[This story contains spoilers for the House of the Dragon season one finale.]
Dragon’s House ended the first season with a dramatic tragedy that would spark the Targaryen Civil War.
The tenth episode of HBO’s fantasy series depicts a sequence highly anticipated by readers of author George RR Martin. Fire & Blood, where two young princes Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) meet at Storm’s End, both seeking to gain House Baratheon’s support for their immediate family’s claim of the ‘Iron Throne’. A dragon chase despite a lightning storm ensues, and Lucerys is tragically killed after their warm-blooded dragons attack each other – Lucerys’ mother is Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) ) will fight against Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cook) and bring Westeros into chaos.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with host Ryan Condal about some of the key moments in the episode, the “gloomy” debate, the show’s long-term plans, and about some of the backlash to comments made brought out last week about Daemon Targaryen.
SoooHow are things going for Jace at The Eyrie?
(Laugh). Hope that better!
How serious was Aemond in his pursuit of Lucerys?
Aemond was certainly not innocent in what happened to Luke. But Aemond was also a child bullied and mocked for part of his life for not having a dragon. Now he did, and he rode the biggest dragon in the world. I think he showed his opponent that he wouldn’t be intimidated and would probably play there more than try to be a hitman – that would be very calculative and stupid for him. with Aemond from the very beginning as the pieces are moving about the board and loyalty is being established and find out who will make the marriage deal to secure whose army… let Aemond unleash Getting nuclear right out of the gate and waging an all-dragon war would be stupid, but that’s exactly what he has to do in the end because things spiral out of control and out of control. It was a complicated scene. Aemond is not an innocent person, but he is also not a psychopath without logical thinking.
The Song of Ice and Fire’s prophecy is given again [where Aegon the Conquerer proclaimed the Targaryen line must remain on the Iron Throne to eventually fight against the forces of darkness]. I may be missing something here, but with Rhaenyra and Aegon’s claim both will result in a Targaryen on the Iron Throne, why should this affect Rhaenyra and seems very urgent to her? Especially since Jace isn’t a more full-blooded Targaryen than Alicent’s Aegon.
All good questions. Rhaenyra focuses on the fact that she sees herself as the only one capable of ruling without causing war and keeping the kingdom united. It was something her father raised her all her life to know and pursue as a sovereign. And she didn’t think Aegon had that ability. And on a more personal level, this is her birthright that her father gave her. It’s something you see her struggle with throughout the finale. She didn’t just immediately turn around and say, “You know what? I’m going to war.” Because her father had entrusted her to keep the realm united in peace. But at the same time, what my father, my birthright, was stolen from. So what do I have to do? How do I serve both of these ends? The answer is a bit paradoxical. And Daemon is frustrated with her because she won’t just go to war right away. She thinks she can gather enough support from the other kingdoms where she can make them surrender without launching nukes.
Why didn’t she let the maids near her during childbirth? Is she thinking about what happened to her mother when she gave birth [in the premiere]?
That’s shrewd. There’s a lot going on in that scene; She is going through a storm of emotions. A large part was that Rhaenyra swore she would not follow in her mother’s footsteps. That’s why she doesn’t want to get married if you go back to her against all the suitors. She is also facing the news that her father has passed away and that her extended family has seized the opportunity to take the throne from her. That news together caused so much stress that she basically had a miscarriage. The baby hasn’t gone far enough to determine where in the world she can hope to be born.
And in the moment this happens, Daemon takes the first opportunity to stalk and try to start a war instead of saying side and help her. So I just think on a very simple human level in that scene, she simply doesn’t want to be touched by anyone.
Speaking of Daemon, last week we interviewed executive producer and screenwriter Sara Hess and asked about all the fan cravings for Daemon. I found her “Internet boyfriend” to be quite funny and playful – sort of applying modern dating standards to a fictional TV character. But I’ve heard that she’s been receiving truly horrifying messages online amid some backlash.
I was actually quite appalled with the way Sara was being treated. She was horribly assaulted in a completely unacceptable way. She is my right hand in this. We wrote the first part together – 85 percent of the text in the first part was Sara and me. Nothing brought to the screen didn’t pass through my filter – or hers, for that matter. Nothing is done in a silo, it’s all on my desk, that’s my job, that’s how it works. And the idea that just because you disagree with something happening in a fictional TV show you can attack real people online remains a bizarre, alien, and frankly terrifying concept. royal for me. That’s why I don’t exist on social media.
I read what Sara said. She is one of the funniest people I know. She gets to the heart of the matter and will say anything to anyone. Maybe she was too sparkling to answer a serious question. She doesn’t take herself seriously in answering it. But I think she made some valid points in it. People are looking for ways to put white hats and black hats on the characters. They are looking for the good and the bad. They are looking for the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force. And this is simply not that kind of program. Daemon is a fascinating character. He is extremely attractive. He is played by a very handsome actor in Matt Smith. I understand why he has such a huge fandom built around him. I completely understand it. But that doesn’t mean Daemon is a hero that can’t be faulted. Damon did some really terrible things. He will continue to do really terrible things. He’ll also do heroic things – and that’s what makes Damon really interesting and, I think, why people are drawn to him. Honestly, it was Matt Smith’s masterful performance that was conspired to make this truly iconic TV character. But that doesn’t mean you can project what you want into this character and that will make you happy. It just doesn’t work that way. So disagree with us. And if you’re on social media, have a sensible discussion. But don’t attack people.
You are doing season 2, what lessons have you learned from the first season that you are applying to season 2?
There’s a million little things you learn in the process of making any first installment. We did 10 episodes. They were very difficult. I plan to put all of those lessons to use in part 2. They don’t have more general concepts about television making and more about how to make this particular show – even for [crew members] who worked initially Game of Thrones. They are more [producer oriented] more creative; way to make things more efficient.
The unsettling thing about going into season two – for any show, but for this show in particular – is that we have an embarrassment over the wealth of amazing cast we’re associated with. together. Writing is so much easier because you’re writing for this amazing cast [who we have now seen] perform these roles. They’re three-dimensional characters and that makes their story a lot easier to tell because they’ve been shown and there’s a joy in the text because of that.
A frequent complaint is that the show looks dark – not just in episode seven, but in a lot of scenes. The word “bleak” has been used a lot. Will the already established look with the first season be the same going forward? Or is it something in development?
The visual continuity of the show is definitely something that we’ll be looking at. It’s always complicated because we’re doing it [post-production] on high-end multi-million dollar devices, it’s almost as if we’re making a movie. It looks great in post and I look great on my television. But when you release a Star Wars movie, you’re releasing in theaters. As for TV, you’re releasing it on a million different TV screens and different setups and calibrations around the planet. You are also releasing it through various distributors who will deliver it in 4K or 1080p or 1080i or not at all. So it’s hard to account for everyone’s TVs and their calibration, and sometimes the file can get compressed. So the show may look very different from what we’ve seen and approved and released.
But look: Our job is to take all of that into account. This is one of the things you learn doing a show – you take that knowledge into account when you do season two and say, “How can we do better?” The feedback has certainly been heard. I got it. And we want the show to be a great viewing experience for everyone.
Recently George RR Martin affirmed the opinion that this story will last 4 seasons. Is that the plan?
I’m very focused on the 10 episodes ahead of me at the moment. There will definitely be more storytelling after season two. This is the story of a Targaryen dynasty that persists for 150 years after the events of the season one finale. Kings and queens come and go as history goes on. So the question is less of where this story ends and more of where the curtain will fall [on the show]. Because it is a continuous history being written George as we go. It’s not like The Song of Ice and Fire, where the ending is the end of the story. This is the end of one chapter in the story, and then another begins. So “I don’t know yet” is the honest answer. But we’re going to take the time we need to tell this story, and when it needs to end abruptly, it’s over.
The edited interview is long and clear.