House of the Dragon

‘House of the Dragon’ has just introduced a villain who is even worse than Joffrey.

“House of the Dragon,” a “Game of Thrones” spinoff, has just introduced a villain worse than Joffrey or Ramsay Bolton – and he’s a cute little toddler.

[Warning: Episode 3 of “House of the Dragon” and George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood” contain spoilers.]

King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and his new wife Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) have a baby boy named Aegon in the third episode of “House of the Dragon.” Although the couple’s marriage was only announced in the second episode, this episode jumps ahead in time to the boy’s second “name day,” or birthday. Aegon is Princess Rhaenyra’s (Milly Alcock) younger half-brother, and despite his youth, he will grow up to be a terrible man.

All of these episodes are a slow buildup to a brutal civil war between Rhaenyra and Aegon over who will succeed their father Viserys on the Iron Throne. Although the King has designated Rhaenyra as his heir, the firstborn son is traditionally the heir. In this episode, everyone is already talking about it, as the child celebrates his second birthday.

The obnoxious Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall) tells the King that if Rhaenyra marries him, she will be well compensated for her “loss in station” from not being the king’s heir, as everyone now assumes that title will go to Aegon. Alicent and her father, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), also discuss it. “Would you have me raise my son to steal his own sister’s birthright?” she asks, while Otto declares that if the king’s firstborn son Aegon does not become king, “the laws of gods and men will be challenged.”

As a result, Aegon will grow up surrounded by this rhetoric, believing that the throne should be his rather than his older half-sister, Rhaenyra’s. And he has many supporters who believe he should claim his sister’s birthright.

Because there will be more time jumps in this show, this toddler will eventually grow up and be played by Tom Glynn-Carney, a 27-year-old British actor best known for his role in “Dunkirk.” If you were hoping Rhaenyra would take the throne after being named heir in the series premiere, bad news: he’s going to oppose her. And there will be plenty of carnage along the way. (The carnage aspect is self-evident, given the amount of blood in the show’s opening title sequence.)

Some knowledgeable fans already despise this kid.

Fortunately for Rhaenyra, she has some formidable allies in this battle. But Aegon does as well. All eyes will be on Daemon (Matt Smith), the hotheaded wildcard who is a formidable warrior, and Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) as the show progresses to see which side of the conflict they will take.

Season 2 of the show has already been ordered. Whatever number of seasons this story is stretched out over, it’s all leading to a slew of violence, death, and tragedy – and it’s all Aegon’s fault for not accepting his half-sister Rhaenyra’s right to succeed her father on the Iron Throne.

So, in this episode, this little toddler may appear to be an ordinary cute child… But, before long, he’ll be a villain to rival even the odious Joffrey or Ramsay Bolton from “Game of Thrones,” and he’ll rip Westeros apart.