March 20, 2023
House of the Dragon Finale Recap: The Dance of the Dragons Gets Underway —  Plus, Grade It!

House of the Dragon Finale Recap: The Dance of the Dragons Begins – Also, Rate It!

Armor in place, Dragon House fans: We went to war.

It was one thing to hear little Shireen talks about Rhaenyra vs. Aegon, aka the epic war known as the Dance of the Dragons, as a history lesson in game of thrones. It’s quite another thing when Dragon HouseThe season 1 finale of takes us to the precipice of this legendary entanglement, then plunges us right into the fray.

Read on for ‘The Black Queen’ highlights, then be sure to hear what Emma D’Arcy and co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik have to say about this major death at the end of the series. hour.

Rhaenyra finds Luke persisting that he is not a worthy heir to Driftmark. She consoles him by telling him that she was the same age as him when she was named heir to the throne, and that she wasn’t ready either: “I had to earn my inheritance. He retorts that he’s not like her – “perfect”. She kisses him on the head and assures him that she will prepare him as her father prepared her.

They are interrupted by the arrival of Rhaenys, who demands an audience with Rhaenyra and Daemon. It does not beat around the bust. “Viserys is dead,” she said bluntly, offering her condolences before continuing, “Aegon has been crowned as his successor.” Daemon immediately assumes the king has been killed; Rhaenyra’s eyes fill with tears and she clutches her stomach as if in pain. “The Greens are coming for you, Rhaenyra, and for your children. You should leave Dragonstone immediately,” Rhaenys advises, walking out as she clarifies that she only came out of loyalty to Viserys, but she doesn’t want to know what’s to come. But that seems unlikely, given that Rhaenyra’s pains are getting worse. She searches under her skirt and finds blood: The baby is coming.

It’s too early for the birth, but the princess is definitely in labor as she retreats to her quarters and steps, moaning in agony as the contractions hit. She calls her two eldest sons to her side; they wonder where Daemon is. “Gone mad. Gone to plot his war,” she gasps, then demands that Jacerys, as her next in line, ensure no action is taken while she’s indisposed. Daemon brings out the boy as he gives an ultimatum to two knights of the Royal Guard: change their loyalties to Rhaenyra, or die by a dragon.

At that moment, Rhaenyra – who refused to let any of her assistants help her – has the child right there on the stone floor of her room. The infant was stillborn. She cradles and wraps the child, and the next time we see everyone in the castle has gathered around the baby’s funeral pyre on the cliffs. It is there that Ser Erryk Cargill finds them, presenting Viserys’ crown to Rhaenyra and swearing loyalty to the princess. Daemon places the crown on his wife’s head and bows saying “My queen”. All the others follow suit.

Rhaenyra quickly shakes off – or smothers – her grief and heads to the Chamber of the Painted Table to strategize. They discuss which houses are likely to support them and which are likely to side with Alicent’s Greens, then Daemon gets carried away pointing out that the Blacks of Rhaeynra have a lot more dragons at their disposal than the Hightowers & Co. .don’t do it.

It all comes to a halt, however, when Otto Hightower arrives bearing a message from Alicent that is meant only for Rhaenyra. “Where is the princess?” he wonders as he stands on the bridge outside the castle; Rhaenyra chooses this moment to charge Syrax. Otto offers her Dragonstone, with her sons cared for, if she swears loyalty to Aegon. “Every symbol of legitimacy belongs to” Aegon, says Otto, adding that Houses Stark, Tully and Baratheon will side with Aegon. She and Daemon loudly say the hell no to those terms, and she rips her Hand of the King pin from her lapel and throws it to the side of the bridge. Otto doesn’t react, handing Rhaenyra a personal note from Alicent: a page from one of the books they used to read together as children. Daemon is ready to fight, and everyone pulls out their guns. But the message made Rhaenyra cry, and she orders all the men to stand down, telling Otto that King’s Landing will have his answer soon.

Shocker: Daemon wants to go to war right now. Rhaenyra remarks that when dragons are used in war, everything burns. And ooooh the idea that the new queen is still considering accepting Otto’s deal infuriates Daemon. When he yells at her in front of everyone, she clears the room. (Side note: I absolutely loved that look Rhaenys gives them on the way out.)

Rhaenyra uses the time alone to conjure up the Song of Ice and Fire, which further infuriates Daemon; he grabs it by the throat as he angrily dismisses it as one of Viserys’ fanciful dreams. “Dreams didn’t make us kings. The dragons did it,” he spits. But that’s when she realizes Viserys never told her about the prophecy…which coincides with when Daemon realizes the prophecy is going to be a THING.

The good news: Corlys is alive and seems to be doing better! The bad news: Rhaenys resents him for running away to war, and she has all the bad news from the latest episodes to tell him before he even rolls out of his sickbed. “Our pursuit of the Iron Throne is over,” he decides, adding that they won’t declare themselves for anyone and relax. Isn’t it nice to think so? Rhaenys makes it clear that their grandsons Jacerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey will never be safe while Aegon is king. And besides, the Queen Who Never Was is a little impressed with her cousin’s ability to not be a brash jerk.

Lord Corlys improves enough to travel to the Chamber of the Painted Table, where he pledges his loyalty – and the Velaryon fleet – to his side. She is touched and, glancing at Rhaenys, she recognizes all that Mrs. Sea Snake has done to make this happen. Oh, and good news: they control the Stepstones and access to the Narrow Sea, thanks to the mess Corlys got himself into years ago.

Yet Rhaenyra does not rush headlong into a fight. “Being careful does not mean standing firm. I mean knowing who my allies are before sending them off to war,” she told Corlys. They discuss sending crows, but Luke and Jace volunteer to ride their dragons to bring messages to distant houses that might need a little convincing in person.

The queen makes her boys swear that they travel as messengers and not as warriors. She spends a tender moment with them, then they leave. It’s stormy when Luke arrives at Storm’s End…and he’s surprised to see that there’s already another dragon hanging around outside. Inside, he learns that Aemond arrived before him, and he stands next to Lord Borros Baratheon as Luke delivers Rhaenyra’s message. Baratheon is mad that Luke showed up empty-handed; at least Aemond has a marriage pact. Dejected, Luke turns to leave… then Aemond asks the boy to cut out one of his own eyes in exchange for what he did to Aemond years ago. Aemond rips off his eye patch and we see he has a giant sapphire stuffed into the socket. Also? He is super crazy. As he comes after Luke, Lord Borros orders them to spill their blood somewhere else.

So Luke heads for Arrax and flies off into the storm. Luke seems to be doing just fine…until Aemond flies over him on Vhagar and you get an idea of ​​how impossibly tiny Arrax is in comparison. There’s a lot of back and forth and a chase, but then Arrax goes rogue and breathes fire at Vhagar, and Vhagar counters by diving and biting off Arrax’s head. Unfortunately, he catches Luke in the process, and that’s all she wrote for Rhaenyra’s secondborn. For what it’s worth, it’s clear that both dragons have stopped listening to their riders when all this is going on; afterwards, Aemond looks more drained than I thought he was capable of.

Rhaenyra receives the news in her war room. We don’t see her face as Daemon tells her that her son is dead, but we do see it when she turns around. Though the tears roll down her cheeks with abandon, the look is pure fury: This war is on.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Rate it – and the season as a whole – in the polls below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

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