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The Hollywood Insider House of the Dragon Season 1 Recap

Based on the book ‘Fire & Blood’ by George R. R. Martin, ‘House of the Dragon’ is a spin-off of one of the most beloved series of all time: ‘Game of Thrones’. After three years of mourning the end of an era and the ending of the original series, HBO gifted us with a spinoff of the venerated ‘Game of Thrones’ universe. ‘House of the Dragon’ is set more than 200 years before the events of the ‘Game of Thrones’. The show tells the story of land conquest and power dynamics in Westeros, better known as the Dance of the Dragons. In ‘House of the Dragon’, we follow the civil war that takes place as half-siblings Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) son of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) and Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke, Emily Carey), and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy, Milly Alcock) daughter of King Viserys I and Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) seek the throne after the death of their father, the king.

Season two is almost amongst us and it is time for a recap of season 1! 

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Episode 1 

With no living sons left, old King Jaehaerys I Targaryen calls the Great Council to choose an heir. The council chooses Jaehaerys’ eldest grandson, Prince Viserys, over his eldest granddaughter, Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best). We then skip to the future to find King Viserys living in a similar situation and dilemma King Jaehaerys went through, as his only surviving child is a princess and not a prince. The matter of succession is brought to council. His wife Queen Aemma dies giving birth to another dead son, and Otto calls for Alicent, in hopes she might cheer the mournful king enough to secure her with the title of queen and her and the king’s potential male heir with the throne succession.  His brother Daemon Targaryen proves he is not fit to be next in line, making princess Rhaenyra Targaryen the best candidateWe  for the job.

Episode 2

Six months after Rhaenyra was announced as heir, Daemon illegally occupies Dragonstone, supported by the city guard. When Prince-Admiral Craghas Drahar (a.k.a. Crabfeeder) threatens the Stepstones Archipelago, takes a fleet of Lord Corlys’ (Steve Toussaint) ships and feeds his men to the crabs. Rhaenyra suggests using force against him, whereas Viserys believes he can talk it out. King Viserys has to choose a bride to hopefully give him more heirs and Otto pushes his daughter Alicent to fill that role. Trying to make their way to the Iron Throne by any means, Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys offer the king the hand of their 12-year-old daughter, Lady Laena (Nova Foueillis-Mosé). Only Otto’s efforts have the desired effect when Viserys chooses Alicent to be his wife. Daemon throws a grown man tantrum and threatens the king as he steals what would have been Prince Bealon’s dragon egg for his fake unborn child with his lady of the night “betrothed”. All lies, of course. But Princess Rhaenyra saves the day and puts her uncle in his place. A sneak peak of the great Queen she will be. 

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Episode 3

Another time jump happens and we skip three years. The Steptones’ conflict intensified and Lord Corlys and Prince Daemon battle Craghas Drahar and his pirates without the support of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, King Viserys plans a great hunt to celebrate Queen Alicent’s pregnancy and Aegon’s birthday. Viserys introduces Rhaenyra to Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall) and the Lord Lannister wastes no time, proposing to Rhaenyra, eager to build House Lannister’s status and securing a good relation with the house Targaryan. Rhaenyra refuses Jason’s proposal and runs away as soon as she realizes her father has been planning to set her and Jason Lannister up. She had been feeling down and hopeless about her little brother’s existence and what it could mean in terms of succession. Any time the topic is brought up, Viserys reassures his first born that her position as his heir is secure regardless of how many little brothers she has. 

Episode 4 

The episode starts with Rhaenyra “interviewing” potential suitors and rejecting all of them. She returns to King’s Landing just as Prince Daemon arrives with the Stepstones on his dragon, Caraxes. After defeating Craghas Drahar, Daemon is elected “King of the Narrow Sea” and he arrives in King’s Landing wearing a crown, which he hands over to his brother Viserys and swears loyalty to King Viserys, who welcomes his brother with an embrace and celebrations commence. There is a bit of a party going on and the brothers are having fun, sharing jokes and being all brotherly since and probably more than episode 1. Going from childhood best friends to stepmother and stepdaughter, ​​the awkwardness between Rhaenyra and Alicent is tangible at the celebration. That night, Rhaenyra is given a tattered disguise and a sketch that reveals a secret passageway in her bedroom wall.

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Rhaenyra follows the passageway all the way beyond the castle walls, where she finds Daemon. They board on a mischievous excursion and there is no going back. Daemon takes her to a pleasure house and there the uncle and niece share a passionate incestuous kiss (very Cersei and Jaime Lannister coded of them). Daemon pulls away from the kiss and leaves Rhaenyra wanting more. Rhaenyra goes back to the castle sexually frustrated. Daemon started a fire in her that she had never experienced or discovered before.

She needed someone to put that fire down and at her bed chambers door was Ser Criston. Even though he made an oath of chastity when he joined the King’s Guard, Ser Criston eventually gives in to Rhaenyra’s seduction and they spend the night together. The next morning, Otto receives word of Rhaenyra and Daemon’s exploits and goes straight to tell the difficult news to Viserys, who accuses Otto of plotting against Rhaenyra for his own personal gain. Alicent overhears the entire conversation and confronts Rhaenyra, who denies everything. Consumed with anger, Viserys reviles Daemon for taking advantage of his daughter and compromising her. Daemon suggests he marry Rhaenyra, a proposal Viserys reprehends immediately. The king then sends Daemon away. Alicent defends Rhaenyra to Viserys but it is not enough to convince him that his daughter is innocent. Knowing that Rhaenyra’s reputation has been compromised, Viserys makes the decision that she will marry Corlys’ son Laenor Velaryon. Viserys shows Rhaenyra a dagger inscribed with a Targaryen prophecy. Otto orchestrates a scheme to make Alicent queen and place the Hightowers closer to the throne, by guaranteeing Aegon as the true heir. Viserys recognizes Otto’s intentions and fires him. Then, Rhaenyra is given a particular tea by the grand maester, the times’ Plan B equivalent. 

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Episode 5

Daemon returns to Runestone to kill his wife, Lady Rhea Royce. Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Alicent is blamed by her father Otto Hightower for his dismissal as Hand of the King. Alicent is told about the tea the grand maester gave Rhaenyra by Lord Larys Strong. Viserys and his new Hand Lord Lionel Strong go to Driftmark and order a marriage between Rhaenyra and Sir Laenor, to appease Lord Corlys. Corlys and Rhaenys seem amenable to this idea but Corlys has conditions: Rhaenyra’s children would keep the surname Velaryon. Viserys agrees but adds to his own conditions Laenor and Rhaenyra’s children will bear the name Velaryon until one of them is to become the new sovereign and then they would rule as a Targaryen. Laenor and Rhaenyra stroll along the coast and Rhaenyra finds out about Laenor’s sexuality and proposes that they keep up appearances. Ser Joffrey Lonmout is Laenor’s lover and he seems to like the idea of Laenor and Rhaenyra marrying for duty and to produce heirs, each free to pursue their own interests and love who they want. Rhaenyra’s lover, Ser Criston, is not so pleased with the idea as he does not agree with the future queen’s proposition. When they are back in King’s Landing, Alicent summons Ser Criston to her chambers to interrogate him and find out more information about her ex best friend/ stepdaughter’s virginity.

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Ser Criston understands that Alicent wants to know about his breach of oath and confesses to his crimes, which directly incriminates Rhaenyra. Laenor and Rhaenyra’s rehearsal dinner arrives and the bride and groom look very happy and pleased with their practical match. Daemon acts completely unserious, even after being essentially accused of murdering his wife when he stands to inherit Runestone after her death. Alicent is nowhere to be found, until Viserys is giving his speech. Everyone’s attention turns to her as she walks across the room to sit by her husband. She announces where her loyalty lies as she wears a beautiful green dress, which is the official Hightower color.

Daemon continues to be reckless and unserious when he decides to dance and flirt with his niece at her rehearsal dinner. Ser Joffrey notices Ser Criston pine over Rhaenyra from across the room and comes over to talk to him about them being Laenor and Rhaenyra’s paramours. Ser Criston does not like where the conversation was heading. Daemon and Rhaenyra continue to flirt and as Daemon is about to kiss her in front of everyone, a fight breaks out. It’s Ser Criston and he is stabbing Ser Joffrey to death. Laenor and Rhaenyra marry that same night in an intimate wedding ceremony. As Ser Criston is about to end his own agony by ending his life, Alicent shows him mercy. The start of an alliance. 

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Episode 6

We start the episodes ten years in the future with Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) giving birth and Alicent (Olivia Cooke) commanding to see the baby before Rhaenyra even had a chance to have a moment with him. Both Alicent and Rhaenyra are now mothers of three children. The bad blood between the current queen and the queen to be is palpable. Laenor joins Rhaenyra on the way to Alicent’s chambers and Ser Criston greets the couple on their way into the queen’s chambers. It becomes clear when we see Rhaenyra’s older sons that Alicent’s intent to see the baby as soon as he had been born was to see what his skin and hair color would look like. Alicent’s not shocked to see that, like Jacaerys and Lucerys, the child bears no resemblance to his father. The queen consort asks what the baby’s name is and Laenor has no hesitation in naming his newborn baby his late lover’s name “Joffrey”. As soon as we see Rhaenyra’s guard Ser Harwin Strong and her children in the same room, it is evident that the kids are Ser Harwin Strong.

Alicent brings the issue to Viserys, who dismisses her accusations against his future heir. We then go to Pentos where Prince Reggio hosts Daemon and his very pregnant wife Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell). They have two daughters and another on the way. Even though Daemon wants to make their stay in Pentos permanent, Laena wants to return to Driftmark to raise her children. Speaking of children, Rhaenyra and Alicent’s sons are back in King’s Landing being trained by Ser Criston. Ser Harwin Strong calls Ser Criston out for playing favorites with Alicent’s kids. Out of spite, Ser Criston lets the eldest boys (Aegon and Jacaerys) spar each other. Ser Harwin Strong calls Ser Criston out for teaching cruelty. Ser Criston teases Ser Harwin Strong for being Jacaerys and Lucerys’ biological father. Ser Harwin Strong gets angry with the accusation and starts a fight with Ser Criston.

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The hand of the king and father of Ser Harwin scolds him for taking part in the fight with Ser Criston. When Laenor tells Rhaenyra he wants to leave King’s Landing and that he wishes to go to the Stepstones, Rhaenyra tells him he must stay and support his family, especially in the midst of so many rumors about their sons are spreading. Rhaenyra and Alicent have a disagreement of sorts during a council meeting. Rhaenyra tries to make peace with Alicent with no success. In fact, resulting in a plot against her children’s supposed biological father: Ser Harwin Strong. Lord Lyonel Strong comes to Viserys to tell him that he  wants to resign as Hand of the King as very shameful rumors surround his son Harwin circulate around the palace. Viserys does not allow Lord Strong to step down, but he gives him his permission to escort Harwin back to Harrenhal. Ser Harwin has to unfortunately leave Rhaenyra and their kids behind to go back to Harrenhal. In a private dinner at Lord Larys’ chambers, Alicent and he plan a way to get Otto back as Hand of the King. Leana is back in Pentos giving birth.

As Leana understands that a natural vaginal birth will not happen, she loses all hope and resorts to her dragon to put her and the baby out of their misery. “Dracarys”, she begs and she orders again and again until Vhagar obeys. Daemon gets to Leana just as she is getting mercifully killed by her dragon. Jacaerys asks his mother if she is a bastard and Rhaenyra doesn’t deny it, instead she says “You are a Targaryen. That’s what matters.” Without her main protector by her side and with all the rumors that could target her kids going forward, Rhaenyra decides to leave King’s Landing. She announces her decision to leave for Dragonstone to Laenor and tells him to bring his current paramour. Alicent and Lord Lary’s mischievous plan of hiring prisoners to set fire to the castle, killing Harwin and Lyonel. Alicent is completely shaken to find out that Harwin and Lyonel were killed. The Little Finger of the show is revealed to be Lord Larys. 

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Episode 7 

Everyone gathers at Driftmark for Leana’s funeral. Rhaenys and Corlys, who are grieving the death of their daughter, have a moment after the funeral. Rhaenys blames Daemon for Leana’s death, while Corlys says Daemon knew what was best for the family. Rhaenys wants Driftmark to pass through Laena’s line to Baela, not Laenor. She appeals this to her husband, bringing up that Rhaenyra’s sons are not Laenor’s. Corlys tells his wife that blood is essentially not as important as a last name. Rhaenyra meets her uncle at the beach Daemon and reveals that she was unable to fulfill her duty with her husband Leanor, revealing her husband’s sexuality. What started out as a friendly stroll between uncle and niece turned into a romantic stroll at the beach, which ended with them having incestual sex (something we all knew was inevitable). The dragon Vhagar is without a rider and, making it a free game for young Aemond is able to tame it. This causes Aemond to start a conflict with his cousins ​​Rhaena and Beala, as well as his nephews Lucerys and Jacaerys, who insert themselves in the situation by defending their cousins. In the fight, Aemond loses an eye as a result of calling Rhaenyra’s boys ‘bastards’.

The accident among the children brings the whole family together and Alicent loses control in front of everyone. Upon finding out about the conflict, Alicent wants justice for her boy, calling ‘an eye for an eye’. Viserys refuses to punish his grandchildren like that but his queen will not listen. She reaches for a blade and rushes towards her step grandchildren. Rhaenyra throws herself in front of her sons and now the two ex best friends face each other. Words are exchanged and Alicent loses her temper and ends up slices Rhaenyra’s wrist. Rhaenyra and Daemon decide to marry, but that would require Rhaenyra to be a widow. Daemon comes up with a plan and we see him hiring people to fulfill the requirement. We witness Laenor’s death and moments later Daemon and Rhaenyra unite against Viserys’ wishes to keep the family line pure. It isn’t until the very end of the episode that Laenor is not dead and that his fake death was carefully planned by Daemon and Laenor’s lover.

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Episode 8

Six years have passed since the events at Driftmark. Lord Corlys ends up seriously injured in the battles of Stepstones. Princess Rhaenys receives news that the odds for her husband’s survival are uncertain. Because of Lord Corlys’ state, Driftmark’s succession is questioned by Corlys’ brother, Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), and the legitimacy of Rhaenyra’s children is challenged. Vaemond is set on sailing to King’s Landing to make his case. Daemon is in Dragonstone and his daughter Baela, who’s been staying with her grandmother in Driftmark, sends a message warning him that Vaemond is to ride to King’s Landing to discuss some matters of succession with the king. Rhaenyra and Daemon go to King’s Landing to seek Viserys’ support to deal with the matter, but the king’s health is very weak. In his absence, Queen Alicent and the Hand of the King are firmly in charge. Rhaenyra finds her father to be deathly ill and bedridden. Daemon mentions the petition for the Driftwood Throne. Viserys doesn’t even recognize Rhaenyra, but she introduces her and Daemon’s children, Aegon III and Viserys II. Viserys is touched by his grandchild being named after him. A servant girl comes forward to queen Alicent about her son, Aegon II, and that he sexually assaulted her. The queen believes the girl and even offers an embrace.

She reassures the girl it was not her fault and gives her the ‘Plan B’ tea. Alicent scolds her abuser son for his absolutely disgusting behavior. Aemon tries to convince his mother that the claims are unfounded, but Alicent knows her son too well to be fooled by his words. “You are no son of mine” (QUOTE), Alicent tells her wicked son. We finally see Helaena, Aegon’s sister and wife, with her and Aegon’s children. The uncle and niece couple is coldly welcomed by Alicent. Luke and Jace find their uncle sparring with Ser Criston. Aemond notices their presence and with a very pirate-like eye patch he asks if his nephews had come to train with him. Aemond’s fighting skills have improved greatly since the last time we saw him. Corlys’ meddlesome brother brings the legitimacy of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s sons to Alicent and Otto, who become very interested in the topic raised. Rhaenyra seeks out Rhaenys to make a proposal: If Rhaenys supports Luke as heir of Driftmark, both Luke and Jace will be betrothed to Laena’s children. Rhaenys doesn’t accept the offer but she doesn’t completely dismiss it.

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The next scene is so essential and so emotional. After having tried just about everything, Rhaenyra comes to her father the king to ask about his decision to name her his heir. She is even questioning if it was the best idea. She begs Viserys to defend her and her children if he really wishes her to bear the crown when he is gone. Otto sits at the Iron Throne as Vaemond makes his case to inherit the seat of Driftmark. Before Rhaenyra gets the chance to defend her family from Vaemond’s accusations, king Viserys walks in and takes the Iron Throne.  He gathers the strength to show up for his daughter and his family. As he is walking the steps to the throne itself, he drops his crown and is having a hard time climbing each step. In such a beautiful moment, Daemon picks up the crown, helps his brother up the steps and puts the crown on Viserys.

After seeing the king showing up for Rhaenyra, Rhaenys makes up her mind and voices her support for Luke as heir and confirms that Laena’s daughters will marry Rhaenyra’s sons. Vaemond is not at all pleased with the decision made. In fact, he proceeds to call Luke and Jace bastards and Rhaenyra a ‘whore’. That was enough for Daemon to behead Vaemond, sparing his tongue. No one talks about Daemon’s nice/ wife like that. Viserys has one last family dinner. He is so happy to see his family come together at last. The kids are still butting heads with each other, but Rhaenyra and Alicent seem to be finally understanding each other. Their friendship might be a possibility again. Before a fight breaks out between the uncles and nephews, Rhaenyra decides to take her kids back to Dragonstone. Alicent laments that Rhaenyra has to go so soon, but the stepdaughter promises to return in dragonback. Viserys is in deep pain in bed while Alicent tends to him. He mistakes her for Rhaenyra and answers her question from before. This makes Alicent believe Viserys wants Aegon to take the throne instead of Rhaenyra.

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Episode 9

The episode starts and Alicent and the Hand of the King find out about the king’s death. In order that the news of Viserys’ death does not spread, Otto and Alicent take measures to contain the servants within the fortress while they host the Small Council. Alicent quickly finds out that a plan to put prince Aegon in the throne has been being made for a while now. Without her knowing about it. Otto and Alicent encounter reluctance from some members of the court regarding Aagon’s succession to the throne. Even Ser Criston accidentally kills a member that went against the greens.  The future king has heard about the king’s death and that he is to inherit the throne, so he disappears. Otto asks Ser Arryk Cargyll to look for him around the city. Alicent also sends Ser Criston and Prince Aemond to look for Aagon. Rhaenys is kept hostage in the castle, as team green strategizes their moves. Alicent pleads with Rhaenys to join her side.

Rhaenys denies her plea and gives something for Alicent to think about when she calls Alicent out “You are wiser than I believed you to be, and yet you toil still in service to men. You desire not to be free but to make a window in the wall of your prison” (J. Condal & Martin, House of the Dragon 2022). Otto shows interest in taking Princess Rhaenyra’s life, and that she simply cannot live. Alicent will absolutely not allow that to happen. She states that her late husband and king would never want his own daughter to be killed. Alicent goes to Lord Larys for more information on how her father knows so much. But Larys will not give her that information for free. Alicent removes her stockings, without thinking twice. This is not the first time this has happened. Lord Larys is pleased with what he sees and reaches for his own private parts. Alicent doesn’t even react. She shows off her feet and looks away as Larys pleasures himself. As the greens are holding the coronation ceremony to coronate Aegon as king, Rhaenys saves the day,  taking over the attention by breaking out of prison on her dragon. The commoners are terrified and run from the church. Rhaenys scares the greens for, teasing about the possibility of her dragon burning them alive. They seem frightened but the Queen that never was has shown mercy.  

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Episode 10

The episode starts with Lucerys feeling like an imposter and unprepared to take on the Driftwood throne and become Lord of the Tides. Rhaenyra comforts her son and tells him that she had gone through the imposter syndrome when she was declared heir to the Iron Throne, but time helped her understand and accept that was her destiny and her duty. Upon arriving at Dragonstone, Rhaenys informs Rhaenyra of the death of King Viserys and the coronation of Aegon II. Shaken and overwhelmed by grief, Rhaenyra starts feeling contractions. She unfortunately gives birth to a stillborn child, while Daemon prepares for war against the Greens. He takes the stepsons Jace and Luke with him to test the loyalty of the knights of the Kingsguard. Daemon makes them choose between pledging loyalty to the rightful heir Rhaenyra and live, or siding with Aegon II and die by dragonfire. The Targaryens hold a funeral on the cliffs of Dragonstone to their stillborn child and in honor of the late king, as Ser Erryk Cargyll arrives from King’s Landing. Sir Erryk swears loyalty to Rhaenyra and she is crowned queen with her father’s crown. Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen joins the men at the Painted Table and the council goes over her standing.

A ship with a three-headed green dragon flag is spotted arriving at Dragonstone. Otto has a peace offering: accept and acknowledge Aegon II as king and Rhaenyra can keep Dragonstone and her sons will inherit it. Rhaenyra would prefer to defend and unify the realm instead of fight, just like her father would have acted and approached the situation. Daemon still wants to fight. Rhaenyra brings up the secret Viserys had told her and Daemon gets angry that Viserys told his niece and not him and he chokes Rheanyra. Lord Corlys is back and he swears fealty to Queen Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra sends her children to take messages to the lords of Westeros. ​​The boys and grandmother Rhaenys fly off on their respective missions while Daemon takes a trip into the dragon den to summon Vermithor. But an unexpected meeting between uncle and nephews could be the trigger for family conflict. Aemond is sent by team green just like Luke and Jace were sent by team black. The rivalry between Aemond and Rhaenyra’s sons ends fatally. Rhaenyra is told by Daemon that her son Lucerys death and we clearly see the change in her. She means war now. 


Cast: Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Rhys Ifans, Eve Best, Steve Toussaint, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey

Cinematography: Alejandro Martínez, Catherine Goldschmidt, Pepe Avila del Pino, Fabian Wagner | Editor: Tim Porter, Crispin Green, Chris Hunter, Selina Macarthur

Director: Clare Kilner, Geeta Vasant Patel, Miguel Sapochnik, Greg Yaitanes | Writer: Ryan J. Condal, George R.R. Martin, Charmaine DeGrate, Sara Hess, Gabe Fonseca, Kevin Lau, Ira Parker, Eileen Shim | Producers: Ryan J. Condal, Toby Ford, Vince Gerardis, Sara Hess, George R.R. Martin, Charmaine DeGrate, Jocelyn Diaz, Pam Fitzgerald, Gabe Fonseca, Hannah Godwin, David Hancock, Kevin Lau, Íde O’Rourke, Megan Ott, Ira Parker, Tim Porter, Alexis Raben, Miguel Sapochnik, Ron Schmidt, Richard Sharkey, Eileen Shim, Karen Wacker, Peter Welter Soler, Greg Yaitanes, Sofia Noronha, Shiba Akhtar, Rebatikant Chand, Sean Hill, Angus More Gordon, Louise Stewart, Dan Storey


By Julia Maia 

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