House Of The Dragon Season 1 Ending Explained In Full
WARNING! This article contains major SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10 and George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood.House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale, « The Black Queen, » ends with a shocking death and the loom of war in Rhaenyra’s eyes, setting up the catastrophic nature of season 2’s battles. Following the greens’ usurpation of the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon episode 9’s ending, the season finale depicts the black party’s response to the treasons, strategies to confirm their allies, and contemplations of whether Rhaenyra should truly declare war. While Rhaenyra wavers on taking revenge due to her responsibility to Aegon’s dream, the deaths of two of her children in a span of 24 hours have changed her outlook on the matter.
Different sides to the main characters are seen in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10, including a more volatile depiction of Daemon and Rhaenyra’s marriage. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra’s children are given more crucial responsibilities as envoys, with Lucerys Velaryon being sent to Storm’s End while the new heir to the Iron Throne Jacaerys Velaryon heads to the Vale and Winterfell. While Jacaerys’ fate is left unknown, Lucerys is killed by his uncle Aemond Targaryen and Vhagar, marking the first blood between the greens and blacks. After 30 years of betrayals, conspiracies, and irreparable feuds, Rhaenyra’s eyes say one thing in the House of the Dragon season 1 finale’s ending: War is here.
Considering Lucerys was the more hesitant of Rhaenyra’s children to accept his duties and confidently speak for her, his death becomes all the more tragic in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10. Luke ignored Aemond’s taunts and tried to flee back to Dragonstone on Arrax, but his small dragon was no match for Aemond and Vhagar. Unlike in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, Aemond didn’t mean to kill Lucerys at Storm’s End in House of the Dragon. He meant to frighten him, bully him, and take his eye as revenge, but Aemond’s face at the end of House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale indicates murder wasn’t his intent.
Luke’s death will have a massive impact on the Dance of the Dragons. Rhaenyra was considering accepting Otto’s terms, but the murder of Luke proves peace is out of the question. Aemond is also apt to tell Aegon that he murdered Luke on purpose rather than on accident due to his inability to control Vhagar – he would rather be interpreted as evil and unforgiving than weak. The circumstances of Luke’s death also prove a line from Viserys in House of the Dragon’s series premiere correct, as he warned Rhaenyra under Baelerion the Black Dread’s skull that their control of dragons is a dangerous illusion. Nevertheless, Lucerys’ death is what will bring the war from a race of alliances and pacts to a realm where fire and blood reign.
In House of the Dragon episode 10’s ending, Rhaenyra is informed by Daemon that Lucerys has been killed, leading the new Queen to walk toward the fire, clutch her stomach, nearly fall to her knees, and stare at the camera with tears and fury in her eyes. Daemon had become increasingly frustrated with Rhaenyra’s restraint, but Lucerys’ death ignited a wave of burning anger inside her that will not be extinguished by peace terms. Alicent’s message about remembering the love they once shared now means nothing after her son killed Luke. The final shot of Rhaenyra says one thing: “War it is.” When House of the Dragon season 2 arrives, there will be no acceptance of peace terms, only the fight to reclaim the Iron Throne.
While his brother’s mission to Storm’s End culminated in tragedy, Jacaerys’ travels fare better. The ending of House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10 doesn’t explain what happens to Jace, but he’s confirmed to be heading to the Vale to treat with Jeyne Arryn before flying to Winterfell to appeal to Cregan Stark. According to Fire & Blood, Jace successfully gains House Arryn’s support, but sources differ on how he achieves this. One salacious narrator suggests Lady Arryn told Jace that he would have her support if he satisfied her sexually, but another says she agreed because of her support of women in rule and the blood they share through Rhaenyra’s mother Aemma Arryn. In exchange for House Arryn’s knights, Rhaenyra had to send dragonriders to defend the Vale.
Jacaerys’ mission in Winterfell is even more successful as he forms a bond with Cregan Stark. One Fire & Blood narrator suggests they hunted, drank, and trained together before swearing an oath of brotherhood bound in blood. Jace is also rumored to have slept with Cregan’s bastard sister Sara Snow, with Cregan’s anger only softening when Sara tells him that she and Jace wed under the heart tree. However, this story is likely false since Jace was already betrothed to Baela. Before leaving Winterfell, Jace seals the “Pact of Ice and Fire” with Cregan, which states that Jace’s firstborn daughter must marry Cregan’s son and heir Rickon.
While Rhaenyra strategizes with the recovering Corlys Velaryon, Daemon sings to and attempts to tame the dragon Vermithor. Daemon knows that the blacks have more dragons than the greens, but still require more dragonriders. Daemon trying to tame the riderless Vermithor hints that the dragon is meant for his daughter Rhaena, whose egg never hatched, but actually sets up an important event known as the “Sowing of the Seeds.” The blacks recruit Targaryen and Velaryon bastards known as “dragonseeds” to attempt to tame the dragons, with a few being successful. Once this event happens in House of the Dragon, the blacks reclaim their dragon power after the deaths of several key riders.
Following House of the Dragon’s season 1 ending, the green and black Targaryen factions are further solidified. However, many more pacts and alliances will be made in House of the Dragon season 2. So far, the confirmed greens are Alicent and her Targaryen children, House Hightower, Criston Cole, House Lannister and its bannermen, House Baratheon and its bannermen, Jasper Wylde, Larys Strong, Grand Maester Orwyle, and Ser Arryk Cargyll. The black party consists of Rhaenyra and Daemon, their children, Rhaenys Targaryen, House Velaryon, Ser Erryk Cargyll, House Celtigar, House Massey, House Bar Emmon, House Darklyn, House Staunton, Maester Gerardys, Ser Lorent Marbrand, and presumably Mysaria.
First blood has been drawn with the deaths of Prince Lucerys Velaryon and Arrax, meaning the real battles begin in House of the Dragon season 2. Rhaenyra and Daemon reject Otto and Alicent’s terms, indicating war will be waged as the blacks attempt to take King’s Landing. Rhaenys is already heading to the Gullet, where a major battle in the Dance of the Dragons will take place. Before this, there will be a civil war in the Riverlands between the houses that pledged to Aegon and those that declared for Rhaenyra.
The Dance of the Dragons will then escalate as full-scale battles take place between black and green dragonriders, with such conflicts causing mass destruction. Vengeance will be sought on both sides for their respective losses, with mercy largely being absent after House of the Dragon’s season 1 ending. Now that the Dance of the Dragons is here, it’s best to learn from Game of Thrones and expect that very few House of the Dragon characters will survive the war.
While the reception to House of the Dragon season 1’s many time jumps has been divisive, the meaning of the debut season was an exploration of how a family could slowly be torn apart from irreparable rifts. The usurpation of the Iron Throne by King Aegon II Targaryen wasn’t a sudden power grab, but a methodical seizure of the crown that could have been prevented had Viserys been more proactive in defending Rhaenyra. He did so in House of the Dragon episode 8, but one final stand wasn’t enough to repair the damage from two decades’ worth of inaction. Rhaenyra attempted to grant her father’s wishes for peace, but it was King Viserys’ weakness that put her in this position.
Misunderstandings, bitterness, and generational trauma led to the declaration of war in House of the Dragon’s season 1 ending, with devastation being inevitable by this time. Rhaenyra tried to avoid it, but it was clear that war was coming either way – Lucerys’ death simply washed away any hesitations she previously held. There’s now no point of return for the greens or blacks, with House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale seeing the entire realm suffer from House Targaryen’s grievances.