A distant threat has washed ashore and put themselves on a collision course with the House of the Dragon – but who is the Crabfeeder?
Game of Thrones had countless villains roaming the Known World: among its most titanic and nasty were the Night King, Ramsay Bolton, Cersei, Joffrey, and the High Sparrow; and there’s the smaller players, like Karl Tanner, Viserys Targaryen, and Locke.
House of the Dragon’s scope – for now, at least – isn’t as wide. Westeros is every bit as epic, but the rippling tensions are limited to the Red Keep and its royal residents; namely, House Targaryen and the Small Council.
Episode 2 maintains this focus, but it begins and ends on scenes surrounding a mysterious “Crabfeeder” – who is he, and will he be a major threat in House of the Dragon?
Spoilers for House of the Dragon Episode 2 to follow…
House of the Dragon Episode 2 introduces the Crabfeeder
Episode 2 opens on a beach. Not the snow-white, heavenly kind, but one where the sand is swarmed by crabs preying upon rotting corpses and pirates teetering on the brink of death by decay. Smoke billows into the sun-scorched sky and screams are louder than the tide.
We cut to a meeting of the Small Council, where Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) warns of chaos in the seas. “Four ships have now been lost. One of them was flying my banner. The Stepstones have now grown into a conflagration, yet you sit here and dither about court business,” he tells King Viserys (Paddy Considine).
“I want to seize the Stepstones by force and burn out this Crabfeeder.”
By the end of the episode, Corlys – who’s left angered by Viserys’ decision to not marry his 12-year-old daughter – reaches out to Daemon (Matt Smith), who’s also caught in a rift with Viserys after he named Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) his heir.
He asks Daemon if he’s aware of the troubles in the Stepstones. “Some Myrsish prince is feeding Westerosi sailors to the crabs,” he says. “The Crabfeeder is backed by powerful entities in the Free Cities who wish to see Westeros weakened, and the king’s failure has allowed him to accumulate strength,” Corlys replies.
The episode ends on the Crabfeeder himself, with patchy skin and a Phantom of the Opera-esque mask.
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Warning: potential spoilers for House of the Dragon to follow…
House of the Dragon: Who is the Crabfeeder?
First of all, the Stepstones are a chain of small, rocky islands between the southern narrow sea and the northwestern Summer Sea, lying east of Dorne in Westeros and west of the Disputed Lands in Essos.
In George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the Crabfeeder is Craghas Drahar, also named Craghas Crabfeeder.
While the show may make slight changes, in the book Craghas is a prince admiral from Myr who serves an alliance of Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh, known as the Triarchy.
The Triarchy, united by three colonial daughters of the Valyrian Freehold, enlisted Craghas in the battle of the Borderland against Volantis. He led the alliance’s armies and fleets, conquering the Stepstones and killing hundreds of pirates.
During this campaign, he earned his “Crabfeeder” namesake by letting crabs pick the pirates apart and drowning them in the rising tide.
This brought some stability to the Stepstones, but Corlys soon became angered by the Triarchy’s tolls, and requested the help of Daemon to take on Craghar and his forces and establish their own control – which we just saw in Episode 2.
House of the Dragon Episode 3 will be available on September 4 in the US and September 5 in the UK.