This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon.
After “The Green Council” saw the Hightowers usurp the Iron Throne by crowning Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) as king, House of the Dragon fans have been eagerly awaiting the season finale. Between the episode’s focus on the Hightowers’ plot at King’s Landing and the climactic ending that saw Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) bursting through the floor of the Dragonpit on her dragon Meleys before riding off to warn the true heir Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), it has been a long seven days waiting to see how Rhaenyra reacts to the news that her birthright has been stolen.
The season finale “The Black Queen” begins with a sweet moment between Rhaenyra and her son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) where she reassures him that she’ll be there to help guide him as he steps into his duties as the future Lord of Driftmark. Rhaenys then arrives at Dragonstone to tell Rhaenyra of her father’s death and the Hightowers’ plan. Upon hearing the news, Rhaenrya begins to have contractions and goes into early labor. In the third traumatic birth scene of the season, Rhaenyra’s child is stillborn.
As they lay the child to rest, Ser Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor) arrives to pledge his fealty to Rhaenyra and offers her her father’s crown. Daemon (Matt Smith), who up until this point has been preparing for war against Rhaenrya’s wishes, crowns her Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. In her first small council meeting, Rhaenrya tries to determine who her allies are while Daemon urges her to use their dragons to take back the throne.
Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) then arrives at Dragonstone to bring Rhaenrya their terms on the behest of Alicent (Olivia Cooke). Otto presents her terms along with the book page Rhaenyra gave her in their youth, stating that she will maintain control of Dragonstone and her children will receive high positions in the king’s court. Daemon is offended by this and wants Otto’s head (no surprise there), but once again Rhaenrya convinces him to stand down.
Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) awakens alive and well and pledges his fealty to Rhaenrya, impressed by her restraint in not plunging the realm straight into war. He offers his ships and the step stones to form a blockade of the narrow sea and cut off King’s Landing. Before taking the first step toward reclaiming her throne, Rhaenrya wants to be sure who her allies are. Her sons Jacaerys (Harry Collett) and Lucerys offer to visit the houses Arryn, Stark, and Baratheon as messengers on dragonback to see where they stand.
We follow the young Lucerys to Storm’s End, the seat of House Baratheon, where he runs into Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) and Vhagar. Even after Lord Borros Baratheon (Roger Evans) dismisses Rhaenrya’s message and sends Lucerys on his way, Aemond, being the petty boy he is, refuses to let him leave without taking his eye as revenge. Lucerys manages to escape Storm’s End, but Aemond follows behind him on Vhagar. Lucerys’ dragon unfortunately decides to spit a little fire at Vhagar, who takes that as a personal attack. Vhagar, the massive dragon that he is, kills Lucerys and Arrax in one fatal bite – despite Aemond’s best efforts to stop him.
Meanwhile, Daemon has been singing in High Valyrian to an old dragon as part of his plan to get as many dragons as possible under their control. While he’s with the dragon, it’s as though he senses what has happened to Lucerys. He goes to tell Rhaenrya what has happened, and her face says it all – the Dance of the Dragons has begun.
With such a devastating ending, it’s no surprise that fans have had thoughts about this episode. Here’s what fans on twitter have to say about the finale: