‘House of the Dragon’ season finale evaluate: ‘The Black Queen’ soars into the battle to return

Editor’s Be aware: This story comprises spoilers concerning the “House of the Dragon” season finale.


The two big fantasy collection that premiered inside weeks of one another shared huge scope and scale. By way of pacing, although, “House of the Dragon” moved at leaps and bounds – typically actually in its multi-year time jumps – whereas “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” loped alongside at a relative crawl.

The “Dragon” season finale that premiered October 23, subtitled “The Black Queen,” in a way introduced this primary season – at occasions uneven, however at all times fascinating – full circle. Having been informed by her mom earlier than she died in childbirth within the premiere that having kids was the battlefield of queens, Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) endured one other grotesque supply of a stillborn little one, amid preparations and planning for the battle to return.

Nonetheless, if Rhaenyra’s husband and uncle (that is the incest-laden world of “Game of Thrones,” in spite of everything), Daemon (Matt Smith), was able to unleash hell upon the newly topped King Aegon and his minions – saying, “Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did” – Rhaenyra at first appeared to wish to pursue a extra cautious strategy.

“I do not wish to rule over a kingdom of ash and bone,” she informed him and her advisers.

Diplomacy, nevertheless, required reaching out to the opposite kingdoms, with Rhaenyra dispatching her sons as messengers by way of dragon in looking for to rally help to her trigger. That led to the much-anticipated climax, with an illustration of aerial dragon fight (at one level, it appeared a bit of just like the Millennium Falcon in motion) and the brutal loss of life of Rhaenyra’s son.

The princess-who-would-be-queen’s closing look of hatred and resolve cemented the concept that the second season can be dedicated to battle between the rival factions, a battle prone to be dominated by Daemon’s take-no-prisoners perspective.

After a considerably sluggish begin, “House of the Dragon” picked up steam over the course of the season, spanning a whole era with its jumps ahead, which proved a trifle disorienting on the time. The web impact, although, was compelling and supplied sufficient huge, attention-getting moments to make the present each a scores success and an everyday trending subject, attaining a spot within the cultural zeitgeist that “The Rings of Power” seldom appeared to achieve on Amazon Prime.

A part of that may stem from the fairness constructed up by each “Game of Thrones” – all that grousing about its ending however – and HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.

The time jumps did serve one other goal by establishing extra characters, an space the place the collection felt initially poor. That features Ewan Mitchell because the eye-patch-wearing Aemond Targaryen, whose nasty streak performed a pivotal position within the finale, whereas demonstrating that flying dragons and actually taming them aren’t essentially one in the identical.

Though it wasn’t a direct competitors between “Dragon” and “Rings,” the parallels between them and the timing of their launch made comparisons just about inevitable. As well as, the primary seasons each primarily served as lengthy prologues for the epic battles that lie forward.

Neither was excellent, however the closing few episodes of “House of the Dragon” bolstered the gap between them and did a advantageous job of whetting the viewers’s urge for food for what comes subsequent.

Throughout the present, the sport of thrones will proceed. However primarily based on its opening salvo, rating “House of the Dragon” as a victory for the outdated guard.