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Ryan Condal calls Battle at Rook’s Rest the first nuclear conflict

He explained the symbolism used to describe the profound impact the battle has on the story.



House of the Dragon
Credits: Theo Whiteman/HBO

From Alicent losing her composure and demeaning his son Aegon for the first time to Rhaenys falling to death, episode 4 of House of the Dragon Season 2 is full of jaw-dropping moments. While those big moments left fans in shock, the makers claim that the Battle at Rook’s Rest is a significant moment and reflects how devastating the Targaryen civil will be. So much so, that the showrunner Ryan Condal calls it the first nuclear conflict.

The impact of dragons in a war is akin to that of nuclear bombs

Vhagar House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4

Credits: Max

This will require you to pay close attention to details towards the very end of the episode. It shows an expansive view of the impact of Aegon’s wounded dragon after landing in a freefall into the woods. That scene shows the imagery of a cloud mushroom, a subtle way of telling the viewers that dragons can cause as much destruction as nuclear bombs do in modern-day warfare.

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This is the first nuclear conflict,” series co-creator and showrunner Ryan Condal tells Entertainment Weekly of the Battle at Rook’s Rest. “At the end of this, the world has effectively seen mushroom clouds on the horizon, and they know that we’ve now moved into a different era of the war. The whole strategy of the war changes after this because everything is so different. This is the thing that Viserys was terrified of. This is the thing that Rhaenys, sitting at her council table, was terrified of.”

It’s all part of Criston Cole’s plan

Fabian Frankel Criston Cole House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4

Credit: Max

Criston Cole hatched a plan to lure dragons into the war, and he eventually succeded when Rhaenys came to the battlefield with her dragon Meleys.

The more I read the script, the more I realized it’s not really a battle. It’s something else.” said Alan Taylor, director of “The Red Dragon and the Gold”. He continued,

It’s an army attacking a castle, but the castle is never the point. It’s all a ruse to draw out a dragon. The challenge was to shake the story momentum, given that you’re pretending to do one thing but actually doing something else. And when the dragons turn up, it really becomes about them,”

It’s a collaborative effort that pulled it off

While it’s Cole who orchestrated the involvement of dragons, Aegon coming to the battlefield with his dragon was never part of the plan. Rhaenys was also caught off guard seeing Aemond with Vhagar and Aegon with Sunfyre the Golden on the battlefield, as she was only expecting Criston Cole and his soldiers on the battlefield. And given the impactful nature of the battle scene with so much going on in each character’s mind, it needed a collaborative effort to make it look grand on screen.

Reading the script for the first time, it’s a pretty apocalyptic event,” said Ewan Mitchell, who plays Aemond.

It came straight off the page, especially when we were in the read-through right at the start of the process,” Tom Glynn-Carney (Aegon II) added. “We all sat around the table — the whole cast and directors, producers, writers, some great actors who stepped in for the day to read the stage directions — and it just really came alive.”

Read More: Aego’s fate after Battle at Rook’s Rest was revealed by House of the Dragon production team last year

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Rahul is a big fan of everything pop culture. Of all the pop culture shows he has watched, Rahul found Game of Thrones the most interesting in terms of world-building. Rahul has years of experience writing about mobile and PC topics but has just started writing for WikiofThrones.


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