‘House Of The Dragon’ Season 1 Finale Recap And Review: ‘The Black Queen’
Home Of The Dragon’s first season has come to an finish and I do know I’m not alone after I say that ready for Season 2 goes to be a battle. The primary season was a number of build-up and character growth.
The showrunners correctly spent just about the complete season setting the stage for the Dance of Dragons. They took pains to indicate us a peaceable Westeros beneath the rule of the nice King Viserys I (Paddy Considine). And so they set into movement all the varied palace intrigues that may lead us to this second, as Workforce Inexperienced and Workforce Black teeter on the sting of civil warfare.
Final week, when Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) found that her husband had died, she shortly introduced the matter earlier than the Small Council, the place she revealed that he had instructed her in his dying breath that he needed his son, Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) to succeed him. The Greens moved quick, staging the coronation within the Dragon Pit in entrance of the plenty. Princess Rhaenys (Eve Finest) escaped on her dragon Meleys and made her solution to Dragonstone the place, on this week’s finale, she revealed the treason to Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and her husband Daemon (Matt Smith).
The information of her father’s passing and the Hightower betrayal is such a shock that Rhaenyra goes into early labor, giving start later to a stillborn monstrosity. It’s one more highly effective scene of childbirth gone astray in a season that’s bloodiest moments are sometimes the act of childbirth gone terribly incorrect. Rhaenyra, not like her mom, survives but it surely’s just the start of an extended parade of tragedies to return.
Daemon is fast to motion. He has ravens despatched to allies and orders males to patrol the island each to seek for enemy ships and to make a present of power. Ships do arrive. One in every of these bears Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor) the Kingsguard knight who couldn’t stand the considered Aegon as king. (His twin Arryk—performed by Luke Tittensor—stays in Aegon’s camp.
Erryk comes bearing the crown of King Viserys which he provides to Rhaenrya, swearing his sword to her trigger.
The opposite ship brings the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) who was Hand to King Jahaerys and King Viserys earlier than his grandson, Aegon II, took the Iron Throne. It’s a tense assembly that recollects an analogous confrontation years earlier, when Otto and Rhaenrya confirmed up on the identical facet, demanding that Daemon return the dragon egg he stole. Now, the tables have turned and when Rhaenyra units down on her dragon, Syrax, she’s Daemon’s spouse and a sworn enemy of the Hightowers.
Otto lists Aegon’s phrases and so they’re actually beneficiant sufficient. Rhaenyra will hold Dragonstone. Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) will stay inheritor to Driftmark. Rhaenyra’s youthful sons by means of Daemon, Aegon and Viserys, might be squire and cupbearer to the King. All that Rhaenyra and her household want do is bend the knee.
“I’d reasonably feed my kids to the dragons,” Daemon says, including some colourful language about Aegon. However Rhaenyra isn’t certain what to do but. After unpinning Otto’s Hand pin and throwing it into the ocean, she tells him that King’s Touchdown may have her reply on the morrow.
Later, Daemon is aghast that she would ever take into account give up. She means that he’s simply itching for a warfare, however he tells her it’s her obligation as queen to place down insurrection, no matter the price. It’s at this level that she brings up Aegon’s dream, A Track Of Ice And Hearth, that Viserys instructed her about years in the past. Daemon loses his persistence and goes chilly, grabbing his spouse/niece by the throat and telling her “We didn’t change into kings due to goals. We turned kings due to dragons.”
“He didn’t inform you,” she says, realizing that her father by no means actually took Daemon critically as inheritor. Daemon simply storms from the room. It’s . . . an odd, fraught second, like virtually each scene Daemon occupies.
Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) arrives at Dragonstone having survived the grievous wound he acquired within the Stepstones. He learns of his brother’s demise and tells Rhaenys that they need to declare for neither facet and return to Driftmark to reside out their days in peace. However Rhaenys reminds him that the destiny of his grandchildren depends on Rhaenyra turning into queen. So long as Aegon sits the Iron Throne, her kids might be a risk. In addition to, Rhaenyra has proven spectacular restraint. So Corlys declares Home Driftmark and his fleet to Rhaenyra’s trigger. He’s taken over the Stepstones as properly, and controls commerce within the Slim Sea. Rhaenys says she’ll patrol the Gullett—the place Blackwater Bay meets the Slim Sea—herself, on dragonback.
However the necessity to safe allies stays a difficulty, and Jacaerys (Harry Collett) suggests sending him and Luke to deal with with the key Homes of the realm which are almost definitely to be swayed to the Black banners. Rhaenyra agrees, sending Jace north to the Vale after which to Winterfell to deal with with Woman Arynn and Lord Stark. She sends her youthful son on the nearer, simpler flight to Storm’s Finish and Lord Baratheon. It’s a tragic mistake.
When Luke arrives within the Stormlands he does so within the midst of a rising storm befitting the placement. Worse than the storm is the presence of Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) who introduced sweeter phrases to Lord Borros Baratheon (Roger Evans). The proud—however illiterate—lord is irritated that Rhaenyra despatched no phrases or affords of her personal, solely a reminder of his father’s oath. He tells Luke to go. Removed from the “heat welcome” Rhaenyra predicted, the Lord of the Stormlands is outright hostile.
However when Aemond tells “Lord Robust” that he desires him to chop out his eye as compensation for the one he misplaced, Borros shortly turns into uncomfortable, telling them that no blood might be spilled in his corridor. He orders his males take Luke again to his dragon.
Aemond heads to his dragon, the large Vhagar, as properly. As Luke makes a hasty retreat again towards Dragonstone, we all of a sudden see Vhagar above the far smaller dragon, excessive within the clouds. Rain and lightning and gusting winds fill the night time sky.
Luke tries to flee as Aemond laughs above him. He virtually does, too, darting between slim cliff partitions the place the a lot bigger Vhagar can’t observe. However it’s at this second that Luke loses management over his dragon. Like Luke, the dragon Arrax has by no means been to warfare. Provoked by the bigger dragon, the youthful Arrax goes on the offensive, respiration a fiery gust into Vhagar’s face.
Now it’s Aemond’s flip to lose management. Vhagar strikes to assault and Aemond pleads with the beast to obey him. However Vhagar is historic and has no persistence for her rider. As Luke and Arrax make their means greater, up above the clouds and into blue skies, Vhagar pursues. Abruptly, the large dragon bursts by means of the clouds, opens its jaws vast, after which snaps them shut, cleaving Arrax into items. The mutilated dragon and its rider fall from the sky, plummeting to their deaths beneath.
Again on Dragonstone, we see Rhaenyra at courtroom along with her lords and knights and troopers. Daemon enters and goes to her. Hand in hand they stroll, their backs turned. He whispers one thing to her, and we see her cease. With out seeing her face, we all know what she’s simply realized. We are able to see her coronary heart breaking even earlier than she turns.
And when she turns, we see it in her eyes: Hearth and blood.
Warfare is coming.
It’s actually fascinating how they modified the Aemond/Luke incident from the e book. In Martin’s ‘historical past’ of the Dance of Dragons, Aemond pursues Luke on dragonback with homicide in his coronary heart. Arrax tries to flee however the storm is highly effective and issues don’t go properly, and he’s shortly overwhelmed by the bigger dragon, Vhagar, and dragon and rider are each killed in chilly blood. Aemond turns into Aemond Kinslayer after the homicide of his nephew, and warfare (and revenge) observe.
Right here, Aemond didn’t even imply to kill Lucerys. Each princes misplaced management of their dragons, and Vhagar acted on her personal, slaughtering the youthful, smaller dragon in opposition to Aemond’s needs. It’s an enchanting change, and in some methods humanizes Aemond by making him not simply much less sinister, however much less silly.
It additionally exhibits how highly effective and unwieldy these beasts actually are, particularly when blood is within the air. Each Lucerys and Aemond are unable to regulate their dragons, and tragedy follows. I like this variation, a lot as I like a lot of the modifications from the books, all of which (save, maybe, Rhaenys’s remaining scene final week) serve to make these characters extra relatable and sympathetic. That features modifications made to each Alicent and Rhaenyra. We’ll see how far they take these modifications in future seasons. I’m actually curious.
This was an amazing and highly effective season finale for Home Of The Dragon. I’ve to say, this present has surpassed each expectation of mine. I’ve primarily watched each episode now twice besides this one, and I absolutely intend to look at it one other time now that the entire season is out. The present’s creators, Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik (the latter of whom has now left the present) have crafted a really distinctive fantasy present. Nothing prefer it has been carried out earlier than. This can be a critical character drama. It’s darker and slower and extra critical and extra grownup than Recreation Of Thrones.
Whereas Recreation Of Thrones was epic fantasy, Home Of The Dragon is historic fiction with dragons. However it’s greater than that. The writing and the appearing and the entire manufacturing simply feels extra wealthy and private and intimate than its predecessor. It’s not as enjoyable. There aren’t as many characters to root for. No Tyrions or Aryas or Jon Snows. However the sophisticated characters we do have really feel extra lived in, extra weather-beaten and extra actual. And good grief, Ramin Djawadi is on the prime of his sport with the rating.
I don’t imply to spend a lot time evaluating the 2 exhibits, but it surely’s laborious to not right here on the finish of Season 1. On the finish of the primary season of Recreation Of Thrones, warfare was additionally stirring, with many various sides vying for management of the Seven Kingdoms, or out for revenge. Right here, there are solely two sides, however warfare and revenge is on the horizon simply the identical. I hope that Season 2 doesn’t neglect that this present’s strengths are largely in its cautious, detailed strategy to character growth and never in battles or dragons, as entertaining as these most actually are.
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Learn my earlier Home Of The Dragon critiques: