The much-anticipated spin-off show to HBO cult classic “Game of Thrones,” “House of the Dragon” Season 1, comes to its conclusion. It is based on the lives of the Targaryen family, who ruled the Seven Kingdoms for seven centuries before they were defeated by Robert Baratheon. The House of the Dragon is about how the Targaryen war of succession took place, between Rhaenyra and her half-brother Aegon Targaryen, in the fight for ultimate power. The show is based on the book written by George R.R. Martin, “Fire and Blood,” and created by the author himself and Ryan J. Condal, which was released on HBO on August 21st, 2022.
Now that season 1 has ended, it is easy to conclude that “House of the Dragon” is one of the best fantasy fiction shows of this year, a great spin-off to Game of Thrones, for most of the fans are still sour about the way seasons 7 and 8 were written and executed, and how the show concluded. Here’s us giving you a recap and explaining what happens by the end of season 1. Does the infamous Dance of the Dragons finally begin?
Story Of Viserys And His Daughter Rhaenyra
The show begins with the Great Council, which must choose between Princess Rhaenys, the heir to the Iron Throne, and Viserys Targaryen, the grandson of the old King Jaehaerys. Jaehaerys did not want to choose between both; he left it to the council to choose who would be fit to rule the Seven Kingdoms. The council went ahead and chose Viserys as their ruler, which saddened Rhaenys, for she intended to become the first queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys, even though he wasn’t known for his smart political moves, was chosen because he was a man. Viserys I Targaryen was always considered the peacetime king. The quieter one would listen to his small council and act accordingly without hurting anyone’s sentiments. Surrounded by Otto Hightower, his hand of the King, Viserys makes sure he makes sound decisions, smartly engineered by Otto Hightower to get hands-on power.
King Viserys I and his wife, Queen Aemma, and their only daughter, Princess Rhaenyra; he longs for a son whom he can declare as his heir to the throne. Much to Rhaenyra’s dismay, she was never considered a strong contender for the throne just because of her gender. She believes her role is restricted in the court because of it, and her father would always considers her a pawn to gain more allies. Rhaenyra wants to prove again why she is an able politician, and her knowledge should be used to their advantage. Rhaenyra’s best friend, Alicent Hightower, Otto Hightower’s daughter, is always by her side, listening to her and advising her not to lose hope. Alicent and Rhaenyra formed a strong bond growing up, which both shared with nobody else. Rhaenyra’s mother’s untimely death while giving birth put Viserys and Rhaenyra’s relationship on the back foot. The question of the King’s marriage arises, and Rhaenyra urges her father to remarry. The King chooses to marry Alicent Hightower, much to Rhaenyra’s shock. She believes her father and her best friend betrayed her by not informing her of this clandestine affair that was going on after her mother’s death. Rhaenyra feels Alicent hurt her by not discussing her affair, for they have been each other’s solace for the longest time. Daemon, Viserys’ brother and a sore thumb in the family, loves to cause trouble. The only one who formed the City Watch is looking forward to becoming the next King if Viserys doesn’t have any male heir of his own, sidelining Rhaenyra. Daemon strongly believes he can do a better job at being the King’s Hand than Otto, for Daemon always looks for what is best for the family, while Otto is quite the opposite. Daemon has style, swagger, and the courage to call a spade a spade. Daemon and Rhaenyra are Otto’s biggest roadblocks, for somehow, they can see through his greed for power. Otto realizes he cannot manipulate Rhaenyra or Daemon, and that forms the main reason why Otto would never want Rhaenyra or Daemon to be the next ruler of the seven kingdoms. Clashes between Viserys and Daemon lead to Viserys naming his only daughter the heir to the Iron Throne, thus passing on to her the story of the song of ice and fire, of the long night in the peak of winter, which is being passed on from King to their heir in the Targaryen family.
Rhaenyra looks forward to making amends with Alicent again as she becomes a mother to a boy and a daughter. With the boy being born to the King, there is again the question of succession, but Viserys sticks to his decision to keep Rhaenyra as the heir to the throne, as much as Otto dislikes the decision. Rhaenyra still wonders if her father will replace her with Aegon now that he has a son, as she is forced to look for a partner for herself once she takes over as the Queen. Rhaenyra is charged with misconduct by Otto Hightower, which she dismisses by saying he claims to discredit her as the heir. Viserys subsequently removes Otto Hightower as the Hand of the King, which upsets Alicennt. Alicent learns that Rhaenyra lied about not sleeping with someone. Alicent is taken aback by the fact that Rhaenyra did not find her trustworthy enough to share. Alicent is deeply hurt, which she possibly will never recover from. Alicent is also hurt by the fact that Rhaenyra’s lie led to Otto’s being dismissed as the Hand of the King, which turns Alicent bitter. Alicent considers this as Rhaenyra’s way of moving ahead in life, and Alicent decides to do the same. An invisible wall is formed between Rhaenyra and Alicent.
As Viserys’s health deteriorates, Rhaenyra has still not found a match for herself. Rhaenyra finally chooses to marry her cousin, Laenor Velaryon, son of Princess Rhaenys and Corlys. Though Laenor’s interest lies in men, Rhaenyra and Laenor decide to continue doing what they love after their wedding. Rhaenyra and Laenor give birth to three sons, but they all have black hair, making the court and Alicent wonder if Lord Harwin Strong of Harrenhal is father of Rhaenyra’s children. Rhaenyra and Laenor never accept or deny that their three sons are legitimately theirs, but Laenor always remains a good father to the kids. Rhaenyra never admits to anyone the actual parentage of her first kids. It is implied the father is Lord Harwin Strong of Harrenhall, but neither he nor Rhaenyra confirms this. Rhaenyra is just glad to know that, as heir to the throne, she has three boys who will succeed her, and she is aware that, as the princess, her life won’t be questioned by anyone at the court. Soon, Rhaenyra finds it difficult to be in court with the rumors of her children’s parentage increasing. This surely puts her life as an heir to the throne in danger, and she moves away to Dragonstone for safety. But to avoid further speculation regarding her children, she decides with Laenor to help him disappear with his lover, faking his death and marrying Daemon to solidify her claim to the throne. Rhaenyra is afraid of losing her claim to the throne. She understands the power that comes with becoming the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. She wants to change the status quo by becoming the first woman to rule the Seven Kingdoms. She ropes in Daemon to help her make her claim stronger. Daemon, who always wanted to safeguard the Iron Throne, agrees to marry her. Rhaenyra loves power too much, and she cannot let Otto and Alicent take control while her family is the one who has been ruling the Seven Kingdoms for centuries.
Viserys I falls severely ill and, one last time, comes in support of Rhaenyra’s kids, who are the heir to the Driftmark seat through Laenor since Corlys Velryon is keeping unwell. Viserys urges his family to be each other’s strength at a family dinner. The entire family comes together for one last time before the King passes away. Alicent mishears Viserys’ last words, and she mistakenly claims that he wanted Aegon to be the next King. Otto is delighted to hear the news and puts the wheel in motion to make Aegon the next King, sidelining Rhaenyra and her kids. Alicent is scared to go ahead as she is afraid of Rhaenyra and Daemon’s wrath that might befall her, but she sticks to the fact that her husband’s last words were to make their son the King. Alicent is either being convenient or in denial for Viserys till the end, supporting Rhaenyra’s claim, and for Alicent suddenly claim King has changed his mind by the end of his life is too delusional. Alicent thinks she is controlling a lot of political moves around her, but she refuses to see that her father is playing the moves, and she is just another pawn to be manipulated. Otto and Alicent engineer to make Aegon the next King, not before Alicent convinces Aegon not to kill Rhaenyra and her kids as will be suggested by his grandfather Otto. The coronation takes place, and Aegon is crowned as the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Alicent legitimately thinks Rhaenyra would bend the knee and swear fealty to her son Aegon, for Alicent is not looking to go out for a full blow war with Rhaenyra. But Alicent unknowingly falls for her father’s words and becomes a part of the wheel that is being churned to make Aegon the King.
‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 10 “Black Queen” Recap
“Black Queen,” the last episode of the show, begins with Rhaenyra receiving the news she was dreading from none other than Rhaenys. Daemon and Rhaenyra are taken aback but not surprised to see the HighTowers pulling this stunt. Rhaenyra, meanwhile, loses her child due to the trauma of losing her father. Daemon believes Viserys was murdered and is all ready to wage war to give back Rhaenyra what was hers. Rhaenyra does not intend to go to war with Aegon and Alicent, for she believes there will be a peaceful way to resolve this. Her father’s children are her blood, and she does not intend to start a war to kill them. Daemon, on the other hand, starts building up support around him. Daemon is keen on striking King’s Landing but is asked by Rhaenyra not to do anything without her command. Rhaenyra is declared Queen by her supporters at Dragonstone. Rhaenys and Corlys Velaryon come in support of Rhaenyra by offering them Driftmark’s fleet, which is the largest in the Seven Kingdoms. Rhaenyra strongly believes that houses that swore fealty to her will come to her support. Meanwhile, Daemon is not happy with the way Rhaenyra is handling the situation. Daemon talks of taking control of riderless dragons, including the second-largest dragon, Vermithor. Daemon, a war-seasoned warrior, is pushing Rhaenyra to declare war on the Hightowers for usurping. He is impatient, triggered, and too angry to be able to think clearly. Rhaenyra, though, sends envoys, which include her sons. The point of sending off her sons to ask for fealty is to show they are her important allies, and her sons here are to break terms of offers in return for showing loyalty towards her and her claim.
‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Will Rhaenyra Wage A War Against Alicent Hightower?
As Rhaenyra plans to send across her sons, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon and Lucerys Velaryon, as envoys to gather support for her claim, Daemon confronts her on her game plan. Rhaenyra reveals the song of ice and fire prophecy to Daemon, which her father shared with her. Rhaenyra realizes from Daemon’s reaction that it was never revealed to him. Rhaenyra chuckles as she finally realizes that Viserys always wanted her to be his heir, and he never considered Daemon his heir, for if he had, he would have shared Aegon’s prophecy with him. Rhaenyra is happy to know she is the chosen one, the true heir to the kingdom, as she is the only one aware of the prophecy; nobody else is.
Lucerys is sent off to Storms End, the seat of Baratheon, to receive their fealty. Luce is confronted by Aemond at the court, and soon he starts chasing him on Vhagar. Lucerys, who is on a smaller dragon Arrax, is horrified to see Vhagar and Aemond flying past them, chasing them through the storm. Lucerys is a young kid, and so is Arrax, a young dragon trying to connect with his dragon rider. Lucerys finds it hard to control Arrax, who starts fighting with Vhagar. Aemond and Lucerys realize they need to control their dragons, only to see Vhagar fiercely attacking Arrax, killing Lucerys and Arrax on the spot. Aemond is horrified to see the turn of events. He did not intend to kill Lucerys. He now knows this could escalate and lead to a full-fledged war. Aemond is now aware of the fact that he cannot fully control Vhagar, for when dragons fight, they end up killing one another. A dragon rider cannot control them with their tongue or mind. Viserys had mentioned this in one of the earlier episodes where he told Rhaenyra that the idea or the belief that we control the dragons is an illusion. Aemond is not ready to face the consequences of this; all he has to do is to convey the news and wait for the battle to begin, for Rhaenyra will bring fire and blood to get her throne back. Daemon is the bearer of the bad news to Rhaenyra, who breaks down in anger over the killing of her young son, who was unarmed and did not conduct any act which would be considered a reason for Aemond to chase him the way he did. Blood is spilled, swords are drawn, and dragons are ready. Rhaenyra now knows this means war.
What To Expect From ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2?
The season will begin with the death of Lucerys and the repercussions that Aemond and his family will face. Season 2 will be the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons between the two opposing houses i.e., The Greens and The Blacks. All of them will be on the hunt for allies to support their respective claims. Since Prince Jacaerys Velaryon is sent up north to gain support, it will be interesting to see whom the Starks will support. Rhaenyra would be hell-bent on seeking revenge for killing her son. Most of the dragons are with Rhaenyra and Daemon; it will be interesting to see how Alicent and her kids will be able to hold the throne with Vhagar. The show will take us forward to understand Rhaenyra and Daemon’s relationship more and if she will be carrying any more children of his. Season 2 will surely have more dragon battles and more political maneuvering now that the lines are drawn. If the writers maintain the pacing just like in this one, season 2 will be an interesting watch.
“House of the Dragon” is a perfect spin-off to the “Game of Thrones” saga. Writers plunge into the nitty-gritty of the characters and their backstories. The pacing of the show is solid, and the narrative is strong, which keeps the show engaging till the last episode. Creators George RR Martin and Ryan J. Condal have done the unthinkable by making the show different from Game of Thrones, even though the ethos remains the same. The original thought of a game of thrones being black and white is projected aptly in this show as well. Writers Ryan J. Condal, George RR Martin, Charmaine De Grate, Sara Hess, Gabe Fonseca, Kevin Lau, Ira Parker, and Eileen Shim had the massive task of not making this show too much like the “Game of Thrones,” and they succeeded in it. “House of the Dragon” does not carry any shadow of the previous show, making it a standalone series. In my opinion, “House of the Dragon” is probably better than the first season of GOT in terms of the production, writing, and performances. Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, and Milly Alcock stole the show from the beginning. Performances of a lifetime that will be cherished by makers and audiences alike. “House of the Dragon” is one of the best shows of this year. A well-deserved spin-off.