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House of the Dragon episode 10 was the highly anticipated series finale, and it fittingly bears the title “The Black Queen.” Asides from foreshadowing her coronation, the title also hints at how Rhaenyra spends most of the episode mourning the loss of her loved ones and her destiny.
The episode begins with Princess Rhaenys arriving at Dragonstone to inform Rhaenyra about Viserys’ death and the coup in King’s Landing. Shocked by her father’s passing and Alicent’s betrayal, the news overwhelms Rhaenyra, which triggers the premature birth of her sixth child, Visenya.
Just like every other child birthing scene in The House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra’s sixth labour was painful to watch. While powering through the labour (and processing the emotional pain of everything else), the show cuts back and forth to her dragon, Syrax screaming in pain, highlighting the deep bond that dragons share with their riders.
Despite her best efforts, Rhaenyra has a stillbirth and loses her only daughter. This leads to a funeral procession, where in addition to Visenya, Rhaenyra also mourns her father and her throne. But this would be far from the last time the Princess would lose someone close to her in this episode.
Daemon was a different case.
Immediately after Rhaenys delivers the news, Daemon starts drawing plans for war and to kill every Hightower in King’s Landing. To prevent any future betrayals, Daemon forces the Kingsguard to re-swear their oaths to Rhaenyra under the pain of death.
When Ser Erryk Cargyll (who defects from the greens) brings the Viserys’ crown to Dragonstone, Daemon crowns Rhaenyra and proclaims her the rightful Queen of the seven kingdoms. And after taking stock of every available dragon on their side, he presents a respectful plan for sacking King’s Landing and taking the iron throne.
I loved the scene where Daemon wakes up his grandfather’s dragon, Vermithor, the second biggest living dragon to join the battle. It was a nice addition to the episode, and the move has many ramifications in the future.
But before declaring all-out war, Rhaenyra weighs all her options first.
The peace talks between the greens and the blacks was a perfect recreation of episode 2, with Daemon and Otto on opposite sides and Rhaenyra landing on Syrax to diffuse the situation. To no one’s surprise, Daemon tries to take Otto’s head, but thanks to Rhaenyra’s cool-headedness, the hand of the King lives to see another day.
Proving to be her father’s daughter, Rhaenyra considers the green’s peace terms, especially when Otto hands her the history page that she gave Alicent when they were younger. This melted the new Queen’s heart, as it showed that Alicent still remembered their old friendship and would also like to avoid war.
Rhaenyra’s peace-first approach infuriates Daemon, but she also impresses someone else, Princess Rhaenys.
As we all suspected, Rhaenys refused to burn Alicent and most of her family because it wasn’t her fight, and she sticks to this decision for most of the episode. Even when everyone bows to the newly crowned queen Rhaenyra, Rhaenys remains standing, reminding her niece that she is neutral.
But then something changes.
While most of her advisers would have her burn King’s Landing to the ground, Rhaenys notices Rhaenyra is the only one preaching peace and caution. And so despite blaming Rhaenyra for her son Leanor’s death, Rhaenys urges her husband, Lord Corlys to side with Rhaenyra.
The addition of Driftmark’s forces brought a fantastic breath of fresh air to Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne. But even with them, her forces still wouldn’t be enough to rival the rest of the seven kingdoms. And so other allies would be needed.
One of the significant parts of the episode comes with the involvement of Rhaenyra’s sons Jacerys and Lucerys.
As the eldest, Jace is eager to prove himself worthy of being his mother’s heir, and he tries his best to help Rhaenyra carry the weight of the seven kingdoms. When queen Rhaenyra decides to send ravens to the major lords of Westeros, Jace and his brother Luke volunteer for the mission.
On paper, this plan made perfect sense, as Targaryen princes on dragons are far more convincing than ravens with parchments. As a Queen, Rhaenyra agrees to the plan. But as a mother, Rhaenyra forces her sons to swear that they will not partake in any fighting and will only act as messengers to the various lords.
So while Jacerys travels to the Vale and the North broker a deal, we follow Lucerys on his journey to Storm’s End to treat with Lord Boros Baratheon.
If I was Luke, I would have bailed the minute I saw Vaghar at Storm’s End, especially considering his rocky relationship with Aemond. But being a brave man, the young prince continues with his mission, knowing well what awaited him inside.
While Aemond comes with a marriage proposal, Lucerys only arrives with a letter from his queen mother, demanding that the storm lord honour his late father’s oath. Obviously, this doesn’t end well for Luke. But things get worse when Aemond demands luke cuts out his eye in exchange for the one he took from Aemond years ago. Luckily, Lord Boros stops Aemond from attacking Luke in his castle and orders his men to escort Lucerys to his dragon.
However, once Luke gets outside, he becomes fair game.
The chase between Vhagar and Arrax was intense, and it showed how dragon riding isn’t as easy as it seems. I know we always say Vaghar is the largest living dragon, but seeing the size difference between the ancient dragon and Arrax was terrifying.
Luke plays it smart and tries to out-speed the older dragon by using the narrow and rocky terrain to his advantage. But due to the thunderclouds, the young prince finds it difficult to keep track of Vhagar and by the time the visibility improves, it’s too late.
I loved how both dragons disobey their riders to follow their instincts. Arrax attacks because it was scared, and Vhagar kills both Arrax and Luke out of vengeance. But after the deed is done, the look on Ameond’s face shows that this wasn’t the outcome he wanted and that he knows he has started a terrible war.
But what did he expect?
Chasing a young boy with a battle harden dragon, like Vhagar was only ever going to end in one way.
When Rhaenyra gets the tragic news from Daemon, they are no need for words, as the pain on her face says it all. And so after 10 long episodes, the true Dance of Dragons Begins.
House of the Dragon Episode 10: The Black Queen, was a fantastic conclusion to our 10-week revisit to Westeros. While last week gave us the aftermath of king’s death from the greens point of view, this week showed us how the black court responds to coup in king’s Landing.
The character development in this episode was fantastic, as the episode showed how each member of the blacks does their best to help the new queen in her new role.
Episode 10 also gives us an amazing dragon chase with a grim conclusion and even darker consequences. And all of this setups the stage for a very bloody, but still interesting House of Dragon season 2.
- Amazing Character Development
- Awesome Dragon Showdown
- Great Political Manoeuvrs & Decisions
- Several Emotional Moments
- Great Setup for Season Two
- Two-Year Wait for Season Two