‘House Of The Dragon’ Leaderboard: Hurt People Hurt People

House of the Dragon’s fourth episode left us with plenty of questions about how the show is adapting its source material, if dragons will ever earn any real respect in Westeros, and exactly what Daemon’s getting up to at Harrenhal besides experimenting with psychadelics and threatening small children. Mostly though, “The Red Dragon and the Gold” left us crying, shaking, and throwing up over the ways hurt people, hurt people (and dragons).

We don’t have any satisfying answers or clinically-approved ways of coping with the trauma of watching these mythical creatures die (the dragons, not the bleached blondes riding them), but we do have an updated character ranking after HoTD’s latest episode that might put these power plays into perspective.

Aemond Targaryen

Ewan Mitchel Aemond HOTD

Aemond and Vhagar are two-for-two when it comes to mauling their relatives to death, which feels like a fact both would treat as a humble brag, to be honest. Not only did Aemond fail to cc Aegon on any of his battle-planning emails with Criston Cole, he shamed him in bilingual in front of his war council and torched him out of the sky as his entire army watched on. Yet, for all his “wins” this episode, his (understandable) grudge against his king proves that behind the eye-patch and the c*nty catwalk, Aemond’s still that sensitive, broken little boy trying to earn the respect of those around him. But would he be as big and bad without the world’s oldest, largest living war machine behind him? Probably not.

Rhaenys Targaryen

Eve Best Rhaenys HOTD
Look up “ride or die” in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Rhaenys Targaryen. The Queen That Never Was demonstrated just how much better she is at this whole ruling business over the course of the season, making the ultimate sacrifice for her chosen monarch when the time came. Her character was a fascinating study of power through a feminine lens – how women grapple for it within a patriarchal structure, how they’re denied it, and how they take back some for themselves in ways both big and small. Whether it was clawing Aegon and Sunfyre out of the clouds, facing down certain death to deal blows to Team Black’s greatest enemy, or reading her husband’s adulterous tea leaves, Rhaenys always held a quiet kind of strength and superiority compared to the men around her. She deserved more than what she got in life, but at least she’ll leave behind a legacy greater than that of the men who wronged her.

Corlys Velaryon

Steve Toussaint Corlys HOTD

It’s not that Corlys does anything particularly noteworthy this episode. In fact, he’s a bit of a coward when faced with his wife’s side chick allegations, but he does position himself as a man of influence amongst the squabbling sh*tbrains that make up Rhaenyra’s council. It’s probably because he has great hair and a working penis, but the Black’s Queen needs all the help she can get right now. Hopefully her potential Hand won’t be too put off by the unfortunate dead-wife situation.

Jacaerys Velaryon

Harry Collett Jacaerys HOTD

Jacaerys Velaryon is never beating those mama’s boy allegations, we fear. Rhaenyra’s eldest did his best to rebel this episode, calling on every hormone that blessed him with those luscious curls and buccal fat-free cheeks to launch some angst his queen’s way. He made some strategic moves, defending his cousin to the sad sacks his mother hired and volunteering to aid Rhaenys at Rook’s Rest before a stern look from mommy shut him up fairly quickly.

Criston Cole

Fabien Frankel Criston HOTD
A girl said no to Criston Cole just once and now, the flaccid trash waffle is in full-blown domestic terrorist mode, beheading Rhaenyra’s allies and tossing out the most unoriginal insults to her honor in the process. Despite being a hypocritical slimebucket, Cole has managed to amass an army in Aegon’s name, one that’s so large, it threatens Team Black’s access to the mainland, hence why Rhaenys needed to commit seppuku on dragon back. But think of how many lives might have been saved if this Dornish hick had simply been content to punch above his weight class as a Targaryen queen’s side piece instead of resenting her for turning down a life of oranges and cinnamon and abject poverty?

Rhaenyra Targaryen

Emma D'Arcy Rhaenyra HOTD

Now that Rhaenyra can sleep soundly, knowing she’s done everything in her power to prevent war, we expect to see the Targaryen show a bit of fire and burn her enemies to the ground. The word “peace” shall never again escape her lips. The Ice & Fire prophecy goes back on the shelf to collect dust. The good of the realm be damned – it’s time to grow a pair of ovaries and commit fratricide.

Larys Strong

Matthew Needham Larys HOTD
Larys has earned a seat at Aegon’s table, which sounds like a promotion until you realize it means he’s an easy scapegoat for all of the king’s poor leadership decisions. Luckily, Alicent doesn’t know how to tidy up after herself so the clubbed-foot busybody has a bit more dirt to bury his enemies with now.

Alys Rivers

Alys Rivers Gayle Rankin HOTD

Here’s what we know of Alys Rivers: She’s probably a witch, maybe hundreds of years old, gives the appearance of smelling like a swamp, loves to roofie silver-haired squatters, and would likely love Stevie Nicks’ discography.

Alicent Hightower

Olivia Cooke Alicent Hightower HOTD

Oh really? Alicent didn’t “do anything” this episode? How about manipulating the royal maester into brewing her a cup of abortion tea and sending her first-born into battle drunk and deflated by her complete lack of faith in him?

Baela Targaryen

Baela Targaryen HOTD

We hate to say this, but she really should’ve burnt that forest down when she had the chance.

Daemon Targaryen

Matt Smith Daemon HOTD

While his wife risked her neck to sue for peace in King’s Landing and Rhaenys gave her life to defeat the eyepatched-twink obsessed with him, Daemon is knee-deep in the renovation of Harrenhal. He’s arguing with Rivermen over facts and figures, trying to hire good help and being met with baby-faced boys too cowardly to pick up a pillow and do the work themselves. He’s having weird dreams and even more disturbing midnight chats with a castle witch who’s been lacing his mead with the Westeros equivalent of LSD. And, with Cole’s victory at Rook’s Rest, his deadline for getting the crumbling heap in garrison shape has just been pushed up. Daemon could use a project manager, and fast.

Aegon Targaryen

Tom Glynn Carney Aegon HOTD

Someone get Aegon access to a Duolingo subscription and the number of a good plastic surgeon, he’s going to need both to fend off the ruthless ambition of his younger brother from his (probable) death bed.

HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ airs on Sunday nights.