So, just like that, the first season of House of the Dragon has come to one very dark conclusion.


The Game of Thrones prequel gave us an inaugural run that spanned over two decades as it told us the story of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy, Milly Alcock) as she was named by her loving father King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) despite his having a living male blood relative, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).

Yet, the episodes faced an added complication when Viserys remarried by wedding Rhaenyra's best friend, Lady Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke, Emily Carey), the daughter of the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans).

After Queen Alicent gave Viserys further children, he had a possible male heir in the form of Prince Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney, Ty Tennant).

Yet, Viserys never discarded Rhaenyra, having confided in her the importance of the Targaryen family in the prophecy of The Prince That Was Promised in the dreams of Aegon the Conquerer.

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However, once Viserys died, Alicent's supporters swiftly joined her in crowning her son Aegon, leaving Rhaenyra and her uncle-husband Prince Daemon betrayed.

Now, the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons would begin in earnest, but who was the first major casualty?

**Spoiler warning for House of the Dragon episode 10**

House of the Dragon ending explained: Why was Prince Lucerys Velaryon killed?

Elliot Grihault as Prince Lucerys Velaryon in House of the Dragon
Elliot Grihault as Prince Lucerys Velaryon in House of the Dragon HBO

So, in House of the Dragon episode 10, Queen Rhaenyra I Targaryen rightfully set about confirming who her allies were in the rival claims of herself and King Aegon II Targaryen.

Among the most powerful of the great families is House Baratheon, with Lord Boremund Baratheon having previously sworn fealty to Rhaenyra as the heir of King Viserys.

Rhaenyra sends her second son Prince Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grighault) to treat with Lord Borros Baratheon (Roger Evans), the heir of the late Boremud, but one who is proud and did not swear an oath.

As Lucerys delivered a message reminding of the oath, Prince Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) was present.

Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

Fans will recall that Lucerys was the one who cut out one of Aemond's eyes in the clash between Aemond and his nephews in the seventh episode, Driftmark.

In response, Queen Alicent wanted an eye of Lucerys' as a punishment but was overruled by Viserys.

In the finale, it is revealed that Aemond beat Lucerys in a race to win Borros' support and offered a marriage alliance to House Baratheon in response to loyalty to Aegon.

Lucerys, who is engaged to his step-sister Lady Rhaena Targaryen (Phoebe Campbell) is unable to offer himself in marriage, angering Borros who rejects Rhaenyra's message and sends him away.

However, Aemond now wants to punish Lucerys for treason and take an eye from him as justice.

Borros wishes to avoid a duel, as does Lucerys - who swore to not start any violence. Lucerys is escorted out to his dragon Arrax before Aemond gives chase on his much larger dragon Vhagar - intent on taking Lucerys' eye.

Arrax flies above Storm's End in House of the Dragon
Arrax flies above Storm's End in House of the Dragon HBO

Yet, Lucerys manages to elude Aemond for a time. However, as Arrax emerges from a canyon it blasts fire at Vhagar without a command from Lucerys, prompting Vhagar to give chase despite Aemond's commands to the contrary.

As a result, Vhagar chases after Arrax above the clouds and then lunges and bites into Arrax, killing the dragon and Lucerys.

Aemond is shown to be horrified - realising he has delivered the first violent blow in a civil war.

In the book Fire and Blood, it is written as though Aemond knowingly set out to kill Lucerys in a vicious clash, but it is clear here that he did not mean to kill his nephew.

Discussing the adaptational change with Variety, showrunner Ryan Condal discussed the choice to have Aemond unwittingly bring about Luke's death.

Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

"Historians have told us that Aemond intended to kill Luke, but I don’t think any of them could purport to know what was going on in Aemond’s head at the time," explains Condal. "And I would also dispute the word “accident” a bit.

"I mean, Aemond got on his giant dragon and chased his nephew on his much smaller dragon through the clouds screaming and yelling at him, incensing his dragon and starting a fight.

"He didn’t know how Arrax or Luke were going to respond, and it ended in tragedy. I don’t think that was what Aemond intended when he threw his leg over the saddle, but he did a horrible, dangerous thing."

He did note, however, that this adds "complexity and nuance" to the character of Aemond going ahead.

Regardless, at some point, the news of what has happened reaches Daemon who is seen approaching Rhaenyra at one of her councils, taking her aside.

Despite the silence, we see Rhaenyra's crumpled body language as she is delivered the news. The Queen turns to face the camera with tears in her eyes - displaying grief and fury.

Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

The whole episode showed how Rhaenrya was doing her utmost to defend her interests without open warfare, honouring her peaceful father and being aware of her duty to bring about the prophecy of The Song of Ice and Fire.

Now, it seems Rhaenyra is full of anger and is sure to answer this act of war.

Book readers will be more than aware that the ugliness has only just begun.

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