After seeing how the Greens reacted upon learning of King Viserys’s death, acting on long-laid plans and instilling his son Aegon II as king, over Rhaenyra, Episode 10 took the story to Dragonstone.
The Black Council
The episode opened with Rhaenys serving as the bearer of bad news. Not only is Viserys dead, but Aegon had been named king in front of all of King’s Landing. Daemon point blank asked Rhaenys why she didn’t roast them alive when provided with the opportunity in the previous episode. Rhaenys said it wasn’t her war to start, which makes sense, but come on! They were right there!
The shocking news of her father’s death sent Rhaenyra into labor with her third child with Daemon. She wasn’t due for months, and sadly lost the baby. While this wasn’t the final straw for her to declare war on her childhood best friend and half-siblings, it was just another thing to blame on the Greens.
Rhaenyra was very restrained in the war council, asking if it’s her duty to hold the realm together, or to tear apart the country to get to her throne. This moved Rhaenys, and in turn garnered both her and Corlys’s support and fleet, providing one of many lords and armies she’ll need to take the Iron Throne.
Our warmongering rogue prince got up to his usual shenanigans. He’s eager to show Westeros who is the rightful heir to the throne, and he is willing to use dragons to do so. Damon addressed the many dragons that are still unclaimed and stated that the Blacks needed to find riders for them. Even with Vhagar’s sheer size, the Blacks having 13 dragons vs the Greens having 4 would make this war short-lived. But we see later in this episode what a dragon can do to another dragon. Is it worth the cost?
A much-talked-about scene from the episode saw Daemon grab Rhaenyra by the throat and choke her. What forced this? We haven’t seen violence like this between Daemon and Rhaenyra, but he does have a history of murdering his wives. Well, turns out that even though Daemon was the heir before Rhaenyra was confirmed, he didn’t get all of the privileges that a Targaryen heir gets. He had no idea about Aegon the Conqueror’s vision, which is The Song of Ice and Fire (what the entire series is based on) when Rhaenyra brought it up. There’s a very good quote from Emma D’arcy, the actor that plays Rhaenyra, that might help explain the scene. “On the one hand, he can say that he doesn’t believe in prophecies. But he was never trusted to anyway.”
This revelation that he was never really considered as the heir sent him off to try and bring out some of the unclaimed dragons, and we see him singing to Vermithor, the dragon to King Jaehaerys, who ruled before Viserys. Expect to see a lot more of these unclaimed dragons in Season 2.
Having read Fire and Blood, I knew that this scene was coming, and I knew that the show had to nail this sequence. Aegon being crowned isn’t the catalyst that drove the realm into war. A woman being named heir over a male isn’t the catalyst. It is simply a young man with a vendetta and a nuclear weapon at his disposal that he can’t control.
To set the scene, Rhaenyra was seeking to confirm who her allies are. By sending Jace north to the Vale, White Harbor, and Winterfell, as well as Luke being sent to Storm’s End, it sent a stronger message than just sending a raven. But when Luke gets to Storm’s End to treat with Borros Baratheon (who was chosen to lead, not to read), he finds Vhagar causing a ruckus outside, and Aemond the anime warrior with the sapphire eye already there. Luke was spurned by Baratheon and turned to leave to go back to Dragonstone. Aemond demanded justice, however, telling Luke to cut out his own eye and he’d let bygones be bygones. Borros stopped things and let Luke go. But he also let Aemond go.
If you’re reading this, you saw the dragon fight, if you want to call it that. Vhagar is at least 5 times the size of Arrax, and it was not much of a battle so much a light snack for the oldest dragon in Westeros. But it also proved to be a major deviation from the book, and it might have some effects on the main series, Game of Thrones. Both Arrax and Vhagar disobeyed their riders, with Arrax shooting flame at Vhagar, and Vhagar going after him and killing both Luke and Arrax. With both Aemond and Luke repeatedly screaming for their dragons to stop and obey, it recalls a warning given by Viserys throughout this season that dragons are something that the Targaryens trust in too much, being that they are still uncontrollable wild animals at their heart. That came to life here. Aemond meant to just intimidate his nephew, and instead he started a civil war that will tear apart the Seven Kingdoms.
Things to Come
With the dragons acting on their own will in the ending sequence, I hinted that this may have further effects on Game of Thrones, in particular, when Dany burns King’s Landing to the ground. Could House of the Dragon possibly be trying to retcon this action, by placing the blame on Drogon instead of Daenerys? Something to think about.
In Season 2, we’ll be seeing the Vale again, as well as Winterfell, where Jace will be traveling. We’ll also finally see Daeron, the third son of Viserys and Alicent, who has been in Oldtown for all of this season, along with his dragon Tessarion. He’ll have a large part to play in the coming war. Exciting things to come, and it was a great start to the show.