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House Of The Dragon Season 2: Why The Maids Really Fear King Aegon Is Disgusting

Contains discussion of sexual assault

Contains spoilers for "House of the Dragon" Season 2 Episode 1 — "A Son for a Son"

Fans of the extended "Game of Thrones" universe know that the men crowned King of the Seven Kingdoms usually aren't the absolute best dudes that Westeros has to offer. From the aging, usually inebriated King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) to his psychopathic illegitimate son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) to his doomed youngest "son" Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), none of these guys seem like good leaders ... or even good guys. All of this is to say that in the "Game of Thrones" spin-off and prequel "House of the Dragon," the contested king, Aegon II Targaryen (Tomm Glynn Carney), is especially vile.

This is best exhibited by one tiny moment in the Season 2 premiere, titled "A Son for a Son." As Aegon enters the private chambers of his wife and sister Queen Helaena (Phia Saban), every single one of her handmaidens freezes and looks down; as user @cursedbygones noted on X (formerly known as Twitter), "anyone else clock how the young maids suddenly got stiff when aegon entered the room?" 

So why do they? In the eighth episode of Season 1 of "House of the Dragon," titled "The Lord of the Tides," Aegon's mother Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) has to deal with a pretty despicable situation. Apparently, Aegon, prior to the events of that episode, assaulted a young handmaiden named Dyana (Maddie Evans), and Alicent ultimately pays her a fair amount of gold and supplies her with "moon tea" (to prevent a potential pregnancy) to smooth it over before yelling at her eldest son. That could certainly explain why, in "A Son for a Son," the other handmaidens feel ill at ease around their young king.

Aegon experiences a major tragedy early in Season 2 of House of the Dragon

Shortly after this extraordinarily telling moment with Helaena's handmaidens, one of the most shocking acts of the entire Dance of the Dragons — the name given to the Targaryen civil war and the main focus of "House of the Dragon" — occurs, though it could certainly be argued that Helaena suffers far more than Aegon does in the end. At the end of Season 1, the first inciting incident (and major death) of the war happens when Prince Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell), Aegon's younger brother, engages his nephew Lucerys Velaryon (Elliott Grihault) on dragonback, trying to get revenge for the fight between them years prior where Aemond lost an eye thanks to Lucerys. Unfortunately for Aemond, his enormous dragon Vhagar literally bites off more than she can chew and attacks Lucerys and his smaller dragon Arrax, killing them both.

Aemond, based on his reaction, didn't mean to kill his nephew, but the damage is obviously done — and his half-sibling, the self-crowned queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy), tells her husband and uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) that she wants Aemond's head. This does not go as planned. After hiring two random lowlifes — a former Gold Cloak of the City Watch who goes by Blood (Sam C. Wilson) and a ratcatcher who works under the name Cheese (Mark Stobbart) — Daemon apparently isn't specific enough for his assassins, who bypass Aemond entirely and kill young Prince Jaehaerys, the eldest (but very young) heir of Aegon and Helaena. It's a horrifying, gutting scene ... especially because, while Aegon is off getting drunk with his friends, Helaena must stand there and watch it unfold.

Why was Aegon crowned as King of the Seven Kingdoms — and why is that an issue?

So why is Aegon on the Iron Throne in the first place, and why did the choice to crown him as the monarch in the capital of King's Landing begin a war between family members? Aegon's father King Viserys I Targaryen, played in the show's first season by Paddy Considine — who dies at the end of Episode 8 — initially names his daughter Rhaenyra, who is technically his eldest child, as the heir to the throne. When he remarries Rhaenyra's childhood best friend Alicent and has several children with her, this certainly complicates matters, and in Viserys' dying moments, he repeats a prophecy made by his ancestor Aegon about the "song of ice and fire." (Arguably, a lot of the issues here come down to the fact that too many of the characters have the same name.) Rhaenyra knows he's referencing a long-dead king, but Alicent takes this as gospel that he wants his son crowned, and in Season 1's penultimate episode, "The Green Council," she hastily crowns her son before Rhaenyra even knows her father has died.

By this point in the series, Team Green (Aegon's supporters) and Team Black (Rhaenyra's supporters) are openly at war, and Aegon, in his day-to-day life, keeps proving he's utterly unfit to serve as king. To be honest, though, it's not as if fans of this franchise usually expect anyone with an ounce of decency to sit on the Iron Throne.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).