House of the Dragon: Season 1/ Episode 10 [Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

As Rhaenyra learns of her father’s death and brother usurping her, there is hope for peace until an unexpected being decides they want war.

Aired (HBO) 10/23/2022
Episode Title The Black Queen
Director(s) Greg Yaitanes
Writer(s) Ryan Condal

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Too Much To Mourn – Rhaenyra, Daemon, Rhaenys, Otto

Rhaenyra, unfortunately, has too much to mourn within the span of a few hours. Rhaenys tells her of her father’s demise, and within 24 hours, Rhaenyra has a miscarriage. And, perhaps as a show of strength, she doesn’t let anyone help her. She gives birth, holds her baby, and preps it for its funeral. Then, like when we were introduced to Rhaenyra at this age, she finds Alicent calling upon her, in this case, for peace rather than a reason to damn her.

However, Otto, Aegon and Alicent’s envoy, presents dissatisfactory terms for peace. They include making Rhaenyra’s children cupbearers, which insults Daemon, who questions how his brother died and thirsts for war. Which, luckily for Otto’s life, with Rhaenyra taking note of her father’s reign, she isn’t trying to bring about civil war on a whim. She needs to know her allies before thinking of doing such.

The Man Who Lived – Corlys, Rhaenys, Rhaenyra, Luke, Jake

Lord Corlys, with his wife by his side, reaffirming his oath to Rhaenyra
“Lord Corlys, with his wife by his side, reaffirming his oath to Rhaenyra,” House of the Dragon, “The Black Queen,” directed by The Black Queen, 2022, (HBO)

Despite how grim things seemed for Corlys, he lives and hears about his brother and Viserys’ death. His first thought is to end his house’s ambitions for the Iron Throne and remain neutral. Especially upon hearing Rhaenyra’s own husband killed his brother. But, upon entering Rhaenyra’s war council and seeing his grandchildren align with Rhaenyra’s, it seems he has a change of heart. He is ready for war, and with securing the Stepstones, in his mind once and for all, a choke point to King’s Landing has been made.

But, Rhaenyra still isn’t convinced war is a must and wants to confirm her allies. So she sends Jake and Luke off to confirm the loyalty of the North, both Stark and Baratheon, due to having blood ties to both through her mother, and also them bending the knee when her father was alive.

Can You Really Control Something Like A Dragon? – Aemond, Luke, Rhaenyra

Alas, while Rhaenyra hoped that enough allies could maybe impede a war, her simply reminding people of the oaths they made, while offering nothing but a potential war, is treated as a slight to the Baratheon lord. But, to make matters worse, Aemond beats Luke there, and with him watching Luke try to recruit House Baratheon, he takes it as a slight against his brother and demands Luke’s eye.

Aemond without his eyepatch on
“Aemond without his eyepatch on,” House of the Dragon, “The Black Queen,” directed by The Black Queen, 2022, (HBO)

Lord Baratheon doesn’t allow violence in his home and has Luke escorted away to leave, but Luke doesn’t make it home. What began as Aemond just wanting to mess with him becomes his dragon deciding to rip Luke’s apart, and if not eat Luke, break him with their jaw. Thus leaving Aemond’s dragon and in extension him, the beings who started the Dance of Dragons.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Do the dragons have beef with each other outside their humans or was Aemond’s dragon feeding off his anger?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Aemond’s actions could either be considered an act of war or the type of provocation that calls for his head. Which, since Allicent was refused justice when Aemond lost an eye, you know, will be what triggers war.

Collected Quote(s)

Hope is the fool’s ally.
— Lord Corlys



Finally, Getting Into The Politics

What “House of the Dragon” has rarely done, besides a few arranged marriages, is really focus on the politics of keeping the kingdoms together. Lords have come and gone, and very few have been memorable. In an effort to bolster the Targaryen family and House Velaryon, we have squarely focused on their drama.

But, with seeing Lord Baratheon and the scramble for allies, it seems we might be at a turn. We may finally get the kind of blood and characters the show desperately needs. The kind who can bring intrigue in the form of humor, viciousness, and the type of diverse personalities this show currently lacks. For on top of feeling like “House of the Dragon” plays it safe to avoid criticism, it has really only given us Daemon as a means to keep things from utterly being stale.

Rhaenyra Handling Her Own Miscarriage

Rhaenyra has long been somewhere between a work in progress and someone rather untested. When Milly Alcock held the reins, she was untested, as Viserys still had her as a cupbearer. So while in the room, she was never in command of anything besides choosing the man, Ser Criston, who would make her rue the day for rejecting him.

But, as Emma D’arcy took over, you could see a work in progress. She may not have understood alliances or how to build them besides marrying people off, but there were showings she understood much, which wasn’t taught but observed. She understood strength wasn’t just about battles and wars but restraint and the willingness for hard conversations. For while her father may often have looked weak, his even temper minimized losses and allowed many a soldier to keep their life.

So in the case of her handling her own miscarriage, it was symbolic. She could take on the massive pain of the start of her reign, and do it as both a leader, a mother and a woman. But, another way to look at it is, just as the baby’s umbilical cord, what could give it life, ended up being what killed it, so has Viserys bestowing this gift of the crown to Rhaenyra be the death of her.

On The Fence

Luke’s Death

Rhaenyra reacting to hearing about Luke's death
“Rhaenyra reacting to hearing about Luke’s death,” House of the Dragon, “The Black Queen,” directed by The Black Queen, 2022, (HBO)

It’s recognized Luke’s death should be a major thing. After a series of stand-offs, pleas, and information gathering, his death by Aemond’s dragon is the trigger for the war. However, because Luke was mainly treated as Rhaenyra’s second oldest, someone who perhaps mirrors Viserys’ lack of desire, based on how he is spoken of before the crown, he wasn’t notable. Yes, he took Aemond’s eye, but until Aemond began coming off like Daemon’s bastard, Aemond wasn’t really noteworthy.

So while you can recognize, in the world of “Game of Thrones,” this is a historical moment that changes everything, because there was a lack of investment in Luke, due to time jumps and him only having one notable action the entire season, his death is hunch worthy. A thing worth noting because of the consequences, just as much as Aemond losing his eye.

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Rhaenyra wearing her father's crown
House of the Dragon: Season 1/ Episode 10 [Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
“House of the Dragon” ends like a slightly graphic history book. It’s mostly dull with details, albeit important ones regarding alliances and restraint shown, but in order to build up to what becomes the Dance of Dragons, largely, it relies on nostalgia for “Game of Thrones” and the wonder if something will happen, rather than delivering notable, or water cooler, moments on a regular basis.
Community Rating0 Votes
Finally, Getting Into The Politics
Rhaenyra Handling Her Own Miscarriage
Luke’s Death

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