‘Home of the Dragon’ Closes Out Season 1 With Promised Epic Finale

A ultimate battle with excessive stakes and immeasurable loss closes out Season 1.

The Dance of Dragons has formally begun.

Sunday’s “Home of the Dragon” finale pitted Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) towards half-brother Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), who has been declared king of Westeros regardless of the late Viserys’ needs (Paddy Considine). As Rhaenyra prepares to win again the seven kingdoms, she sends son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) to Storm’s Finish to enchantment to Lord Borros Baratheon (Roger Evans), the place he finds a nasty shock within the type of uncle Aegon’s brother Aemond (Ewan Mitchell). The sons of rival homes take to the sky, the dragons dance, and just one survives.

Simply as Episode 9 centered on King’s Touchdown and Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) household, Episode 10, “The Black Queen,” written by Ryan Condal and directed by Greg Yaitanes, unfolds primarily in Dragonstone, the place Rhaenyra and Daemon (Matt Smith) set up their plan to maneuver towards the Greens with the assistance of key gamers on their very own aspect. Rhaenys (Eve Greatest) arrives from King’s Touchdown, the place she didn’t burn everybody to a crisp, leaving the precise warmongering to Rhaenyra, Aegon, and their instant households.

However Rhaenys and husband Corlys (Steve Toussaint) can’t sit this one out. They’ve misplaced each youngsters, by no means with a Targaryen too far out of sight, and their grandchildren are engaged to Rhaenyra’s sons, firmly enmeshed within the Black aspect of the conflict. The gradual, tactical strikes of the Sea Snake and the Queen Who By no means Was will likely be crucial to this conflict, and already are; if Aemond had died within the dragon pit of King’s Touchdown by Rhaenys’ command, he wouldn’t have journeyed to Storm’s Finish in any respect.

A man with long blonde hair and an eye patch wearing a black cloak and standing in the foreground of a medieval lord's throne room; still from

Ewan Mitchell in “Home of the Dragon”

HBO

As relations strained between Alicent and Rhaenyra through the years, they’d the skinny however plain connection of their love for King Viserys. With the great king gone, Alicent sends father Otto (Rhys Ifans) to enchantment to Rhaenyra’s fondness for his or her outdated friendship — a passion that has totally evaporated by the episode’s ultimate moments. Alicent and Rhaenyra’s youngsters could have performed collectively as their moms as soon as did, however the bonds between Jacaerys, Lucerys, Aegon, and Aemond severed when certainly one of them introduced a knife to a fistfight and turned the opposite right into a sapphire-sporting psychopath. Even when the opposing queens brokered peace, their sons would carry that enmity endlessly, endangering the realm regardless.

So robust is the hatred between their households that Aemond — who doesn’t suppose his brother match to be king in any method — calls for that Luke bend the knee for Aegon. He is aware of it’s futile, however will accept a watch to even the rating between them, which Luke politely declines. All the Storm’s Finish buildup is uneasy, not even to foreshadow the tragedy forward however to underscore simply how unmatched Luke is on each stage. Daemon could bluster concerning the would possibly of dragons in a single aspect towards the opposite, however this isn’t sides a lot as people. This prince, this 14-year-old boy, is doing the work of an grownup, face-to-face with a talented, vindictive swordsman who rides a gargantuan dragon, the most important on this planet. Regardless of what number of dragons Daemon coaxes to his mercy by means of track, every of them should measure as much as Vhagar in battle, and their riders to Aemond.

Dismissed by Lord Borros, the sons of Inexperienced and Black take to their dragons and take to the skies, the place a full-blown thunderstorm rages in the course of the day. In “Recreation of Thrones” custom, Aemond and Luke’s flight is pictured largely in darkness or shadow, however Storm’s Finish is the uncommon sequence the place this serves successfully serves the scene. The dearth of visibility and poor circumstances compound Luke’s stress as he and Arrax fly larger and better, unable to see or hear Aemond and Vhagar, whose silhouette seems in a flash of lightning and a deeply satisfying shot.

And as with Episode 9, a pivotal second departs from George R.R. Martin’s “Hearth & Blood,” wherein Aemond deliberately — proudly, even — assaults Lucerys within the sky. In “Home of the Dragon,” Arrax and Vhagar take the reins, each shifting towards their riders’ needs within the ultimate moments of their struggle. After they break by means of the clouds, Aemond urges “Vhagar, no!” earlier than she fatally bites Arrax into items. As each dragon and boy fall from the sky, Aemond seems completely, uncontrollably panicked. His motivation would possibly differ from Martin’s textual content, however the end result is similar: Aemond simply killed a baby, turned a kinslayer, and pushed this conflict into dreadful, uncharted territory. It’s as if he can see Rhaenyra’s face, miles away, as she stares down the digital camera within the episode’s ultimate shot; this lady has no love left for her outdated buddy or anybody who helps her, and she’s going to take again her throne with fireplace and blood.

“Home of the Dragon” Season 1 is now streaming on HBO Max.

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