Oh, brother. 

Spoilers ahead for the second episode of “House of the Dragon” season 2. 

The second episode of “House of the Dragon” Season 2 ends with a dramatic murder-suicide. Just another day in cheerful Westeros. 

Twin brothers Erryk (Elliott Tittensor) and Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor) — yes, their parents must have been cruel to give them those names — are both members of the Kingsguard; the elite brotherhood of royal bodyguards in the world of “Game of Thrones.” 

Luke Tittensor and Elliott Tittensor as twins Arryk and Erryk. Warner Bros. Discovery
Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) usurped the throne. Warner Bros. Discovery
Queen Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) awkwardly watches the brothers fight. Warner Bros. Discovery

The show depicts a civil war around 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.” Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, but her half-brother, Aegon, and his supporters have usurped her crown.

This leaves the realm divided, with everyone unsure which monarch to support.

Just as Westeros is at odds over this conflict, so are the Cargyll twins. And, their split comes to an explosive and bloody conclusion this week. 

Arryk sides with King Aegon, while Erryk sides with Queen Rhaenyra. 

Elliott Tittensor as Erryk Cargyll. Warner Bros. Discovery
The Cargyll twins are members of the Kingsguard who sided with different monarchs. Warner Bros. Discovery
Daemon (Matt Smith) and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy). Warner Bros. Discovery
Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Helaena (Phia Saban) mourn Heleana and Aegon’s murdered son. Warner Bros. Discovery

In the second episode of Season 2, King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) send Arryk to infiltrate Rhaenyra’s forces by posing as his twin brother, in order to assassinate her. 

In the nick of time, Erryk is alerted to the plot, and he moves to stop his brother from attacking the queen he himself has sworn to protect. Meanwhile, Arryk isn’t enthusiastic about his task, but similarly is sworn to follow his king’s orders.

Soon, the twin brothers fight each other to the death in Rhaenyra’s bedroom, as she awkwardly watches. 

Her other guards try to intervene, but, unable to tell which twin is which, are forced to helplessly stand there and watch.

Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) helps send Arryk (Luke Tittensor) to pose as his brother and kill Rhaenyra. Warner Bros. Discovery
Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) is left to helplessly watch the fight. Warner Bros. Discovery
Alicent (Olivia Cooke) with Aemond (Ewan Mitchell). Warner Bros. Discovery

The twins ultimately embrace as they stab each other, with one saying, “I love you, brother.” 

After one twin dies, the wounded surviving twin says to Rhaenyra, “Forgive me” and fatally stabs himself with a sword, falling over to join his brother’s body. 

This plot event is somewhat similar to the famous “Cleganebowl” on “Game of Thrones,” in which Sandor Clegane, a k a the Hound (Rory McCann), fought his brother, Gregor, a k a the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), to the death. 

However, the difference is that the Hound and the Mountain were bitter lifelong enemies. By contrast, the Cargyll twins only split from each other recently, during the civil war (and, the Hound got many seasons of character depth, while “House of the Dragon” hadn’t really fleshed out the Cargyll twins with personalities). 

This tragic duel also demonstrates that this war between Aegon’s side – known as “the Greens” – and Rhaenyra’s side – known as “the Blacks” – is spiraling into uncontrollable violence. 

Elliott Tittensor and Eve Best in “House of the Dragon.” Warner Bros. Discovery
Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith). Warner Bros. Discovery

In the first episode of Season 2, Aegon’s son was murdered, and now the Cargyll twins have become the most recent victims of the war. 

Although Aegon, Rhaenyra and their closest allies are still standing, the bodies are quickly piling up. Rhaenyra and Aegon had already both lost sons to the conflict, and now have each lost members of their Kingsguard. 

During this episode, Aegon also removes his grandfather Otto (Rhys Ifans) from being his Hand of the King and promotes the more bloodthirsty Criston Cole to fill Otto’s place. 

So, it doesn’t look like peace will come anytime soon.

“House of the Dragon” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO and streams on Max. 

By Lauren Sarner

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