House Of The Dragon Officially Sets Up Rhaenyra Tagaryen’s Ending

Warning! This post contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 6, and George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood!House of the Dragon definitively lays the groundwork for Rhaenyra Targaryen’s tragic conclusion. Entering its second act, House of the Dragon season 1, episode 6, “The Princess and The Queen” dashes through the introduction of the royal children — and dragons — who will soon be part of the factions known as the « greens » and the « blacks. » As House of the Dragon sprints toward its focal conflict, the show finally sets down the pivotal instrument to Princess Rhaenyra’s end.

Among the many exciting anecdotes in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 6 is the debut of a teenage Aegon Targaryen, firstborn son of King Viserys I and Queen Alicent. Despite having a strong claim to the Iron Throne based on male precedence established in the House of the Dragon pilot episode, Aegon seems to be quite content as Princess Rhaenyra’s half-brother, even projecting a brotherly bond with his nephews – Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon – as they bully his brother, Aemond Targaryen. Aegon’s disinterest in the crown vexes his mother, causing an outburst where she basically tells him that he will be king and that Rhaenyra’s inheritance is his for the taking.

House of the Dragon’s fast-paced storytelling ensures that even the smallest bits of information count. One detail, in particular, is a dragonkeeper’s casual mention of Sunfyre, one of the dragons in House of the Dragon, during the Dragonpit scene. With Aegon’s ambition for the Iron Throne being ingrained by Queen Alicent, and the establishment of Aegon’s dragonrider status, House of the Dragon sets Rhaenyra’s looming downfall in motion.

Although Rhaenyra’s death won’t likely happen in House of the Dragon season 1, it’s an inevitable part of the Dance of the Dragons. In George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen is able to take King’s Landing from the greens in 130 AC, sitting as queen for roughly half a year before the smallfolk riot at the death of Princess Helaena Targaryen, which they believe was her doing. The mob storms the Dragonpit, and Rhaenyra loses Joffrey and Syrax in the chaos.

With her only living son, Aegon the Younger, Rhaenyra escapes to Dragonstone by selling her crown for their safe passage. Yet when she arrives in Dragonstone, she discovers the betrayal of a Senior Knight, who has slain the rest of her Queensgard. As it turns out, Aegon the Elder, or Aegon II, has been waiting for her in Dragonstone to pass judgment. Ultimately, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen meets her end through Aegon II uttering “Dracarys” to his dragon, Sunfyre, who burns Rhaenyra alive before it devours her carcass. Her son, Aegon the Younger, is forced to watch his mother’s gruesome death, scarring him for life.

House of the Dragon’s Aegon has yet to show any real animosity toward his elder sibling, yet it’s only a matter of time before his mother corrupts his worldview as his grandsire, Otto Hightower, did her. As Rhaenyra migrates to Dragonstone with her family and Alicent becomes an accomplice to the murder of Lyonel and Harwin Strong, the Dance of the Dragons is rapidly unfurling. With House of the Dragon’s characters already in place for the outbreak of war, one death stands in the way of Rhaenyra’s end, and ironically, it’s the exact person who named her heir to the Iron Throne.