‘House of the Dragon’ finale recap: Enter Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen
The last moment of peace House of the Dragon‘s Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) will have for a very long time is spent with 14-year-old Lucerys (Elliot Grihault), her second child with the late Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr). After hearing about Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint’s) illness, the boy is worried about his ascension to Driftmark. He is not prone to seasickness and knows that he’s not a Sea Snake. Rhaenyra gives him an encouraging pep talk, telling that he will need to earn his inheritance the same way she earned hers. He says, “I’ll just ruin all,” and a sentiment that will soon prove to be prophetic.
And then, the fragile peace is broken by the announcement that Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best), has arrived at Dragonstone on dragonback. King Viserys (Paddy Considine), is dead, and Aegon II (Tom Glynn Carney) has been elected his successor before the masses in King’s Landing. Rhaenys was asked why she didn’t incinerate Greens when she could. She said that it is likely that a war will be fought over this treachery, but that war wasn’t mine to start. Daemon (Matt Smith), seeing red believes that Viserys was killed.
Emma D’Arcy – House of the Dragon Season 1 – Episode 10
Emma D’Arcy on ‘House of the Dragon’
| Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO
The stress of this revelation sends Rhaenyra into a painful labor. She lies down and tells her family that she will not take any action while she is in bed. Daemon, despite her protestations, rallies the troops and teaches teenage Jacaerys (Harry Collett), “the true meaning” of loyalty. With Jacaerys at his side, he orders two soldiers make a choice. Do they support Rhaenyra the Queen of Seven Kingdoms? Or do they support Aegon II. He calls out the dragon Caraxes and tells them that if they decide to support Aegon II, he will give them a “clean, honorable death.” They will “scream” if they bow to Rhaenyra’s knees.
Rhaenyra remembers the death of her mother during childbirth and refuses to accept help from her maidens, as her body is ravaged by the pregnancy. She gives birth to her baby alone, knowing something is wrong. The baby dies. The child’s body is thrown on a funeral pyre by the family and its close friends.
Erryk Cargyll, who fled King’s Landing with his twin brother Arryk, arrives with Viserys’ crown and swears loyalty to her as Queen in the Seven Kingdoms. Daemon places her crown on her head and kneels to her. This prompts everyone at Dragonstone. (Except Princess Rhaenys who continues to act with caution. )
Emma D’Arcy, – House of the Dragon Season 1 – Episode 10
Emma D’Arcy and Rhys Ifans on ‘House of the Dragon’
| Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO
Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), Hand to the King, arrives via ship with terms for Rhaenyra. She descends to meet him on Syrax, her crown on her head. Now she’s Queen Rhaenyra and tells Otto that he and all the Greens are “traitors of the realm”. Otto is however all business. He proposes that Rhaenyra or Daemon bow down to him. Aegon II will confirm her possession Dragonstone and Lucerys’ inheritance of Driftmark. Daemon will also guarantee her children “high places” in his court, as squire/cupbearer. Any knight or lord who conspired against Aegon’s ascent to the top will be pardoned.
Daemon declines the offer and is prepared to kill Otto. Before he can, Otto presents Rhaenyra a gesture from Alicent (Olivia Cooke), a page from a book they shared as children. Otto says, “Queen Alicent is not forgetting the love you once shared for each other.” “The realm can continue in peace.”
Rhaenyra examines the terms and says King’s Landing will give her an answer the next day. She doesn’t want war. When Daemon tells her that the 13 dragons they possess give them a leg up over the Greens’ superior army, Rhaenyra reminds him of the lessons of Old Valyria: “When dragons flew to war, everything burned.” She doesn’t want to “rule over an ash-and-bone kingdom.” Daemon is furious. He asserts, “It’s your duty to crush rebellion as queen.”
That’s when she brings up Aegon, the Conqueror’s dream — The Song of Ice and Fire. She’s told that this is the destiny of Targaryen rulership. Daemon violently refuses to hear this, gripping her throat, and claiming that dreams didn’t make us kings like dragons.
Rhaenys has, however, reunited with Corlys who’s now at Dragonstone after six long years at sea. He was devastated by the loss of his children and fled to battle to escape the horrors at home. After hearing about Vaemond’s (Wil Johnson) death, he now says that the Velaryon pursuit for the Iron Throne has ended. He says, “We will declare for no one.” “We will retire at High Tide to be happy with our grandchildren.” Rhaenys reminds him of the fact that their grandchildren will not be safe as long as Aegon II remains king. She tempers her reticence to embrace Rhaenyra, telling him that she’s the only not who is rushing into war. She says that Rhaenyra is the only one who has displayed restraint.
Steve Toussaint, Eve Best – House of the Dragon Season 1 – Episode 10
Steve Toussaint and Eve Best on ‘House of the Dragon’
| Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO
Later, meeting with Rhaenyra, Corlys and Rhaenys announce their alliance with the Blacks. Corlys’ years at sea have secured him control over the Stepstones. His dominion over Narrow Sea may allow them to cut off sea travel to King’s Landing. This is great news, but Rhaenyra needs allies. Arryn, Baratheon and Stark took an oath to support Rhaenyra when Viserys first declared the claim to the throne. But Otto and Corlys remind her of how easy it is to break oaths.
Jacaerys suggests that he and Lucerys go to each kingdom to secure their support. He’ll travel to the Eyrie, Winterfell, while Lucerys’ will fly to Storm’s End in an attempt to sway Lord Borros Barbatheon (Roger Evans), who Rhaenyra describes as an “eternally proud” man. Rhaenyra makes the boys swear they will not engage in violence before they leave. The situation is already precarious.
Rhaenyra believes Lucerys will be welcomed in Storm’s End due to his Baratheon blood. This is not true. Aemond (Ewan Mitchel) has not only beaten him, but the one-eyed prince also promised to marry one Borros’ daughter in return for Baratheon support. Borros will only consider backing Blacks if the boy is willing to do the same. Borros rejects Lucerys because he is already married to Rhaena Targaryen, Phoebe Campbell. . As Lucerys leaves, he is stopped by Aemond. Aemond lost his eye at Lucerys’ hand once upon a while. He wants to fight. Lucerys says no. Aemond demands payback, an eyes for an eye. He teases, “I plan to give it to my mom.” Borros kicks them out, and Lucerys rushes towards his dragon, Arrax in the pouring rain. He sees Aemond’s dragon, Vhagar, in the distance. Lucerys sees them being followed as Arrax struggles to navigate through the storm. As Vhagar emerges from clouds, Aemond’s laughter pierces the sky and chases Arrax. “You owe a debt, boy!” Aemond cries. Vhagar is threatened and disoriented, so Arrax unleashes a fireball at Vhagar. Lucerys, realizing this is bad, tries fleeing above the clouds but a furious Vhagar follows. Against Aemond’s orders, Vhagar chomps Arrax into two, killing both Arrax as well as Lucerys.
House of the Dragon Season 1 – Episode 10
‘House of the Dragon’ season finale
| Credit: Liam Daniel/ HBO
Aemond just wanted to scare the kid. He knows that Lucerys’s death will have repercussions. They are big ones.
Back in Dragonstone, Daemon (who has returned from Dragonmont, where he was taming the as yet-riderless wild Dragons) informs Rhaenyra about Lucerys’s death. Her expression of blind passionlessness and fury makes it clear that peace is impossible. This is war.
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House of the Dragon
A Game of Thrones prequel focusing on the dragon-riding Targaryens.
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