As you’re probably aware by now, House of the Dragon is a prequel. The game of Thrones spinoff, based on George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood, takes place nearly 200 years before the events of the original HBO series. Unlike the original series, which ran out of material to adapt by the end of its fifth season, key details from the Targaryen dynasty already have been published in Martin’s fictional history. If you want to know how the story ends, you could easily Google it — or, you know, read a book.
But since some of The Ringer‘s staff have yet to read any of Martin’s novels, we decided to create this weekly precap for those of you who remain blissfully unaware of what’s about to happen next. This is a dialogue for the viewers treating House of the Dragon like a good ol ‘mystery box that twists and turns from week to week. Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s prompt:
The burning question heading into Episode 10: What’s one prediction you have for the House of the Dragon the final?
Jonathan Bartlett: What a journey! Going into House of the Dragon, I was hopeful but skeptical. Can we really have another Thrones show that lives up to the expectations set by its predecessor? Well, the answer is yes. It had its bumps in the road, but overall, Season 1 has been a thrill and I’m so sad to see it end. With that said, we still need to go out with a bang. I’ve read the clues and looked closely at the chess board, and thus my one prediction for the finale is… death. But who? Queen Alicent herself? No, maybe it’s Otto? Agh, maybe Aegon, short-lived be his reign of him? The truth is I can’t read the clues and I have no idea, but I’m hopeful for an out-of-nowhere, gasp-inducing demise that sets in motion a serious cliffhanger for when we return to HotD for Season 2. I need all the offseason speculation I can get. Or maybe I’ll just go read the book.
Arjuna Ramgopal: We’re going to see some dragon-on-dragon fighting! It’s got to happen. This whole season has been setting the stage for a huge battle / war / conflict between Rhaenyra and her people di lei vs. Alicent and her people about her. Clearly, Season 2 will be all-out war, but House of the Dragon is going to give us a little teaser, a little taste of what is to come. The conflict between all the kids has been bubbling up a ton over the back half of the season. It’s got to have some payoff this season. I want to see Aegon or Aemond duking it out with Jacaerys or Lucerys on their dragons. I want to see Criston and Daemon come to blows on the battlefield. I want to see Rhaenyra look Alicent in the eye as she unleashes fire on all of the greens. It would be wild for all of those things to happen in one finale, but give me a dragon fight! Dragon is in the name, after all. HBO and House of the Dragon have teased us all season with the coming war — we need to see a little bit of it to really get us all excited for Season 2. We must!
Katie Baker: Someone unexpected has to backstab someone else, right? The question is who will find their trust misplaced, and I think it will be Alicent. We’ve already seen the creepy way Larys looked at her from across the party that one time. Now that Alicent is a little more single, it’s not hard to imagine Larys the lurker finding her in flagrante delicto with, like, Criston Cole and pivoting on his, ah, heel toward more of an “if I can’t have her, no one will ”stance… for a price, of course. (Great, now I’m imagining the state of Rhaenyra’s tootsies, and what I’m imagining ain’t good; she strikes me as a woman with no interest in emollients.) Maybe Larys will provide a key piece of information to Team Black . Maybe he’ll set a distracting fire to provide cover for some dragon escape scheme or another. Or maybe he’ll just keep on creepin ‘on, enjoying some light stalking and the nightly removal of Alicent’s stockings. I’m not sure which outcome is worse.
Megan Schuster: Someone important is going to die.
Yeah yeah, this is a pretty generic one, but it’s also one that I think has to happen for the sake of the first season. Let’s face it: After Rhaenys bailed on burning Alicent and Co. for their treason last week, Laenor got a pass to travel east (despite what the Velaryons think), and Daemon decided not to pursue his claim to the throne at the expense of Rhaenyra , this show has been fairly light on murder (apologies to the Strong family) and actual consequences. Or at least consequences for the people in power. They roam from room to room, castle to claustrophobic castle, talking plenty of shit but failing to take much action.
Now, though, with Aegon stealing the crown, Otto Hightower openly declaring war on Rhaenyra, and Viserys no longer being around to negotiate peace, something is going to change. Something has to change. And that must involve a major character.
That, or Larys will engineer a system of ravens to function as Westeros wikiFeet.
Aric Jenkins: Simple: Aegon’s going to die. And who will be responsible? None other than his one-eyed younger brother, Aemond, of course. I’m half afraid to make this prediction because the show has telegraphed it so clearly, but if the finale continues this season’s trend of (mostly) good writing, then the tease will pay off somehow. After all, House of the Dragon is practically screaming at us to expect this outcome: Aemond would radiate pure evil even if he didn’t wear a badass eye patch. He’s trained in elite sword combat and owns the largest dragon in the world, plus he straight-up says out loud that he would be a better king than Aegon, adding to Ser Criston Cole, “I’m next in line to the throne. Should they come looking for me, I intend to be found. “
Aegon, meanwhile, shows no apparent qualities of being a monarch other than his frequent exploitation of the lower class. I know who I would choose between these two in a fight. And with Aegon’s deficiencies being on full display to everyone except for his mother and grandfather, Aemond might even have support should he depose the new king. If Aemond succeeds, that would set up a much more enticing conflict against Rhaenyra and Daemon, which I would much rather spend my Sunday evenings watching next season. Here’s hoping the House of the Dragon writers come through.
Khal Davenport: My prediction for the House of the Dragon Season 1 finale mirrors my expectation for the entirety of Season 1: dragons and death. With Season 2 looking to be in the midst of a war, it’d make sense that the Season 1 finale would feature either a significant death or a dragon-infused moment that will change the course of what’s gone on throughout the previous nine episodes. I’d love to see the bubbling family battle turn into a fiery field of dragon destruction. Ultimately, I’d expect an important character to find their end — or maybe several? House of the Dragon is a game of Thrones prequel; all bets can be off when it is season finale time.
One thing I don’t want? Darkness. If HBO (and the HBO Max servers) could promise one thing, I hope it’s that the feed won’t die Sunday night, and that I will actually be able to if it’s everything going on.