House Of The Dragon Star Explains Rhaenyra’s Reaction To Major Death

WARNING! SPOILERS ahead for House of the Dragon episode 10 and George R.R. Martin’s Fire & BloodHouse of the Dragon actor Emma D’Arcy talks Rhaenyra’s reaction to the major death that took place in the season 1 finale. The first season of the Game of Thrones prequel series has come to an end with a shocking final sequence. After the death of King Viserys (Paddy Considine), Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and her supporters in King’s Landing planned their coup and installed her son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) on the throne in episode 9. House of the Dragon episode 10 focused on Rhaenyra’s (D’Arcy) reaction to the news of her father’s death and the move against her claim.

Rhaenyra’s strategy for much of the episode centered on small, measured steps in order to preserve as much peace and unity as possible. The Queen focused on determining which allies she had left in the realm, sending her sons Jacaerys (Harry Collett) and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) on dragonback with messages for House Arryn, House Stark, and House Baratheon. Though the Baratheons had originally pledged fealty to Rhaenyra as heir, Lord Borros send Lucerys home with bad news, since his uncle Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) had arrived before him with a better offer. Aemond, still angry about the loss of his eye, went after Lucerys, and the two lost control of their dragons as they battled in the air, resulting in Lucerys’ death. Rhaenyra, who had gone through a traumatic stillbirth earlier in the episode, received the news in the episode’s final scene.

D’Arcy offers some insight to their character’s brief reaction in the House of the Dragon “Inside S1 EP10” featurette available on HBO Max. The actor discusses the many losses that Rhaenyra has already suffered, saying that losing Lucerys will « [change] her outlook on the world. » This response teases Rhaenyra’s actions in season 2 of the series. See D’Arcy’s comments below:

Somehow, I think this moves the goal posts of suffering. Once you’ve lost both your parents and you’ve lost a lover, you think you know grief. And I think what’s so awful is that losing Luke tells her she knows nothing about grief, and it changes her outlook on the world going forward.

Rhaenyra’s face as the episode ended showed plenty of anger and pain, though the Queen seemed resolute in a way that she hadn’t been before. Since it’s impossible for her to know that her son’s death was accidental (not that it would make much of a difference), her belief that Alicent’s child murdered hers in cold blood sets the stage for her retaliation against the Greens. D’Arcy’s words hint at two possibilities – either this shocking loss will fuel Rhaenyra’s subsequent strikes against Alicent and Aegon, or the loss of her child will make her more reticent to kill someone else’s kids. Given her expression upon the episode’s conclusion, the former seems likely, and Rhaenyra will be ready for bloodshed in season 2.

House of the Dragon season 2 will see the Dance of Dragons in full swing, and now that Rhaenyra has experienced the ground-shaking loss of her child, she will be even more fiercely protective of her other children. It’s likely that she will keep Jacaerys close once he returns from his journey, and the Queen may also be more open to Daemon’s quest to rally more dragons to their cause and rule by force, in order to protect her family. Hopefully, Lucerys’ death won’t completely cloud her judgment moving forward, though it would be difficult to blame her quest to avenge her son. With a potentially long wait for House of the Dragon season 2, viewers will have ample time to speculate about the Queen’s next move.

Source: HBO Max