House of the Dragon had foreshadowed the battle at the Stepstones for the first two episodes. We finally got a glimpse of it in the third episode. Lord Corlys had brought up the matter of Craghas Drahar and the Triarchy at the King’s small council multiple times. However, King Viserys refused to take any action as he did not want to antagonize the free cities. He finally approached Prince Daemon Targaryen and struck an alliance with him. Then they went to war and here’s all that happened.
During the 3-year time jump in House of the Dragon episode 3, Lord Corlys and the rest of House Velaryon along with the support of Daemon Targaryen with his dragon Caraxes waged war in the Stepstones against the Crabfeeder and the rest of the Triarchy’s armies. When we are introduced to the battle, Lord Corlys and Daemon have suffered severe losses and are on the verge of losing the battle entirely. They have gotten no aid from the Crown as they had gone against the King’s orders when they first started the battle.
The House of the Dragon episode opens with a scene of the Stepstones. We get to see Craghas Drahar nail another House Velaryon warrior to the sandboard for the crabs to feed. However, soon Prince Daemon Targaryen enters, riding on his dragon Caraxes who breathes dragon fire. The Triarchy army runs and hides in the caves where the dragon cannot reach them. Daemon taunts and challenges Drahar but to no avail. Eventually the archers of the Triarchy shoot arrows of fire at Daemon thus forcing him to flee.
Tyland Lannister serves in the King’s small council. As the royal family and their guests prepare to set out for the hunting camp, Tyland approaches the King with some worrying news. As it turns out, Craghas Drahar aka the Crabfeeder was surrounded in Bloodstone while Lord Corlys and Daemon had set up in another nearby island called Dwarfstone. All the while his men had been sabotaging the realms fleet at night, in the darkness. The King still stalls as he is in the middle of celebrating his firstborn son Aegon’s birthday.
Tyland continues to inform Viserys of the situation. He tells him that the Triarchy men were hiding in caves to escape the wrath of the dragons. The Velrayon warrior and even mercenaries had been fighting for years now and were becoming rebellious and unwilling to follow Daemon’s lead. However, Otto Hightower, most likely driven by his hatred for Daemon, stops the King from sending help.
When Alicent sits by the King to talk about Rhaenyra, she notices a letter sent by Vaemond Velaryon. Vaemond is the brother of Lord Corlys Velaryon and is fighting in the Stepstones as well. He asks for the Crown’s help to stop them from losing the war. Alicent convinces the King to send aid purely to regain control over the Stepstones and vanquish the Crabfeeder.
King Viserys sends ships with warriors of the Crown to help Daemon along with a messenger to Dwarfstone. Daemon on receiving the King’s message brutally beats up the messenger with his helmet made of Valyrian Steel. He wants to prove that he can win this battle on his own without Viserys’ help. And that he does. In the meanwhile, despite Vaemond Velaryon’s complaints, Laenor comes up with a plan to end the battle once and for all.
Prince Daemon walks right into enemy territory in the Stepstone, surrendering his sword, the Dark Sister and waving the white flag, accepting his defeat. However, it is all a ruse. Daemon walks to his death as he fights soldiers with his sword and his might all while getting hit by shooting arrows. Daemon falls to the floor and baits the enemy out. The Triarchy armies come out of the cave and surround Daemon thinking they’ve once. That’s when Laenor Velaryon rides in on Seasmoke joined by the rest of Velaryon army including Lord Corlys. The episode, quite satisfyingly end with Daemon taking Craghar’s head while dragging his mutilated torso out to sea.
This episode proves that Daemon is not just some angry rebel or scorned brother. It shows the warrior and combatant in him. It also shows the pure determination and courage he has to walk into enemy territory all alone.