With the confirmation of the titles of each episode, we have tips on how they will lead the narrative of the first season. Attention to Spoilers!
E1 – The Heirs of the Dragon
As we have seen, we understand how a series of misguided and prejudiced decisions collaborated to sow a field of discord and manipulators. The accession of Viserys I to the Throne, in place of his uncle and his daughter (Rhaenys), as well as Viserys’ own father, created an opportunity for a group to alter the order of succession, hitherto determined by birth order. Jaeherys was the one who refused to put a woman on the throne, creating the same trap we see Viserys’nemesis setting up for the King to fall into later on.
The “new” king, Viserys, was obsessed with having a male heir and it cost his beloved wife Aemma, her life. He only recognized his only daughter, Rhaenyra, as his successor after being pressured by the ambitious Otto Hightower, who had two plans afoot: 1) ensure that Prince Daemon Targaryen was never King, and 2) buy time to have a male successor instead of the Princess.
Rhaenyra, however, like her father, did not realize the reality. Furthermore, she discovers that all Targaryen heirs share a secret about The Great War, an uncertain future in which Westeros could be taken over by the Dead.
E2 – The Rogue Prince
While the episode refers to Daemon, it’s also more than that. Six months later, the rogue prince refuses to accept his niece as the true successor and creates conflict within the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys, always insecure and conciliatory, put off unpleasant decisions that could lead to combat.
Rhaenyra is seeing herself as the successor on paper, but in practice, her role remains irrelevant in power decisions. Instead of being close to her, comforting and teaching, Viserys is far away, grieving over Aemma’s death, but with the constant, unobtrusive Alicent Hightower by his side. Alicent is obeying her father Otto Hightower‘s command to give Viserys “comfort”.
Having occupied Dragonstone (the successor’s house), Daemon also steals a dragon egg for his future child, making it clear that Rhaenyra’s choice as queen is fragile and can be questioned. Otto once again provokes Viserys into having a more radical attitude towards his brother, but it is the princess who solves everything. By surprise, she appears in Dragonstone at the moment when a violent conflict between the men will start, and has a tough conversation with her uncle, who backs off because he genuinely likes her. Who disapproves of proof that she is ready to rule? Otto, who twice now realized he has no control over her and dislikes her attitude.
The result of Rhaenyra’s actions is exactly as Rhaenys warns her, the men begin to take action to take from her the crown that hasn’t even been placed on her head yet. The way is to force the widowed king to remarry and produce male heirs.
Rhaenys and Corlys suggest 12-year-old little princess Laena Velaryon for the role. Everyone knows that marriage can only be consummated in a few years, but politically it is the right way. However, Otto was already way ahead of the Council. He commands Alicent to take her friendship with Viserys further, and the king surprises everyone by announcing that he will play his part by remarrying, but with Alicent Hightower. Rhaenyra and the Velaryons react openly disgusted by the decision, uniting them with the disgruntled Daemon.
E3 – Second of His Name
As we saw in the trailer, we will have one more passage of time and the title of the episode is about the birth of Rhaenyra’s half-brother, Aegon II. Now that there is a male heir to the current King, obviously, Otto wants Viserys to reflect and change the order of succession to the usual one, the one that keeps the men in priority to the Iron Throne.
Daemon and Corlys unite to fight a threat to Westeros and Rhaenyra must survive a prejudiced Court where she has no allies or friends. She too will be forced to choose a husband.
E4 – King of the Narrow Sea
Here is the title that Daemon Targaryen receives after winning the battle of the Stepstones. It’s also when the two brothers reconcile (saw that in the original trailer for the series) and also the episode that should mark Rhaenyra’s marriage to Laenor Velaryon. All that have been suggested on the trailer.
E5 – We Light the Way
It is still unclear what goes into this episode, and whether it already marks another passage of time, in which we will see Alicent and Rhaenrya in the adult version. I suspect not yet, but it shows the family conflicts between uncles and nephews (Alicent and Rhaenyra’s children hate each other), further causing the split between the two former friends.
E6 – The Princess and the Queen
Quite a dubious title as it is about Rhaenyra as well as herself (Princess still) and Alicent (Consort Queen). Undoubtedly here we will already be with Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke taking on their roles. Viserys still tries to reconcile the two women he loves, but resentments and ambitions tear them apart.
E7 – Driftmark
Driftmark is the home of the Velaryons and it will most likely be a sad episode where Laena and Laenor die, paving the way for Daemon to marry Rhaenyra.
E8 – The Lord of the Tides
The title refers to Corlys Velaryon, but it also shows how currents change the waters of politics. Otto and Alicent want Aegon and Aemond as heirs, but Viserys resists. The episode should end with Viserys’ death, or, his imminent farewell.
E9 – The Green Council
With Viserys dead, Alicent takes the lead in the coup d’état. She withholds information about Viserys for a week, a period during which, with the support of Ser Criston Cole, she “presses” the Court to support the coronation of Aegon II. A violent and electrifying episode, I’m sure.
E10 – The Black Queen
As the name suggests, it’s about Rhaenyra. Isolated in Dragonstone, the princess has a series of bad news, which culminates in her daughter’s miscarriage and her revolt. Rhaenyra learns that her father has died, that her brother has been crowned instead of her, and that her other half-brother (Aemond) has killed her firstborn, Lucaerys. Season one ends with Rhaenyra’s allies crowning her in Dragonstone as the true Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The Targaryens are at war and nothing will ever be the same.
Anxious? I am.
Episode 10 is set to air on October 23. Too close for me! I want more House of the Dragon!