House of the Dragon Season Finale “The Black Queen” Recap

House of the Dragon

The Dance of the Dragons has truly begun. And the first casualties cut right to the heart of the Black Queen herself in tonight’s season finale of House of the Dragon.

Spoiler Note: This recap and the comments section may contain mild spoilers from George R.R. Martin’s novels and Westeros histories, whether or not that material has appeared on the show yet. If you have not read the books and wish to remain completely Unsullied, we encourage you to check out our non-book-reader recap by Oz of Thrones!

At Dragonstone, Lucerys Velaryon views Driftmark on the Painted Table, and ponders his future as Lord of High Tide, with his grandfather Corlys still injured and recovering. Rhaenyra reassures her son and remembers her uncertainty when she was named heir.

Dragonstone Castle, Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), 1x10 (1)Rhaenys arrives to Dragonstone with news of the king’s death, and Aegon’s coronation. Rhaenyra is shocked at the turn of events, and Daemon is angry (much like the viewing audience) that Rhaenys didn’t burn everyone to the ground when she had the opportunity to do so and end the coup.

The news has other consequences: Rhaenyra goes into early labor, and it doesn’t go well. While she labors in agony, Daemon begins strategizing with their allied lords. Rhaenyra summons her sons Jace and Luke to her and gives them the big news. She has her eldest Jace carry her orders to her husband; hubby is less than pleased to be restrained by his wife. The birthing ends in tragedy, with Rhaenyra producing a disfigured stillborn child.

Dragonstone Shore, Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor), 1x10 (1)The child is laid to rest in a traditional fiery Targaryen funeral. Ser Erryk Cargyll arrives from King’s Landing, with Viserys’ crown and vows to serve Rhaenyra. Daemon crowns her and kneels; the crowd (all except Rhaenys) kneel to their queen.

Now the planning begins in earnest, with Team Black assessing their allies and where they stand with everyone. House Baratheon has a new lord who may need “reminding” of his father’s oath. Daemon suggests harnessing the power of a handful of riderless dragons. Meanwhile Otto Hightower shows up at Dragonstone with an offer for Rhaenyra: she can surrender and keep Dragonstone- or else. He presents her with a note from Alicent – a page from their shared Nymeria book- to soften her up. She agrees to consider the offer.

steve-toussaint-eve-bestDiscussing the offer, Daemon and Rhaenyra argue and he becomes furious with her for actually considering it. He chokes her in his ire. She mentions the prophecy of ice and fire, and she realizes that Viserys never shared Aegon’s dream with Daemon.

At Corlys’ bedside, Rhaenys stews over his return- and his previous absence at war. As he awakes, she catches him up on what he’s missed and informs him of his brother Vaemond’s death. Corlys, now more reflective than six years before, rues his previous ambitions.

Corlys joins Rhaenyra and the lords in their council and brings some much needed straight talking to the affair. Her talk of “hope” is all well and good but it won’t go far. Corlys pledges his ships and his support for her cause. But Rhaenyra is now more cautious. She decides to send her sons as envoys to gather the support of House Baratheon and House Stark.

Dragonstone Castle, Jace Velaryon (Harry Collett), Luke Velaryon (Elliot Grihault), 1x10 (1)

Rhaenyra sends Jace to Cregan Stark at Winterfell, and Luke to Borros Baratheon at Storm’s End, to remind them of their oaths to her. She makes her sons swear not to fight and act only as messengers, before sending her boys off on their dragons.

In a cave somewhere on Dragonstone, Daemon coos and sings, summoning forth a massive beast- the dragon Vermithor, riderless since Jaehaerys I.

Storm's End, Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell), 1x10 (1)At Storm’s End, Luke lands to find he’s not the only royal messenger. Prince Aemond Targaryen and his dragon Vhagar are there too. Unfortunately the new king Aegon has made a better offer in his message, offering the gruff Lord Baratheon a bride with his alliance. Unable to match the offer, young Luke can only retreat. Aemond seizes the chance for vengeance, demanding an eye for an eye and revealing his missing one has been replaced with a bright sapphire. Baratheon sends both Luke and Aemond out of Storm’s End before the situation escalates.

Luke flies off on his young dragon Arrax, knowing he’s in danger. The skies over Storm’s End are aptly stormy. It’s not long before he realizes Aemond is on his tail with the huge dragon Vhagar, taunting him and laughing. Luke is able to dodge and get away with his faster and slimmer dragon, zipping into canyons and tighter spaces.

house-of-the-dragon_2

Arrax is feisty and spits fire at the cranky old Vhagar and that may be their undoing. Because Vhagar is really pissed now. Just as Luke and Arrax seem to be flying free of the storm and safely away, Luke looks up to see the mouth of Vhagar coming down on him and Arrax. Ignoring Aemond’s orders telling him “NO!” the older dragon chomps down. Aemond can only watch as Luke and Arrax are destroyed and fall from the sky.

At Dragonstone, Daemon delivers the news to his wife that her son has fallen. Rhaenyra turns to the flames for a moment, and then turns back to face the world, with tears in her eyes.


emma-d-arcy_2

Season Finale Thoughts

The Opening Credits: Okay it’s been an entire season and I can safely say, I still don’t care for them. The blood is gross and too literal to be interesting, and the symbols shouldn’t be impossible to decipher for a casual viewer. While they are an absolute treat for the hardcore Fire & Blood reader or Targaryen stan, they’re meaningless to everyone else.

Cregan Stark, here we come! The fancasting and fake announcements rumor mill will be lit.

Dragonseeds, here we come! With Daemon seeking out Vermithor, we can start speculating on how much (and which) of them we’ll see in season two.

The Return of Devilish Daemon: Daemon’s nasty reputation seemed to ease up mid-season and it looked like we were getting a more playful version of the man. (Sure he killed Vaemond but they’re enemies in a conflict.) The finale obliterated that idea with him choking Rhaenyra in a shocking act that will piss off a lot of his fans for sure. He did kill his first wife after years of loathing her, so it’s not that much of a shock though, is it? He was right though when he told Rhaenys she should’ve dracarys’d all the Greens. He’s not nice but he’s right sometimes. That’s a dark gray character for ya.

Reach the stars and fly a fantasy: That sequence with Aemond, Luke and their dragons was some dark NeverEnding Story shit, wasn’t it? It was so tightly directed, I couldn’t tear my eyes away for a second. If I didn’t already know that Luke was doomed from the book, I would’ve believed he was getting away thanks to Arrax’s swiftness against Vhagar’s unwieldy bulk. That’s what I want to see in a dance with dragons.

Stormy grays over Storm’s End: Don’t tell us it was too dark if you watched it on a 360p pirated leak version. Not that there was a leak. What leak? Never mind.

A dragon is not a slave: To quote Dany. And they aren’t your family dog either. Dragons may have a strong bond with their human, but they don’t obey them all the time. I think that’s especially true when they’re facing somthing that goes against their own nature or self-preservation. Vhagar resisted the urge to dracarys Laena when first ordered (for obvious reasons), requiring a few commands, and she ignored Aemond in the heat of battle after being flame-attacked by Arrax. I think it makes dragons more interesting when they’re unpredictable and subject to whims, rather than dragons being mindless beasts with nukes at their disposal. Accepting that he didn’t want Vhagar to commit that one act doesn’t let Aemond off the hook for his behavior; he was determined to take Luke’s eye at Storm’s End and then he chased him all over the sky, with sociopathic laughter. HOTD is adding complexity to all the characters, and that includes the dragons.

The No-Hats Policy: Remember how no one on GoT wore face-obscuring hats or helmets ever, even when they should and we kinda made fun of it? (Well, I did.) Well now they’re wearing helmets properly all the time and I think it’s probably making it difficult for some viewers to realize who is who. When the twins were glaring at each other on the bridge at Dragonstone it occurred to me that if I didn’t anticipate this was going to happen, I might be puzzled as to why the camera was focusing in on two Kingsguard squinting a bit. Because the helms completely covered their faces. And of course teen-Laenor was covered by his helm when he rode his dragon, and there are some other examples….Anyway, the No-Hat Policy might need softening.

Emmy for Emma: There’s been a lot of talk about Paddy, but spare a thought for Emma D’Arcy come awards season. Because they carried this heavy episode (and a few other episodes too). They are the Black Queen, and a wonderful discovery for House of the Dragon.

Dragonstone Castle, Luke Velaryon (Elliot Grihault), 1x10 (1)Valar Morghulis

Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault): A final tribute… Handsome, wise, strong. Let us drain our cups to this strong boy!

Arrax (dragon): Poor baby. He never had a chance against Meemaw Vhagar.

Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of WatchersOnTheWall.com

75 Comments

  1. I think the final scene should’ve been Queen Rhaenyra hearing about the death of her son and then have her walk into the Dragonstone Throne Room and show her sitting on the Dragonstone Throne

  2. Knowledge is Power,

    Agree, I was just about to say that. For me, the end lacked that dramatic finale, and Rhaenyra crowning herself in a grief stricken rage would’ve been way more impactful. It kinda went out on a whimper. And where is that goddamn (awful) Dragonstone throne?

    Also. What is is with mothers who lose their kids in Westeros? Barely a reaction from her..and it was the same with Cersei.

    Anyhoo, the dragon dance was fantastic, and so good to see Storms end in all her glory.

    Loved the fact Rhaenys didn’t bend the knee for Rhaenyra. My Queen who shoulda been is taking no shit from any fucker.

    I’m also not fussed on those credits.. is it meant to be blood coursing it’s way through Old Valyria? Surely we should see fire too? And what are the various emblems anyway?

  3. Very Good Season Finale – I like The Black Queen a lot more than The Green Council! I like hearing “Your Grace” many times again.

    I hope Prince Daemon choking Rhaenyra has a greater meaning, maybe a foreshadow of a event that could happen on SNOW having to do with the message on the Valyrian Steel Blade.. Prince Daemon choked Rhaenyra when she brought up King Aegon’s A Song and Ice and Fire Dream. The scene reminded me of when Stannis Baratheon choked Melisandre on Dragonstone. “Where is Your God?… In You” Melisandre thought Stannis Baratheon was the Prince that was Promised.

    I think Queen Rhaenyra will act more like Queen Daenerys in Season 2. I look forward to seeing Queen Rhaenyra sit on the Dragonstone Throne in Season 2

  4. 8/10, a great episode! It was certainly a massive step up from last week. The dragon battle was intense and I liked how Aemond tried to call Vhagar off. It gave him a little complexity.

    Luke’s death didn’t pack the gut punch that many GOT deaths did, but it hurt more than I thought it would. I thought the actor did a good job, particularly this episode.

    Besides one or two episodes, I enjoyed the first season and am excited for the second.

  5. They kind of picked a weird spot to end the season. You’re ending the season right after a major conflict/plot point, but it’s not really a cliff hanger either. It just ends very suddenly, not a huge fan. Overall, really enjoyed the season. The growing tension and conflict between the characters was great to see after some of the first few episodes. Looking forward to season 2.

  6. Much better written episode than last week. No idea what happened last week, but it was so far off from what the other 9 did.

    Good season finale. Obvious end points from the source material for season 1. Budget will have to be pretty huge for what is now coming and on it’s way next season.

  7. I’m finding it interesting how they have so far taken the “may or may not be true, depending on who you ask” nature of some events in the book, and use that to effect on screen. Unreliable narrators have made for more freedom in adaptation.

  8. Had a feeling it was going to be a good episode based on the contingent who was whining about it on twitter lmao. That man killed his first wife, ignored and isolated his second wife from her family, ignored his kids…. and people are shocked he is abusive to his third wife.

    The episode was good. Some poinless stuff like making us wonder if Corlys was going to declare for Rhaenyra and such. Anyway.

  9. The visuals were very beautiful in this episode. Loved the table with the map of Westeros, was so beautiful with those candles.

    And I loved the scene when Vhagar suddenly appeared above Arax. Had to look away after that because I knew what was going to happen. So I missed that it was an accident.

    Meemaw Vhagar haha.

    I missed Milly Alcock in the scene with Otto Hightower. It was so strange to see it with Emma. It took me out of the show for a moment. But I understand that they had to switch.

    I don’t know why they included the scene with Vermithor because for casual viewers it was very confusing and there was no need for introducing Vermithor this season. They had better kept this for season 2.

    Daemon being Daemon, but he was sweet in the last few seconds.

    I’m glad this was the last onscreen childbirth, those are horrible to see and that while I’ve never been pregnant.

    It was not my favourite episode, but it was a decent one. I am looking forward to season 2.

  10. I feel episodes 9 and 10 weren’t as strong as what we’re used to from Game of Thrones, but at the same time I think they really went a long way to set up the whole Dance thing. “And with his death, the war of ravens and envoys and marriage pacts came to an end, and the war of fire and blood began in earnest.” Season 2 is going to be a ride! I really liked them acknowledging the fact that Luke AND Aemond were (at this point) both young and rather inexperienced dragon riders and that their skirmish escalated by accident. In retrospect; Aemond intentionally killing his nephew would probably feel rushed and out of place.

    Not too keen about Borros Baratheon actor, though. I know it’s not a large role, but he was spitting his lines like he was reading them (kinda ironic, I know), and his voice is off. It’s not a “Baratheon voice”. A silly thing to say, I know, but here it is. 🙂 Only saying this because I’ve generally liked all the the casting (it’s been faithful to the books throughout, even the smaller roles), and let this be my exception to the rule.

  11. After seeing how Rhaeny’s and Rhaenyra acted this episode, I feel justified in supporting the writers’ decision to have Rhaeny’s opt for not burning the Greens last week. Even after Aegon’s crowning, it wasn’t clear that there even would be an all-out war. Rhaenyra seemed to be on the fence about how to act, and Rhaeny’s didn’t even seem to be sure whether she wanted to get involved. Not until Luke died, a bloody war was truly inevitable. Burning your relatives to stop a war is a tough choice, but burning your relatives to stop a hypothetical war is pure psychotic.

    Had Rhaeny’s burned the Greens last week it would have been an absolutely bizarre escalation of the conflict, wholly unsupported by the writing. The characters’ resentment towards one another, and the political stakes, had not yet come to that point yet. Now they arguably have.

  12. “There has never lived a Stark who forgot an oath…”

    This simple line sent chills down my spine for whatever reason. The Starks it would seem have always been an honorable bunch.

    Can’t wait to meet the Starks of this Age in season 2. I shall relish looking at the ancestors of Ned and co.

    I hope they have a big role.

  13. I watched the leaked version on Saturday so didn’t want to comment until now not to spoil anything. This episode felt like a mirror of episode 9 only this time from Team Black perspective.
    Here are my thoughts in what was a largely solid episode:
    – I found the still birth part of the episode extremely tough viewing.
    – The death of the bastard boy was a little sad but predictable and felt like a wasted opportunity because we didn’t get enough character investment in him. That said there were a couple of moments where you got a sense he was a good kid, eager to do the right thing and wasn’t especially vindicative or power hungry so you did feel sorry for him upon his death.
    – Aemond has become one of my favourite characters in the show, I liked the nuance where he enjoyed terrorising the boy but clearly wasn’t setting out to kill him until his dragon took over and made the decision for him.
    – Daemon is also one of my favourite characters but the scene where he was choking Rhaenerya was again hard to watch.
    – I said to a friend a few episodes ago it’s clear the two bastard strong brothers are going to be cannon fodder, so I expect the elder brother will meet his death next season (not a spoiler as I honestly cannot remember what happened to either of them).
    – Rhaenerya and her aunt have become a lot more likeable as the show has progressed.
    – Overall I look forward to season 2 and season one whilst it has it’s flaws has been solid TV.

  14. Brandon:
    They kind of picked a weird spot to end the season.You’re ending the season right after a major conflict/plot point, but it’s not really a cliff hanger either.It just ends very suddenly, not a huge fan.Overall, really enjoyed the season.The growing tension and conflict between the characters was great to see after some of the first few episodes. Looking forward to season 2.

    I actually felt it was a good place to stop as it was precisely where the Dance of Dragon beings in ernest.

  15. I agree about the opening credits. I skip them every time. They mean nothing to me as I don’t know what anything is! Hopefully they’ll change it up next season.

    Great episode, I agree with you on all points. And the dragons having a mind of their own has so many possibilities!

  16. I really loved this finale. I thought the ending was a great call back to Rhaenyra saying they would not draw first blood and start an all-out war. Aemond did not think about the consequences of his teasing on dragonback eh? It reminds me of Joffrey beheading Ned Stark in GoT against the wishes of the Small Council. He took things in his own hands while Aemond did as well but did not intend for things to go that far. I also noticed that the house sigils of the Seven Kingdoms were on Viserys’s / Jaeherys’s/ now Rhaenyra’s crown. I’m sure it’s been discussed by now but it’s the first time I noticed it. I know the house sigils were embroidered on the younger Rhaenyra’s gown as well. There was a brief glimpse of the House Stark wolf as she was walking with her Queensguard.

    Pigeon,

    Yup totally! History is completely subjective based on the ‘Maesters’ accounts’ in Fire & Blood. I think the producers discussed in one of the first featurettes that this allowed for a lot of interpretation in the re-telling of the Dance of Dragons. I liked how they interpreted the first act of the war (Aemond attacking Lucerys).

  17. I really liked that Episode, much better than last weeks. I was quite upset about Luc’s death. It’s an odd one, we barely knew him, but his death affected me more than the other supporting character deaths. He’s a child at the end of the day, a terrified child who was clearly nervous about going in the first place. There was so much tension in that sequence. And they made his dragon so small! He could have been riding a big bird. Vhagar appeared like the T Rex from Jurassic Park, really effective stuff. Some people are annoyed about its accidental nature but I think it worked well. Luc never had great control of his dragon and his instructions before mounting showed that. I blame Aemond entirely, what a pos, i’m sure that he will hate himself for it though. I do need him to speak in Valyrian from now on.

    There has been some ‘controversy’ about Daemon since the Episode leaked. People claiming that he acted out of character. I disagree, he is volatile and he was grieving. It made perfect sense to me. He is not a good person, and never has been, that violent streak raised its ugly head in these intense circumstances. Rhaenyra’s love didn’t magically cure him of his worst impulses. He was frustrated with her lack of action as well. It sounds bonkers to say this, but I liked him more in this Episode than I ever have, he actually had a motivation. I have always found him elusive and sadly underwritten, but it was clear for the first time.

    I loved that shot of Rhaenyra and Rhaenys standing at the funeral as everyone between them bowed. A beautiful shot. Having seen this Episode, I still think that scene at the end of last weeks Episode was silly. She claims that it isn’t her war to fight and she got on board and even convinced Corlys BEFORE Rhaenyra had agreed to it. Sigh… whatever. Moving on. I’m looking forward to S2 and if I see another birthing scene I will SCREAM

  18. Apollo,

    I disagree about the lack of reaction from Rhaenyra. She was sat alone for a long time cradling her baby’s body and she prepared her for the funeral herself. It was clearly weighing on her for the rest of the Episode, something was gone. Daemon was affected by it as well. Plus the death of Viserys. It was a hard Episode for both of them

  19. I have been really enjoying how, even when the episode has some suspense and thriller qualities the music over all keeps reminding us that we are watching an epic tragedy. There is an elegance and sadness to it that is not there in most suspense films/episodes.

  20. Jenny,

    I think we are probably done with the births. 😀 They were hard to watch certainly, but I am personally very glad they were included in a way that was coherent, relevant, and varied.

    It is a whole side of the human experience that is very key to this story that the series is telling, but that tends to be very badly neglected by every branch of culture. There is simply no way at all to effectively look at patriarchy without also examining motherhood (and not in the way that is usually handled). I LOVE how Rhaenyra’s births have made her vulnerable right when she could not afford to be. I love how clearly her own mother’s death defines her motivations and character.

  21. I loved this episodes for it’s many reflections back to episodes 1 and 2. Rhaenerya fighting for her life as she miscarries, trying to avoid her mother’s fate. So potent her refusing to let the midwives near her… all the while getting pulled into a war she can’t fully attend to. The show runners kept comparing her to Viserys in the Inside the Episode, but I don’t see it. We have seen she is a fighter, really tough and strong when she has to be. So her measured responses aren’t passivity. She’s being a good leader, weighing all her options, figuring in the costs… all the things Stupid Otto says he’s doing but isn’t.

    I loved the causeway/bridge scene revisited as well. Love how she’s on the other side now facing Stupid Otto but does all the same things she did to Daemon. When she marches up to Stupid Otto and throws his hand pin over the cliff and gets in his face, I nearly jumped off the couch. He looked rattled all the way to his misogynist bones. He has underestimated Rhaenerya and he knows it.

    And that final scene mirroring the final heir-naming day (what is that even called?) scene of episode 1 was just awesome. We see her from behind in two very different ways – one all styled up in her royal finery as a girl and now as a more measured and thoughtful queen. And just like in episode 1, she turns around again but instead of looking serene and kind of blank, she looks determined and furious.

    Not sure how I feel about Daemon. I have all the feels one gets for the problematic fav but I think what won me over to him is how he generally is with Rhaenerya. There is so little love and affection in Westeros, and I’ve liked their scenes b/c they demonstrated real care and affection for for each other, something we never see in any other characters in either show. Holding hands, knowing glances. And the actors have real chemistry (I didn’t think Kit and Amelia did). These Westeros stories are so hard-edged and spiky, and the tenderness was a welcome counterbalance. But I fear it is no more.

  22. I didn’t particularly care for Rhaenys’s reasoning for why she didn’t kill the Greens when she had the chance. She claims it wasn’t her war to start, but it was the Greens who declared war by usurping Rhaenyra’s throne. Killing them would have essentially ended the war. Besides, Rhaenys and Melys crashed Aegon’s coronation, killing dozens of his supporters in the process, and then roared threateningly at the Greens. It seems to me that she was returning their declaration of war.

  23. Two things..

    1. Love the show. I’m dying to know what happens next. Very tempted to read the “book” but rather turned off by the fact it might just seem like a “cliff notes” spoiler version of what the show will become.

    2. People complaining that HoD is not GoT because lack of scope and word building. I get that but it doesn’t bother me. Are these same people unable to enjoy other shows like breaking bad, succession, ozark because there are like 2-8 main characters?

  24. That dragon/dragon rider bond reminds of ratatouille somehow… “No Vhagar don’t ruin the soup you idiot!”

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode, all that mirroring was, in my opinion, great storytelling, down to the very last shot calling back the last shot of episode 1!

    Now… I had a pretty clear idea of where season 2 would end but considering they want to make it 4 seasons, I’m not so sure anymore… But maybe it would require a whole chat of its own

  25. Balba:

    Now… I had a pretty clear idea of where season 2 would end but considering they want to make it 4 seasons, I’m not so sure anymore… But maybe it would require a whole chat of its own

    It does require its own chat certainly. But I think the 4 season outline has to do with the flips of who has power, not to spoil anything.

  26. Btw, I liked that Aemond didn’t kill Lucerys on purpose. Both riders were still very young and Vhagar already had a history long before Aemond was born. I can imagine it’s more difficult to control a dragon like that. And Lucerys with Arrax never were in a battle before, so it’s normal that Arrax panicked. It’s a good thing they gave the dragons emotions, instead of just being robots.
    I do think people like Daemon do fully control his dragon, since he’s been with Caraxes so long.

  27. Daemon, as much as we love the badness of his character because it’s fun to watch, is a POS ultimately. I expect he’s secretly happy that Luc died, since it pushed Rhaenyra over the edge into his territory. It’s sad to know what’s coming for her while Daemon gets off scot-free (or dies, we don’t really know).

  28. I’m presuming season 2 will conclude with

    Team Black taking Kings Landing and all the stuff which goes down at that point

    which would set-up season 3 quite nicely. At this point honestly unsure how they can spread this out effectively over four seasons.

  29. Young Dragon,

    Nope, no official declaration of war was made last ep. It was a coup, sure, but war has yet to ensue. Did you skip the part of the episode where Rheanyra was considering accepting Alicents terms and Aegon’s rule for the good of the realm? Or the part last ep, where Alicent promised Rhaeny’s that she would make Aegon avoid bloodshed, and strive for peace?

    Besides that’s not even the main point. The main point is that Rhaeny’s doesn’t full feel like this is her cause. She seemed uncertain if she even wanted to support Rhaenyra at all. If it hadn’t been for Beala and Rheana, she would problably have declared herself neutral.

    But most importantly, ofc it wouldn’t have ended anything to burn the Greens. Do you think Daeron, the last son of Alicent and Visery’s, currently residing in Old Town, would have accepted Rhaenyra as queen after that? Do you think Hobard Hightower (Otto’s elder brother), the Lannisters, and Tyrells, all of the houses who are allied with house hightower, would bend the knee after such as a murder? Do you think the smallfolk would accept Queen Rhaenyra? No, burning the Greens would have solved nothing, it would have been equal to the red wedding in infamy, but still failing to snuff out the political and military capacity of the Greens. It would turn EVERYONE against the blacks.

  30. It is funny when people bring up Daeron, a character who hasn’t been mentioned in the show once. How are we supposed to know how he factors into the plot? Does this guy even have a dragon? Blame the show for that guys, that’s not on us

  31. Btw, there were 3 dragons flying from Dragonstone to deliver messages. Arrax, Vermax and who else? Baela on Moondancer?

    Jon Snowed,

    With the speed they’ve moved, I too struggle to see how they can stretch this into 40 episodes.

  32. Team Green,

    Rhaenys burning the Greens wouldn’t have been a formal declaration of war either. The point stands that the Greens usurping Rhaenyra was an act of war. Rhaenys wouldn’t have started anything, so her reasoning was weak.

    If Rhaenys didn’t want to be involved, that’s fair enough, but then why crash Aegon’s coronation, killing dozens of his supporters in the process, and then have Melys roar threateningly at the Greens? Why not just take Melys and leave?

    Daeron hasn’t been shown or even mentioned once, and until he is, he’s not in the show. Regardless, I said it would essentially end the war. She would have taken out the Greens’ dragon riders. Without dragons, the Hightowers and their allies don’t stand a chance.

  33. Jenny,

    I was referring to Luke’s death. There was hardly any reaction. I get that she will already be burned by grief from losing her infant daughter, but I honestly expected more of a response from her in that final scene.

  34. Jon Snowed,

    I agree with that being the ideal stopping point for season 2. For the last two seasons, I would spread the major events out like this:

    Season 3:

    Fishfeed, Maelor’s death and the subsequent sacking of Bitterbridge, Butcher’s Ball, Tumbleton I, Duel at the God’s Eye

    Season 4:

    King’s Landing Riots (could also close out season 3), Tumbleton II, Aegon taking Dragonstone, Rhaenyra’s death, Assassination of Aegon/Battle at the Kingsroad, Hour of the Wolf
  35. Flayed Potatoes,

    Four seasons sounds about right to me if they maintain the slower pace from the last three episodes and expand on certain characters. Despite what George said, I also think they could get away with making seasons 3 and 4 a couple episodes shorter.

  36. Flayed Potatoes: Btw, there were 3 dragons flying from Dragonstone to deliver messages. Arrax, Vermax and who else? Baela on Moondancer?

    Rhaenys said she was going to patrol “The Gullet” which is a small stretch of water around Dragonstone and Driftmark right before you go into Blackwater Bay on your way to King’s Landing. It’s a chokepoint that any boat has to go through to enter or leave King’s Landing by sea.

  37. Apollo,

    I saw her actively compartmentalizing. The last thing she could do as a woman in that war room full of men was fall apart. I though it was powerful watching her body shake and wretch, like she was about to vomit. Then she regains control and turns around. Her face said it all.

  38. Apollo,

    Did you not see her reaction? My god, it was so powerful, she even stumbled a bit before bending over, shaking and then trying to compose herself. Had she gotten hysterical, the men in the room would likely have thought perhaps a woman is too emotional to be queen and that Otto was right to crown Aegon after all. Try not to look at it in the context of today’s world and instead view it through the lens of a dominantly patriarchal society where her life and the lives of her children are literally at stake here.

  39. Apollo,

    Oh I’m sorry, I misunderstood your comment. She had that moment where she nearly doubled over, then it quickly turned to rage. I suppose in the show TL, she just lost her father, daughter and son in the space of a few days. Maybe it’s just easier to get angry. I don’t think we will see her grieve, but it looks like she has been changed by it

  40. JenStar Runner,

    THIS.

    It’s exactly how I read it, and I thought the subtlety of her facial expression—rage and grief barely contained within a stone mask—was sublime acting.

  41. The best bit was when the big dragon went all chomp on the little dragon and the strong one went eep

  42. I think the opening titles could have kept the blood effect and just used it to flow and draw a traditional (if a lot of straight lines is “traditional”) family tree.

    It would have helped to more clearly illustrate the underlying idea to the casual viewer. And hell, I’ve read all the books and watched GoT countless times, and I still can’t make sense of the split-second, overly ornate symbols that are supposed to represent … someone?

  43. As far as I liked this season overall, I believe the series had no chance to shine, really. Story direction wasn’t the greatest. Game of Thrones’ episode had much more space to breath, especially due to different storylines which intertwined from time to time, giving that moment of excitement.

    House of the Dragon plot was much more packed and felt unnatural. I know the reasoning behind – they rushed for season 2, where all the “meat” awaits. Nevertheless, it was hard to relate with many of these characters. I’d prefer to see more of Aegon, to portray him more in the direction of Joffrey. That was the task for episode 9 and it failed.

    I’d prefer for them to have 3 separate storylines:
    – Rhaenyra + Alicent with their children;
    – King Viserys with all the court plotting behind his back;
    – Velaryons with Daemon in the Stepstones;

    These way episode would feel more fresh and interesting I believe.

    I can imagine episode 9 as a typical, epic battle directed by Sapochnik leading to victory over Crabfeeder, coronation of Daemon as the King of the Narrow Sea, and putting Corlys in the cliffhanger state, with hi being greviously wounded.

    If the parentage of Strong boys was kept, even artifically, a little bit longer, a great narration of Larys where he reveals thier origin, as well as revealing him being responsible of the fires that killed his father and brother would be MUCH more impactful, and it would fit typical episode 10 big reveal. Also, I’d definitely develop the story of Larys’ tongueless thugs – that was super interesting and died off pretty quickly.
    Episode 10 could end with Viserys death and bells ringing. In fact, this is a turning point for the series, since there’s none to keep everything in one piece and from there on everything crumbles down.

    Lucerys death is definitely impactful as that is the thing that clicks for Rhaenyra to go full warmode. But still, for episode 10? Meh.

    This way you can easily begin season 2 with Aegon’s coronation, Vaemond Driftmark’s succession claims and him being hunted down by Daemon and Lucerys death.

  44. JenStar Runner,

    How does one compartmentalise the death of one’s second oldest child? Is that even possible?

    Irrespective of the environment, simply doubling over and composing herself, to me, was not realistic at all,

    All those lords present were risking their lives and lands by supporting her claim because they believed in it (or more to the point, her strength through dragons-as one said). A well deserved (and understandable) outburst would not have swayed them.

    Oh shit, she cries at the death of her kid..
    Dudes, I’m outta here.

    It’s interesting how many debated (and criticised) the whys and wherefores of Rhaenys’ actions last week (which to me were perfectly rational and reasonable), yet don’t see the irregularity in how Rhaenyra received the news of her child’s death.

  45. Kathy,

    No, in fact none of us did.. as her back was to the camera.

    JenStar Runner,

    How does one compartmentalise the death of one’s child, is that even possible?

    Those lords are there because they believe in her claim (and her dragons more to the point), and have put their lives, families and lands at risk to do so. An entirely understandable (and warranted) emotional outburst would surely not sway them from their positions.

  46. I think people predicting the 4 season breakdown are underestimating the attention that will be given to the aftermath part of the story. A series that spent an entire season carefully building up historical context and the various factors that got Westeros into this crisis is not then going to skimp on the time needed to tell the story of what happens when the fighting dies down and they need to extract themselves from the hostilities.

  47. Young Dragon:
    I didn’t particularly care for Rhaenys’s reasoning for why she didn’t kill the Greens when she had the chance. She claims it wasn’t her war to start, but it was the Greens who declared war by usurping Rhaenyra’s throne. Killing them would have essentially ended the war. Besides, Rhaenys and Melys crashed Aegon’s coronation, killing dozens of his supporters in the process, and then roared threateningly at the Greens. It seems to me that she was returning their declaration of war.

    Mainly agree. She doesn’t want to “start a war”, but it’s already begun. She then proceeds to go to Dragonstone and declares her support for Rhaenyra. Well, one way you could show support is by winning the war before it even takes off.

    It’s also not really clear to me why killing the Greens would’ve started a war, which the show tried to intimate. All of the people spear heading Aegon’s ascension would be dead right then and there.

    IMO, the show makes Rhaenys come off a bit too sanctimonious all the time.

  48. I would also add that the same crap that the Greens are currently trying to pull on Rhaenyra should remind Rhaenys of exactly what happened to her. IMO, Rhaenys should be more involved in this if she ever wants Westeros to accept a woman ruler. Otherwise, it comes off as all talk and no action.

  49. Winterry71:
    All of these what they could or should have done alternatives are completely a waste of breath.

    I guess it’s a good thing these alternatives are being typed and not spoken then!

  50. My wife and I said the same exact thing to each other when Rhaenyra had Luke travel to Storm’s End all by himself. “WTF are you doing?!? That kid is like 10 years old. Why in the world would you send him alone on such an important mission? You’ve got a ton of dragonriders!

    Keep in mind, we said this to each other before anything went bad, so it wasn’t like we thought about this in hindsight or something like that.

    Sure, dragons are influential, but not when a tiny child steps off of it and then proceeds to try and play recruiter all by himself. That was a bad decision by Rhaenyra.

  51. Mr Derp,

    Poor kid didn’t want to go at all. Apparently, in the books there is no one else. Rhaeynra couldn’t mount a dragon after giving birth, the girls weren’t there and I think Daemon was off doing something. Having them all there makes the decision fairly mad. I think it’s something like the distance between Dover and Calais, but still. That kid was so tiny! They tried to explain it by having Jace volunteer, and I suppose sending the Prince’s was a sign of respect. But yeah. BIG MISTAKE

  52. Mr Derp,

    Yeah I saw that, though I’m not sure why you think I would mind. I believe I’ve said this before, but I could be the only person in the world who loved season 8 and it wouldn’t change my opinion. I don’t need the opinions of other people to justify my own.

  53. Mr Derp,

    Agreed. And the kid has no experience with diplomacy. Someone with experience would have made an offer for Borros. He was set to become Lord of Driftmark and nobody even prepared him for the job. Should have just sent a raven with a generous offer for Borros.

    Honestly, all her kids are very sheltered considering their status. She really didn’t do much to secure her position too. No wonder she got usurped 💀.

  54. Jenny,

    Yeah in the books she can’t ride, but they have her ride on the show to intimidate Otto. And Daemon is still on Dragonstone in the show.

  55. Favourite Moment of the episode: Erryk bringing Viserys crown.
    And then the final dragon ride, insane! Loved how Vhagar ignored Aemond.

    My opinion on the season as a whole: absolutely positive. This prequel could have been a disaster honestly. One cannot match the sensational debut of Got, if only for the freshness and the multitude of characters it brought to television. And still HOTD managed to delivered a great (not good, I’d say great) season.

  56. Agree with you guys on Luke being sent as a diplomate. Also, why would Otto go in person to Dragonstone, seems like an incredibly risky / dangerous thing to do.

  57. Mr Derp,

    In the linked interview, Maisie Williams also said this:

    With a Jon Snow spinoff in development with Kit Harington, Williams didn’t entirely shoot down the possibility of playing Arya again. “It has to be the right time and the right people,” she said. “It has to be right in the context of all the other spinoffs and the universe of ‘Game of Thrones.’ It has to be the right time for me.”
  58. Young Dragon:
    Mr Derp,

    Yeah I saw that, though I’m not sure why you think I would mind. I believe I’ve said this before, but I could be the only person in the world who loved season 8 and it wouldn’t change my opinion. I don’t need the opinions of other people to justify my own.

    I was mainly joking, and this wasn’t intended to change your opinion. Was just presenting the article, lol. You’re really way too sensitive when it comes to this topic. Relax.

  59. Season ending thoughts, as an unsullied.

    1 – If Rhaenyra is the only one who knows the true ASOIAF prophecy, the fact that it was still around after the Mad King was dethroned makes me suspect that the Blacks eventually win and I think I could’ve lived without that potential spoiler.
    2 – Has there been an in-depth explanation of the opening credits video yet? If so, I missed it.
    3 – I miss the costumes commentary!
    4 – As mentioned by others, I appreciate that the dragons are individuals with their own moods and motivations. Arrax is like the kitten who bared its claws and Vhagar was the old alley cat who retaliated with the over the top bite!
    5 – Speaking of Vhagar, I wonder how many people will believe that Luc’s death was more manslaughter than murder.
    6 – Since there has been so much discussion surrounding “unreliable narrators” potentially skewing actual events in Fire and Blood for propaganda purposes, I decided not to read it. Unsullied I shall remain!

    As always, many thanks to all the WotW contributors and site regulars for increasing my enjoyment of the show.

    May we have some new projects to watch and discuss in the next two years while we await the new season!

  60. Oops, thought I could edit.

    To my #5 above – or will Aemond claim he killed Luc, rather than admit he couldn’t control his own dragon?

  61. LadyGoodman,

    There were other people besides Rhaenyra who knew about the prophecy. Red priests like Melisandre knew it, she thought Stannis was the Prince that was promised.

  62. Really enjoyed the frequent appearances by the creepy-cool Silent Sisters. Hoping the Red Priesthood features in the next series.

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