The stage has been set for the final showdown, as season one of the HBO series, “House of the Dragon,” reaches its finale. Aegon II Targaryen had been crowned the king, and Rhaenyra was still unaware of the events that had transpired in King’s Landing behind her back. Alicent felt that the betrayal of her best friend was in lieu of the selfless fulfillment of her husband’s last wish. Her delusions had taken over her, and Otto didn’t interfere as it helped his cause and gave him the means to satiate his own greed. In the 9th episode of “House of the Dragon,” we saw that Rhaenys was able to escape King’s Landing with her dragon, Meleys. The Greens knew that war was inevitable. They knew that there was no way Rhaenyra was going to bend her knee without putting up a fight. Both the Greens and the Blacks had certain advantages and disadvantages with regard to resources and logistics. It came down to how they strategized their moves and gained leverage over the other party. So, let’s break down the trailer/preview of episode 10 and try to ascertain what will happen at the end of season 1 of “House of the Dragon”.
Book Spoilers Ahead
In the very first shot of the trailer, we see that Rhaenys Velaryon has reached Dragonstone, and she tells Rhaenyra that the Greens are coming for her. Ser Erryk handed over Viserys’ crown to Rhaenyra. In the book, “Fire and Blood,” Ser Steffon Darklyn of the kingsguard, had brought the crown to Dragonstone, which was stolen from kings landing by a steward, but the makers have altered that bit in the series. We speculate that the piece of information would have stunned the Targaryen Princess. She had left Kings Landing on a positive and hopeful note. Alicent had implied through her actions that she would be ready to accept her as the queen. Though that supper had ended with Aemond sarcastically commenting on the illegitimacy of his nephews (Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey), which led to a brawl between them, it felt like that bitterness would fade away eventually, as the elders were in a mood to reconcile. But Viserys had mumbled a few words about the Song of Ice and Fire, and Alicent had presumed that he wanted his son, Aegon II Targaryen, to sit on the Iron Throne. We see Rhaenyra caressing her belly while Rhaenys tells her that Otto Hightower was in no mood to spare her or her children’s lives, implying that she needed to act quickly. According to the book, Rhaenyra was pregnant with her daughter, Visenya, at that time. The child was stillborn, and Rhaenyra blamed Alicent and the Greens for it, as it was because of their treachery that Rhaenyra was filled with rage and bitterness. She had declared in front of everybody that the perpetrators would pay for it.
Next, we see Daemon taking his sword, the Dark Sister, and advising Rhaenyra that she shouldn’t submit to the whims and fancies of her best friend, Alicent. According to the book “Fire and Blood,” Daemon acted very judiciously when the Blacks came to know about the coup in King’s Landing. He was the one who said that entering the actual battlefield without even trying to deal with the situation in a tactical manner would be a foolish thing to do. He was the one who told Rhaenyra to get the support of as many houses as she could. He knew that there were a few houses still left that were against the Hightowers and would willingly fight the war alongside the Blacks. Rhaenyra stood in front of the “painted table”, which had the whole map of Westeros carved over it, with all the other officials surrounding her, who were part of the Black Council. The stone table was no less than a heritage for the Targaryens. Aegon I Targaryen had authorized the Painted Table to be made. Rhaenyra and Daemon had a lot of reverence for their ancestors. They believed in the old ways and had the spirits of conquerors. The way Rhaenyra stood there in defiance, glancing at the map of Westeros on the painted table, indicated that she would not concede defeat. We see Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon asking their mother to “send them” somewhere.
According to the book, Jacaerys was of the opinion that it would have a better impact if, instead of sending ravens to different houses, they themselves went and spoke with the lords. Rhaenyra had agreed and told Jacaerys to first go to House Arryn, next to House Manderly, and lastly to the far North to meet the lord of House Stark in Winterfell. Maybe she knew that Winterfell would have a crucial role to play in the scheme of things. Lucerys, on the other hand, was sent to Storm’s End, where Rhaenyra had expected that Borros Baratheon would readily swear his allegiance without any resistance. Though Rhaenyra felt that it would be safe to send her son to the Stormlands, she was unaware of what Otto Hightower was scheming and plotting. Otto had told Aemond to go to Storm’s End to try to win the hand of one of the four daughters of Lord Baratheon. It is a possibility that Aemond and Lucerys would land at Storm’s End around the same time. Aemond had been craving to get revenge for a very long time, and he knew that young Lucerys didn’t stand a chance against him. It would be interesting to see if the makers decide on making the two princes go against each other in “House Of The Dragon” Episode 10.
We see Otto and his men standing in front of Daemon and his soldiers on the same bridge of Dragonstone, where Rhaenrya had once come to take back the dragon egg from Daemon’s possession. During that time as well, Otto was present with Ser Criston Cole and the others. The visual seemed like a replica of that created in “House of the Dragon” Episode 2, perhaps signifying that history repeated itself and fate had once again given a chance to Otto Hightower to undermine the authority of Daemon Targaryen.
Rhaenyra did have more dragons in her possession as compared to what Otto and Alicent had. But the problem was that they didn’t have as many dragon riders. Jacaerys rode Vermax, and Arrax was ridden by Lucerys. Joffrey’s dragon, named Tyraxes, was very young. In the trailer, we see Daemon singing a song in High Valyrian and trying to get near a dragon. That dragon was probably Vermithor. Vermithor, also referred to as the “Bronze Fury,” was almost a century old during the Dance of the Dragons (according to the book). Vermithor was a huge dragon, and maybe Daemon and Rhaenyra wanted to wake up the beast from his slumber as they knew that facing Vhagar wouldn’t be an easy task.
The Greens had more resources as compared to the Blacks. The three richest cities in the seven kingdoms, Oldtown, King’s Landing, and Lannisport, were under their control. Their army was greater in numbers, and, most of all, they had Vhagar, the deadliest and largest of all the other dragons. Rhaenyra, on the other hand, had the advantage of having House Velaryon on her side, who owned the largest fleet of ships in Westeros. We have always seen Daemon as a warrior, and maybe for the first time, we would get to see his cognitive abilities and how he uses his ground experience to his advantage. Winning the psychological war was imperative before stepping on the battlefield. The season finale would determine the future of the Iron Throne, the destiny of the Targaryens, the fate of Westeros, and eventually, it would also lay the foundation for the subsequent seasons of “House of the Dragon.”