‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1 Finale’s Big Fall Causes the Black Queen to Rise

Matt Fowler
TV Fantasy
TV Fantasy HBO

Warning: SPOILERS for the House of the Dragon’s Season 1 Finale, “The Black Queen,” follow…

As House of the Dragon wrapped up its first season finale – with 9.3 million viewers Sunday night across all of HBO’s platforms, making it the most-watched HBO finale since the Game of Thrones series finale back in 2019 – war found itself on the doorstep of Rhaenyra Targaryen. As the penultimate episode, “The Green Council,” focused on Queen Alicent and the coup to quickly place her son Aegon on the Iron Throne, “The Black Queen” was all about the Targaryens on Dragonstone and their various reactions to the news that their lives were all now in danger.

This bit of intrigue, as well as the massive disaster that unspooled at the end of the episode, helped the Game of Thrones Wiki spike 214% day-over-day, which was the highest spike of the season.

The Other Queen
Who Also Never Was

Holding fans interest like no other character was Rhaenyra herself, who not only was the top searched page for this episode, but also the entire season, as we tracked her (via multiple time jumps) from being named heir to the Iron Throne as a child to her being a mother now, numerous times over, with children the realm believes to be illegitimate successors. “The Black Queen” opened with Rhaenya giving birth prematurely, to a stillborn daughter, and then ended with her getting the grave news about her son Lucerys.

With two children missing over the course of one episode, Rhaenyra’s face had violent retribution written all over it, leading us out of the season and leading her to the top spot in the Top 10…

  1. Rhaenyra Targaryen
  2. Lucerys Velaryon
  3. Aemond Targaryen
  4. Daemon Targaryen
  5. Viserys I Targaryen
  6. Aerys II Targaryen 
  7. Vhagar
  8. Aegon II Targaryen
  9. House of the Dragon (Series)
  10. Jacaerys Velaryon

With Rhaenyra now showing signs of textbook Targaryen rage, it’s easy to visualize she’ll continue her winning pageview ways all through Season 2 as well. She’d left King’s Landing to flee an “oncoming storm,” but now she looks ready to fly right into the center of it.

The Lost Boy

Of course, it’s no surprise at all that Lucerys would be number two (followed by Aemond at three) since it was his unfortunate, er, accident (is it really an accident if you sic the largest dragon in all of existence on someone during a massive lightning storm?) gave the finale its big action-filled calamity. Aemond pursued Lucerys, who was riding on his own (much smaller) dragon Arrax, as he left Storm’s End, on the mammoth Vhagar and the chase was so intense that both the dragons went into business for themselves, ignoring their raiders’ commands.

Vhagar chomped down on Arrax and that was all she wrote for poor Lucerys, who had been tasked with visiting Lord Borros Baratheon because it seemed like the easiest (and closest) of Dragonstone’s priorities. But Lucerys’ mission ended in a big fatality (another blow struck unintentionally during decades of catastrophic misunderstandings) and now there’s no going back.

Vhagar, in all her gigantic glory, was also in the Top 10, at number seven, as readers wanted to know all about the biggest dragon now that we’d all watched her pass from being the war-steed of Laena Velayron to the tormenting sky bully ridden by Prince Aemond.

Not cracking the Top 10 however, despite making his first appearance on the show, was the dragon Vermithor, who Daemon went seeking, and singing to, near the end. It’s possible though that it’s because viewers weren’t exactly sure which dragon that was, as HBO only confirmed it was Vermithor, who dates back to the reign of Jaehaerys Targaryen, the day after.

The Classics Never Go Out of Style

As mentioned, Rhaenyra was the top searched GoT Wiki page all season. And though other House of the Dragon characters – like King Viserys, Daemon, and Laenor Velaryon – were also in the Top 10, so were Game of ThronesJon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Consistently enough that by the end of the season Jon was the sixth most popular page on the wiki and Dany was seventh.

So it’s clear that readers sowever hold a fire (or torches) for these two and that all the talk about Aegon’s Dream, and the “Prince Who Was Promised,” fueled further ferver for that nephew-aunt pairing. Though, it should be said that Game of Thrones as a series never gave us a full answer about who the reincarnation of Azor Ahai wound up being – if it was Jon, Dany, or Arya Stark. All we know for sure is that it wasn’t Stannis Baratheon.

Matt Fowler