The Dance of Dragons has begun. Rhaenyra Targaryen, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, briefly considered bending the knee to her half-brother King Aegon II in the Season 1 finale of House of the Dragon, thus sparing the citizens of Westeros years of dragon fire and bloodshed. But the death of Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys at the hands of Aegon’s brother Aemond—mistake or not—enraged Rhaenyra and kicked off a civil war that will play out over several seasons.
Rhaenyra and her husband Daemon are now scrabbling for allies. Aemond has to decide how he’s going to break it to his mother Alicent Hightower that he accidentally committed murder. Everyone is trying to figure out how many dragons they have on their side and, crucially, how big those dragons are. We have a lot of questions about those dragons, particularly the ones without riders, like Vermithor. Who will ride them? Which baby Targaryens are old enough to mount dragons of their own? And if her children continue to die, is Rhaenyra doomed to the same fate that Daenerys suffered in Game of Thrones?
Here are all the lingering questions that we hope Season 2 of House of the Dragon will answer.
Is Aemond going to pretend he killed Lucerys on purpose?
Ewan Mitchell as Aemond in House of the Dragon
In Fire & Blood, it’s pretty clear that Aemond intended to kill Lucerys. Though George R.R. Martin’s book is written in the form of a history book told from the perspective of various maesters with different biases, Aemond’s intent is never really in doubt. While in the halls of Borros Baratheon, he tells Lucerys, “I will have your eye or your life, Strong.” (Strong is the name of Lucerys’ true father.) Not a ton of ambiguity there.
But in the show, Aemond yells in anguish as his dragon Vhagar demolishes Lucerys’ dragon Arrax. It seems Aemond just wanted to scare his nephew, not kill him. The accidental nature of Vhagar taking snack time too far is a change from the text to the series, likely to soften the otherwise villainous Aemond.
In the post-show commentary, showrunner Ryan Condal offers insights into Aemond’s thought process and previews his next steps:
“Maybe he was trying to scare Luke. But I don’t think that ultimately he intended to kill him. But now he’s done it, and he has to decide whether or not he’s going to own it in his travel back to King’s Landing. Because obviously if the usurping of the throne and them crowning Aegon in the Dragonpit wasn’t the start of the war, certainly killing one of the Queen’s sons is.”
Given that Westerosi historians seem to believe Aemond purposefully murdered Lucerys, it’s likely that Aemond will pretend that was the case when he returns home. Whether he admits the truth to anyone in his family—and what consequences he may suffer for his mistake—will likely drive the early episodes of Season 2.
Who has control over their dragons?
A related question: Who does and does not have control over their fire-breathing beasts? It seemed in the fight scene between Lucerys and Aemond in the finale for Season 1 that neither prince was able to actually control their dragon. Lucerys became upset when his Arrax disobeyed him and breathed fire on Aemond’s dragon Vhagar. Vhagar, in turn, went rogue and took a big ol’ bite out of Arrax, killing both the smaller dragon and Lucerys in one chomp.
Lucerys losing control over Arrax makes sense. Both the boy and the dragon were pretty young and still getting used to each other. Aemond, on the other hand, seems to be a full grown man on the show at this point. (The actor who plays him, Ewan Mitchell, is 25.) Even if Aemond is technically still in his teens, he’s renowned as one of the greatest fighters in Westeros. It’s a bit surprising that he would not have control of Vhagar. Again, this seems largely to be choice on the part of the writers to complicate the character rather than a plot-driven decision. But it does beg the question, who else doesn’t have total control over their dragons?
Early in the season, Viserys warned Rhaenyra that “the idea that we control the dragons is an illusion. They’re a power men should never have trifled with. One that brought Valyria its doom. If we don’t mind our own histories, it will do the same to us.”
Will Rhaenyra turn into the Mad Queen like Daenerys?
Emma D’Arcy in House of the Dragon
Rhaenyra has had a tough couple weeks. First, she finds out that her half-brother Aegon II has usurped the throne and that she will have to fight for her claim as queen. Then, she gives birth to a stillborn child. And finally she loses her second eldest son Lucerys to a dragon battle. It would be enough to drive anyone mad. Up until this point, Rhaenyra has argued that she does not want to start a dragon war and kill all her subjects. “I do not wish to rule over a kingdom of ash and bone,” she tells her advisors.
Daenerys similarly argued when she first planned her invasion of Westeros that she did not want to become “Queen of the ashes.” As we know, Daenerys changed her mind on that point—and rather quickly. (Some would argue too quickly to be believed.)
Now we see Rhaenrya headed down a similar path. Rhaenrya takes the news of her son’s death none too well. The look she gives the camera upon Daemon delivering the news suggests she is ready to burn Alicent’s family alive. The Season 1 finale was named “The Black Queen,” and it seems that Rhaenyra is finally ready to take on that title.
Does the Song of Ice and Fire prophesy actually matter?
In the first episode of House of the Dragon, Viserys shares a prophesy with Rhaenyra after he names her his heir. He tells her that Aegon the Conquerer subjugated the people of Westeros in part because he had a dream a Targaryen would need to sit on the Iron Throne when a great winter (i.e. the White Walkers) arrived:
The introduction of this prophesy is puzzling. Viserys’ choice of heir does not necessarily have an impact on whether a Targaryen will sit on the Iron Throne hundreds of years in the future: Both Rhaenyra and Aegon II are Targaryens by blood. Viserys would be fulfilling his duty by crowning either of them. The dream doesn’t change his motivations or those of Rhaenyra.
And yet Viserys brings it up multiple times—including on his death bed—and Rhaenyra discusses it with Daemon. In both cases, the dream serves largely as a plot device to confuse Alicent into believing her son ought to be crowned king and angering Daemon who never learned the secret prophesy from his brother.
What’s more, anyone who has watched Game of Thrones knows that the prophesy doesn’t actually come to pass. Daenerys doesn’t even know about it. Yes, the White Walkers arrive in Westeros. And yes, a Targaryen—two of them, in fact—help to stop them. But neither Daenerys Targaryen nor Jon Snow sits on the Iron Throne at the time of the Battle of Winterfell. Cersei Lannister does. And, again, neither of the Targaryens actually win the battle. Arya Stark is the one who fells the Night King.
So it remains a mystery why the showrunners keep bringing up the Song of Ice and Fire except to remind viewers that Game of Thrones is also available to stream on HBO Max if they would like to rewatch the series. Maybe they will find some deeper meaning in Aegon the Conquerer’s dream in Season 2.
Read More: How the Song of Ice and Fire Prophecy in House of the Dragon Changes the Story of the Mad King in Game of Thrones
Is there trouble in paradise for Rhaenyra and Daemon?
Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy in House of the Dragon
Rhaenyra and Daemon seemed like the perfect—albeit incestuous—couple over the last several episodes. Daemon has quelled his own ambition for the throne in order to support his wife. They seem to love each other and have produced an awful lot of babies as a result. And they have an unspoken understanding: Watch carefully, and you’ll see that Daemon waits for a subtle nod from his wife before beheading Vaemon Valaryon in the Red Keep. So sweet!
But in the final episode, we see a fissure between the Queen and her partner. Daemon is eager to go to war with the Greens, whereas Rhaenyra wants to take a more cautious approach as her father did. Daemon puzzlingly abandons Rhaenyra to give birth alone, busying himself instead with handing down commands that Rhaenyra has not approved. When Rhaenrya’s oldest son Jacaerys confronts Daemon about his actions, Daemon argues that he is showing loyalty to the queen by securing allegiances and making sure she is prepared for war.
They’re both right and wrong. Viserys was no great peacekeeper despite what the history books might say. After all, his inability to stop family feuds led to this very Civil War between the Greens and the Blacks. But Daemon’s pugnacious approach has its faults too. As queen, Rhaenyra has been tasked with holding the kingdom together, and a civil war will inevitably lead to death and destruction on a mass scale.
The relationship truly breaks down when, during an argument over whether to burn King’s Landing to the ground or take a more measured approach, Rhaenyra mentions the Song of Ice and Fire prophesy that Viserys shared with her as a child. Daemon becomes upset, chokes Rhaenrya, and accuses her of being weak like her father. It’s unclear why mention of the prophesy angers Daemon. Perhaps he interprets Viserys keeping the secret of the dream from him as a signal that Viserys never trusted Daemon or considered Daemon a possible heir to the throne. Or maybe he’s just reverting to the darker Daemon who murdered his first wife.
Either way, Rhaenyra could have Daemon killed for putting his hands on the Queen. The two seem to have reconciled somewhat by the time Lucerys dies: Daemon holds Rhaenrya’s hand while delivering the sad news. But if the couple hopes to defeat the Greens, they will need to remain united, not divided. This infighting is a bad sign for the future of their cause.
Who is going to ride Vermithor?
Daemon has been quietly counting dragons all season in preparation for an inevitable battle between the fire-breathing beasts. In the Season 1 finale, he tells Rhaenyra that Team Black has more dragons than Team Green. Rhaenyra counters that Team Black’s dragons have never seen battle, and many of them are still very small. Fair enough. The very short and very bloody battle between Lucerys’ Arrax and Aemond’s Vhagar proves that when it comes to dragon fights, bigger is indeed better.
Daemon posits that Team Black could recruit some riderless dragons who are bigger and battle-tested. Enter Vermithor, the dragon that was once ridden by Viserys’ grandfather, Jaehaerys Targaryen. After Jaehaerys’ death, Vermithor did not take another rider and nested on Dragonstone. He’s gigantic, second only to Vhagar in size.
Now Daemon wants to recruit the nearly 100-year-old behemoth to Rhaenyra’s cause. But Daemon already rides a dragon named Caraxes. So who will mount Vermithor?
In the episode, Daemon lists several other riderless dragons waiting to be claimed: Laenor Velaryon’s old dragon Seasmoke, Alyssane Targaryen’s old dragon Silverwing, and three additional wild dragons.
Read More: What to Know About the Dragon Daemon Was Singing to on House of the Dragon
Are the baby dragons big enough to fight?
(L-R) Bethany Antonia, Harry Collett, Elliot Grihault, and Phoebe Campbell in House of the Dragon
Let’s assume that it takes awhile for Rhaenyra and Daemon to rustle up enough Targaryen kin to mount all these riderless dragons. Rhaenyra and Daemon do have some smaller creatures at their disposal.
Rhaenrya’s oldest son Jacaerys Velaryon rides Vermax, her son Joffrey Velaryon rides Tyraxes, and Daemon’s daughter Baela Targaryen rides Moondancer. Unfortunately, like the dearly departed Arrax, Vermax, Tyaraxes, and Moondancer were all placed as eggs in the children’s cribs when they were babies. As a result they hatched relatively recently and are quite small. Vhagar could quickly gobble them up.
But a dragon’s a dragon, and at some point these beasts and their riders will have to go into battle. House of the Dragon has been playing fast and loose with the children’s ages throughout the series, and at this point it’s unclear who is and isn’t considered a grown-up ready to fight. We’ll find out next season.
Read More: All the Dragons You Need to Know After the House of the Dragon Season 1 Finale
How old are Rhaenyra and Daemon’s kids?
Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy as Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Luckily for Daemon and Rhaenyra they have even more children to send to battle than the ones listed above. Unfortunately, those kids still seem to be toddlers. We have gotten only glimpses of baby Aegon and baby Viserys whose names indicate that their parents have kingly ambitions for them. Daemon briefly alludes to them in the finale when he tells Otto Hightower that he’d rather see his kids burned alive by dragon fire than have them serve the usurper King Aegon II.
Without spoiling the whole series (assuming it hews closely to the source material), let’s just say that these two little ones have big roles to play in the Dance of Dragons, so the show is either going to have to do another time jump or age those boys up fast before they throw them into battle.
Which Houses are aligned with the Greens vs. the Blacks?
House of the Dragon
Team Green’s decision to usurp the throne from Rhaenyra has sent both teams scrambling for allies.
The Hightowers seem to have secured the loyalty of the Baratheons by marrying off Aemond to one of the Baratheon daughters, as well as that of the Lannisters, the Hightowers, and the Strongs.
Now Team Black will have to make their case to several other houses, including the Arryns, the Freys, The Tarlys, the Greyjoys, and the Starks. We’ll see in Season 2 whether Rhaenyra has better luck convincing these houses to join her side than her son Lucerys did in lobbying the Baratheons.
Will we see Winterfell?
Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark.
Team Black briefly spoke about sending an envoy to Winterfell to make their case. No doubt, Game of Thrones fans’ ears perked up at this mention of Ned Stark’s ancestors. Of all the families mentioned in the episode, we have a special place in our hearts for the Starks.
We’ll likely see a dragon head North next season, mirroring Daenerys’ own journey to Winterfell on dragonback. But which Targaryen will make the trek?
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