Now it’s war.
“House of the Dragon” Season 1 has ended. The first season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel took us through the lives of Rhaenyra Targaryen (played by Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (played by Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke) as they went from being friends to stepmother and stepdaughter, aged into different actors, had kids, and ultimately turned into bitter enemies and got into the conflict known as “the Dance of the Dragons.”
(That’s the official name for the civil war over whether Rhaenyra or her half-brother Aegon will succeed their father King Viserys on the Iron Throne). The Dance of the Dragons is such a notorious event in Westeros history that characters on “Game of Thrones” reference it 200 years later as some larger-than-life history. We’re about to find out why.
“House of the Dragon” has already been renewed for Season 2. Here’s a preview of what’s ahead. It will have some mild spoilers from George R. R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood,” which the show is based on, but no major spoilers.
What will happen in “House of the Dragon” Season 2?
In the Season 1 finale, Alicent’s son Aemond “One-Eye” Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) killed Rhaenyra’s son Luke (Elliot Grihault). This is the “no turning back” point. Before that, maybe Alicent and Rhaenyra’s sides of this conflict could have reached some kind of accord. But with this one brutal act, Aemond has ruined that possibility. So, if you thought Aemond had villain vibes when we met the aged-up eyepatch-wearing version of the character, you’re right. He and his brother Aegon are the main baddies, going forward.
Rhaenyra’s husband/uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) will seek revenge for Aemond killing Luke in a way that’s shocking. If the show depicts it onscreen, it’s going to be a harrowing scene that ranks up there with any of “GoT’s” most disturbing atrocities. This will spark a cycle of violence, as Rhaenyra and Alicent’s sides both continue to seek revenge for each ensuing death. So, expect Season 2 to have a lot of battles, and expect many characters (both human and dragon alike) dying in increasingly deranged and dramatic ways.
Who will die?
We won’t spoil specifics, but this story is more of a tragedy than “GoT.” For all of its brutality, “Game of Thrones” ended with a considerable number of its main cast still standing, including Jon Snow, Sansa, Arya, and Bran Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Brienne of Tarth.
“House of the Dragon” will make “GoT” look downright tame in comparison, because far fewer of these characters will be left standing.
However, there’s some wiggle room. For instance, in the book “Fire & Blood,” Rhaenyra’s gay husband Laenor simply dies. In “House of the Dragon,” he got a happier fate. He’s presumed dead, but we know that he really went off with his boyfriend. There’s at least one more major character whose body is never found after he dies. So, that leaves the show room to potentially give someone else a similar fate to Laenor.
Regardless, though, a better question than “Who will die” is “Who won’t die.” The number is vanishingly small.
Will Criston Cole continue to be the worst?
Who will win the war?
That’s a spoiler, but suffice it to say, this is not a clean-cut “one side wins and one side loses” situation. It’s basically an “everyone loses” type of story. Nobody is about to have a good time — except maybe Aemond, since he seems jazzed up about violence (and he’s also going to get an intriguing witchy girlfriend).
Will there be more time jumps and distracting actor swaps?
Probably not. This war lasts 2-3 years, and it’s the show’s main plot, so it won’t be skipping past it. Depending on whether the show includes the fallout, there might be another time jump at some point at the end of the war (so that a few more kids can get aged-up). But we’re not getting any other actors playing Rhaenyra, Alicent, Aemond, or Aegon. And Daemon will almost certainly continue looking the same age for 20 years and counting.
How many seasons will “House of the Dragon” have?
HBO has not announced if this show has been renewed beyond Season 2. But in an Oct. 11 blog post, George R. R Martin wrote, “It is going to take four full seasons of 10 episodes each to do justice to the Dance of the Dragons, from start to finish.”
The show has been a ratings hit, so it’s hard to imagine HBO would object to Martin’s 4 season idea.
There’s also a chance that “House of the Dragon” could become an anthology series that features different eras of the Targaryen family, after this story about the Dance of the Dragons is over. Former co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik expressed his enthusiasm for that idea, but that has not been officially announced.
When will Season 2 premiere?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will premiere at an unspecified date in 2024.
This story originally appeared on NY Post