Warning: SPOILERS ahead for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10.House of the Dragon star Emma D’Arcy teases season 2’s Rhaenyra as unbound and more trusting of her instinctual desires. The season finale of House of the Dragon saw Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen be crowned queen at Dragonstone, opposing Queen Alicent Hightower’s installment of Aegon Targaryen as King on the Iron Throne. While this development pushes Rhaenyra’s husband, Daemon, toward war with the greens, Rhaenyra wants to keep peace within the Seven Kingdoms. She tells Daemon about the Song of Ice and Fire, a prophecy passed down to her from King Viserys that she holds in higher regard than her title as a queen.
However, Rhaenyra’s mindset appears to have been changed by the tragic events that transpired at the end of season 1, episode 10. Attempting to gain allies who will recognize her claim to the Iron Throne, Rhaenyra sends her son, Lucerys Velaryon, to Storm’s End, hoping to find favor with House Baratheon. Once there, however, Luke discovers his cousin, Aemond Targaryen, has already allied House Baratheon to the greens and Aegon’s claim to the Throne. The Targaryen prince chases Luke on dragonback, attempting to scare the young boy, but loses control of his dragon Vhagar. Aemond is helpless to stop Vhagar from killing Luke and his dragon Arrax, the final scene of House of the Dragon season 1 showing Rhaenyra’s angered reaction to the news.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emma D’Arcy teases that Rhaenyra will no longer be attempting to keep the peace, as her motivations will be unleashed across Westeros. They explain that Luke’s death means Rhaenyra will begin to use her instincts to decide where to go next. Check out D’Arcy’s full statement below:
The moment that she receives the news of Luke’s passing, that attempt at mediation crumbles. I don’t think there is any longer the bandwidths to suppress and repress her nature… I am excited to discover what happens when Rhaenyra does less navigating and more acting on her instincts and desires. For so many very legitimate reasons, she has her hands tied practically throughout season 1. I have a feeling that the rain might be off for season 2.
With Luke’s death now a key motivator, Rhaenyra’s former promises of peace within the Realm appears to be off the table. Aemond’s actions have set up the Dance of the Dragons by giving Rhaenyra a personal reason to fight, losing a son to a conflict she initially wanted to resolve peacefully. Since House of the Dragon is meant to document the Targaryen civil war as it transpires, Rhaenyra is destined to become a central figure for the blacks as they fight against Queen Alicent’s greens. D’Arcy’s statement indicates that, as the war goes underway, Rhaenyra will be heavily motivated by Luke’s death when she makes her decisions.
House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10 also sets up the possibility that Rhaenyra will face many more losses before the Dance of the Dragons is over. Acting by instinct opens up the chance of a miscalculated error, one that could spell disaster for the blacks or for people she cares about like her children or Daemon. While fans of George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book already know how the Dance ends, historical changes in House of the Dragon could make the path to that ending more complex or perhaps different altogether. Rhaenyra’s newfound anger will make her a formidable opponent for Alicent and Aegon to face, but could lead her to jeopardize her own agenda if she doesn’t tread carefully during the war.