We left behind a season beyond perfect. House of the Dragon, which many are prejudiced against because of the eighth season of Game of Thrones, managed to become the biggest job of the year with its first season. Designed under the leadership of Ryan Condal and, of course, the author of the piece, George R.R. Martin, the series managed to surprise book fans like me. Writers, who used the “gossip” language in the book to their advantage and decorated the gaps in a way that elevates the series, did a much more exquisite job than the first season of Game of Thrones, at least in my opinion. The 10-episode series in two parts brought us Milly Alcock, Emily Carey, and of course, Emma D’Arcy. Once again, we realized how unique players Matt Smith and Olivia Cooke are.
The series had an ending that surprised me. I thought the final would end with the coronation ceremonies, but the team squeezed the “dragon dance,” which everyone was waiting for, into the last 15 minutes, saying that we should do justice to the series’ name. The dragon fight, presented as savoury appetizer, heralded the main battles of the coming seasons. Now we know what to expect.
The finale contains many unique details. I will divide it into seven parts and explain it to you. After the series, I will keep us warm by sharing articles about the universe from time to time during the 2-year period.
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They Stole Your Right
The series continues where the previous episode left off. Unaware of what happened, Rhaenyra argues with her son Jace over Driftmark’s right to the throne. It is clear that Jace does not want the throne. It’s also a nice confession that he’s not Velaryon. But then Rhaenys comes in and tells what happened in King’s Landing. It also clarifies the issue we discussed in the last episode, she says this is not my fight, but you be careful. And just like in the book, Rhaenyra suddenly starts having cramps.
Rhaenyra is one of the most positive characters in this series. Despite everything. She lost her mother, brother, lover, father, and finally, her daughter Visenya. Despite all her pain, exclusion, and contempt, she tried to remain a naive woman who did not want to break anyone’s heart. But this naivety is up to a point. Her return to the camera, when she learned that her son Luc had died, was a harbinger of the impending doom.
The Child Bad is Our Battlefield
Birth is our battle, Aemma had said, Rhaenyra’s mother. Rhaenyra, who said at that time I want to be a knight, changed a lot when life rasped her. She is pregnant with her sixth child. But the sadness she felt because of what she heard caused her baby to arrive early, which she would name Visenya.
Emma D’Arcy describes herself as non-binary. “I think I’m good at playing women,” she said in an interview. She couldn’t have been so right. The nativity scene, Rhaenyra’s suffering, is one of the most challenging scenes of the 10-episode series. Maybe TV history. It’s actually a powerful message that the series shows the birth of Targaryen women for the third time, on sight and in all of them. They wanted to make us realize that the babies that women had to give birth to did not come easily into the world. Emma D’Arcy played all the pains that women have to suffer due to momentary pleasures for men as if to irritate us with an Emmy-worthy acting.
Rhaenyra’s screams while Syrax is in pain is an excellent detail on the bond between the rider and dragon. No matter how less Rhaenyra rides Syrax, it’s clear that a bond has formed between them and that she feels the pain she suffers. In the last chapter, I will explain the importance of the bond between dragons and their riders.
The best part of this episode is that Rhaenyra’s cries come over the Daemon and lords plotting around the table. It is a striking interpretation of the variability of the word “war” according to the genders. Rhaenyra uses the word Fuck for the second time here in the 10-episode series. The third is Daemon, who sees Otto.
Rhaenyra gives birth to a monster, just like in the book. During the birth, she shouts, “Get out of me,” as in the book. But then, series took a different approach from the book. When Rhaenyra sees her stillborn child in the book, she blames the usurpers and says that Alicent was the reason her baby died. Rhaenyra, in the show, still tries to stay sensible and peaceful.
In the original book, Ser Steffon Darklyn brings Rhaenyra the crown. Thinking that Rhaenyra’s rights have been stolen, kingsguard steals Viserys’ golden crown, which is often shown throughout the series. However, the series has made a change that seems logical, as I mentioned in my article in the last episode. We see that Ser Darklyn is already on the island. The writers chose this because they knew that the twin brothers play an essential role in the series and wanted to deepen the siblings’ conflict. When Otto and Daemon come face to face, the camera cuts, especially to the brothers.
While Rhaenyra is burying her baby in an old-fashioned way, Erryk appears and presents the crown he stole from the palace to the Queen with a proud and dignified speech. Daemon’s look at the crown, Erryk’s speech that he dedicated his soul to the Queen, Daemon’s crowning Rhaenyra, and everyone’s bowing except Rhaenys, combined with Ramin Djawadi’s song, The Crown of Jaejaerys… Undescribable. The meaning is also noteworthy. Rhaenyra sees that someone still believes in her when all hope is lost. And she accepts the queenship spiritually, wearing the crown she confessed to her father about being a “big burden.”
One of the most memorable details in this episode is that Rhaenys doesn’t bend over. Rhaenys is one of the series’ hidden gems. A unique, strong character. And everyone accepts that, including us. The thing I was most curious about in the last episode was how she would get involved in this war. We got the answer.
This episode has an epicness that will not be forgotten for many years. The council, combined with the crowning ceremony of the Queen, continues with the music of Ramin Dwajadi. Rhaenyra’s marching in sync with her guards, the illumination of the famous colored table, the placing of pawns one by one… In a word, majestic. Thanks to everyone who designed this sequence. I hope they change the credits of the second season with this color table.
The battle meeting was held 3 times in the episode. The first is when Rhaenyra is giving birth, the second is right after she is declared Queen, and the third is in the evening session after Otto’s terms. These meetings have minor details; I will explain them in the details section. We see that everyone at the head of the table has started to make their plans by moving quickly. Let’s face it, all scenarios are about starting a “war.” Daemon thinks war is the best answer to usurpers, but Rhaenyra is against him on this. This opposition created tension between them. During the meeting, Daemon’s allusive manners were all too evident. But at the second meeting, he revealed his true face.
When Rhaenyra cleared the hall and spoke to him one-on-one, she “for some reason” wanted to talk about the song of Ice and Fire. Daemon also got angry and grabbed her throat. Sara Hess was correct when she said Daemon wasn’t peer-material. We will see that she is right in the coming seasons. But the throat-squeezing scene here was meant to wake Rhaenyra. Daemon especially emphasized that he needed to toughen her because she was acting weakly like her father. Because Rhaenyra’s war-avoidance makes Daemon uneasy.
The most important thing that should be considered in this episode is that we learn the fact that Daemon was never actually an heir in Viserys’ eyes. Viserys never told the inherited song to Daemon helped Rhaenyra understand her father better. Maybe what Rhaenyra said was nonsense to Daemon anyway. It could also be that he got angry and choked on the issue of A Song of Ice and Fire, which he saw as idle talk.
We should not miss another detail here; Daemon is the most critical name shaping Rhaenyra today. From childhood, the Queen learned much of what made her who she was, influenced by Daemon. And the same effect still continues.
Voltage on the Bridge
Ah, if only this bridge could speak. Yet another war bargain at the same spot. Otto comes to Dragnostone with the kingsguard and offers the terms to end the war on their behalf. If it was up to Daemon, he’d kill them all there. But Rhaenyra wanted to hear the terms. Terms are deplorable, of course. Daemon’s anger and hatred for the thief king, whom he calls a drunken fool, is evident in every word.
There are 2 details on the bridge that we need to talk about. The first is Rhaenyra’s arrival with Syrax as if proving she is a dragon. It’s not the first time she’s been here with Syrax, either. In the second episode, when Daemon stole the dragon egg, she also came and stood in front of him. But this time, they are side by side. That’s life.
The second is the book page that Alicent sent to Rhaenyra. Remember, in the first episode, while Alicent was reading, Rhaenyra tore the page out and gave it to her. Now it may be a forced conclusion, but Alicent’s sending of this page may not actually be a romantic message. The page that Rhaenyra ripped off is the page about Nymeria, which HBO plans to make its series. While Nymeria was in Esos, she fled to Dorne by crossing the narrow sea with the “10,000” ship with the people who had followed her. And she managed to unite Dorne, which was scattered at the time, in a way, becoming the ancestor of Dorne. Nymeria had “fled” to Westeros from the wars in Esos. The subtext in Alicent’s sending of the page might not be I love you but instead, run away, flee and save yourself. It’s a distant guess, but it could happen.
Full Support from Velaryons
The Velaryons joining the battle means that whichever side they choose will take the lead. Corlys and his navy are the most tremendous force in the narrow sea. We learn that Corlys’ navy, injured in the Battle of Stepstones, won the war and freed Stepstones from pirates again. Although Triarchy, which we encountered in the third episode and heard its name repeatedly, seems to have been lost, it will appear again in the future quite harshly.
It is fortunate for the Queen that Rhaenys decides to support Rhaenyra the day Corlys realizes he was wrong for not listening to his wife. Rhaenyra’s war-avoidance obviously convinced Rhaenys. However, in the first meeting, Rhaenys’s “pardon” look did not go unnoticed when Daemon said Meleys while counting the dragons. It even made me laugh.
The fact that the Velaryons are on the black side means that they close the area that leads to the huge bay of King’s Landing, called the Gullet. This indicates that the city will not receive any support from the east. The area around the bay is already filled with lords who support blacks. I will address this in the details section.
Dance of the Dragons
Let’s get to the part of the series that surprised me. As I said above, I thought the series would end with the coronation ceremonies, but they added one of their diplomatic trips to the story by saying that we should at least show a dragon fight. By saying Storm’s End is “close,” they made good use of their excuses. Because Winterfell, where Jace went, is a long way off.
As I said before, the book Fire and Blood about this war is not a novel. A compilation in which different sources convey the information they claim to have seen or heard with their eyes. The series basically completely incorporated the dance in the sky between Aemond and Luc. But the screenwriters played with the basics of this dance and the murder that took place as a result. Let me tell you about all the confusion that happened in the last 10 minutes.
First of all, the series almost exactly conveyed what happened in Storm’s End castle. Everything is in place, up to Borros’ line “not here.” The only part not included in the castle is that the woman Aemond will marry calls him “without balls.” When Luc leaves the castle, the bride-to-be says to him, “He obviously took not only your eye but also your balls.” Aemond then chases Luc with his dragon. However, the series decided that the grudge he fed because of his eye was enough to remove this part.
When Luc leaves the castle, he tells his dragon Arrax to calm down and listen because he knows what might happen, and he knows the nature of dragons. And he tells him in Valyrian to stay calm. This part is essential.
Aemond begins to frighten Arrax with his dragon Vhagar. He plays with it like a toy. Arrax is more agile because it is young and small. Because Vhagar is large, she is relatively slow. But this game, which gives pleasure to Aemond, ends in a disaster. Because Aemond forgets one thing: Dragons are no joke.
In the Game of Thrones series, Daenerys says that the dragons’ first choice is always to attack. Any dragon that senses danger will attack. Like many animals in nature. King Viserys was not for nothing when he said that the fact that we control dragons is an illusion. Arrax must have been frightened after the chase in the sky, but it does its nature and attacks Vhagar. In particular, it shoots fire into her eyes. If you are wondering why a small dragon attacks a giant dragon, I want you to answer how cats that don’t weigh 2 kilos attack and chase big people.
Although Luc has studied well, he can’t control his dragon. Aemond, on the other hand, proves that he is not as “intelligent” as he mentioned in the last episode. Yes, although it uses the greatest dragon in the universe, he has no “battle” training with her. Knowing how to use dragons for battle will play a vital role in the series’ future seasons. But Aemond makes an even bigger mistake and calls out to the angry Vhagar in the “common” language in a moment of panic. Dragons do not know their common language. Out of panic, Aemond forgets that he has to command his dragon in Valyrian. Vhagar, who doesn’t understand him, eats Arrax like a pretzel.
As I said above. Dragons bond with their riders. While Rhaenyra was giving birth, Syrax was also suffering. When Daemon got an arrow in the third episode, Caraxes shouted too. A common character is formed between the rider and his dragon. While Aemond isn’t portrayed as pure evil, it’s possible that the hatred inside him may have infiltrated Vhagar as well. For this reason, she may become more aggressive and deadly. Bonding is also an exceptional talent. Need a lot of practice. Although Rhaenys didn’t say anything in the last episode, Meleys’s shouting instead of spraying fire shows that she established the bond very skillfully.
The audience had expected Aemond to kill Luc in cold blood. This includes me. But the screenwriters did not envision Aemond as such a villain. And they put their preferences on a logical basis. No one saw what happened between Aemond and Luc. In the book, we listen to this dance in Storm’s End through the mouths of some witnesses who were never actually there. Only Aemond and Vhagar know what actually happened there. For this reason, I did not find it problematic for the scriptwriters to make changes as long as they did not change the essence.
Some Beautiful Details
Some names were mentioned at the blacks’ war meeting. Celtigar, Massey, Staunton, Darklyn, Bar Emmon… These names and many more will fight for Rhaenyra’s cause in the future. But the fate of one of these names, Staunton, is a little different from the others. Stauntons at Rook’s Rest will incur the wrath of the greens, and here we will witness a mind-blowing dragon fight just like the season finale.
Lord Grover Tully’s name was on the table. It was said that he loved Rheanyra’s father very much. Well, Grover’s love for Viserys wasn’t all that strong. Grover will choose his side from the greens, but he won’t live long enough to fight for the greens. His son, Elmo Tully, will take his place. And he will choose his side from black. This part has a funny detail: George R.R. Martin named the Tullys in the series after the characters in the Muppet Show. Apparently, he didn’t think much that his book could turn into a TV Show. I don’t know if we’ll see them, but there’s one Elmo and one Kermit at Tully’s right now.
We’ve heard of Cregan Stark. Lord of Winterfell. Who plays Cregan Stark is very important. Must be a strong figure. I wish he was Henry Cavill, as his name was mentioned. But it doesn’t look like, because ages don’t fit. Cregan Stark will turn into one of the most important characters of the House of the Dragon series. His presence indicates that we will be returning to Winterfell as well. I can’t give much detail to avoid spoilers, but I leave my civil war article to those who want to read it.
The Daemon counted all the dragons that exists on their side during the meeting, one by one.
Syrax, riding by Rhaenyra,
Caraxes, riding by Daemon,
Meleys, riding by Rhaenys,
Arrax, riding by Lucerys,
Vermax, riding by Jacaerys
Moondancer, of which Baela is a rider,
Let’s take a look at the green side.
Vhagar, riding by Aemond
Sunfyre, riding by Aegon
Dreamfyre with Helaena
But there are not 3 but 4 dragons on the other side. The fourth dragon is Tessarion, which belongs to Daeron Targaryen, Alicent’s son in Oldtown, who will join the series in season two.
Daemon went to awaken Vermithor, the dragon of king Jaehaerys, who was lying in Dragonmout, to increase the number of dragons. Vermithor is the oldest and largest dragon after Vgahar. Daemon sang in to awaken the dragon that had been underground for a long time. Below I leave the lyrics of the song in the Valyrian language.
Drakari pykiros (Fire breather)
Tīkummo jemiros (Winged leader)
Yn lantyz bartossa (But two heads)
Saelot vāedis (To a third sing)
Hen ñuhā elēnī: (From my voice)
Perzyssy vestretis (The fires have spoken)
Se gēlȳn irūdaks (And the price has been paid)
Ānogrose (With blood magic)
Perzyro udrȳssi (With words of flame)
Ezīmptos laehossi (With clear eyes)
Hārossa letagon(To bind the three)
Aōt vāedan (To you I sing)
Hae mērot gierūli: (As one we gather)
Se hāros bartossi (And with three heads)
Prūmȳsa sōvīli (We shall fly as we were destined)
Gevī dāerī (Beautifully, freely)
When House of the Dragon coincided with The Rings of Power, I said HBO was obviously very confident. It was already obvious that The Rings of Power would go under due to the populism involved. But HBO has done such a successful job this year that no other project can compete. They taught us all about how to adapt. Unfortunately, the construction process of such a series takes quite a long time. Especially since the next season will be dominated by battles and dragon fights, it may take even longer. Ryan Condal said they kept the first season particularly slow. That was pretty obvious. But the second season will take the form of multiple stories and characters that we are used to. Because the war will spread all over Westeros, and we will be guests of them one by one. In the first season, our main characters were Alicent and Rhaenyra. But in the second season, many new characters will join the story. And we will probably see these characters often.
I wish the second season would come next year, but it is impossible to come before 2024’s spring or autumn. Already shooting will begin at the beginning of 2023. I hope the producers and screenwriters don’t break the great plot they set up in the first season. They don’t even need to do better. It’s enough if it stays the same. Even in this state, it is enough to become a legend when it is finished.
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