“The Black Queen” brought an end to the first season of House of the Dragon, not a perfect inaugural chapter of a series by any means, but an exciting ten-episode run with enough highs that I predict a large part of the fanbase to return when the series comes back for another round (even if they do force us to wait over a year). In many ways, the two final episodes left a bit to be desired, but while “The Green Council” had my eyebrows burrowing in confusion for pretty much the entire sixty minutes, the finale did a better job at laying out the motives of the main players, tying up some loose ends, and building the anticipation for what’s to come. Of course, once again, we were left with a few unanswered questions, some rhetorical, and some that will hopefully be addressed when the show returns for season two. In the meantime, here are the thoughts that will likely keep us up at night until we return to Westeros.
Are Daemon and Rhaenyra on the rocks?
Episode ten marked the longest period of time we’ve spent at Dragonstone this season, providing the audience with a bit more of a closer look at Rhaenyra’s life there, as well as her relationship with Daemon. The Internet spent the entirety of the season thirsting over Matt Smith’s Daemon and rooting for his relationship with Rhaenyra despite its incestual nature, but the finale’s more intimate portrayal of the couple’s home life proves things are not all dreamy on Dragonstone. Yes, Daemon is still clearly supportive of Rhaenyra in many ways, but it seems like he’s more interested in upholding her birthright than anything else. Has this once seemingly strong relationship gone cold? Rhaenyra screams for Daemon as she endures a terrible and bloody birth (more on that in a minute), but he has this inhuman ability to block out her wails. And when Jacaerys asks of his step-father’s whereabouts, Rhaenyra is quick to insult, saying he has “gone to madness” and “gone to plot his wars.” Clearly, she does not think fairly highly of her husband at the moment. Will this rift continue to grow is season two, or will their common cause unite them together?
Will we be subjected to more childbirth in season two?
Speaking of brutal birth, will we continue to be subjected to these awful scenes in season two? I can deal with heads getting chopped off and dragons munching on children, but if I have to see one more blood-soaked, torturous birthing scene, I’m not sure if I will make it through. The world of Thrones has always loved unnecessary gore, and usually, I’m fine with it, but this endless parade of difficult births is more than I can handle.
Why did Alicent keep the page of that book?
When Otto Hightower sails to Dragonstone to talk Rhaenrya into bending the knee, he does so with a secret weapon in his back pocket, the page of a book. We first see this page all the way back in episode one, when Alicent and Rhaenyra (then played by Emily Carey and Milly Alcock) were attempting to study Westeros’ history and Rhaenyra ripped it out of the book to help Alicent remember the facts on it. It’s more or less a throwaway moment, but ten episodes later, and its significance has finally become apparent. It does, however, beg the question of why Alicent kept the page after all that time? First, to help her study, likely, and then, following the pair’s fall out, possibly to remind her of their former friendship. But when their rivalry took a turn for the worse, one would think Alicent would have tossed the seemingly useless page into the fire. For me, her choice to hold on to it once again proves Alicent is savvier than we often make her out to be. The show seems to waffle back and forth on how much agency Alicent actually holds, but this act ends this season with a calculating Alicent seemingly willing to manipulate her former friend. Is this the same Alicent we will find when we come back for season two, or will she return back to her more naive nature?
Why would Rhaenyra send her son?
The episode ends with the decision to send Lucerys and Jacerys to secure support from Winterfell, the Eyrie, and Storm’s End, with Jacerys convincing his mother that sending them is a better option than sending ravens. Trusting Jacerys with this task makes sense. He’s older and has proven himself to be fairly strong (no pun intended) and of necessary maturity for such a task. Immediately when Rhaenyra calls on Lucerys to go to Storm’s End, however, it becomes clear things won’t end well. The episode opens with a trepidatious Lucerys insisting he doesn’t want to inherit Driftmark, followed by a scene of him getting beaten down by his older brother. Rhaenyra clearly knows her son, and yet she sends him on a task for which he was clearly not prepared. Now, I’m not blaming Rhaenyra for his death in any way. I’m just saying, maybe a raven would have been preferable in this instance.
Why did they leave Aemond’s blue eye unexplained?
Season one of Dragon did a good job at filling in the non-book readers so they didn’t feel like they were missing out for never cracking open George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. In the final episode, however, there was one moment where I felt completely lost as a TV-only fan. When Lucerys and Aemond have their confrontation at Storm’s End, Aemond takes off his eye patch to reveal glowing blue matter in the socket. Immediately, I was confused. What is that? Does he have some magic powers? What does it imply? After the episode, I hopped on Google for answers. It turns out, Aemond put a sapphire in his empty eye socket, solely for aesthetic purposes (which is honestly very chic), but why was there no explanation? Why did the writers decide to leave the TV fans completely in the dust for this one, and will this trend continue in season two?
What did Aemond think was going to happen?
When Aemond flew his absolutely enormous dragon into the sky to chase after his nephew riding a puny little thing in comparison, how did he imagine that would turn out? According to Dragon’s showrunner, Ryan Condal, murder was not in Aemond’s plan.
“Maybe he was trying to scare Luke, but I don’t think ultimately he intended to kill him,” Condal said in the commentary following the episode. Of course, Aemond didn’t fully think that one through and his careless actions are now likely to set off a war. When Aemond watches Lucerys and his torn up dragon tumble below, he has a look of shock on his face. The moment is supposed to be intense, but it’s almost comical, like he should turn to the camera and ask, “Did I do that?” It’s also a reminder that with all of this talk of Targaryens controlling dragons, in the end, these are giant creatures of free will, and they will act accordingly. A rogue dragon started this war, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to cause problems throughout the battle to come.