The storm has finally died down and it’s time for the dragons to dance. First season of The house of the dragon, one of the best shows currently airing on HBO Max, reached its long-awaited conclusion with an episode that delivered all the thrills fans expected. The season set the stage for the Dance of Dragons, the civil war of succession that divided the Targaryens and ultimately ended in misery for all involved, not to mention the extinction of all dragons for the next two centuries. And after nine episodes of political intrigue, drama, scheming and dragons, the pieces are in place and the dance can officially begin.

The episode, titled “The Black Queen,” focused entirely on blacks; the previous episode, “The Green Council”, revolved around the Greens and their successful efforts to crown Aegon II as King of the Seven Kingdoms. Episode 10 opens with Rhaenyra receiving the news of her father’s death from Rhaenys, who escaped King’s Landing at the end of episode 9 and flew straight to Dragonstone to warn her niece about the Greens’ plot. Rhaenyra goes into early labor, leaving Daemon to plan their next moves. The rogue prince moves quickly, despite Rhaenyra’s orders that no decision should be made without her approval.

Unfortunately, Rhaenyra loses her baby, adding an extra layer of tragedy to the situation. During the baby’s funeral, Ser Erryk Cargyll, who helped Rhaenys escape from King’s Landing in “The Green Council,” arrives at Dragonstone with King Viserys’ crown; Damon places it on Rhaenyra’s head and declares her Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Then the blacks receive a visit from Otto Hightower, who brings terms from Alicent for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Now the dowager queen proposes to give Rhaenyra a Dragonstone and the lands to pass to Jakerys (Jace for short) upon her death, to declare Lucerys (Luke) heir to the Driftmark and Lord of the Tides, and to name her sons with Damon — Aemon the Younger and Viserys — as squire and cupbearer respectively to Aegon II. Damon immediately shuts down the offer, but Rhaenyra claims she’ll consider it.

Daemon and Rhaenyra then have a tense confrontation in which he physically attacks her after she states her desire to avoid war and respect her father’s wishes regarding the prophecy of A Song of Ice and Fire. An enraged Damon claims that Viserys’ fantasies are irrelevant, leading Rhaenyra to realize that her late father never told Damon about Aegon the Conqueror’s dream and the threat from the North. Corlys Velaryon recovers from his injuries and after a one-on-one duel with Rhaenys, reaffirms his support for Rhaenyra and pledges Velaryon’s fleet to her cause. Rhaenyra decides she needs to send messengers to three great houses – Arryn, Stark and Baratheon – and Jakerys offers herself and Lucerys for the task. Renyra tells her children that they must avoid fighting as they are only messengers and sends them on their way.

Luke arrives at Storm’s End atop his dragon Arax to deliver his mother’s message to Lord Boros Baratheon. However, he finds that Emond is already there and offers his hand in marriage to one of Boros’ daughters if the Storm Lord supports Aegon II’s claims. Lord Boros imprisons Luke due to his lack of offers and sends him back to Rhaenyra. However, Aemond confronts Luke and demands that he remove his own eye as payment for Aemond’s earlier loss, recalling the confrontation between Alicent and Rhaenyra in episode seven, “Driftmark”. Luke logically says no, but before Emond can attack, Lord Boros stops them and orders his men to escort Luke back to his dragon.

Damon and Rhaenyra Targaryen look in the same direction with confused expressions in the House of the Dragon.

A nervous Luke jumps atop the restless Arax and into the storm, only to find a vengeful Aemond chasing him atop Vhagar. Emond teases Luke, but the young Prince Velarion avoids his uncle, not before his still-inexperienced dragon shoots Dragonfire at the increasingly angry Vhagar. In a big departure from Fire and blood, Vhagar acts on his own accord and kills Arrax and Luke, leaving Aemond visibly shocked. The episode ends with Rhaenyra receiving the news of her son’s death and staring into the camera with a storm of emotion raging across her face.

Fans will have to wait about two years before season 2 of The house of the dragongiven that production looks set to begin in April or May 2023. The 2-year wait for the next chapter in this exciting and larger-than-life saga may seem like torture, but that’s the landscape we live in right now, with series taking their sweet time between seasons. Based on The house of the dragonDespite HBO’s wild success, they may not want to leave too much time between seasons. For now, fans will have to take comfort in the incredible first season they just experienced and look forward to a promising and fiery future. The Dance of Dragons finally begins.

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