Latest 'House of the Dragon' episode features one of the best 'Game of Thrones' scenes ever — and it's not the one you think

Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Helaena (Phia Saban) dressed in funeral attired in "House of the Dragon" season 2 episode 2
(Image credit: Theo Whitman/HBO)

"Game of Thrones" viewers fans are no strangers to powerhouse performances and truly stunning scenes. There's the infamous Red Wedding, the shocking end to the original pilot, Cersei's walk of shame, Tywin's murder ... that list could easily go on.  

"House of the Dragon" season 2's second episode, in my eyes, boasts another scene that could stand alongside the very best scenes in "Thrones" history. Season 2's second episode already made headlines for being the longest "House of the Dragon" episode yet, but I think it should be making waves for another reason entirely: It might just contain one of my favorite scenes yet ... and it probably isn't the one you're thinking of. 

There are spoilers ahead — don't read on until you're caught up!

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This second episode is fuelled by a heady mixture of grief and rage. News of Jaehaerys' murder reaches Aegon II. He's understandably furious and urges action against Rhaneyra's forces in revenge. But the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower, as ever, sees an opportunity in the death of Aegon's son: He plans a funeral procession through the streets of King's Landing, with the view of naming Rhaenyra a "Slayer of Infants", in an effort to turn public opinion further against her. 

Alicent and Helaena (unwillingly) participate in the procession, though Aegon's unsatisfied. Having learned that one of Jaehaerys' killers was a ratcatcher, he's had every ratcatcher in the city publicly hanged throughout King's Landing. Angered by his brash maneuver, Otto confronts the boy-king. And this is the moment that had me glued to my screen, most of all. No, not the Cargyll twins' climactic duel to the death. Nor was it Rhaenyra confronting Daemon for all his misdeeds, or the moment the people of King's Landing lay eyes on their king's fallen heir. Instead, my favorite moment of episode 2 was an argument between a petulant boy-king and his controlling advisor. 

Otto vs. Aegon is an early 'House of the Dragon' season 2 highlight 

Aegon II (tom Glynn-Carney) as seen in "house of the Dragon" season 2 episode 2

Aegon II turns the table on Otto Hightower in this brilliant exchange.   (Image credit: Ollie Upton/HBO)

There is so much tension in the air in this confrontation. Otto Hightower forgets himself, admonishing the king as a "fool," while Aegon plays at being cool-headed. Rhys Ifans chastises him for his rash move, spitting his lines with such force, trying to get him to understand his actions will only turn the public against him, the very same people they're actively trying to win to their cause. 

In the past, Aegon has been guided by Otto. But he's clearly done with that. He took action because he fears being perceived as weak. Furthermore, it is clear he wishes for things to escalate. In his words, "wish[es] to spill blood, not ink!"

The tipping point comes when Aegon reveals Criston Cole has also "acted", prompting a hilarious slow-turn from Otto, as he demands to know what the Lord Commander has done. The plan is ludicrous, though, as it turns out, almost very effective: Criston, embarrassed by Jaehaerys' murder, has dispatched Ser Arryk Cargyll to Dragonstone. There, he is to take the place of his identical twin brother, Rhaenyra's protector, and kill her. 

A weary Otto moves from rage to regret, lamenting Viserys' death, and Aegon's lack of skills. With a pained face, he realizes Aegon wasn't meant for the throne. He'd already been chastised for being too generous with the public at court in episode 1, but here he's also proven himself a hasty, rash ruler. 

The problem is, Aegon has grown more self-assured by the second, and (with an insolent chuckle), he demands Otto relinquish his badge, offering the role of King's Hand to Ser Cole. After warning that Aegon requires a strong guiding hand and that he will regret this move, Otto tosses his badge at Cole's feet. But as he swings the door open, Aegon gets in one last, smug blow with just three words: 'You are dismissed'.  

Fuelled by Rhys Ifans and Tom Glynn-Carney's brilliant performances, this whole sequence becomes a tennis match of power, constantly careening backward and forwards until Aegon II decides he wants to forge a new path, one with the fiery-tempered Ser Criston Cole at his side. It's an intense watch, and I cannot wait to see the fallout from Aegon's decision as the series continues. 

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Staff Writer, Streaming

Martin is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, covering all things movies and TV. If it’s in the theaters or available to stream somewhere, he’s probably watched it… especially if it has a dragon in it. Before joining the team, he was a Staff Writer at What To Watch where he wrote about a broad range of shows that stretched from "Doctor Who" and "The Witcher" to "Bridgerton" and "Love Island". When he’s not watching the next must-see movie or show, he’s probably still in front of a screen playing massive RPGs, reading, spending a fortune on TCGs, or watching the NFL.