a great deal to them, you know, unless of course like their child that ascends to the Iron Throne will be a Targaryen. But but the children that go to Driftmark will be Velaryon and that’s a great deal. Rhaenyra  and Laenor go and take a walk to kind of get to know each other. And this is, I think, one of the most important conversations for understanding Rhaenyra, who is just a very accepting person. It is, of course, well known, certainly in court circles among the noble houses of Westeros that Laenor is gay. There’s no term for sexual orientation in this world like that. They would just say he prefers men, but it’s known and joked about, you know, because this is seen as something that’s like funny and or shameful. But Rhaenyra, to her credit, is just like, listen, we understand what this is. Like we get it like this is a political marriage that our families are brokering for the good of the realm to shore up the strength of House Targaryen and and bind it to their ancient allies the Velaryons. Okay let’s do our what we have to do in order to support that. But outside of that, I’ll do my thing. You do your thing. That’s fine.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concecion And that is a wonderfully modern arrangement.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I love it. And it fits in to the realities of, I think, what living in like a court situation would be like.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Also Rhaenyra learning from the men who came before her. Why shouldn’t these kings are allowed to do whatever they want. They do whatever they want, have as many bastards as they want. So why shouldn’t she and Laenor create an arrangement that works for them where they can be friends? Where they can?


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Enjoy the things that they want to enjoy. And I just think. Yeah, it’s. It’s so smart and generous and clever and a little bit selfish because she wants that freedom too. But it’s really good. And the scene is so beautifully shot as they walk on the beach and it’s pretty amazing. Laenor looks very happy.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, very happy.


Rosie Knight And a bit like this is kind of more than what he could have expected, because it’s clear that while his mom, Rhaenys, understands that he is gay, his dad is a bit more like this is just what guys do. They’re just having fun.


Jason Concepcion Corlys is just like, Oh,.


Rosie Knight Spartans did it.


Jason Concepcion Did you sense any chemistry out there on the beach? You know, and she has grown come the.


Rosie Knight Yeah, she’s looking good. I’m sure he’s been looking good.


Jason Concecion And Rhaenys seems like, you know. What are you talking about? You know what you come on, you know what’s going on. Corlys is like he’ll grow out of it. He’ll grow out of it. It’s like no, okay. And then, you know, there’s a nice conversation between Laenor and Ser Joffrey later where he Joffrey’s like, I’ve dread this day, but like maybe this is for the best. And then, you know, they start talking fatefully about the rumor that Rhaenyra has a secret lover and trying to figure out who it is.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concecion That’s all well and good and that’s natural. That’s human nature to want to wonder that.


Rosie Knight Of course it is.


Jason Concecion Don’t do that at the wedding. That’s all I’m going to say. Don’t do that at the wedding.


Rosie Knight But also as well. Like, the thing that I think is so gutting here is like to watch the way that Joffrey, who truly loves Laenor supports this decision and understands.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, he understands it.


Rosie Knight And sees it as something positive. And then to compare that to what we’re about to see with the biggest heel on the show, in my opinion.


Jason Concepcion And oh, I can’t wait to get to this guy.


Rosie Knight It’s really they do a great juxtaposition here between what a real relationship is, what love is, what support is, and what we thought could have come out of a relationship between Criston and and Rhaenyra. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Let’s go to Heel Town. So we’re back on the king’s flagship. It’s heading from Driftmark back to King’s Landing. Now Criston Cole is Rhaenyra’s sworn sword in addition to being a member of the Kings where you can be a sworn sword, you can be any knight. And swear your sword to somebody, as we saw with Brienne of Tarth. Right. You don’t necessarily need to be a member of the Kings, but he’s also a member of the Kingsguard, so that he’s her bodyguard. That said, they have had a sexual relationship, perhaps more than one at this point.


Rosie Knight That seems to be the implication here, is that something else has occurred in the time that has passed.


Jason Concepcion It might have continued. And I got to say, if you’ve got this secret, very, very dangerous relationship, certainly for Cole, who is sworn never to have sexual relations, father children, or get married, etc., and the penalty for which is very serious. It seems to me like a really dumb thing to come out in your shirtsleeves. No armor on like you just literally got out of bed in a very casual way and then chat with the princess of the blood. Like on the deck of the royal ship.


Rosie Knight There is a man cleaning the deck behind them when this conversation is going on, like he’s down on the lower deck, but you can see him behind them. And the thing that annoys me about it, but honestly, like I’m now understanding Criston is a ridiculous man, so that’s a problem. He could have literally just put on the armor. She’s out there in the middle of the night on the deck.


Jason Concepcion Make it look legitimate. Yeah.


Rosie Knight Go out there in the armor to protect her. But no, he is on one and he’s about to make her. The thing that pains me the most is this conversation begins like a fairy tale until you realize the real motivations behind it, which are just so depressing.


Jason Concepcion So I will just say of Criston, clearly he’s never caught feelings before, right? For anyone. And we heard back during the episode with The Hunt as they were riding through the woods, like he’s not had many relationships, certainly not with a woman of the status of Princess Rhaenyra ever. And it is clear from the conversation that ensues there on the deck of the ship that Cole is fucking in love with Princess Rhaenyra at this point.


Rosie Knight When we recap this section, I have a different reading of this. Actually, I think he is, as we later hear, the fantastic Game of Thrones term, cunt struck. I do I do believe that is true, but I believe he is more invested in his own station and honor than he actually is with Rhaenyra.


Jason Concepcion I think that that’s right as well.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I think they can exist alongside. But he obviously really likes her.


Jason Concepcion I mean, he then proposes the most insane thing. This is one of the funniest quietly the funniest lines, I think ever in House the Dragons/ Game of Thrones history. Criston Cole says to Rhaenyra, hey, I was hanging out in Sun Spear for a little while and when I was there I watched them unloading ships. And now I’m an expert in ships and travel. I saw them unload oranges and spices and cinnamon and I thought, Hey, where does that stuff come from? And now I think what makes sense is for me to take you around the world because I saw like three or four ships get unloaded and what?


Rosie Knight He is a naive man. You know.


Jason Concepcion What are you talk. I think you should bring shame on your name and your entire house by running away with me to Essos.


Rosie Knight Destroy your already very sick father.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, because I saw, like, four crates of oranges once. Okay. What? And so very very rightly Rhaenyra is like, what? No, we can’t. We just, like, I become queen, and we keep having a relationship, but we just keep it very quiet. Like, can’t we do that?


Rosie Knight Not even that. She’s like, I actually went out of my way because I care about you and enjoy what we have to make an arrangement with my future husband, which, by the way, probably could have got me killed if I’d have read that situation wrong.


Jason Concecion Sure.


Rosie Knight Where I said, Look, we’re going to have a baby, but we can just, you know, me and you can do whatever we want. There is entire relationships, love stories, families and Game of Thrones that were born that way is quite normal. Cole is not having it.


Jason Concecion Not having it. So Rhaenyra turns him down and Coles says, so you want me to be your whore after she proposes, like, why don’t we just do what we’re doing? And he is clearly upset about the fact that he broke his vows and now sees himself because they’re not going to make it official by, I guess, eloping. He feels like he is a whore in his own words, which is ridiculous. We got a good thing going here, Criston. Why are you fucking it up?


Rosie Knight Right there is like, a really brilliant moment in this, and I think you can really tell that you have, like, a female writing team, female director. There’s this moment where he gets in her face and he’s like, I broke my vows for you. And he’s like, That’s all I have to my fucking name. And it’s like, there’s so much anger and he’s so stressed and scared and angry and hateful in that moment. I just think it really tells you a lot. Like, I do feel like if this actor wasn’t so good, this could feel like a bit too much, like a complete turn around. But there’s something in it. This like naivete, like you said, because she’s even says to him, she’s like, Well, I’m going to go marry you for like a bushel of oranges. She’s like, No. What you might do? I love the line when she’s like, I am the crown. She’s like, There’s no crown, but there’s no Westeros. Like, Yeah, it’s this was such a hard scene for me. And because it’s so sad to me, it’s really sad for Rhaenyra because she went out of her way to take this person into her confidence. And and also, I will just say, I know that they’re not making it very clear here, but it is obvious that there is quite a significant age difference between the two of them. So I also feel like Criston Cole, if we’re getting into the weeds of it, you slept with a child and now you need to just behave yourself. And like also everyone knows the wall, the Night’s Guard, the King’s Guard they’re always banging like they all have sex all the time. Like, don’t worry about like it’s okay.


Jason Concepcion We can keep this quiet. Criston Cole, if you also we can keep this quiet if you don’t walk around like unclothed talking.


Rosie Knight Casually.


Jason Concecion Casually, while the king and others are below deck like right below.


Rosie Knight And there is a man cleaning the deck. And also. Yeah, like if you are the queen’s consort, essentially.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Guess what? There’s no rules for you. That’s kind of how it is until somebody else is in power like you are. That is a really great deal. And you know what I respect anyone’s right to say like that doesn’t work for me.


Jason Concecion I completely agree.


Rosie Knight You don’t have to blow up everyone’s whole lives because that is what you’re about to do. Blow up everything.


Jason Concepcion I completely agree. Listen, it’s very important to say agency and consent is important. If that doesn’t work for Criston, Fairplay, okay, we break it off. I think it’s a great deal.


Rosie Knight Rhaenyra would be chill with that too. She would just be like, okay.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, but like, don’t be a dick about it. Anyway


Rosie Knight He’s about to be a top tier legendary Game of Thrones dick.


Jason Concepcion That’s a major, iconic, historic Game of Thrones dick. They get back to the Red Keep, King Viserys collapses. He was not looking well on the trip.


Rosie Knight He has been sick.


Jason Concecion He looks shitty. Yes, either a cold or flu. And of course, as we’re going to see, his left arm is in a really perilous state.


Rosie Knight Looking like leprosy at this point or something is something to a leprosy or something. He’s he’s looking very ill and he’s hiding it. But I think part of the reason Corlys, for example, felt so brave as to really make a lot of demands rather than just being like, of course, my son will marry the queen was because Viserys was coughing. He was weak.


Jason Concecion He felt like he could push him around.


Rosie Knight To secure that safety for Rhaenyra. So yeah, he’s not looking good.


Jason Concepcion The scene on the deck of the ship kind of emotionally sets up what follows when Criston is summoned by the queen.


Rosie Knight This guy.


Jason Concecion You could tell he’s nervous about it. And so Rhaenyra is clearly, from her perspective, asking in a kind of roundabout way getting to it about the allegations that Alicent is kind of like, you know, in a roundabout way, getting her courage up to kind of ask about the allegations that Rhaenyra slept with Prince Daemon. And she’s kind of getting to the point, when Criston Cole absolutely folds the fuck up and is like, Yeah, I had sex with the princess. Please don’t cut my dick off and torture me. Just cut my head off. Just execute me. That’s it. I want a warrior’s death. That’s it. And the queen is shocked, but she feels clearly betrayed. Feels lied to. Her friend lied to her face?


Rosie Knight Yeah, because she specifically promised that she was still a maiden. That’s the thing. I think the Daemon thing, this kind of goes along with what Rhaenyra told you. That’s not how she slept with. She could have come to Alicent in that moment and been at least slightly honest, though I would argue Rhaenyra is also probably trying to protect Criston Cole ironically. But Criston folded like this motherfucker.


Jason Concecion Folded up.


Rosie Knight Snitched so quickly. Oh, snitched, snitched. He could have just waited to see what she was going to say, but no.


Jason Concepcion He just folded the fuck up. And, you know, I’ve seen people say, like, why is Alicent so mad? She has no leg to stand on. She had previously been lying about her relationship with King Viserys. Fair. That said, one, just because something makes logical sense doesn’t mean that’s how anyone responds emotionally. Like, just because I wronged someone first doesn’t mean I’m not mad when they I feel like they betrayed.


Rosie Knight She’s a child. But I think the real reason that this is such a pivotal turning point for her, she put her word against her father’s. I still think she did the right thing.


Jason Concepcion I agree. She was an incredible friend to Rhaenyra.


Rosie Knight But I do also believe if Rhaenyra had been honest to Alicent, Alicent probably just still would have lied to the king, but would have found a way to make it so Otto wouldn’t look so bad. I think the problem here is Otto is now been kicked out. She sees that as her one kind of true ally that she had, even though I wouldn’t agree with that. And now that is what she’s mad about, is I vouched for you, you lied. Now my dad’s gone. And now there’s this weird crying king’s guard.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight In my room telling me some traitorous business.


Jason Concecion I think there are several things, and I think you’re exactly right. I think there’s also the fact that Alicent feels trapped by this relationship she has with Viserys, this much older man. She, in her mind, is doing everything by the book that has been set out for her. She’s doing her duty. She’s producing the heir. She’s sleeping with this older man. She’s trying to comport herself in a queenly royal fashion that everybody can be proud of, and she’s not having any fucking fun. Meanwhile, here’s Rhaenyra, the crown princess.


Rosie Knight Who’s always complaining.


Jason Concepcion Who should be doing what she exactly what Alicent is doing and yet is always complaining about, Oh my God, I have to meet all these men who want to marry me.


Rosie Knight Who are young and not rotting to death.


Jason Concepcion Who are young and not rotting to death. And then when her friend asks her, okay, so did this happen? Lies to her face about it. And then, it turns out, has been sleeping with one of the Knights of the Kingsguard, who, by the way, you’re supposed to protect me too. Can I trust them?


Rosie Knight And also who? Oh, that’s a really good point actually. About.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Doesn’t this, exactly, I never realized this, right until we had this conversation. Doesn’t that exactly play into Otto’s paranoia play?


Jason Concepcion Exactly the thing. Yeah.


Rosie Knight And also, I think the other thing that I really love about this moment is like, I’m sure that in Alicent’s head, because she is, like, smart as fuck, she is also like, you slept with one who would just come in here and tell me that, like she literally gives him.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah, you’re sloppy.


Jason Concepcion That on top of everything else, you’re messy.


Rosie Knight She’s like, Yeah. I even said to him, like, you are loyal to her, understandably. Like she almost gave him a get out to not really tell her anything and just claim loyalty. And it does. It really made me miss some of those really loyal night/ king’s guard or just general relationships from Game of Thrones where you just know they would have rather like had every single finger chopped off and snitch on the person that they love and these motherfuckers just like I did. And and she doesn’t love me.


Jason Concecion So Alicent generously dismisses Criston Cole.


Rosie Knight Yeah. She’s like, bye.


Jason Concecion See you later. It’s wedding time. We go to the king’s chambers, and he’s not doing great. He’s clearly in a bad emotional state as well because he’s sick. His arm is falling off. He’s with Lord Strong, who is looking on with a lot of concern about the perilous health state of the king. And Viserys, clearly emotional, is like, Hey, I kind of I wish I had been a great warrior. I think I could have been a great warrior. I wish I had been tested right and then Lionel Strong, and this shows actually why he is the right advisor for Viserys, doesn’t say, as Viserys notes, many would have said, oh, you would have been a match for Aegon the Conqueror himself. He says, Why would you want to be tested in war? Many who have been tested only wish that it had never happened. And though Viserys is actually wounded by the fact that like he didn’t give him that kind of ego boost to saying you would have been a great warrior, he also acknowledges, You told me the truth and that’s great.


Rosie Knight Okay, I have two questions I need to ask you as the as the maester, the right. So there is Grand Maester Mellos turns down two herbal poultices that one of the other.


Jason Concecion Poultices, Goes for the leeches.


Rosie Knight Maesters. That seem like it could become prominent to me? Like is Mellos not trying to save him, is he just stuck in the old ways? Well, we see. I think it was like, Oh, when will that become a new Maester? So I thought that was really interesting moment.


Jason Concepcion I think Mellos is doing his best. But, you know, medical care is just extremely limited. That’s it. Like their knowledge of the human body of epidemiology, of bacterial infection, like they don’t know anything. They’ve probably got, you know, they’ve got like the poultice or the leeches. It’s not like they’ve got a tremendous amount of, like, different remedies.


Rosie Knight Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that’s just his way. The other thing I would say that I thought was interesting, I wanted to get your take on is that before we’ve seen Alicent and she’s called and she has to sleep with the king when he’s really gross, Strong does her a real solid here, where he says she’s otherwise engaged and then gives him a sleeping draft. And then we see the Strong sons later at the wedding seemingly lean towards Alicent’s side. So are we seeing some kind of allegiance here or is it just kindness from Strong? Because I think that’s a really kind thing to do.


Jason Concepcion I think it was. Partially a kindness and I also think it was Strong doing the thing that Criston Cole should do, which is being like, here’s a topic that’s none of my business, so it’s none of my business. I don’t know what the Queen’s up to. That’s none of my business. Not involved in that.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concecion I don’t know where she is. I’m not my job is not to follow the queen around. And I think very wisely and generously to Alicent, just like I don’t know where she is.


Rosie Knight Go to sleep.


Jason Concecion Yeah. We go to the wedding, which, as we know, are always happy.


Rosie Knight Nothing bad ever happens.


Jason Concepcion Cleanly executed, wonderful affairs in Westeros. Rhaenyra and Laenor streak towards the capital on their dragons. The Velaryon Fleet is coming in. And then you know, Harold Westerling, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, who I think got this job because he’s got the best voice coming back. So Scottish inflected brogue is like introducing everyone. We meet Jason Lannister again, the Lord of Casterly Rock, who makes the tremendous decision to go to the high table and make like a women be shopping joke essentially like, yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s so bad.


Jason Concepcion You know, we’re like, Oh, well, women can’t go to war because their role is getting dressed like.


Rosie Knight They’re going to be late. And it’s just like he is the worst. And I love this is the chemistry between Paddy and Millie is so great because Paddy just know really good. Like Viserys knows his daughter and the little look they give to each other when he walks away and he’s like.


Jason Concecion The little eyeroll and look.


Rosie Knight It’s that acknowledgment of, like, you were right. You could never have married that fucking idiot. Yeah, I’m sorry, man. And it was.


Jason Concecion Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I proposed him. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. What was I thinking? At one point, Gerald Royce comes up and is cutting off the Hightowers, which I think is a tremendous breach of etiquette and is about certainly like about to, I think, raise the issue of the late Lady Rhea when all of a sudden these trumpets blaring in comes House Velaryon and now the king is going to make his speech. Is in the midst of his speech when in walks Queen Alicent. Dun dun dun. And she’s wearing this dress of startling green. Larys, the Clubfoot, leans over to his brother HARWIN Everybody’s on their feet now. And he and he says, Well, first of all, Harwin’s like, King is not going to be happy about that, right? That’s his wife just arrives in the middle of the speech. Now, it’s like start his speech again. And then Larys perhaps noting, you know, showing that he is the smarter one of the two, able to read the emotional and subtextual cues of what’s going on here, says, Hey, you know what the color of the Hightower beacon is when they’re calling their banners to war? It is green. So clearly here is Alicent, I think, feeling her most isolated, her most betrayed, her most scared. Otto is gone and she’s putting up the flag and saying, okay, my family rally to me. I need backup now. This. I’m calling you. I need you.


Rosie Knight Very bad ass moment.


Jason Concepcion The wedding goes kind of pretty okay. Daemon watches all of the stuff happening. He kind of is watching Rhaenyra dance with Laenor with something like jealousy or longing. There’s some kind of charged, you know, feeling there. Criston Cole is like on the side of the hall, fuming. Queen Alicent.


Rosie Knight Being so obvious once again, this man has never been subtle in his life.


Jason Concecion Being an absolute fucking dick. And then Lord Gerald comes up and it’s like, Hey, Daemon, you killed  Lady Rhea didn’t you? Daemon’s like, Wait, wait, who are you? He’s like, I’m Gerald Royce. And first of all, Wild that no one goes, Hey, well, let’s handle this during office hours.


Rosie Knight Now, the King and Lord Strong are both looking on like, he probably did this. Like they’re like, Oh.


Jason Concepcion I, I mean, this is like, to be fair, there’s no way this is the first time that thought has occurred to anybody here, you know, but you’re right.


Rosie Knight We didn’t touch on it because it’s so brief. But like when Viserys finds out from Corlys, he definitely has a moment of like, but wasn’t she a good hunter? Why would that happen? So I love that because Lord Strong’s just like, Oh, what have I gotten myself into with this murder family?


Jason Concecion Yeah, he’s like fuck. Putting out more fires here. Daemon denies it. And then says, And by the way, I’ll be flying to the Vale soon to talk to Lady Aerin to petition for my right as the husband of the late Rhea Royce, who was the heir to Runestone, a wonderful and ancient castle of Runestone, the jewel in the eye of the ancient House Royce. That’s mine now because she died and I was her husband, so I’ll be going to get that for myself. During the festivities, Daemon steals a dance with Laena. Laenor again tremendously unwisely is talking to Ser Joffrey and let’s not do this now, but whatever. Joff then tells Laenor, Hey, I figured it out. The secret lover. It’s Ser Criston Cole. At which point they should have gone. Oh, that’s awesome. Okay


Rosie Knight Good. Glad we call that. We’ll deal with that another day.


Jason Concepcion That’s it. Yeah, we’ll deal with that some other time. But Joffrey, you know, harbinger of a fatal beating to come insists not to put it, not to make it his fault. But he he’s like, actually, this is great because, look, she knows something about you and you know something about her. And so now there’s some reciprocity to this kind of leverage relationship that you have.


Rosie Knight He’s someone who understands how to play the game. I will say that like he understands the way these things usually happen. The problem is he could see that Criston Cole was so pressed that he was literally stewing publicly in the side of the wedding. I would say probably not the best time to approach him and kind of like half threatened them, half offer him like a weird allegiance. It was a bad time.


Jason Concepcion The timing. It’s the right idea.


Rosie Knight At the wrong time.


Jason Concecion Yeah, and it’s absolutely the wrong time. There’s more dancing. Daemon breaks into dance with Rhaenyra. They have a little argument in  high Valerian. Daemon is like Laenor is boring, man. You need an exciting guy. And Rhaenyra is like, Yeah, but this is like the political marriage. Like.


Rosie Knight You’re fucking idiot.


Jason Concecion About, like, you fucking moron. Daemon then makes his feelings plain. He’s like, What about us? Are we going to give us a chance? What are we going to do? And she’s like, Okay, then do it. I call your bluff. Right now. I’m here, you’re here. Let’s do something. Meanwhile, Viserys is watching all of this.


Rosie Knight He is getting so mad because he’s starting to understand.


Jason Concecion With mounting alarm. Yeah. When all of a sudden there’s a scream and there is a crush of bodies. Chaos. There’s some kind of thing happening in the back of the hall. And what is it? It’s Ser Christine Cole beating Ser Joffrey’s face in. Laenor is thrown down. Rhaenyra is thrown to the side. The King’s Guard, well, like, aside from the fact that the King’s Guard is actively involved in this. Where is the rest of the King’s Guard? Unclear. Where’s the rest of the guards of the castle? Unclear. Lyonel Strong looks over at his son, Ser Harwin “Break Bones”, so named because he is, everybody says the strongest knight in the realm, the strongest guy in the room.


Rosie Knight He juggernauts them. He goes through. Nobody is stopping.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely it dudes bouncing off him. He’s like elbowing people in the face. They’re flying out of frame. He cuts all the way through this scrum, picks up Rhaenyra and throws her over his shoulder and gets out of there. And then as everything kind of clears out, we see what’s happening. Cole is on top of Joffrey beating his face in and eventually has murdered him in a disgusting, like pool of blood.


Rosie Knight Homophobic hate crime.


Jason Concepcion Absolute hate crime. What was said between the two? Unknown. But probably some sort of blackmail attempt.


Rosie Knight You know what I think? I actually think Criston is so scared, now that he know Rhaenyra’s not  going to marry him. He’s so scared of losing his honor, of being kicked out of the kingsguard, of of muddying his white cloak and what it means for him and his family and blah, blah, blah. I think he just probably did it. That this is somebody who knows. He doesn’t know that Laenor knows, you know, he knows that Joffrey knows. And now he killed Joffrey and Joffrey doesn’t know. But also, how did he get away with that? Because he just killed the Lord in the middle of this wedding.


Jason Concecion Well, we’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about that next episode. Should he indeed have gotten away with that? Well. I will say that I think you’re right in the sense that I don’t think there’s any rational thoughts going through Criston Cole’s mind. That said, I could also see a pure fear response, right, where he’s already feeling pressed because he broke his vows for the princess. And now here is the princess’s betrothed boyfriend who is threatening him, perhaps on behalf of the princess, perhaps behalf like he doesn’t know where this is coming from. So he just reacts with a pure fight or flight response in its absolute fight.


Rosie Knight This is definitely a paranoia. Viserys is paranoid. Alicent’s paranoid. Rhaenyra’s the only one who’s not really paranoid, she’s like, Everything’s going great.


Jason Concecion Yeah, this is going great.


Rosie Knight But you know, that that obviously changes. I think as we, you know, with Joffrey is dead sadly and we see Laenor mourning him, publicly, in the middle of the hall.


Jason Concecion Very, very sad.


Rosie Knight And then the last scene is like one of the most heartbreaking scenes that I’ve seen in a long time. When, yeah.


Jason Concecion They clear the hall in order to they move the wedding up. They’re supposed to be, you know, several days of tournaments and feasting and stuff.


Rosie Knight The shit’s unstable. They have to do it.


Jason Concecion They’re like, This is too crazy. We can’t wait six, seven days. Who knows what’s going to happen next? Let’s just do this now. They clear the hall. So Joffrey’s blood is. They couldn’t even get, like, someone in there to wipe the blood up. The blood is still on the ground and Rhaenyra and Leonor are married. And as they are wedding, King Viserys collapses from whatever illness and whatever various maladies he is dealing with.


Rosie Knight And Rhaenyra is just looking in Laenor’s eyes and she is so sorry and just broken by this kind of. This actually feels like one of those moments. I’m not a fan of this because I don’t love to punish people for sexuality or having a a life that goes against what people say it’s supposed to be. But it definitely feels like she’s having that moment of, Look what I’ve fucking done.


Jason Concecion Yeah, yeah.


Rosie Knight Like I fucked around and now I’m finding out. And the worst thing is, I thought I was setting us up to have this brilliant life where we could be friends. And now I’m going to be married to a man who’s going to hate me.


Jason Concecion We were going to have our cake and eat it, too, essentially. And now look at this. And Laenor looks absolutely devastated, like hollowed out. It’s, you know, shattered. Meanwhile in the gods wood, Criston Cole, somehow some way avoided getting thrown in the black cells.


Rosie Knight They love going to the gods wood as well, those motherfuckers are that like every day everyone’s going.


Jason Concepcion You’d thonk that Lord Corlys would be like one of my guys go, go kill him. Go see him. You know, whether the king decides to do it or not. Like, go get that guy. But somehow Cole gets outside, gets the God’s wood. It’s very clear he’s about to take his own life because he’s thinking, Well, I’ve just murdered a knight in the middle of the royal wedding. Everybody saw me do it. On top of that, I broke my vows. It’s only a matter of time before the head’s men’s axes descending on my neck. I might as well just do it first. But then the queen finds him and stops him. And it’s clear, by the way, they’re looking each other that they’re they’re each the thing that the other person feels like they need in that moment, someone who will protect and safeguard the secrets of the other.


Rosie Knight Very ironic, because that is what Criston could have gotten from Rhaenyra, had she become queen and this hadn’t have happened. But yeah, that is very interesting to me. The Alicent Criston allegiance.


Jason Concecion Watch this space for what happens next. A really wonderful episode. And I love the way they kind of subverted the expectations of what would happen at a Westeros wedding. Also, and change the books a little bit. Because in the books, Criston Cole kills Ser Joffrey in a tournament. There’s a tournament before the wedding.


Rosie Knight Which is obviously acceptable to a point.


Jason Concecion Yeah And which would be fine. Like everybody would just be like, Oh, that’s not a big deal.


Rosie Knight That’s a shame.


Jason Concecion He actually like maims Break Bones during one part of the tournament and everybody started calling him Broken Bones, which is really funny. And then it’s.


Rosie Knight Harsh but hilarious.


Jason Concepcion Harsh, but hilarious. And then he kills Ser Joffrey. This is during a tournament, but they change it for this and I think it works. Certainly makes it more, you know, makes the stain of bad blood a lot brighter and a lot stronger.


Rosie Knight And also, I think it sets up a really good antagonism between Rhaenyra and Cole. Because the truth is, Cole has just absolutely blown up her life.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Because that is her paramour who just killed her fiancee’s boyfriend. So now he has established what could be a life of just absolute horror for her. Living with Laenor, having to have this terrible life. And in that way, it’s such a it’s such a smart but, like, cruel choice.


Jason Concecion I agree with you, Rosie. It’s really effective at setting up without saying anything, without spoiling anything.


Rosie Knight Without ruining anything.


Jason Concecion The emotional Criston cause, kind of like emotional context going forward. And certainly the relationship between himself and Queen Alicent, too, I think. Listen, if we see Criston Cole again, not as a headless, dickless corpse, it will be in large part because of the protection afforded to him by Queen Alicent. And that’s a big deal. Okay. Up next, more House of the Dragon and Ask the Maester.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>


Jason Concepcion And to celebrate. We’re bring it back. Ask the Maester to answer your questions.


Rosie Knight Question number one, this week, comes from John. Why did Daemon marry Rhea Royce? The Royces are not a particularly powerful house and are not the Lords of the Vale. What political benefit was gained from this marriage? As we march towards the dance, it seems war could have been avoided if Daemon and Rhaenyra wed.


Jason Concepcion I think you’re right. But the thing to understand about this is it wasn’t Daemon’s choice. That’s why he’s so mad about it. And of course, he’s a generally unreliable, just chaotic joker fied human being. But it was not his choice to make. Daemo and Viserys are the sons of Prince Baelon, The Brave, who was the fourth son of King Jaehaerys and Good Queen Alicent. Now until Baelon’s tragic death, which I’ll get to in a second. He was immensely popular as the heir apparent. Everybody agreed that this is a great choice. And Jaehaerys was happy with it as well. And so the betrothal of Baelon’s children would have been important vehicles of statecraft and would have been set up and decided by Jaehaerys with significant input from Alicent, who was as often, Jaehaerys’s partner in this. And certainly Prince Bealon would have had a say as well. Viserys was 16 years old. Now understanding the show has fudged with ages and years a little bit. In the books, Viserys was 16 when in the year 93 he was wedded to the 11 year old Aemma Aerin, herself, a half Targaryen on her mother’s side. The books helpfully point out that the union was not consummated for another two years when Aemma was 13. So no problem.


Rosie Knight Wow, no problem. That was a good show. Oh, yeah. So good. All good.


Jason Concepcion Is all this all better then? And Daemon, when he was betrothed four years later in 97, was 16 years old when he wed Rhea. And we don’t know her age at that time and we certainly don’t know how old she was when she was murdered by Daemon. So as for Rhaenyra, the show is fudged with the timelines, but according to the book, she was born the same exact year that Daemon and Rhea were married in 97, so that wasn’t really an option unless they were going to put a future hold on it, which again, didn’t seem necessary at that time. It’s important to understand that, though King Jaehaerys and Queen Alicent were clearly aged, coming to the ends of their natural lives and certainly their reigns. The succession looked pretty solid at that time. Yes, the heir before Baelon, Prince Aemon, who, again, solid choice everybody thought was a pretty good choice as well. He was killed tragically fighting pirates on Tarth. He was hit by a arrow that was intended for another guy. But when Baelon became the next up, everybody was like, This is great. He was a dragon rider. Having claimed none other than Vhegar. He was extremely courageous. He earned the sobriquet The Brave because he playfully punched Balaerion, The Black Dread, in the nose when he was like a child. And he was a great warrior, was knighted at 16. He, by all accounts, acquitted himself quite well in the defense of the Dornish Marches when he was 23, fighting there, repelling Dornish Raiders from the Storm Lands. And he was close with his family. His older siblings as well loved him, Aemon and Daenerys. And by the way, Alicent thought Daenerys, actually the oldest of two, of Jaehaerys and Alicent’s children. Alicent like significantly lobbied for Daenerys to be queen like she’s our oldest. Why shouldn’t she be queen? Jaehaerys ignored this. And most of the realm did too. But Alicent argued for it. And then Baelon was wedded to his sister Alissa, who gave birth to their children Viscerys and Daemon. So it looked rock solid at that particular time. The nobles respected him and the people loved him and his family loved him. So it seemed like Baelon was going to be king and everything was great. And then he got a quote, stitch in his side and then had a what they’re calling a burst belly with poison. What happened? It was this truly just like an.


Rosie Knight Appendix breaking or something.


Jason Concecion Stomach ache gone bad. And then he died of appendix breaking. Yeah, we don’t know. But he died of seemingly natural. Some kind of natural malady, some kind of illness in 101. And that was basically the thing that set off the crisis that is now reaching its full measure with the story we’re watching now. 101, of course, being the same year that they would eventually call the Great Council to figure out, okay, now, who who is actually going to succeed old King Jaehaerys as now that that Baelon is off the board?


Rosie Knight Jonathan comes with another good marriage question. I like the themes here. This is a different Jonathan. Different Jonathan We got John.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight With the first marriage question. Jonathan, with the second marriage question. And I really like this one. The Maester picked some good questions.


Jason Concepcion I like it too. It’s a good one.


Rosie Knight With the appearance of Rhea Royce on the show and the extensive discussion of political marriages, how was it that both Viserys and Daemon were matched with brides from the Vale? This seems like a concentration of Targaryen political capital in one part of Westeros, and I’m intrigued by the thought process behind the pairings.


Jason Concecion Yes, this is a really, really interesting question. First of all, the Targaryens enjoyed good relations with the Vale from the start, back to the days of the conquest. The Vale, though it was preparing to fight, submitted bloodlessly because Visenya Targaryen, one of Aegon’s sisters, took Ronald Arryn, the eventual heir of the Irie in the Vale, and the son of Queen Regent Shara Arryn, took them for a joyride, a surprise joyride on her dragon. Couple of times around the mountains. And whether it was like the implicit threat of seeing her child on the back of a dragon, though by all accounts, Ronald was delighted at this joyride, or because of real affection and real appreciation at being kind of approached in a way that wasn’t immediately warlike, the Vale submitted. Fast forward to the years of Jaehaerys, Viserys’ betrothal to Aemma Arryn, I think appears pretty straightforward in terms of like what inspired this Roderick Arryn, Aemma’s father, Lord of the Irie, defender of the Vale, had known Queen Alicent since they were children. Apparently they met very early on and Rodrick’s sister was one of the Queen’s very trusted ladies in waiting, who as the histories make pains to point out, were extremely loyal to her and she was beloved of them. And certainly Roderick, who ascended to Lord of the Vale at a very early age, would have probably had to okay that. Would have had to send her there and say, that’s fine. He was known as a really smart guy, uniquely kind, certainly in the context of Westeros, the fact that people are mentioning that he’s kind and it’s in the books, that this was a kind of generous guy that means something. And very clearly Jehaerys and  Alicent and trusted him. The king would name him Master of Laws after a breakout of a illness called The Shivers, which broke out during a winter that happened early in Jaehaerys’s reign. It killed thousands, including the king and queen’s daughter, Daenerys, who was really beloved of them. And that was particularly a shock because it was not, it was thought that the Targaryens don’t really get sick. They played by different rules than everybody else. So that her death was was shocking. And it also wiped out a bunch of the king’s advisers. And so the king named Rodrick, Master of Laws, because he trusted him and he needed new bodies in there. And when it came time to seek a betrothal for Princess Daela, Roderick was put forward as one of three options by the Queen, clearly at the Queen’s behest, alongside Boorman Barathaeon, who’s the grand father of the Lord of Storms and in House of the Dragon right now. And Tymon Lannister, an ancestor of Jason and Tyland. Lannister. Now, Rodrick was clearly the darkhorse candidate, not the best looking guy. They say that he’s like balding. Well, he’s like 36. He has a beer belly. They they take pains to mention that his is body type and body shame him and the histories. And certainly, you know, there’s a Lannister in there. He’s not the richest, but he’d been running the Vale for 20 years, you know, since he was 16. So that’s a mark in his favor. And again, the king and queen really liked him, trusted him. And having seen the way he comported himself as Master of Laws, thought that this is a competent, good guy with solid judgment, who’s again, nice. The queen clearly preferred him telling Daela that, listen, this is a kind and gentle man. He’ll be an able protector. And then Daela, you know, met with all the suitors and shocking everyone except probably the Queen was like, Yeah, that’s the guy. I like him. He seems he seems.Really gentle and kind. That’s that’s dude. Now, she would then give birth to their child, Aemma, Viserys’ eventual wife in the year 82 and then as a result of the birth, would die sometime after of a fever. This absolutely broke the Queen’s heart and Lord Arryn as well, who like really, really loved her. He wanted her buried in the Vale because he wanted to remain close to her. The Queen was like, No, she’s a Targaryen. We’re going to cremate her according to family tradition and in turn her. So that happens. And clearly, you know, just imagining probably some hard feelings there between Lord Arryn and the Crown. Because of that, he wanted to be close to his wife. They said no. Alicent on her part, the Queen, blamed everyone for Daela’s death. She’s like the you know, the Maesters weren’t good enough. Rodderick could have done more. And also you, my husband, Jaehaerys, Why did you. We should have let her stay a little longer in King’s Landing like we shouldn’t have, you know, like you pushing this marriage. This is your fault. And this actually caused a significant rift in their relationship. So thinking about that kind of rift, you know, emotional rift at the very least between the Vale and the realm and knowing how important purity of blood is to Targaryens. Right. They want to keep the blood pure. Right. And Aemma was half Targaryen. So, one, why this marriage? Well, you’re bringing a Targaryen home. You’re bringing a half Targaryen back into the blood. And two, because of these potentially hard feelings between the crown and Rodrick, here’s a way to patch that up. Right. Wed her to Viserys, we can patch this up. Maybe we can make this better. Daemon is maybe a little muddier, but also, like, consider, he was the second son. Yes. Like the heir and the spare says that, you know, potentially you have Daemon around because he could ascend to the throne. So while I know we’re saying the Royces aren’t the house of the Vale, they’re not the overlord of the Vale, it’s still a good deal. Rhea is heir to Runestone. You know, you would imagine there’s probably a scarcity of opportunities for the second son, the not crown prince, to actually inherit a castle through the wedding deal like that might not happen. So I think what we’re looking at is, one, the first marriage with Viserys and Aemma, which just made political sense. And it was a way to bind up the wounds, potentially emotional wounds that Roderick Arryn had and certainly like politically bind the Vale closer to the crown. And for Daemon, I think it was a wedding of opportunity. He could befit his station. He’d become Lord of RuneStone, and in such case that he would actually ascend to the throne. It’s another good mark on him. Not to mention going forward in our stories, it’s mentioned in the World of Ice and Fire that as we exit the era of the Dance of the Dragons, which we are watching, you know, roll out now in House of the Dragon, there’s going to be a little bit of Arryn blood in all the Targaryen rulers that follow. That’s how closely the Vale and the Targaryen family are allied. So it actually makes sense in the context of the broader history.


Rosie Knight Connor asks, speaking of bloodlines, with so much talk about the Valyrian bloodlines this week, I got to thinking about the primary ethnic groups in Westeros. As far as I can tell, there are four: Valyrians, Targaryens, and Velaryons, the Rhoynar Dorne, and also the Vale and Arryns, question mark, I think. And the first men Northern houses and the Hightowers. Is there a hierarchy de jour in terms of those groups and the desireablity in a spouse or ally? That’s what we were asking. Is is there racism?


Jason Concecion Is there racism in Westeros? This is an interesting question. Well, first of all, the Valyrians, we need to unpack a little bit. So the Valyrians are an ethnic group descending from Old Valyria. Targaryens. The Valeryons come from there, and I think it’s important to understand that. What makes the Targaryens so special is they’re the only surviving dragon riding family from Valyria. Whether you want to consider that a separate ethnicity from Valyrians writ large, I would not. But Valyrians are like not uncommon. They they colonized a lot of Essos.  And the Free Cities of Essos are significantly populated by descendants of Valyrian. So there’s a lot of blood out there from Valyria. But the Targaryens are special because again, they are the only surviving dragon riding family and Valyria was an oligarchy. There was no high king, but it was ruled by its collection of dragon riding households, of which the Valyrians were one. So I think we we can call the Valyrians an ethnic group, though obviously a very rare one, with the understanding that the Targaryens are separately above that because they have dragons. The Rhoynar are yes, again, hailing from Essos, from the area around the river Rhoyne. The Andals. So the Andals, if you had to like create a hierarchy, I think you would say that Andal culture is, I think, inarguably the dominant culture of Westeros. Certainly south of the neck and certainly politically, economically, in terms of, you know, the way that the kingdom is run. Aegon converted to the Faith of the Seven, which is the Andal faith. Soon after, he took on his conquest. And that was really important politically so that people would accept him. So I think you’d say that the Andals are really are the kind of like dominant cultural force, ethnic force in Westeros. And then, of course, the First Men who are still around, still very strong. You know, of course, north of the neck is basically First Man country. It’s primarily families of of pure First Men descent up there with some notable holdouts. You know, the Manderlies come from the south and they were taken in by the Starks notably centuries ago. But they come from the South and come from an Andal descent. But yeah, it would be the Andals is kind of like the dominant cultural force. Even the Targaryens had to adopt and all customs in order to be accepted as the rulers of Westeros. And when they didn’t do that, see the rules of Aeyns, the second king of Westeros, and Maegor, the absolutely you know terrible third king, bad things happen rebellions, wars, etc..


Rosie Knight Okay. Andrew asks, I feel like this is a very good catch and also something I wish Rhaenyra would have possibly considered. So Andrew asks after Rhaenyra and Ser Criston Cole get it on and Daemon spreads this partially true rumor about the princess, the princess flatly denies having lost her virtue when she speaks to her father. Is there any way the king sent the moon tea her more as a test than as an actual remedy?


Jason Concepcion I guess it’s possible. And Viserys is certainly a smart guy, smart enough to come up with that, though, I think in terms of his character, probably not manipulative enough to actually carry it out. But I think no. I lean no, because Viserys, more than anything, just wants to believe what Rhaenyra tells him. And he’s got a real blind spot when it comes to her and when it comes to their relationship. Look at how stubborn he’s being, you know, in supporting her as Princess of Dragonstone, the crown princess, despite significant blowback that he’s getting from everybody. And I think he, more than anything, sent the tea as a way to say, okay, we made this deal, now sign on the dotted line and just drink this. Put my mind at ease that there’s not going to be bastards running out out here. And let’s just move on. So I think no, you never know.


Rosie Knight You never know. You never know. QuickSloth asks what’s up with the Strong family and their dynamics?


Jason Concecion Oh, the Strongs. Okay. So the Strong’s are a ancient house of the Riverlands. Here’s a fun fact. They are descended from the First Men. And oftentimes in this story you can kind of tell who the First Men families are because their names are these shorter, punchier, more, for lack of a better word, primitive sounding names that are like a reference to something direct. It’s Strong. There are Strong Mudd, Stark. Those are the kind of First Me, Royce. These are the kind of names that you often find associated with families descended from the First Men so that the Strongs come from the First Men. They’ve been around the Riverlands for a while. We don’t exactly know where they hail from, but kind of rewinding to the reign of Maegor, the Cruel. So Maegor was married to Alys Harroway. Alice Haraway There’s a lot. I’m simplifying this a lot. But Alys Harroway, Maegor had been trying really hard to create an heir. He knew he had to solidify his hold on the throne because he was fighting a vicious religious war against the kind of like extremist sects of the Faith of the Seven. Because they didn’t accept him, because for various reasons he had usurped the throne for one, and two, his marriage and relationship proclivities were definitely in defiance of the things that the faith set out, and Alys Harroway ended up giving birth to a stillborn child with no eyes, that was quote ” monstrous”. And Maegor’s reaction to this was that That’s not mine. My wife is cheating on me, I’m going to kill all the Harroways. So he wipes out the Harroway family, and then he sets up like this big winner take all tournament to see who can win Herron Hall, formerly the House of Castle of the Harroways. House Towers wins that. House Towers basically goes broke. When at the end of Maegor’s reign, as Jaehaerys is ascending, they had to give up a bunch of land for legal reasons. They’re earning power was curtailed. They didn’t have any savings. They didn’t have a lot of heirs that were young and healthy enough to like carry on the lineage. They made the really, really poor decision of naming one of their the kind of last remaining person of their family Maegor, after the terrible king that was just ruling. And so eventually that castle came up for grabs because House Towers went extinct and broke. Jaehaerys gave Herron Hall to the Strong’s, and Bywin Strong became Lord of Herron Hall. Now Bywin’s older brother, Luca More Strong was a member of the Kingsguard call him Lusty Luke. They call him Lusty Luke because it turned out this guy broke his fucking vows like Wilt Chamberlain broke his vows, broke the records in a way that will never be surpassed. He had three secret families.


Rosie Knight Lifetime movie style.


Jason Concepcion And like a gaggle of children. So this comes to light. And this is important because this is context for Cole’s reaction, I think. And it certainly would have been something that was in Criston Cole’s mind. So this comes to light, actually. Ryan Redwyne, the previous lord commander of the Kingsguard before Ser Harold Westerling, the guy who died in between episodes one and two, just like oh, he died. He was old. Ryan Redwyne snitched out Lusty Luke. Lusty Luke appears before the king, throws himself on the king’s mercy. Right. They brought all his families, all these secret family, his kids.


Rosie Knight They morried him. It was like, you are everyone’s father.


Jason Concecion Yeah. You are the father of everyone here. And Lusty Luke falls on his knees and he’s begging the king’s forgiveness, which apparently would have almost happened. Like Jaehaerys was leaning towards okay, I’ll just send this fucking guy to the wall. But then he said for the good of my family and my children, please like don’t execute me.


Rosie Knight Which family?


Jason Concecion Basically. Which one? And basically like admitting like I did it. So they chopped his dick off. And they sent him to the wall. This, of course, would have been one of the things that they tell you in like Kingsguard orientation day. Hey, don’t be like Lusty Luke. Which was only again like only like 30 to 40 ish years. It was not like that.


Rosie Knight Oh yeah. So it’s recent memory.


Jason Concepcion It’s it’s recent memory. And it was a scandalous thing that the fucking common folk absolutely loved. They wrote songs about this guy. And so that’s going to be in the back of Criston Cole’s mind, you know, when he reacts the way he does in this episode. Okay. So then Lionel Strong ascends to the castle. And, you.Know, mostly what we know about Lionel is just he is a very quiet guy, a very smart man who holds his tongue. He studied at the Citadel for a while and became an expert at the law, which King Jaehaerys had done a lot to kind of reform and to unify. At that time, there were a bunch of different like local laws, some of which kind of didn’t make sense as a cohesive whole when you looked at the realm. And then there were certain areas where they were still doing the pre monarch day like thing where the Lord on the wedding night of a of a couple gets to say, hey, I get to sleep with the woman before anybody else, which was terrible. So there was a lot of reforming. So Lionel Strong, a student of that reform, became master of laws because he was such an expert at it. Then, of course, there’s Harwin Strong, who was Lionel’s oldest son. We met this episode. Break Bones. Super, super strong guy. And then his younger son is Larys The Clubfoot, who is showing us what he’s about. So where do they come from before Herron Hall? We’re not actually sure, actually, but somewhere in the Riverlands we don’t know what their seat was. But, you know, we should keep in mind that ever since Herron, the Black, built Herron Hall and then was burned alive in it shortly thereafter, along with all of his sons, everybody who lives in Herron Hall just encounters problems. We saw what happened with the Harroways, they were wiped out. The Towers, they went broke, they died out. And now it’s the Strongs. How will they do? I guess we’ll have to see.


Rosie Knight How will they fare? Amanda asks. Why do you think Daemon went to the Vale?


Jason Concecion Unfortunately, I think he went to kill his wife.


Rosie Knight I think he went to kill her.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. I think he.Very, very clearly wanted to kill his wife. And I think that’s really sad and fucked up. You know, there’s that moment where he kind of walks away and she’s saying, Oh, I knew you couldn’t finish. And then he turns around and you could kind of convince yourself, Oh, he wasn’t going to kill her until that, which doesn’t make it better. But I think he was just looking for a good enough rock, you know, honestly. So, yeah, unfortunately, I think he was going to kill his wife.


Rosie Knight I agree. Because Viserys basically said you can’t get married to my daughter because you’re already married. So he’s like, well, I’m going to solve that by killing my wife.


Jason Concecion Yeah, very, very unfortunate.


Rosie Knight R.I.P. Rhea Royce.


Jason Concecion Last question.


Rosie Knight  George says is wild fire on the game board in the era of Hot D? I know it’s associated with the Mad King, but was it discovered or developed earlier than his reign?


Jason Concecion It’s probably not on the table. It was developed earlier in his reign. We first hear about it during the reign of Aegon the fourth, Aegon the Unworthy, one of the worst kings, Maegor aside. But that is kind of decades after this era. And of course, there’s dragons flying around this era. So it’s while it may have been in development by the Alchemist Guild. We don’t hear about it until about 174. And, you know, that’s, you know, 50 some odd years after the story we’re seeing now. So my sense is we’re not going to we’re not going to see it. That’s it for Ask the Maester this week. Love hearing from you. Please send your questions to And don’t miss the new HBO original series, House of the Dragon, now streaming on HBO Max Sundays at nine. Up next, we leave Westeros for Middle Earth to discuss Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power.


Jason Concepcion We’re stepping out of the airlock and into the beautiful and spacious mines of Moria for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings. Rings of Power. We’re going to cover the first half of the season. Episode one, Shadows of Past. Episode two, Adrift. Episode three, Adar. Episode four, The Great Wave. Your thoughts on this show thus far into the season.


Rosie Knight I am enjoying it. I think we’d said this from the beginning when we did our early reactions, but I think it’s a really great thing to watch alongside House of the Dragon, because it’s so different. It’s kind of this expansive, slow burn world building that is far less political and more focused on kind of these these intimate character moments and relationships. Obviously, it’s beautiful. And I also think it’s getting better with every episode.


Jason Concepcion And for me, it’s like, I need Elrond and Durin.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s the best.


Jason Concepcion That is I could spend all of my time with Elrond and Durin because that friendship is what it is about for me.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I totally agree.


Jason Concecion Like, there’s that moment in episode four where Durin finds Elrond sneaking around in the mines. He shouldn’t be sneaking around. Finds him sneaking around the mines. Has already been suspecting Elrond didn’t just fucking show up here. He’s got an agenda. He didn’t just miss me after 20 years, like and they argue a little bit. And then finally he’s like, okay, we found something down there. You know, it’s this really cool substance, lighter than silk, stronger than steel is fucking sick. It’s amazing. If we can mine this thing, we’re going to be rich. And Elrond’s like, okay, but I want to just, like, tell everybody this is great news. And then despite the fact that, like, there is still so much friction between the two, Durin immediately is like confides in him, well my dad, in a way that like makes clear that Durin disagrees with this without openly coming out like against his father Durin the third.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concecion Durin the fourth, is like, well I don’t know. My dad says it’s too perilous to mine it and this is the way we have to do it. That relationship is wonderful. And then when he, like, lets him keep the mithril sample.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concecion It was super cool. Did you know it was going to be mithril? Like at what point did you know what it was going to be?


Rosie Knight I didn’t really put two and two together that that was the secret that Durin was keeping because I was so invested in the Durin and Elrond relationship and Disa as well as so great. So the three of them together are so enjoyable. But as soon as they were down there and he was like, We found something, I was like, Oh, it’s mithril. I was like, This makes sense. Like, you know, in the most recent movies we got before this with The Hobbit movies, and you see it in there Bilbo gets given like a mithril shot, that  is like an armor that the elves made. Nenya, the the elven Ring of Power that Galadriel has that later on in The Lord of the Rings movies that is made of mithril. So it’s like a really important substance. But again, I’m just like you. I love what it means for their friendship. Like it. And I feel like Elrond truly does want to be a good friend to Durin. So it’s not like Durin is being fooled or anything, but he’s so trustworthy. He just wants to share it with his bro. He’s just like, I found this cool thing, man. Like, why don’t you keep it like that to me is is the best the best stuff in the show and Robert Aramayo and Owain Arthurare so good together.


Jason Concecion Yeah it’s so good.


Rosie Knight And I think, you know, it replicates something that people really loved from Lord of the Rings was that relationship between Legolas and Gimli. You know, there’s this warring races of elves and dwarves, but they find this companionship or or this friendship. And I think that getting to see that again is something that people are really excited for. And I thought it was kind of really cool to have that and then contrast it to like the more kind of horror focused fantasy stuff that they’re doing, introducing the orcs, which again are like one of the like the scariest fantasy creations ever. And they’re doing a really interesting job here, kind of building out the the world of the Orc.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, like a history beyond just like they are pure evil that.


Rosie Knight Yeah. It’s like, who do they follow? Why do they follow them? What do they care about? What do they aim for? This notion of of creating this space that we assume is going to become Mordor, that’s like a space where evil can thrive and the orcs can thrive even in that there is some grain in there of like, that’s what everyone wants. They just want somewhere they can live. Like, sure, you’re building it so that evil can thrive, but like, you know, yeah, and I think they’re doing a good job for this is kind of like Hot D as well is. We’re in a world where these projects are based on stuff where we already know the outcome. So introducing mystery is very hard, but both shows are really excelling at that. So like, who is the stranger? You know, that’s one of the big questions everyone wants to know from the first four or five episodes. Who is this strange man who fell from a comet? Because that’s not a character that is instantly recognizable.


Jason Concepcion So let’s get let’s. Who is the stranger? Who do you think?


Rosie Knight Okay, so I originally was like, Oh, it’s probably is just a new character because I really love the Harfoot stuff as well. And it’s really interesting to have Poppy and Nori have this kind of secret and then have this guy become an ally to them. But I will say, I do now believe if he he I believe he could be Sauron or I believe he could be connected to Sauron, like potentially going to become a ring wraith or something. Because in the early episode of the show, when Galadriel is in Sauron’s lair, she’s like, It’s so cold. All the torches went out and it seems to be this connection to cold ness, and that’s becoming a recurring thing. You know, he was near the fireflies and all the lights went out and and I wonder if that’s going to be that heartbreaking reveal is like this is someone who is learning to be good but is innately created to cause something terrible. And obviously, the other one is how Halbrand, too, is another character who was created for the show, who I think a lot of people also think he could be Sauron. So it’s like, who is Sauron? Is that that’s really the biggest theory here is like, which one could he secretly be? But also the stranger could be this just like Hot D, that kind of fudging the timeline as we know it. Because a lot of this stuff is very different from how it was in the books. So there’s also a chance that, like, I think a lot of people, when they saw a stranger, they wondered if it was Gandalf or one of the wizards, and they just kind of pushed that a little bit earlier for it to happen. But I’m really enjoying it and I just think the cast is so good and the production design is so good and Bear McCreary score is so good. So it’s a very it’s it’s slow, but it’s very immersive.


Jason Concecion I’m really appreciating seeing places we’ve only kind of just heard about, you know, seeing the Lord of the Rings version of Atlantis, this kind of like the greatest city of men ever, the highest expression of their of their culture and creation and ability that we know for a fact is going to get destroyed at some point. And we’re seeing that, you know, we’re we’re seeing the kind of the quakes of that now is awesome. The fact that Isildur, who we know is going to cut off that sword’s rig and then and then the zeal to destroy it. Yeah, he would not do it.


Rosie Knight And also, like you have like in episode four, like one of the creators confirmed that in the, in the Hall of Lords where, where Galadriel and Elandil are kind of like working out what’s going on that I think is episode three, episode four and they see, you know, there’s a sword and people were like, oh my God, that’s the Narsil sword. And they were like, Yeah it is. So there just like throwing these kind of tidbits and Easter eggs and and moments like you said. And  the Isildur thing is like really that’s one of the most effective ones for me because he’s just like, he’s a he’s kind of a bum, but like he’s like a sweet, like, happy bum, and he’s like, really kind.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. He’s just like a young guy who doesn’t have any money yet. Yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah. He’s just fucking around, like.


Jason Concecion Just fucking around looking for adventure.


Rosie Knight Very, very charming stuff. And it’s. I feel like it’s going to age very well. That’s something I think about watching it a lot is like it’s.


Jason Concecion People are going to be able to watch this with their yeah. For 20, 30, 40, 50 years.


Rosie Knight And I think people are going to look back and be like, wow, that was like such a swing to like make this really slow burn. Kind of kind, epic fantasy that’s very much about just existing in the world rather than the kind of like brutality and visceral action of like a lot of prestige TV. So, yeah, I’m, I’m a fan. I know a lot of our listeners are fans. So.


Jason Concecion I have a question because something kind of like hit my eyes and ears in an interesting way. So there’s that scene from For where Celibrimbor, Celibrimbor as Elrond says is is he’s is speaking with Elrond. Elrond, you know, standing like at the balcony and then Celibrimbor was like, I just all of a sudden had this memory that your father told me that I was going to have to, like, I’m paraphrasing now, like put put myself in your hands, like for something. And for some reason, like it’s just hitting me now that, that that conversation happened. And we know that Celibrimbor is going to forge the rings. Spoiler alert. And we know the rings are a very, very long range plot to control middle earth. Is that the fact that he didn’t remember that thing until that right moment? Is that some sort of like dark glamor that has been placed very, very deep in him?


Rosie Knight That’s what I’m trying to work out is like it feels almost magical. Like some scales just fell from his eyes.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Also, I’m like, is it another one of those moments that we loved so much from the first couple of episodes where it’s like, Is this just the nature of being an elf where you’re alive for like 3000 years?


Jason Concepcion Yeah. True. That’s a good point, actually.


Rosie Knight So many different memories. But I do think and I think in the context of the wider show, I think that the the the glamor or magical kind of implantation or armoring of that memory until the moment that it needed to be there. I think that’s very likely.


Jason Concepcion What are the orcs building?


Rosie Knight Yeah. So I think because so something that people had noticed from the first time that Amazon was doing these videos where they were showing where the Southlands is on the map, the kind of very famous Tolkien Lord of the Rings map. It’s in the same place Mordor, what will become Mordor, at least part of it is and the where they put the word the southlands is, is right where the word Mordor would usually be. So I think what we’re seeing with the reveal that we got in these episodes, that the mark that everyone’s seeing that some people thought is in the Eye of Sauron? Is it the, is it the sword that Theo has? It’s actually a map to the south lands to the to map to the mountain range that will eventually become like the the base of Mordor. So I think what the orcs and potentially Adar, that we don’t really know much about him another character where it’s unclear who he is though he is an elf, which is very interesting.


Jason Concecion Corrupted elf, which is super facinating.


Rosie Knight A corrupted elf


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight So I think that they’re building what will become, you know, Mordor and the, the base of Sauron’s operations, what we kind of saw, you know, Mount Doom or that kind of yeah. That bleak space. It would fit in with the timeline that it hasn’t been built yet, but it’s on its way to be being built. But I’m very interested because I also feel like it’s unclear whether Adar is actually a follower of Sauron or not. I feel like he’s much there’s a little bit more complexity there of like, is this someone who actually just wants freedom for the orcs and to create a space for the Orcs outside of Sauron?


Jason Concepcion It seemed like a wonderful performance by Joseph Mawle, Benjen Stark Of course. It you do get the sense that whatever his previous life is an elf, something at least this was my interpretation. I like yours also that he’s like, he’s actually motivated by his empathy, weirdly, and his kinship with Orcs. But I wonder if there isn’t something of his elf self that remains. And maybe it’s that. Maybe it’s that like wanting to cooperate. You know, orcs famously will just get into violent fights with each other at the drop of a hat and then murder each other over nothing. Whereas it seems like Orin, like there’s something else.


Rosie Knight Yeah. They’re following Adar, they chant his name, they listen to his orders. It’s very unusual. So I think as well, I’m sure if we’re adding to the Sauron pile, I’m sure there are people who probably believe that Adar might be a version of Sauron and has had many different forms. People believe will probably see him as Anatar, which is the form of a gift giver, the charming man who convinces the elves to create the rings. You know. So honestly, seeing as Celibrimbor is already planning.


Jason Concecion Celibrimbor.


Rosie Knight Celibrimbor. Seeing as he’s already kind of scheming on the notion of creating this thing, maybe Sauron is already back. That’s the most interesting thing. And now we’re halfway through the season. I don’t know. I think it would be incredibly brave of them to not have Sauron in the first season, but I would assume that we are going to get a hint or reveal or at least get introduced to someone who goes by one of the many names of Sauron. I don’t want Halbrand to be evil because I really like the relationship for him between him and Galadriel as these kind of outsiders.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight But I do believe he is charming. He’s from the Southlands. He doesn’t want to go back there. He’s good at forging steel, so he could also be Sauron.


Jason Concepcion So.


Rosie Knight Everyone could be Sauron.


Jason Concepcion But let me ask you something. If you live in middle earth and you find an evil looking part of a sword, it is like, one.


Rosie Knight Don’t.


Jason Concepcion Don’t touch it. What do you feel? What do you dislike.


Rosie Knight About his mom? His mom is so cool and smart.


Jason Concepcion So sweet and nice.


Rosie Knight She really messed up by not teaching. He obviously they’re playing with the idea of like his hatred and bigotry towards the elves is like clouding and judgment, but also like, please, my guy and you touched it and it created like a gnarly sign on your arm and you didn’t, like, tell your mom or anything, like, come on, my guy.


Jason Concepcion It, first of all, it’s broken, so you can’t even use it. Two


Rosie Knight It cut you.


Jason Concepcion It cut you, and it looks evil. And when you’re just even around it. The energy is evil. And then the orcs showed up.


Rosie Knight And also the only other person who has any knowledge of it is some old crazy guy who was like, Oh, we’re going to become evil now. We both have the mark. And I’d be like, No, thanks.


Jason Concepcion Who’s name dropping Sauron left and right?


Rosie Knight He’s like, you heard of him, right? Seems chill


Jason Concepcion Also like now the orcs are hunting you. Let’s get rid of this thing. What is the end game here?


Rosie Knight I know. I’m like, you could have just, like, buried it or something. I’m guessing that like so many evil artifacts in our lives and in our films and in, of course, Lord of the Rings, The Ring of Power, we’ve seen it, my precious. I’m assuming that once you find that sword, especially if you’re young and your brain hasn’t fully developed yet because you’re not 25. And also you’re like very silly and you’ve been raised with like this hatred towards people who are looking after you. I feel like it probably gets its claws into you mentally and it wants it. You want to keep it around even against like logical, logical kind of choices. So it has that magical evil artifact effect.


Jason Concecion But still we are in the second age, correct?


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concecion So like somewhere around.


Rosie Knight This is my biggest.


Jason Concepcion 6000 years.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concecion Before Lord of the Rings.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And the Second Age goes over 3000 years, right.




I still feel like and I couldn’t find a concrete answer for this. I still feel like it’s quite unclear where we are from that because lots of different things are happening that would have happened over hundreds of years. But the general consensus I think is taking place around 1500, which is about halfway through, though I would say because of some of the stuff we’ve seen in Numinor. I would actually think it was a bit earlier. So I think that’s the most interesting thing. But it is the second age. Most of the characters that we’ve met have a very long lifespan, so we’re probably going to be with these characters for a fairly long time.


Jason Concecion Yeah.


Rosie Knight And it will be interesting to see how the humans and the the elves and the dwarves, how that all changes and interacts as it as it moves forward.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. We think, you know, Numinor lasted until towards the end of the Second Age. This is after their break with the elves.


Rosie Knight But Galadriel’s planning to sail ships to the middle earth.


Jason Concecion That’s it.


Rosie Knight Which happened in like 600. Though this seems to be taking place more around like 1200. So maybe ships have already gone to Middle-Earth. It’s it’s very interesting. And and I think it’s probably this is four weeks in to the most expensive TV show ever made with record breaking viewership. And no one on the creative team has come out and been like, this is when it takes place. So it’s probably for a reason. It’s like my gut, but I would love to see like a timeline.


Jason Concecion Same.


Rosie Knight Not based on the books because there’s a lot of brilliant timelines from the books. But when this season is done, I would love to see if they released like an official timeline of sort of when everything is occurring.


Jason Concecion And we have we’ve heard your pleas. We will be keeping a tighter track on the Rings of Power as we slip the rings deftly onto our fingers and hope that they’re not evil.


Jason Concepcion That’s it for episode one this week. A big thank you to Rosie Knight. Rosie plugs, plugs, plugs. What have you to plug?


Rosie Knight If you like Lord of the Rings. I am covering it every week at IGN. I have a ton of cool stuff coming out at Nerdist. Obviously, IGN, Polygon bunch of Rad Comics coverage. You can follow me on Instagram and letterboxd. Rosie Marx, M-A-R-X. And hopefully I’ll have some more cool comic book news to announce soon. And here, of course, with Jason.


Jason Concepcion Yes. And then, of course, if you want to read Rosie’s coverage of Rings of Power and everything else, we’re going to have links to that in the show notes so you can follow along. Catch the next episode on September 30th. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on YouTube and follow @XRVPod on Twitter. We’ve got a Discord. Show up there. Please come introduce yourself. Rosie and I are active in there. The community’s wonderful and very welcoming, and we’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget, send your House of the Dragon queries to And of course, a reminder, our second episode this week, we’ll be covering She-Hulk, interviewing She-Hulk head writer Jessica GAO. And heading back to Star Wars to cover and or episodes one through three five star reviews. We want five star reviews. Leave us a five star review on your podcast platform of choice. Here’s a wonderful five star review from MandersonJR: The nerd friends I needed. I recently moved to CA from Ohio and in doing so lost the friends I used to go see all the MCU movies with on opening night. Having this podcast gives me the space I need to narrate and listen to people discuss the franchises in the way I need. That’s so wonderful. Thank you, Manderson.


Rosie Knight Thank you. That’s the best.


Jason Concepcion Oh, that was really nice. 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 Vasillis Fotopoulos. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot provide video production support. Alex Reliford handles social media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for our theme music. See you on the next episode bye.