If you’ve been out on House of the Dragon because the ending to Game of Thrones left a dragon-burnt taste in your mouth, I understand, but I highly recommend binging the 10 episodes of this first season now that they’ve all dropped. It’s become a cliché among show-watchers at this point, but House of the Dragon absolutely has the vibe of the first few seasons of Game of Thrones. It is that good, compelling, well-acted, well-written, with incredible costuming, set design, dragon effects, and an unforgettable, haunting, heart-pounding score by Ramin Djawadi. It gives me all the feels. It makes me actually exclaim aloud when things are happening. Or even with just a look.
The finale of House of Dragon, “The Black Queen,” follows the Blacks, aka Rhaenyra and Daemon as they learn about Alicent and Otto Hightower’s scheming to make Aegon the King. The rightful Queen, Rhaenyra, is hesitant to start a war. After all, a war between two groups who have dragons is a war to reign over a kingdom of “ash and bone,” to paraphrase Rhaenyra. But Rhaenyra is not hesitant to fortify her potential allies should they go to war with the Greens to retake King’s Landing and the Iron Throne. As part of that effort, she sends her youngest son, Luke, to Baratheon of Storm’s End. Unfortunately, Aemond is already there and being the jerk that he is, he demands Luke to repay his debt for costing Aemond his eye.
This leads to one of the most incredible scenes in the entire series thus far where little baby Arrax, ridden by Luke, is being chased by Aemond riding the incredibly huge Vhagar. We get an gorgeous, but terrifying shot, through a storm, no less, where we see the size discrepancy as Vhagar flies over top of Arrax. When Arrax shoots fire at Vhagar, Vhagar takes … some umbrage with that, you might say. She emerges through the storm clouds and literally chomps Arrax to death, with Luke as collateral damage falling to the Earth. That was one of the jaw-agape moments. I knew the second Luke showed up in Baratheon’s Hall with Aemond there, the vibes were all off, but I didn’t expect such dragon-on-dragon violence! And Luke being such pathetic collateral damage.
So, Luke is dead and I get goosebumps writing that because Daemon closes the episode by informing the Queen of it. In a masterclass of acting by Emma D’Arcy, Rhaenyra goes through a war of emotions just visible through her back and shoulders, then she turns around with absolute vengeance on her face. The war has begun. The first, exhilarating dance of the dragons was the catalyst, inadvertently because of a dumb kid being dumb. And so it goes with war.
The only bad thing about this episode is that it’s the last one for at least 18 months up to two years! At least, that’s the prevailing thinking I’ve seen around when we will get a season two. It is rare these days that I make a non-wrestling TV show appointment viewing. For 10 weeks, House of the Dragon has been appointment viewing. I don’t know what I will do on Sunday nights now; maybe I should finally binge The Rings of Power?