The “House of the Dragon” season finale is here, and it follows the path of its predecessor, “Game of Thrones,” when it comes to ending the first season with a bang that would keep the audience waiting with bated breath for the next installment. The last episode of this inaugural season aired this Sunday, and it was full of shock and drama. But, the best part of the finale is it showed every bit of inclination to deliver on the promise of portraying the spectacular dance of dragons.
House of the Dragon (Season 1), Episode 10 (Finale)
The Black Queen Recap
The Double Blow for Rhaenyra
After Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) injects a little bit of confidence in young Prince Lucerys (Elliot Grihault), who was struggling to adjust to his status as the heir of Driftmark, she gets two pieces of bad news in succession.
First, Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best), the last episode’s MVP, comes to Dragonstone and immediately gets Rhaenyra up to date on her father, the King, Viserys’ death. She also informs her about the hasty coronation of King Aegon by Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans).
Right after that, the pregnant Rhaenyra goes into premature labor. While her husband, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), checks the loyalty of their kingsguard, Rhaenyra battles through pain and blood to give birth to her stillborn daughter.
The War Planning
Rhaenyra does not get a break after cremating her newborn daughter, as she has to stop her hasty and headstrong husband, Daemon, from immediately starting the war. One of the Cargyll twins, Ser Erryk, comes to Dragonstone with the crown. Ser Erryk (Elliot Tittensor) has abandoned Team Hightower or Team Green. With that help, Rhaenyra is crowned as the Queen of the Realm.
Her first action as Queen calls for a steady and calm approach as Daemon looks to attack King’s Landing with a barrage of dragons. Daemon reminds Rhaenyra that they have more dragons, and there are unclaimed and untamed dragons who could be used by Rhaenyra’s team or Team Black. Rhaenyra, on the other hand, wants to see who is loyal to her first before starting a war.
That is why she stops Daemon from attacking Otto and his emissaries, who came to provide her with the terms of the new King, Aegon. Alicent did manage to convince Otto to send an olive branch to Rhaenyra, it seems. Alicent also sends one of the book pages that she and Rhaenyra used to read during their childhood days when they were best friends.
Team Black’s Allies
It could be that reminder or her father’s peace-loving gene, but Rhaenyra shows reluctance to call for open war. She first meets with the returning and healing Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint). She asks for his and his Velaryon fleet’s allegiance. As the Lannister fleets are firmly behind Team Green, it becomes of paramount importance to get the Sea Snake on their side. With some trepidation, Lord Corly allies with her.
Rhaenyra then decides to send her two sons, Jacaerys (Harry Collett) and Lucerys, to the houses of Starks, Baratheons, and Arryns.
House of the Dragon (Season 1) Finale: Review
House of the Dragon has never shied away from flaunting its grandiose and well-crafted dragon. The CGI work and the aerial cinematography have been absolutely top-notch in most scenes featuring the eponymous beasts this season. The finale shows exactly what we can expect when the majestic beasts are pitted against each other.
This inaugural season of House of the Dragon has matched the expectations of ‘GoT’ fans, which is a massive achievement in isolation. It captured the politicking and emotional drama that GoT fans loved; Viserys’s final act in the King’s council will not be forgotten easily. But, additionally, with HBO’s generous budget, “House of the Dragon” has also been able to up their game when it comes to the spectacular, whether it comes to tourney jousts or dragons fighting each other.
And then there are the acting performances. Milly Alcock and Emily Clarey handed the baton to Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke after a fantastic job, and both of them continued the same. Rhys Ifans and Matt Smith were also incredible. However, the season belonged to Paddy Considine as King Viserys, who, with all his might, tried to stop this war.
House of the Dragon (Season 1) Finale: Ending, Explained
As the messenger of his mother, Queen Rhaenyra, Lucerys reaches to Storm’s End, the seat of House Baratheon. Lord Borros does not receive him as warmly as he has hoped. Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), Queen Alicent’s younger son and King Aegon’s brother, has already offered their friendship to Lord Borros.
As Team Green’s offer included a marriage proposal of Aemond with one of Lord Borros’ daughters, and Lucerys’ offer for his mother has no such leverage, Lord Borros rejects Rhaenyra’s offer. As Lucerys is about to leave, Aemond taunts him and asks to cut his eye off. As payment for what Lucerys did to him years ago. Lord Borros immediately asks them not to fight in his hall.
As Lucerys leaves with his dragon, Arrax, Aemond follows him with his dragon, the mighty Vhagar. Aemond continues to mock him on the air. It turns dangerous quickly for the two boys, as they cannot control their dragon. Arrax opens fire at Vhagar. And then Vhagar, four or five times the size of Arrax, chomps at Arrax and decapitates him. And as a result, he kills Lucerys too.
The news of this reaches to Rhaenyra, and if her pained and vengeful expression is any indication, there is going to war now.
Why Did Vhagar Kill Arrax and Lucerys?
“House of the Dragon” does not portray Aemond as the killer. Both boys are shown losing control of their dragon. It needs to be reminded that dragons are not necessarily their pet. Just because they are tamed to their rider via a magical bond, it does not mean they have shed their wild sides and become domesticated.
Both Aemond and Lucerys were not riding their respective dragons for long. Their control over their dragon was likely at still beginner’s stage. That is why the riders became secondary in the final fight. Arrax became frightened and attacked Vhagar first, and the largest and the oldest dragon in Westeros will not have any of it.
Which Dragon Daemon Was Singing To? Which Dragon Can Match Vhagar?
Daemon has been shown reaching the underneath of Dragonmont volcano, at Dragonstone. Crooning a song in high Valyrian. Now Daemon has previously mentioned that they have more dragons than Queen Alicent has. However, if the end of Lucerys and Arrax is any indication, the number game will not work on Vhagar.
Team Black needs some more dragons, especially ones that can match Vhagar. That is why Daemon is looking to add more dragons to their seven (now six, sadly). Now, the dragon shown in the show, responding to Daemon’s singing, could be either ‘The Cannnibal’ or ‘Vermithor.’ The Cannibal is a wild dragon, untamed. Vermithor is currently riderless but used to serve King Jaehaerys, Viserys’ predecessor.
The way the dragon responded to the song, it seems to be it was indeed the ‘Bronze Fury,’ as Vermithor is often known as that. Vermithor’s inclusion could be of immense importance as he is one of the older dragons, and he is the second largest dragon in Westeros, only smaller than Vhagar.
Vermithor also has Silverwing alongside him. Silverwing is another older she-dragon. Used to be ridden by King Jaehaerys’ wife. Silverwing is also quite large and can be a match for Vhaghar.
Now, among the wild dragons, the three dragons Daemon referred to are: The Cannibal, Sheepstealer, and Grey Ghost. The Cannibal especially is notorious in George R.R. Martin’s works. As the name suggests, The Cannibal eats other dragons and kills anyone who tries to ride it. The wild dragons are also supposed to be quite old and quite large. Any one of them, especially The Cannibal, who could be the equal size of Vermithor if not larger, could be a match for Vhagar. It is to be seen whether they will feature in the upcoming seasons or not.
What to Expect from House of the Dragon Season 2?
Apart from the grandiose fights between the above-mentioned majestic beasts, often known as the dance of the dragons, we could expect to see some dance of the older houses too. Starks, Baratheons, Arryns, and Tullys are mentioned as key houses for the Targaryen civil war. Ironically, these four houses, especially Starks and Baratheons, would also become the primary houses to end the Targaryen dynasty. But that is quite some years later.
Now, Borros Baratheon seems to have placed his allegiance toward Team Green. ‘Game of Thrones’ fans know Baratheons and Starks shared a great friendship. But Starks are also known to keep their word. It would be interesting to see how the North featured in this Targaryen civil war.
Daemon also seems to not know about Song of Ice and Fire. This is indicated to be a point of a rift between Rhaenyra and Daemon. It would be interesting to see how that plays out in the next season.
Another intriguing thing to look out for would be the twins, Ser Arryk and Erryk, of house Cargyll. Now, it seems Ser Erryk has pledged himself to Rhaenyra. However, Ser Arryk is probably still at King’s Landing. It is likely the two brothers will also be at loggerheads. And their physical likeness could play some role.