The first season of House of the Dragon is done and dusted. Anticipation was high for the HBO prequel Game of Thrones and, with approx 30 million people watch every episode proved to be a hit even if no one knew what to expect from House of the Dragon. We got some answers early in the season when the show was on renewed for a second seasonrevealing that it will take more than 10 episodes to tell the story of the Targaryen civil war.
In Sunday’s finale, we saw the precursor to the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons. Word of King Viserys’ death finally reaches Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, but the queen is unwilling to go to war for the throne. Aegon the Conqueror’s prophecy rings in her head as she declares the need to rule a united kingdom, not smoke and rubble.
Yet the show’s closing moments test her resolve so we know war is assured. Final warning: House of the Dragon spoilers below.
Luceris, we hardly knew you
The biggest news from the House of the Dragon finale is the death of Lucerys Targaryen, Rhaenyra’s youngest child, whose real father is Harwin Strong. Luceris, you may recall, was declared heir to Dragonstone in episode 8 — a decision that a disgruntled Vaemond Velarion died challenging.
Over the course of the House of the Dragon finale, Rhaenyra and Daemon decide that they need to bolster their support from the Eyrie, Winterfell, and the Stormlands if they want to have a credible force to challenge the Hightowers. Towards the end of the episode, she sends her two oldest children to petition the lords and ladies of these regions. Jacaerys will go to the Eyrie to secure Lady Arryn’s powers, then head to Winterfell to speak with Cregin Stark. Meanwhile, Lucerys must go to Storm’s End to speak with Borros Baratheon.
When he gets there though, we see that Emond Targaryen has beaten him to the punch. This is the same Emond Targaryen who lost his eye thanks to Luceris – the same Emond Targaryen who has dreamed of revenge for years. Lord Baratheon Rejects Luceris : Emond at least came up with a marriage proposal to marry into both houses, while Lucerys only had a reminder from Rhaenyra that House Baratheon had staked their swords on her inheritance years ago.
Luceris tries to leave, but Emond has no intention of letting the prince escape him. He demands that Luceris put out his own eye to pay the debt he incurred when he cut out Emond’s eyes. Lord Baratheon demands that the two separate him so that no blood will be spilled in his castle.
Luceris mounts Aryx, her dragon, to fly back to Dragonstone. Unfortunately, a storm broke out — after all, it is the End of the Storm. Emond and his huge dragon Vhagar pursue Luceris. Aemond just wants to capture Luceris and gouge out his eye, but his dragon has a mind of its own. After Arrax burns Vhagar with dragon fire, the enraged beast bites Arrax. But because Vhagar is so huge, it results in Arrax being crushed in half.
Luceris is gone, and so is Arax. Most importantly, Emond Targaryen seems overcome with regret at seeing his cousin killed. It’s not out of familial feelings, but rather knowing how much escalation his death could bring.
Of dragons and men
Dragonfire was a motif throughout the finale, which you’d expect from a show called House of the Dragon. But one recurring argument was the same one Daenerys Targaryen faced on Game of Thrones: should Rhaenyra try peace or traditional war? Or should he just burn down King’s Landing with dragons?
Aemond has Vhagar, the mightiest dragon of all, it’s true. But the dragon numbers are on Rhaenyra and Daemon’s side — even without Araxes. One brief scene in the episode may end up having extra importance: We saw Damon walk through a pitch-black cave where he found another titanic dragon. He sang a song in Valyrian, apparently successful in his attempt to connect with the beast. More dragons mean more trouble for the Seven Kingdoms.
In the final scene of House of the Dragon, Damon informs Rhaenyra of Luceris’ death. Rhaenyra says nothing, but her determined rictus is reminiscent of Daenerys’s after Missandei’s public execution. “If you want war,” the look on her face said, “you will get war.”
Although we saw that Luceris’ journey ended in tragedy, we saw nothing of Jakeris’ travels north. If I’m a betting man, I’ll bet my money on House of the Dragon Season 2 starting in Winterfell. It will be nice to be back.