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House of the Dragon Showrunner Says Funeral Scene Is Probably First Time Since Season 1 'You Feel True Loss' for the Greens

'At the end of that funeral, it's hard not to say I don't know which side of this I'm on'

Kat Moon

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 2, "Rhaenyra the Cruel." Read at your own risk!]

In House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 2, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) once again proves he's the brains behind the Greens — and after the events of this episode, perhaps the only person with a brain on this side of the Targaryen family. Everyone is grieving the brutal death of Jaehaerys Targaryen that punctuated the end of Episode 1, but the Hand of the King is already scheming. "I will not have him die in vain," Otto says at the Small Council meeting. He proposes the idea of displaying Jaehaerys' body throughout King's Landing in a funeral procession, in order to blame Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) for the murder and to turn the people of Westeros against her. Showrunner Ryan Condal explained why this funeral procession, which wasn't in George R.R. Martin's novel Fire & Blood which House of the Dragon is adapted from, was added to the series.

"In theory, there was a funeral at some point," Condal told TV Guide. "This was actually Sarah Hess' pitch, to use the funeral procession as sort of a propaganda play." (Hess, who wrote this episode, is also credited as the writer on Season 1 episodes "The Princess and the Queen" and "The Green Council.") "We felt it was very necessary because [the Greens] would have put the child's body out at the center to make a show of, 'Look what Rhaenyra did, it's undeniable,'" Condal continued. "You can see his head has been stitched back onto his body, and that felt to me like good storytelling." To the showrunner, the body did not feel like an "awful thing to look at for awful thing's sake."

ALSO READ: House of the Dragon showrunner explains why Blood and Cheese have a different target in the series than in the book

Condal also shared about the larger significance of the funeral scene. "To me that is probably the first time since Rhaenyra's throne was stolen from her in Episode 9 of the first season that you feel true loss and empathy for the Green side, even for Aegon," he said. The showrunner specifically praised Tom Glynn-Carney, whose portrayal of a grieving King Aegon II Targaryen was a standout in this episode. "It makes you care so much about this father who's lost his child," Condal said.

Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) and Helaena Targaryen (Phia Saban) also suffered huge losses in this episode. They had to sit through the funeral procession behind Jaehaerys' body, because Otto wanted their pain to inspire people to stand with the Greens. Neither woman wanted to be there, of course. "To me, at the end of that funeral, it's hard not to say, 'I don't know which side of this I'm on,'" Condal said. "I just hope they stop doing these horrible things to one another — but as we know, they can't help themselves."

Olivia Cooke, Phia Saban, House of the Dragon

Olivia Cooke, Phia Saban, House of the Dragon


More on House of the Dragon Season 2: 

House of the Dragon Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2 are available to stream on Max.