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). The boy, having heard tell of Lord Corlys Velaryon’s (Steve Toussaint) ill health, is fretting over his looming ascension to the throne of Driftmark. Prone to seasickness, he knows he’s no Sea Snake. Rhaenyra gives him a pep talk, telling him that he’ll need to earn his inheritance just as she had to earn hers. “I’ll just ruin everything,” he remarks, delivering a sentiment that will soon prove itself a prophetic one.
And then, with the news that Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) has arrived to Dragonstone on dragonback, that fragile peace is shattered. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is dead and Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) has been crowned as his successor before the masses of King’s Landing. When asked why she didn’t incinerate the Greens when she had the chance, Rhaenys says that a war is “likely to be fought over this treachery for sure, but that war is not mine to begin.” Daemon (Matt Smith), seeing red, believes that Viserys was murdered.
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. Laid up, she tells her family that no action is to be taken while she’s in bed. Daemon defies her, rallying the troops while giving teenage Jacaerys (Harry Collett) a lesson in “the true meaning of loyalty.” Jacaerys by his side, he orders two soldiers to make a choice: Do they support Rhaenyra as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms or do they stand for Aegon II? He brings out the dragon Caraxes, saying that if they declare for Aegon II now, he’ll give them a “clean and honorable death.” But if they bend the knee for Rhaenyra only to later turn their cloaks, they will die “screaming.”
Rhaenyra, recalling the death of her mother in childbirth, refuses help from her maidens as the pregnancy wreaks havoc on her body. Knowing something is wrong, she gives birth all by herself. The baby doesn’t survive. The family and its inner circle gather as the child’s body is burned on a funeral pyre.
Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor), having fled King’s Landing (and his twin brother, Arryk), arrives with Viserys’ crown in hand and swears fealty to her as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Daemon places the crown upon her head and bends a knee to her, prompting everyone at Dragonstone to do the same. (Except Princess Rhaenys, who continues to operate 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 swoops down to meet him atop Syrax, crown fitted to her head. She’s Queen Rhaenyra now and doesn’t hesitate to tell Otto that he and the rest of the Greens are “traitors to the realm.” Otto, however, is all business. If Rhaenyra and Daemon bend the knee, he proposes, Aegon II will confirm her possession of Dragonstone and Lucerys’ inheritance of Driftmark, adding that her children via Daemon will be guaranteed “high places” in his court as squire and cupbearer. Furthermore, any knight or lord that conspired against Aegon II’s ascent will be pardoned.
Daemon rejects the offer and is ready to slay Otto where he stands. Before he can, Otto provides Rhaenyra with a gesture of goodwill from Alicent (Olivia Cooke): a page from a history book they read together as children. “Queen Alicent has not forgotten the love you once had for each other,” says Otto. “The realm can carry on in peace.”
Rhaenyra considers the terms, saying King’s Landing will have her answer the following day. War is not something she desires. 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 wish to “rule over a kingdom of ash and bone.” Daemon is furious. “It’s your duty as queen to crush rebellion,” he asserts.
That’s when she brings up Aegon the Conqueror’s dream — the Song of Ice and Fire — and what she’s been told is the destiny of Targaryen rule. Daemon violently rejects this, gripping her throat and seething that “dreams didn’t make us kings, dragons did.”
Rhaenys, meanwhile, has reunited with Corlys, who’s arrived at Dragonstone after six years at sea. Crushed by the death of their children, he retreated into battle to escape the horrors back at home. Now, after hearing about Vaemond’s (Wil Johnson) death, he says that the Velaryon pursuit of the Iron Throne is finished. “We shall declare for no one,” he says. “We will retire to High Tide to be content with our grandchildren.” Rhaenys reminds him that their grandchildren won’t be safe so long as Aegon II is king. She tempers his reticence to embrace Rhaenyra as queen by telling him she’s the only one not rushing into war. “Rhaenyra’s the only one who’s demonstrated restraint,” she says.
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. And since Corlys’ years at sea cinched him control of the Stepstones, his dominion over the Narrow Sea means they may be able to cut off sea travel and trade to King’s Landing. This is good news, but what Rhaenyra really needs is allies. Houses Stark, Baratheon, and Arryn took an oath to support Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne when Viserys first declared it, but both Otto and Corlys remind her that oaths are easy to break.
Jacaerys proposes that he and Lucerys travel to the individual kingdoms to help secure their support. He’ll go to the Eyrie and Winterfell, while Lucerys will fly to Storm’s End to try and sway Lord Borros Baratheon (Roger Evans), described by Rhaenyra as an “eternally proud man.” Before the boys leave, Rhaenyra makes them swear that they won’t partake in any violence. The situation is precarious enough as is.
Given the fact that Lucerys has Baratheon blood, Rhaenyra believes he’ll receive a warm welcome in Storm’s End. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Not only has Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) beaten him there, but the one-eyed prince has promised to marry one of Borros’ daughters in exchange for Baratheon support. Borros can only consider backing the Blacks if the boy offers the same. Since Lucerys is already betrothed to Rhaena Targaryen (Phoebe Campbell), Borros rejects him. .
As Lucerys leaves, he’s stopped by Aemond, who lost his eye at Lucerys’ hand once upon a time. He wants a fight. Lucerys refuses. Aemond wants payback, an eye for an eye. “I plan to make a gift of it to my mother,” he teases. Borros kicks them out and Lucerys rushes to his dragon, Arrax, in the pouring rain. In the distance, he glimpses Aemond’s dragon, the ancient, gargantuan Vhagar. As Arrax struggles to navigate the storm, Lucerys senses they are being followed. Aemond’s laugh pierces the sky as Vhagar emerges from the clouds, chasing Arrax and Lucerys. “You owe a debt, boy!” cries Aemond. Disoriented and threatened, Arrax goes rogue by spewing a jet of fire at Vhagar. Lucerys, knowing this is bad, tries to flee above the clouds, but a furious Vhagar follows them. Against Aemond’s commands, Vhagar chomps Arrax in two, killing both Arrax and 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. Lucerys’ death, he knows, will have repercussions. Big ones.
Back at Dragonstone, Daemon (who’s returned from the depths of Dragonmont, where he’s been taming the as-yet-riderless wild dragons) informs Rhaenyra of Lucerys’ death. The blind, passionless fury on her face makes it clear that peace is out of the question. This means war.
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House of the Dragon
A Game of Thrones prequel focusing on the dragon-riding Targaryens.