What. A. Battle.

The world we’ve been given in House of the Dragon was carefully crafted long before this show graced our screens, and the result has been unbelievable.

I know there are those die-hard fans who will say the books were better, but I can’t imagine a better way to experience the magnitude of this episode’s climactic scene.

It was one of the most spectacular and visually stunning displays that we’ve seen on television in a long time. 

A brutal and bloody fight between family members and their dragons played out over the heads of hundreds of soldiers, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Game of Thrones.

Before we get into that (and the tragic loss it brought us), there’s plenty more from the episode to get into, first.

Related: House of the Dragon’s ‘Blood and Cheese’ Scene Leaves Viewers Cold

In case we’ve forgotten, Daemon is still losing his mind over at Harrenhal.

His hallucinations of young Rhaenyra (Millie Alcock) are continuing, and fans have theories about why he’s seeing this younger version of his wife-niece.

Is it because that’s how she looked the last time he truly loved her? Or the last time he didn’t feel threatened by her?

I’m inclined to think it’s his way of dissociating from how much things have gone off course.

When he first began grooming Rhaenyra (sorry, but I have to call a spade a spade), he had big plans of ruling and being the powerful ruler he believed he was destined to be.

As things have progressed, no matter how well Rhaenyra’s fight seems to be going, he is pushed further away from his goal.

After the events of the season premiere, Daemon is now firmly on Rhaenyra’s “People I Definitely Do Not Trust” list, making him less likely than ever to see any real power.

Now, he’s met Alys Rivers, a bastard girl working in Harrenhal, who seems to have a hand in whatever is making him crazy.

Is she poisoning him with hallucinogenics, or is her affinity for potions a red herring?

And how much of what he is seeing is real?

In Daemon’s dream, he beheaded young Rhaenyra, but when he woke up he actually had blood on his hands.

So what is going on? Maybe we’ll find out before the season ends.

Related: House of the Dragon Renewed for Third Season on HBO

Back in King’s Landing, as usual, things are getting dramatic.

Alicent’s secret abortion tea was a throwback to when Rhaenyra took the same potion when she was younger on House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 4.

Unfortunately for Alicent, Larys knows exactly what’s up, and now there’s almost no chance of this staying under wraps.

Ugh, he’s such a creep.

At Dragonstone, Rhaenyra’s council is coming apart at the seams, arguing about what to do next.

Without Rhaenyra and Daemon around, the council is acting like a bunch of toddlers with no supervision.

What is with these people? It takes Lord Corlys’s presence to get everyone to shut up, and honestly, I get it.

The man commands respect.

Of course, Rhaenyra eventually shows back up and admits that she went to visit Alicent. Poor Jacaerys is unimpressed with that news.

But at least now Rhaenyra knows war is her only option for claiming her throne.

It’s cute that Jace keeps volunteering to go to war on his mom’s behalf, but Rhaenyra is not having it.

And who can blame her, after losing her daughter and her other son in the span of one season finale?

Related: House of the Dragon Season 2 Fan Theories: Who is Cregan Stark, and Why Does He Matter?

The obvious answer was to send Rhaenys and Meleys.

Their experience and skill would be the best chance for Team Black to take a victory at Riverrun.

Devastatingly, their best wasn’t enough. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Aemond is a cheeky one, isn’t he?

His choice to speak High Valyrian to Aegon in front of the council was very intentional, and it’s clear it was meant to embarrass his brother.

Aegon II isn’t as well-versed in the old tongue as Aemond, and now everyone knows it.

That’s not the only thing Aemond did that embarrassed Aegon, though — it turns out, it was the younger brother’s raven that changed Ser Criston Cole and Gawain Hightower’s course.

And as we all know now, Aemond had an even bigger trick up his sleeve.

Seriousness aside for a moment, though — the council’s fancy ancient fidget toys were pretty awesome, and I’d love to know what Renaissance Faire I need to hit up to get my hands on one.

So, now that he’s been sufficiently humiliated, Aegon starts venting to his mother, who is just about out of patience with this kid.

She was relatively harsh with Aegon, calling him out for his arrogance, but he needed to hear it.

Aegon has felt the need to prove himself since Alicent started insisting he was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, so his next steps shocked no one.

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Both Aemond and Aegon mount their respective dragons and head out to meet Criston and Gawain on the battlefield, but no one knows Aegon is coming. Big mistake.

Now, my friends and esteemed TV fanatics, it’s time for things to get exciting.

Like I’ve said before, Rhaenys is an incredibly skilled rider, and this is not her first rodeo.

Immediately, she wrecks Aegon and his tiny (but very pretty) golden dragon.

At that moment, you could tell Aegon realized he messed up.

We knew Aemond was on his way with Vhaegar, but I don’t think any of us — least of all, Aegon — expected him to treat his brother like collateral damage.

I’m not going to give you all a play-by-play of the entire battle; we all saw it.

But I think we can all agree that it was an incredible action sequence.

Everything from the visual effects to the acting was impeccable, and the episode’s director, Alan Taylor, deserves his flowers.

As phenomenal as the episode was, especially the battle scene, those of us on Team Black were dealt a devastating blow.

Vhaegar is massive and unstoppable, and unfortunately, Meleys is no match for the beast.

Related: Aegon’s Conquest: HBO to Develop New Game of Thrones Spinoff Described as ‘Direct Prequel’ to House of the Dragon

As a result, we had to say goodbye to one of the best characters on the show: Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best).

At least, we’re to assume she’s dead, given the magnitude of her fall and Meleys’s fatal injuries.

I’m not looking forward to seeing how heartbroken Lord Corlys is going to be when he learns of his wife’s fate. Didn’t I just say last week that they were the best couple in the seven kingdoms?

It’s a hard loss to take, but we’re not giving up hope for Rhaenyra and her crew just yet.

Rhaenyra took the time to fill Jace in on the secret her father laid on her in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 1, so I can’t help but wonder if that will inform his next steps.

My prediction is that he’ll pull an Aegon and take it upon himself to rush (unprepared) into battle at some point.

Hopefully, he has a better time than Aegon did.

Speaking of Aegon, did my eyes deceive me, or did it look like Aemond was ready to put Aegon’s limp body out of its misery when Criston showed up?

Someone should keep an eye on Aemond (sorry, bad joke).

It seems Aegon’s life was spared, largely thanks to the fact that Criston managed to drag his tired self up a giant hill in the nick of time.

But his injuries are pretty severe, so there’s no way he’s walking away without a scar, at minimum.

Next week will be a heavy episode, I’m sure, as we deal with the aftermath of this bloody hour.

Related: House of the Dragon: Here’s Why HBO Slashed Season 2 Episode Order

What say you, readers? Does Rhaenyra still have a shot at winning this war without Rhaenys and Meleys?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Haley Whitmire White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.

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