House of the Dragon star cast Emma D’Arcy, claims that Matt Smith made a key suggestion for the season 1 finale scene. The most recent episodes of the Game of Thrones spin-off revealed a few significant fatalities. One of the most important deaths was that of King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine). He passed away in episode 8, sparking the subsequent civil war. Episode 9 of House of the Dragon, which took place entirely in King’s Landing, had Alicent (Olivia Cooke) plotting to displace Rhaenyra (D’Arcy) as the legitimate successor by installing her son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) on the Iron Throne.
Rhaenyra’s tragedy didn’t end there; after hearing the news, she went into early labor and had a terrible stillbirth. After attending the funeral of her deceased child, she returns to her responsibilities only to be barraged by her council’s war-hungry soldiers, including her husband, Daemon (Smith). As a result, Rhaenyra decided to adopt a more cautious approach, sending signals to her potential war allies through her eldest sons Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) and Jacaerys (Harry Collett). Sadly, Lucerys never returned because he was killed after colliding with his uncle Aemond (Ewan Mitchell). Rhaenyra’s chilling reaction to this most recent tragedy marked the conclusion of the House of the Dragon final episode.
In his interview with The Face, D’Arcy shares some intriguing details regarding the staging of that sequence. She explains the emotion on Rhaenyra’s face in the season finale when she learns about Lucerys’ death. D’Arcy responds in the affirmative when asked if part of Rhaneyra’s anger will function as an “engine” in season 2. Here is what they had to say.:
“I totally think so. I have to say, just because I think it’s [a mark] of genius: it was Matt Smith who suggested that Rhaenyra received the news on the walk away from the camera. As soon as he said that when we were doing an onset rehearsal, I suddenly could see it. But that really sincere attempt towards maturity, complexity, and holding all of these moving parts together – her attempt to be the glue just falls away. There is nothing left to bridge those many factions anymore.”
Rhaenyra has placed utmost importance on maintaining peace in the Seven Kingdoms, mostly due to her faith in the prophecy that her father entrusted to her, Aegon the Conqueror’s dream from The Song of Ice and Fire. D’Arcy’s remark alluded to a different side of Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon season 2, as she rejected the maturity and composure she displayed in the season 1 conclusion in favor of righteous wrath. Although she doesn’t say it in the episode, the Rhaenyra in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood holds Alicent and her people responsible for the deaths of both her son and her unborn child. Rhaenyra and Daemon are preparing for war, and Daemon’s fear that the Greens killed the sick Viserys to carry out their coup only fuels their fires further.
In House of the Dragon season 2, viewers can expect to see the Dance of the Dragons fully begin, with Rhaenyra finding a personal motivation for bloodshed due to her desire to avenge Lucerys’ death, which she will likely believe to be a murder. As she relies more on her instincts and less on the poise and logic that initially guided her, viewers may see the new queen make some truly shocking decisions before the conclusion of season 2. Given House of the Dragon’s updates to the events in the novel, several key moments in Rhaenyra’s story arc may play out differently than Fire & Blood fans expect. However, one thing appears to be certain: House of the Dragon season 2 will see Rhaenyra throw herself into the war wholeheartedly, despite being reluctant to fight initially.
The Dance of the Dragons will officially start in Season 2 of the series, with Rhaenyra finding a personal reason for bloodshed in her desire to avenge Lucerys’ death. Before the end of season 2, viewers might witness the new queen make some genuinely stunning judgments as she begins to rely more on her instincts and less on the reasoning that first served as her guide. Unfortunately, given House of the Dragon’s revisions to the novel’s events, some pivotal scenes in Rhaenyra’s plot arc could not go as Fire & Blood readers anticipate. However, despite her initial reluctance to battle, Rhaenyra will reportedly immerse herself into the war enthusiastically in season 2 of House of the Dragon.