‘House of the Dragon’: Crabfeeder, Triarchy, Stepstones explained

The second episode of “House of the Dragon” concluded with Lord Corlys Velaryon forging an alliance with Daemon Prince Targaryen to rid the Stepstones of the Crabfeeder and his forces.

Ever since the HBO series premiered, the Master of Driftmark – known as Sea Snake – has been the only person concerned that this Crabfeeder has been allowed to take over the Stepstones and bolster his power base.

From his appearance and reports from Lord Corlys, Crabfeeder seems to be the first obvious “villain” in “House of the Dragon”. But who is he? And what are Stepstones? Is Lord Corlys exaggerating, or should others be worried about him too? Why would the rogue Prince Daemon agree to join forces with Driftmark?

Who is the Crabfeeder?
First mentioned by Lord Corlys in Episode 1, the Crabfeeder is the pseudonym of Craghas Drahar, the self-proclaimed Prince-Admiral of the Triarchy. Drahar is called Crabfeeder for his favorite method of punishing his enemies – staking them on the beach and leaving them to tides and crabs.

What’s up with his face?
Crabfeeder wears a mask that covers most of his face. The reason for this look is not explained, but it could be because Crabfeeder seems more intimidating, or because he is shy, or to hide his scars; it is clear that Crabfeeder has some kind of skin disease, but what exactly caused it remains unexplained. (One such condition introduced in “Game of Thrones” is grayscale, a mysterious disease that turns sufferers’ flesh to flakes and stone, but it seems to be separate from that.)

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon in “The House of the Dragon”.

(Ollie Upton/HBO)

What is the Triarchy?

The Triarchy is an alliance of three of the Free Cities of western Essos: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh, according to the books. There are nine Free Cities in Essos – including Pentos and Volantis, as mentioned by King Viserys Targeryen in Episode 2 – and most are former settlements of the ancient Valyrian Empire.

Why is this a threat to Westeros?
As King Viserys mentioned in Episode 1, the Triarchy aren’t much of a threat to Westeros if all they do is rid the Stepstones of pirates. But according to Lord Corlys, Crabfeeder and the Triarchy also attack Velaryon ships, which is a problem for Westerosi trade and travel.

What are the steps?
The Stepstones are a chain of islands that dot the southern edge of the strait between the east coast of Westeros and the west coast of Essos. The name is apt because, on a map, they look like stepping stones that lead from Westeros to Essos. The largest of the islands is called Bloodstone. Control of these lands is often contested and they tend to be a favored base for pirates as the main shipping lanes must pass through the islands.

What are the repercussions of this conflict?
The Stepstones are a strategically important location for trade and travel and would provide a key advantage in any war. For Lord Corlys, a seafaring adventurer with a mighty navy, control of the Stepstones would allow him to unleash the full power of his House. For Prince Daemon, who seems determined to prove he doesn’t need King Viserys’ permission or recognition to become a ruler on his own terms, the Stepstones would be additional territory he could lay claim to as the his. Or, if the Crabfeeder wins, it could give the Triarchy or the other Free Cities a boost of confidence in their plans to invade Westeros.

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