Fire and Blood

Sir Erryk and Arryk: House of the Dragon’s Latest Twist Reveals the Point of the Entire Show

"War is coming, and neither of us may win."

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole and Luke Tittensor as Ser Arryk Cargyll in 'House of the Dragon' ...
House of the Dragon

The bodies continue to pile up in House of the Dragon Season 2. The season's second episode dedicates the majority of its runtime to exploring the fallout of Prince Jaehaerys' brutal murder at the end of "A Son for a Son." Jaehaerys' demise inevitably leads to two more deaths, as the episode’s final third centers on an infamous event from Fire & Blood, the book that inspired House of the Dragon, known as the Duel of the Cargyll Twins.

The duel comes after Ser Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor), one of the sworn members of Aegon II's (Tom Glynn-Carney) Kingsguard, is ordered by his Lord Commander, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), to sneak onto Dragonstone and assassinate Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) in response to the Blacks' murder of Jaehaerys. When he arrives in Rhaenyra's chambers, Arryk finds himself face to face with his twin brother, Ser Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor), who swore himself to Rhaenrya's Queensguard at the end of House of the Dragon Season 1.

The duel that follows is both tragic and a bit confusing, but its importance to House of the Dragon's story can't be overstated.

The devastating effects of the Dance of the Dragons are starting to extend beyond the Targaryen family.


When Erryk and Arryk begin fighting near the end of Episode 2, it's initially easy to tell which brother is which. Arryk repeatedly attempts to get past his brother and kill the unprotected Rhaenyra, while Erryk tries to protect his Queen. But once the brothers become focused on simply killing each other, it gets increasingly difficult to tell them apart. That remains true even after one of the brothers successfully slays the other. As the victor looks to Rhaenyra, he says, "Your Grace," which prompts her to ask, "Erryk?" Rather than confirming his identity, he says, "Forgive me," before throwing himself on his sword.

It's a bloody moment that further cements House of the Dragon's second season as a far more eventful one than the first. By deliberately preventing viewers from keeping track of the Cargyll twins' identities, the series' creative team found a way to cheekily lean into the confusing mess of names and family ties that House of the Dragon viewers have to untangle every time they watch an episode. The indecipherable nature of the duel also gives the scene the chance to hold greater thematic weight within the overarching story.

The series promises to chart the entirety of the Dance of the Dragons, which pits the Targaryen family and other Westerosi families against each other. The conflict tears the Targaryen dynasty apart and is comprised of so many horrific, ill-considered acts committed by both sides that it soon becomes an overwhelmingly messy, self-destructive conflict. Much like how the Duel of the Cargyll Twins forces you to lose track of which combatant you're rooting for, the Dance of the Dragons is designed to achieve a similarly disorienting effect.

How much blood is a crown actually worth?


There's a real pointlessness to the brutality the Cargyll brothers inflict on each other. It's all just so unnecessary and ill-advised that you feel a bit hopeless watching it, and the reaction its conclusion provokes isn't just sadness, but frustration and disgust. In that sense, while it may seem like a relatively minor event within House of the Dragon's wider conflict, the entire story of the Dance of the Dragons is contained within their duel.

New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sunday nights on HBO and Max.

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