Crabfeeder in the House of the Dragons gives an inkling of the coming great conflict

Crabfeeder in the House of the Dragons gives an inkling of the coming great conflict ...

A Song of Ice and Fire is set in the third episode of House of the Dragon. As injured foot soldiers loyal to Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) lay limping in the mud at low tide. A grotesque figure, masked and lumbering with long, greasy hair, approaches one of these writhing men.

Craghas Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith) is also known as The Crabfeeder for his tendency to leave his foes stuck to bloodstained beaches in order to die a long, painful death as a result of the dragon's landing. And Daemon Targaryen does indeed come through in a burning fire of glory, although his poor, loyal swordsman is left to die.

The battlefield is where legends are born, alliances are tested, and thrones and queens are made and unmade, without the threat of the obvious. House of the Dragon, on the other hand, takes place in a more benign era, where those in charge have become complacent enough to simply ignore threats to their power, no matter how violent.

The notion that guerrilla warfare was not practiced in medieval Europe is prevalent in Westeros and A Song of Ice and Fire. And unlike Viking and Mongol invasions of Europe, Craghas and his army of mercenaries are wagering a guerrilla war against the Targaryen establishment. They do so for the purpose of charging tolls to merchant ships passing through this rocky series of islands on their way to the Free Cities beyond.

The Targaryens' dragon fleet has made them the most powerful force in the known world, and centuries of experience have made them arrogant. However, the Crabfeeders strategy is to retreat into the Stepstones' caves, eliminating the Targaryens' ability to wreathe out his entire force with one whispered Dracarys.

King Viserys (Paddy Considine) refuses to reveal anything about the war during his son's name day ceremony, stating that it has been three years since the conflict began. He is so certain that the Targaryens' military might (i.e. dragonfire) cannot be completely defeated, and he dismisses the necessity of this threat from the outside. However, there's plenty to keep two great houses of Westeros, not to mention several dragons, at bay.

Prince Daemon, by comparison, has a lot to lose. His title, his wealth, his reputation, and, perhaps most importantly, his pride, are all on the line. It was also pride that pushed Daemon to finish the war himself before his brothers could arrive, resulting in the chaotic impromptu skirmish that concludes the episode.

The Crabfeeder and his guerrilla forces have weakened House Targaryen and House Velaryon in ways that have yet to be fully manifested. It's also revealed a strategy for securing loyalty in the long run, such as the loyal soldier who pleads with the prince's dragon.

The Targaryens have treated this conflict, the men who fought and died in it, and much of the rest of the world as disposable. They have no imagination to imagine a world where someday someone else might sit on the Iron Throne. It doesnt matter whether they tear each other apart from within, or are ambushed by enemies from beyond.