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Credit: House of the Dragon Twitter

We’re not even on Episode 2 yet but HBO via the official House of the Dragon Twitter page have confirmed that the show has now been renewed for Season 2, and although no release date has been confirmed yet, it is likely that we can expect it in either late 2023 or between Easter and Summer of 2024.

House of the Dragon Season 1 Episodes – Weekly Recap

Episode 1 – “The Heirs of the Dragon”

This episode lasts 1 hour and 3 minutes and I can assure you that barely a second of that run time is wasted. As over the episodes run time we see that despite being set (as the episode’s title card advises us) 172 years before episode 1 of Game of Thrones, we see that the Westeros of House of the Dragon is remarkably similar to the Westeros we already know. Chock full of intrigue, political manoeuvring and scheming, death, heartbreak, family members even more untrustworthy than those of rival houses, distant battles, and dragons…The episode begins by establishing the decision that will ultimately lead to the fall of House Targaryen. That of King Jaehaerys I (played by Michael Carter) calling a great council who when asked to choose his successor, choose Prince Viserys Targaryen (played by Paddy Considine), instead of choosing Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (played by Eve Best), who’s succession claim as she is his oldest descendant is seemingly only dismissed because she is a woman, a theme common within the history of Westeros.The episode then moves to Visery’s 9th year reigning as King wherein over a succession of scenes, we are introduced to his first born child, the Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (played by Milly Alcock), her dragon Syrax, her best friend Alicent Hightower (played by Emily Carey), and Ser Harrold Westerling (played by Graham McTavish), Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.The episode then begins laying its plot points for the rest of the season, first with a conversation between Rhaenyra and her heavily pregnant mother, Aemma (played by Sian Brooke), where Aemma advises her headstrong daughter that her battlefield is not as a knight but on the child bed giving birth to heirs. Before moving to a meeting of the King’s Small Council wherein the revelations include pirates being murdered at sea which Viserys’ Lord Admiral and Master of Ships, Lord Corlys Velaryon (played by Steve Toussaint), who also happens to be the husband of his cousin Rhaenys who he was chosen over, would like to investigate further.There are also concerns regarding Viserys’ brother Daemon’s (played by Matt Smith) leadership of the crown’s City Watch (familiar to GOT fans as The Gold Cloaks), in particular the money that is being spent on them. As well as concerns regarding the cost of Viserys’ tournament for the birth of his child who he is convinced will be a boy.We are then finally introduced to Smith’s Daemon as he sits on The Iron Throne, his ambitions crystal clear, before he speaks with Rhaenyra in a scene full of tension and gifts her a Valyrian steel necklace that he has brought for her. The next few scenes establish Rhaenyra’s fears over being overshadowed by a brother even if she won’t admit them out loud, followed by Viserys’ being attended by the Maesters for a nasty wound on his back caused by The Iron Throne, which his hand and close friend, Otto Hightower (played by Rhys Ifans) warns the Grand Maester to keep a secret. Before then showing Viserys and Aemma in a quiet moment as Aemma tells him of her fears of losing another child in childbirth followed by telling him that whatever happens this will be her final pregnancy, foreshadowing the events to come later in the episode.This quiet scene is then contrasted by a much louder and more gruesome series of scenes as we see Daemon rally his City Watch with a speech before taking them down into the poorer area of the city and murdering and maiming anyone found to be a criminal with a thief seen having their hand cut off while a rapist has another piece of their anatomy brutally cut off for their crime.This act of violence and final judgement leads to a heated face off between Viserys and the Small Council as they condemn him for his actions with Viserys showing no remorse and justifying his every action. The scene establishing both Daemon’s allies on the Small Council and his enemies, primarily Otto, with it made clear in this scene and later scenes that neither man trusts the other.Then as is tradition at this point for a Game of Thrones, we have the obligatory character in a brothel scene that serves as plot exposition wherein we see Damon confiding his thoughts to Mysaria (played by Sonoya Mizuno) with the scene establishing a long relationship between them.The centrepiece of the episode then is the tournament wherein we see Daemon win the majority of his jousts with ease, and almost killing Otto’s son in one joust, before then compounding his taunting by asking Alicent, Otto’s daughter, for her favour (a small wreath hung on the Knight’s jousting lance) which she gives much to her father’s quiet disdain.As the tournament continues, Viserys is called away to Aemma’s side as the Grand Maester advises him that they can’t get the baby turned for birthing and so now the king must make an impossible choice, either lose his wife and save his baby, or continue trying to turn the baby and possibly lose them both. As Viserys agonises over the decision, we cut back to the final joust of the tournament, Ser Criston Cole (played by Fabien Frankel) against Daemon.Cole wins the tournament by first unhorsing Daemon with his lance and then beating him in a brutal hand to hand battle forcing the prince to yield. At the same time, Visery’s chooses his unborn baby over his wife, and what follows is a harrowing scene in which Aemma realises what is about to happen and pleads for her life to no avail. The Maesters birth the baby and confirmed to the king that it is indeed a son. Aemma is then laid to rest on a funeral pyre attended by her family and the lords of the realm where we see a hesitant Rhaenyra urged by Daemon to step forward, telling her that her father will need her more than ever, and so she steps forward and quietly speaks the command of “Dracerys” so that the waiting dragon may set the pyre ablaze.Following this, a tense scene in the chamber of the Small Council ensues, watched unbeknown to the council by Daemon, as it is revealed that the baby passed within a day leaving no clear heir to the throne, and so the council tries to urge Viserys to appoint a new heir, preferring that he appoint Rhaenyra over Daemon, before the king angrily walks out of the chamber calling them all vultures. This is then followed by a moment of political scheming that would no doubt make both Tywin Lannister and Littlefinger proud. As Otto calls Alicent to his office and instructs her to go to Viserys to keep him company and to wear one of her mothers dresses as well, his intent unspoken but as clear as glass nonetheless.We see Viserys alone carving a model from stone as Alicent enters and tells him of how she understands his grief and offers to sit and read to him while he works. This is then contrasted against Daemon who is once more in the brothel, but this time surrounded by his City Watch as they celebrate, and Daemon stands and offers a toast to his nephew, the “heir for a day”. This news is found out by the Small Council who relay it to a furious Viserys who then demands in a private conversation with Daemon that he confirm if it is true and upon hearing that it is, and after a heated argument between them. Viserys orders Daemon to leave Kings Landing and return to his own lands immediately.The episode then ends with Viserys naming Rhaenyra as his heir and telling her of this and his reasons why, then showing Rhaenyra’s naming ceremony as heir to the crown before ending with a reveal, a secret as Viserys says, that has been passed from father to heir of the Targaryen histories since Aegon’s time. That Aegon foresaw in a dream the end of the world of men, an endless winter gusting out of the North, an absolute darkness that would destroy everything it covered. And so Aegon called his dream, his secret, The Song of Ice and Fire, and that to stop it from coming to pass, a Targaryen, King or Queen, strong enough to unite the realm, must always sit on The Iron Throne…


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