Each week, Tarek @tarek_wm will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon.
This season wraps up beautifully and sets the table for an even better second season. It’s filled with tension and when the episode ends you can’t wait for season two.
House of the Dragon’s season finale picks up moments after episode nine. Following Rhaenys’ epic dragon intimidation she arrives at Stone Drum to tell Rhanerya and Daemon what’s happened. The news that Viserys’ died and Aegon was named king shortly after. Daemon thinks the Hightowers killed Viserys and this sparks a rage in him that we haven’t seen since the ten-year time jump. The sadness of Alicent’s betrayal and the death of her father induces Rhanerya into early labor. She goes through the gruesome and bloody birth on her own, pulling out the child on her own. Her child is stillborn. Daemon leaves Rhanerya on her own (as she screams for him) to deal with the birth while he tries to sort out the inevitable war between the Targaryens and Hightower’s.
Soon after there is a small funeral for the unnamed child. Ser Erryk Cargyll attends as well and swears his oath, not to the Kingsguard but to the Queensguard and gifts Viserys’ crown to Rhanerya. Everyone in attendance bends the knee all but Rhaenys. Speaking of Rhaenys her husband Corlys survived his injuries and is on his way to Dragonstone.
Rhanerya wastes no time heading up her small council and laying out war plans. They realize they have just enough to defend the castle but can’t go on the offensive. They begin to sort through who they can sway onto their side. Among the names mentioned are the Arryns, Tullys, Starks, Baratheons, and Lannisters. They weigh their options as some sides have more dragons at their disposal than others.
Otto arrives to discuss the terms of what’s to come with Daemon, Rhanerya arrives on dragon’s back, harkening back to the beginning of this season. This time she’s on Daemon’s side. Alicent wants Rhanerya to bend the knee to Aegon. If she does, she can keep Dragonstone, the Hightowers will recognize her black-haired sons as legitimate, and her younger sons will be given spots on the court. Daemon’s ready to start the war right then but Rhanerya talks him off the ledge.
Rhanerya and Daemon aren’t on the best of terms as is foreshadowed at the beginning of the episode when he’s ignoring her screams. Daemon wants to use dragons to win the war, but Rhanerya doesn’t want that. She believes just because you have them doesn’t mean you should use them. Rhanerya recites the prophecy of The Song of Ice and Fire and this lights a… fire under Daemon as he wraps his hand around her neck. He says prophecies don’t win wars dragons do.
Corlys and Rhaenys argue his bedside. She says that he abandoned her to go fight in a war. Rhaenys tells Corlys of Vaemond’s death by Daemon. Corlys is despondent and defeated. He doesn’t want to fight anymore he wants to declare neutrality and live on Driftmark. Rhaenys reminds him that with Aegon in power Jace and Luke’s lives will be in danger. This sways Corlys to join the fight with Rhanerya. She’s steadfast in not starting a war but wants them to be ready to retaliate.
To entice the other houses they send Jace and Luke on dragon back to Jayne Arryn in the Vale and Cregan Stark in Winterfell, and Borros Baratheon in the Stormlands. Rhanerya hands them letters and tells them to be messengers, not warriors. Like arrives and isn’t received warmly (surprise). Borros laughs off Rhanerya’s letter in which he offers nothing, not even a marriage of one of her sons to one of his daughters. Speaking of pacts Aemond Targaryen is standing next to the throne eye patch and having married one of his daughters. This is a recipe for disaster as Aemond wants to retaliate and take Luke’s eye. Borros tells them to take their arguing outside, they do and take off into a thunderstorm on their dragons. Aemond’s dragon is significantly bigger. This CGI battle was one to behold. All it took was one chomp from Aemond’s dragon to send Luke crashing into the water to his death.
In the season’s final scene Daemon whispers, the news to Rhanerya, and all we see is her turn around with a look that could END the war before it starts.