‘House Of The Dragon’ Episode 3: Breakdown – Lady Johanna, Missing Fingers And Other Details, Explained


There is no doubt that “House of The Dragon” Episode 3 is quite a rollercoaster ride of emotions, filled with the right amount of drama that we all yearn for. In this particular episode, a lot of things happened in the subtext where the unspoken words spoke a lot. Whether it was the sarcastic remarks of Princess Rhaenyra, the agony of King Viserys, or the outburst of anger of Prince Daemon, everything had its meaning. Additionally, there were quite a few references from the history of the Targaryens that were discussed or hinted at throughout the episode, which we would like to explore further and (try to) decipher their meaning. 

Spoilers Ahead

The Opening Shot

In the opening scene of “House of The Dragon,” Episode 3, we saw a shot depicting the burning of the banner of House Velaryon of Driftmark. The flag is destroyed by fire (an element that represents the Targaryens). That probably suggests that House Velaryon has suffered a major setback after Daemon and Corlys declared war on the Triarchy. Daemon here can be seen killing his own men, which is indeed not the quality of a good leader. His brutal actions and attitude towards his own people explain the meaning of the burning of the banner in the opening shot, which could mean that House Velaryon is not only being destroyed by the Triarchy but also by his own allies, i.e., Daemon and Viserys (who refuse to lend any support to Corlys).

In another scene that we witness at the end of Episode 3, the House Velaryon banner is floating in the water. In the war against Triarchy, both fire (Targaryens) and water (Three Sisters) have been turning House Velaryon into ruins. Fortunately, Daemon’s pride saved the drowning kingdom and its Lord as he killed Crabfeeder in the end.

A New Male Heir Named After Aegon The Conqueror: Why?

Viserys finally gets a male heir from his new queen, Alicent Hightower, and he names the boy Aegon the Second. The name “Aegon” belongs to the first Targaryen King, who conquered all of Westeros and sat on the Iron Throne. So why did Viserys choose to name his son after his ancestors? Well, during a bonfire sequence at the end of “House of the Dragon” Episode 3, Viserys shares his confusion with his new wife, Alicent, and tells her that when Rhaenyra was still a young child, he saw a dream of a male heir born to him who was wearing the Conqueror’s crown. The word “conqueror” here probably points toward Aegon the Conqueror, whose crown Viserys may have seen in his dreams and believed that his firstborn son would be as glorious as his ancestor and thus named the baby after him.

Missing Fingers And A Lot Of Anxiety

Viserys and his party had arrived in The Kings Wood for a royal hunt, where one of the royal huntsman informed the King that a white hart had been sighted. The King and his men planned to hunt the white hart, but they failed to track it down, and therefore, at the end of the day, out of convenience, they made Viserys kill another male deer. However, while Viserys was trying to kill the animal, his hands were shaking badly, probably for three reasons. One: We saw that there were two missing fingers on Viserys’s hand, and we can assume that he had to cut off his fingers in order to stop the spread of the Tetanus infection. His finger had gotten a cut from the iron throne in the previous episodes, and his officials failed to find any cure for it. His hands were probably shaking because he was unable to hold the spear, or maybe he was in severe pain. Second, it can also be surmised that the entire stabbing and squealing of the deer reminded Viserys of his own guilt, where he held himself responsible for the deaths of his son, Baelon, and his wife, Aemma. In a previous scene, he had told Alicent about the dream he had about the boy. Viserys believed that it was his obsession with a male heir like Aegon that killed his wife and son, and that the killing of the hart might have reminded Viserys of the same. Third, he might be too drunk.

The King Was Driven Insane By His Daughters

Viserys had been extremely overwhelmed by the thoughts of Rhaenyra’s marriage, and her revolting attitude just added fuel to the fire. However, Lord Lyonel Strong pointed out that it was not the first time a Targaryen King had been pushed to the edge of madness by his daughters. He was referring to King Jaehaerys, whose daughter Daella was so delicate and confused that the King and Queen Alysanne failed to find a worthy groom for her. Daella had even rejected Corlys Velaryon as written in the book “Fire and Blood.”

Eventually, Daella chose a husband named Lord Rodrik of the House Arryn, who was a splitting image of her own father, the Old King. Nevertheless, Daella’s anxieties and confusions never really spared her troubled mind and delicate body, and she died while giving birth to her only daughter, Aemma Arryn. Later, Aemma is married to Viserys, and coincidentally, Aemma suffers the same fate as her mother, who died during childbirth (though not the first one) and left behind a daughter. After Daella’s death, Alysanne blamed Jaehaerys for their daughter’s early marriage as she was not ready to become a mother. The argument became a turning point in their happy married life. Coincidentally, the maesters believed that the reason behind Aemma’s death was the same; they thought she was bedded too soon.

During the same scene with Lyonel, the writers introduce the name of Lyonel Strong’s son, Ser Harwin, “Break bones,” in the dialogues, and ironically, it is mentioned before the name of Corlys Velaryon’s son, Laenor. Lyonel suggests that Viserys entertain the thought of marrying Rhaenyra to Laenor to mend the broken relationships between the two houses. However, what’s important here is that both these two men mentioned in the dialogues are going to play an important role in Rhaenyra’s life. While one will become her husband, the other will become her rumored lover and father to her kids. This conflict is going to be covered more in Episode 4.

Lady Johanna

At the beginning of the episode, Lord Tyland Lannister, who serves on Viserys’ official council, informs the King that Crabfeeder and his men sabotage the King’s fleet. Since the commencement of the war, the Triarchy had been attacking the King’s fleet, and probably one of these vessels had been carrying the fifteen-year-old niece of Lord Stonehelm, named Lady Johanna Swann. The Crabfeeder and his co-admirals took Johanna captive and demanded a ransom, but Johanna’s uncle refused to pay, after which they sold her to a pillow house in the Free Cities. While the episode doesn’t discuss her fate further, according to the book “Fire and Blood,” Johanna will survive the hardships and rise to become a celebrated courtesan known as “Black Swan,” and eventually a ruler of one of the free cities, Lys, too, but only in name.

Dragons and Dragons

There have been three major sightings of the dragons in Episode 3, where some minute details really catch our attention. First of all, when Daemon attacks the Crabfeeder and his men in the valley while riding on his dragon, one of the burning arrows hits his armor. Daemon feels the pain, and at the same time, his dragon, Caraxes, screams out, as if the dragon felt its master’s pain. The second dragon we witness in the episode is a miniature of the dragon Sunfyre in the hands of 2-year-old Aegon. We can speculate that Dragon Sunfyre will appear in the upcoming episode, and Aegon the Second will probably become its rider. As per the books, Sunfyre is one of the most beautiful dragons in the realm and thus, we are really looking forward to its presence on screen. The third dragon we come across is Laenor’s own dragon, Seasmoke. Laenor’s mother, Rhaenys, is a Targaryen which explains the reason why he got a dragon for himself, and probably his sister, Laena will get one too if they are following the trend.

Rhaenyra Is The One And Only True King

I personally believe that among all three people: Rhaenyra, Viserys, and Daemon, Rhaenyra is the one true King that the seven kingdoms deserve, but they are in denial of it. Well, Episode 3 drops a lot of hints that portray Rhaenyra’s virtues as a true leader. Firstly, she doesn’t like killing people unnecessarily like her uncle, Daemon, and thus has the same opinion of her uncle as her father in this matter. From the beginning of Season 1, Viserys despises Daemon’s brutal method, and Daemon hates his brother equally because of his methods to sort out things peacefully and by the books, and thus considers him a weak king not fit to rule, which is true indeed. But Rhaenyra is neither too brutal like her uncle nor too hesitant like her father. She is bold towards her enemies and humble towards her allies.

The traits of her personality can be witnessed in Episode 2, when she suggests to the council that they should take out their dragons and end the Crabfeeder crisis once and for all. But Viserys wasn’t ready to go to war with the Free Cities, even if they were attacking the fleets. Eventually, it was Daemon who waged war against them, but Viserys was too hesitant to help his brother. In the end, both the brothers ended up doing what Rhaenyra had suggested in the first place, but why would they listen to a girl? Right? In the same episode, we also saw Rhaenyra brutally killing a wild boar because it attacked her first. It explains that she doesn’t attack someone until and unless she is attacked or threatened by their presence. Rhaenyra is indeed a perfect blend of a dreamer and a dragon rider.

Additionally, Viserys reminded Rhaenyra that he is bound by duty. However, he repeated it so often that it sounded like an escape for him. No Targaryen king like Viserys was bound by any customs or traditions, but he had made himself a prisoner of his own mind. And this prison was built by the people around him. Daemon wanted Viserys to break down the prison that Otto had created for him, but Viserys started to like his sweet bubble and wanted to just stay there in denial of everything happening around him. On the other hand, Daemon doesn’t follow any authority at all. For him, he gets his kick by rejecting authority, as he wants to remain free and wild. But Rhaenyra understands when she has to follow her duties and when she has to follow her instinct, which is quite the quality a true leader needs. The royal hunt sequence explains the traits better where Viserys, bound by duty, has to kill a male hart even if he doesn’t want to. Daemon, on the other hand, was fighting a war in the Stepstones and was slaughtering his own men without regard for their lives. But Rhaenyra attacked the boar when it attacked her and spared the life of the white hart when she spotted her the next day in the woods. She isn’t a killer like her uncle, nor does she believe in killing a deer because some customs demand her to. However, the two blood-smeared faces that we see in Episode 3 really suggest an upcoming union between Daemon and Rhaenyra, as even though they are not equally violent, they believe in different levels of violence to spread fear in the hearts of normal men, unlike Viserys, who has been drinking, dining, and dreaming throughout. He once rode a dragon and maybe fought a battle, but those days are long forgotten. Let’s see what downfall the new “House of The Dragon” Episode 4 brings to Viserys’s reign and how the people around him take advantage of his inability to take action.

See More: ‘House Of The Dragon’ Episode 3: Recap And Ending, Explained – How Did Daemon Defeat The Crabfeeder?

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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