The long-awaited prequel to the ‘Game of Thrones’ that follows the family intrigue of the Targaryen dynasty around two hundred years before Queen Daenerys set out to reclaim the Iron Throne has finished its first season. ‘House of the Dragon’ has made a splash, kicking off roughly a century after the Targaryen Conquest brought dragons to Westeros and united the Seven Kingdoms under their rule. The next installment isn’t expected until roughly 2024, but here’s a look back at what took place in the run-up to the ‘Dance of the Dragons’.
Episode One: The Heirs of the Dragon
The fantastical world, based in part on the best-selling ‘Fire & Blood,’ by George R.R. Martin, after a brief voiceover to bring viewers up to speed, picks up in the ninth year in the reign of King Viserys (Paddy Considine). He was chosen to be the successor for King Jaehaerys I, who had no male heirs, by the Great Council of Harrenhal.
While that council chose him over Rhaenys Targaryen, Jaehaerys’ eldest descendant, because the throne could not pass to a woman, nor through a woman to her male descendants, that decision is something that will come back into play later.
The first episode gives you an insight into some of the main characters that will form an integral part of the ‘House of the Dragon’. These include Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock/Emma D’Arcy), daughter of Viserys, and her dragon, Syrax, the king’s brother Daemon (Matt Smith), Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey/Olivia Cooke), daughter of Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) among others.
The episode gives us the first taste of the grizzly scenes that take place in Westeros with Daemon, as commander of the City Watch, leads his men on a bloodthirsty rampage through King’s Landing to clean up the filth as it were. We also see the rivalry between him and Ser Criston Col develop and play out in what is supposed to be a celebratory jousting competition for the birth of what King Viserys hopes is a son.
Alas, that wasn’t to be and we get yet another stomach turning scene while his wife Aemma Arryn (Sian Brook) attempts to give birth to a breech baby. Both mother and child die in the endeavor setting up King Viserys’ idea to make his daughter his heir but not before some palace intrigue to get the ruler to come about his decision.
— House of the Dragon (@HouseofDragon) October 24, 2022(Video) House of the Dragon: Season 1 RECAP
Episode Two: The Rogue Prince
True to its title, Daemon gets up to some no-good shenanigans in the second episode of House of the Dragon. Irking his brother to the point where it almost ends in all-out war.
Although King Viserys has chosen an heir, the small counsel have other plans and call on the sovereign to take another bride to potential sire a son and ensure a line of succession. This leads to one of the more uncomfortable scenes where the twelve-year-old Lady Laena (Nova Foueillis-Mosé), daughter of Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys, is presented. However, HBO didn’t go down that road and chose instead to get the king hitched to Alicent.
Oh, and it wouldn’t be proper not to have a little gore. The Free Cities’ militia led by a Myrish Prince captures a fleet of Lord Corlys’ ships and feeds his sailors to the crabs, alive, on the Stepstone Islands.
Episode Three: Second of His Name
The marriage to Alicent has been fruitful, roughly three years after the last episode the couple have a son and another on the way. Their first born, Aegon, is named after the great Aegon Targaryen the Conqueror, thus the episodes name. This episode gives us plenty of blood, guts and charred soldiers.
Daemon, atop a dragon, attacks the Stepstone Islands and although his forces deal a crushing blow to the enemy, they manage to escape to the shelter of the Bloodstone’s caves away from the fire breathing creatures.
The King is overjoyed that his has a son and tensions between him and his daughter simmer to a boil as marriage proposals are flooding in for the young princess. Rhaenyra takes her anger issues out on a wild boar and Daemon takes his out on the Crabfeeder.
Episode Four: King of the Narrow Sea
The fourth episode sees the fight, literally, to have the hand of Rhaenyra. While this installment is more about court intrigue and Targaryen “queer” incestuous customs. The princess agrees to marry Ser Laenor Velaryon making the realm’s security stronger, but she has her father get rid of Otto Hightower as the Hand for his maneuvering to get his grandson Aegon to be the heir over Rhaenyra.
— House of the Dragon (@HouseofDragon) October 17, 2022
The bond between dragon and rider is unlike any other.
Episode Five: We Light the Way
Nothing like a wedding in the world of ‘Game of Thrones’ as beautiful as they are deadly. Rhaenyra and Laenor will tie the knot out of duty, but neither really is into the other. The groom isn’t much into women whatsoever. But that’s no problem the soon-to-be wed couple come to an agreement enjoy whatever “meals” they desire.
Daemon makes sure his first wife won’t be in attendance, paying her a visit in the Vale. Before he snuffs her out, she gives him a righteous tongue lashing.
The Iron Throne has not been kind to Viserys and sores that have formed from pricking himself have gotten to what looks like a dangerously unhealthy place. Meanwhile, Alicent, while she didn’t like being used by her family to further their position in the realm is no fan of her father being turfed out of town. She shows up to the wedding wearing her family’s banner color for war, emerald green, and makes sure everyone notices.
Episode Six: The Princess and the Queen
Episode six finds everyone a bit older and new children galore. Rhaenyra has two older boys and a third one born during the episode, all fathered by Harwin Strong. Daemon has found a new wife, Laena, and they have a couple of children as well, but the birth of a third doesn’t go well and she chooses to die by dragon fire.
The tension between the family is ever present and we get to learn just what a little brat the young Aegon has turned into. Also a new and perhaps the most ruthless villain in ‘House of the Dragon’ emerges in Larys Strong.
Blood has been drawn. pic.twitter.com/dlcKORczfv— House of the Dragon (@HouseofDragon) October 8, 2022
Episode Seven: Driftmark
The death of Laena brings together all the family with sparks flying and plans hatched in episode seven. Aemond, showing that he has the same nastiness as his brother Aegon, steals Vhagar, Aegon the Conqueror’s dragon who had been passed down to Lady Laena.
Vhagar was supposed to be given to Baela, her daughter, but Aemond bonds with her before she can. This results in a scuffle and Aemond losing an eye to Rhaenyra’s son Jaecerys’ knife. That in turn infuriates Alicent who wants revenge. While her plans to have one of Jace’s eyes cut out is stopped, she does get a pound of flesh from Rhaenyra’s forearm.
Rhaenyra and Daemon plot to get the upper hand over Alicent, once they are free to marry each other making a stronger claim to the throne when Viserys dies. Laenor’s death is staged and he gets to live happily ever after with his lover, at least we hope so.
"I do believe he has his father's nose." pic.twitter.com/kJzjy4Bj4M— House of the Dragon (@HouseofDragon) October 16, 2022
Episode Eight: The Lord of the Tides
Viserys, surprisingly is still alive, if you can call it that, as a walking rotting corpse. He shares Aegon’s vision with Alicent of a prophecy about the end of the world of men that was called “A Song of Ice and Fire.” This convinces her that it shall be her son Aegon who should be king. He shows just how suitable he would be for the job by sexual assaulting Dyana, one of the nannies raising Alicent’s grandchildren.
Episode Nine: The Green Council
The conspiracy to make Aegon the next king instead of Rhaenyra was not just being plotted by Alicent and her father. Upon the death of King Viserys, it comes to light that the small council had been planning for that all along. Any dissent on the matter is dealt with quickly, sorry Lord Lyman, and all others that don’t bend the knee immediately head off to the gallows.
While killing off all other potential and real pretenders to the throne is considered Rhaenyra and Daemon are in the dark about all the happenings in King’s Landing. Princess Rhaenys, who’s been locked in her chambers makes a spectacular escape on the back of her dragon Meleys interrupting the coronation of Aegon.
— House of the Dragon (@HouseofDragon) October 20, 2022(Video) Top 10 Brutal Moments from House of the Dragon
Episode Ten: The Black Queen
News of the coup spreads on the back of Meleys to reach Rhaenyra, which so disturbs her that she goes into labor prematurely delivering a deformed stillborn daughter. While the episode isn’t the most action packed, those that oppose Aegon on the Iron Throne flock to Dragonstone to pledge allegiance to Rhaenyra.
Preparations are made to blockade King’s Landing and emissaries are sent out to gather more support for claiming the throne. However, that results in a situation where Lucerys and his dragon Arrax end up as dinner for Aemond’s dragon Vhagar. Perhaps not intended but there will be no turning back from war now.