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Biggest Unanswered Questions In House Of The Dragon Season 1

Warning: Spoilers ahead for "House of the Dragon" Season 1.

"House of the Dragon" Season 1 covers decades of Westerosi history, and, as such, it leaves a lot of big dangling storylines and unanswered questions. Taken as a whole, the season feels like a foundation for the real story. We see how tensions within the Targaryen family rise to a level where war becomes possible, and we witness the various tragedies that push Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy), Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), and the other core characters to the point of desperation.

By the end of "House of the Dragon" Season 1, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) is dead, and so too seems to be the peace he maintained in the realm. Alicent's son Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Rhaenyra both claim crowns and titles, but even then, it looks like things might not escalate to full-on war. But after Prince Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) "accidentally" kills Rhaenyra's son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) and his dragon Arrax, there may be no turning back.

Going into Season 2, all of Westeros seems at risk of being bathed in dragonfire. Major houses like the Starks, Arryns, and Baratheons are entering the picture, and King's Landing is becoming an even more treacherous and deadly place than it previously was. Here are the biggest unanswered questions from "House of the Dragon" Season 1 and how they could be answered in the future.

Was Viserys I a good king?

Though he's conflict avoidant, frequently ill, and largely ineffectual as a leader, much of the story in "House of the Dragon" Season 1 still revolves around Viserys Targaryen. He is, to be fair, quite an interesting character — a man wholly unqualified to keep war at bay, but who remains the only one in a real position to maintain peace. Is he a hero? Certainly not. He let his delusions of foresight and his desire for greatness push his wife to her deathbed. Is he a villain? Not necessarily. He does keep the peace, after all, and he stays loyal to Rhaenyra until the very end. Viserys is undoubtedly a sympathetic figure, but that doesn't make him a great king.

Repeatedly throughout "House of the Dragon" Season 1, we get scenes debating this question: What does it mean to be a good king? What does it mean to leave a lasting legacy? At one point, Viserys laments that he was never "tested" by war or national tragedy. However, he also acknowledges that he might not have liked the man such a thing would have turned him into. A lover of history, Viserys knows that his reign will never become a great song. At the end, he only wishes for the feuds within his own house to be settled before his death. Of course, that doesn't happen. Is Viserys the king who held the peace, or the king whose inaction led to widespread bloodshed? Ultimately, that's up to the viewer to decide.

Could Rhaenys have prevented war?

Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) plays a unique role in the story of "House of the Dragon." As the so-called "Queen Who Never Was," she represents an alternate path that Westeros could have gone down. Had she been given the Iron Throne instead of Viserys, things might have gone quite differently for everyone involved. She clearly would have been a stronger and more decisive ruler, and she would have set the precedent that women can reign as well as men. Such a precedent surely would have prevented the kind of schism that takes place in the show, right?

Well, that's hard to say. The truth is, even if Rhaenys had been selected as queen, she probably would have faced the same kinds of challenges that Rhaenyra faces throughout Season 1. As Rhaenys herself tells Rhaenyra, "Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne." Had she been named Jaehaerys' heir, Westeros might have fallen into chaos even sooner. In the end, though, the great council may have only prolonged the inevitable.

Whether or not Rhaenys could have truly prevented war is a question we'll never see answered. By the end of Season 1, she's mostly interested in seeing Rhaenyra accomplish what she could not, but she seems to be done being the one in charge — at least for now. Perhaps that's why she lets the Greens live when she has the chance to end them.

Why didn't Rhaenys kill the Greens?

Whether or not Rhaenys could have saved the realm from war as queen, she has a pretty clear chance to stop further bloodshed when she escapes on Meleys from the Dragonpit. After bursting through the floor of the building aboard her roaring mount, Rhaenys finds herself staring down Rhaenyra's entire rival faction — Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), Alicent, and all three of her children. With a single utterance of "dracarys," Rhaenys could have burned the lot of them and saved the realm from the conflict that now seems inevitable. But she refuses and simply flies away.

Why does Rhaenys show mercy at this moment when she already plans to ally herself with Rhaenyra? There are a few possible explanations. While she disagrees with Alicent's conviction that women must remain in the background, Rhaenys clearly has sympathy for the Green Queen. If Alicent wasn't standing in front of her children like a shield, things might have gone quite differently. Additionally, Rhaenys might not have fully chosen a side yet. Seeing Rhaenyra with her crown and loyal followers is a powerful moment for the princess, and it might have taken that extra push to convince her to take up arms. Killing a whole royal family without a plan isn't necessarily a great call.

One thing that's for sure is that Rhaenys didn't spare the Greens simply because she abhors violence. After all, she must have killed countless innocents while escaping the Dragonpit.

How will Lucerys' death change Rhaenyra's plans?

Before receiving word of her son Lucerys' tragic death, Rhaenyra Targaryen seems determined to avoid bloodshed at any cost. Yes, she believes that her claim to the throne is just, and yes, she's set upon ascending the Iron Throne. But when Daemon and her other loyalists push for immediate violence, she resists them. "When dragons flew to war, everything burned," she responds. "I do not wish to rule over a kingdom of ash and bone."

However, Rhaenyra's tone may change now that the Greens have killed her son. Accident or not, Aemond and Vhagar's crime is an egregious one, and one that can't be paid back with a simple trade blockade of King's Landing. Rhaenyra has lost a lover already in this conflict, but that was a much murkier matter. The death of a child — during a time of ostensible peace — is far more difficult to ignore.

At a minimum, she'll likely be a bit more agreeable to Daemon's aggressive urges. The Blacks do still outnumber the Greens significantly when it comes to dragons, even with the loss of the young Arrax. Of course, numbers aren't the only thing that matters. After seeing what Vhagar is truly capable of, it's hard to imagine any other creature standing a chance against her.

Can anything defeat Vhagar?

Vhagar is the largest living dragon in the world, and in the "House of the Dragon" Season 1 finale, she shows just how terrifying and dangerous she can be. With a single bite, she rips Arrax and the young Prince Lucerys to pieces, establishing herself as being in an entirely different league from many of the show's other dragons. And with a vicious rider like Aemond sitting in her saddle, Vhagar is likely to become an even bigger problem for Rhaenyra and the Blacks going forward.

Sure, Caraxes, Syrax, and Meleys are all fearsome dragons, but it might take all three of them flying in tandem to even have a shot at taking Vhagar down. We're talking about a dragon who survived Aegon's conquest and is still just as deadly over a century later. If "House of the Dragon" stays true to "Fire & Blood," George R.R. Martin's written history of the Targaryen family, then Vhagar may remain a serious threat for years to come. Fortunately for the Blacks, Daemon is already hard at work recruiting the remaining riderless dragons to their cause, beginning with the next largest beast after Vhagar — King Jaehaerys I Targaryen's own mount Vermithor, aka the Bronze Fury.

Who will ride Vermithor?

During the final episode of "House of the Dragon" Season 1, Daemon Targaryen journeys deep into the Dragonmont — the volcano of Dragonstone — in search of a new ally. Knowing that the coming war between the Blacks and the Greens will likely come down to their respective dragons, he aims to recruit the riderless dragons who nest on the island to his cause. We see him approaching the lair of the old dragon Vermithor while singing a Valyrian tune, and the old king's dragon seems to respond quite positively to it, belching fire throughout the cavern but leaving Daemon unburnt.

Establishing contact with Vermithor is great for the Blacks, especially since the creature is one of the only dragons who might be able to challenge Vhagar. However, there's one big question that no one knows the answer to yet: Who will ride him? The only person in Rhaenyra's faction with Targaryen blood and no Dragon is Daemon's young daughter Rhaena, who could be a suitable match. However, it's also possible that a non-Targaryen could claim Vermithor. Regardless, there are a lot more riderless dragons in "House of Dragon" than there are dragonless Targaryens, so at some point, the Blacks will need to expand the circle of who can claim mounts. If you've read "Fire & Blood," then you already know who ends up riding Vermithor in Martin's story, but things could go differently in the HBO series. Only time will tell.

Can Rhaenyra really trust Daemon?

Rhaenyra Targaryen's relationship with her uncle Daemon is complicated, to say the absolute least. Though she's repeatedly shown pursuing him throughout her life, and though incestuous relationships are clearly not that taboo during the time when the show is set, it's still hard not to see their early dynamic as deeply problematic. At best, she chooses to be with a man who killed his first wife in order to advance her own station. At worst, she was groomed from childhood to love a deeply dangerous and treacherous person.

Rhaenyra is too smart not to understand the kind of person Daemon is — a person whose only real interest is his gaining more power. However, she seems to believe that, for some reason, she's the one person who's impervious to his dark side. She's different from Mysaria and Lady Rhea Royce; from her own father, who Daemon constantly fought with. For whatever reason — be it ego or blindness caused by "love" — she seems to think he's a weapon that could never be turned against her.

In the Season 1 finale, however, we see that this isn't true. Daemon shows a viciousness toward Rhaenyra when she starts to question his warmongering, and though he eventually defers to her authority, it's clear that he has his own intentions. Can Rhaenyra really trust him to have her back when things start to heat up? We'll see.

What kind of king will Aegon II be?

For anyone who's not a total misogynist, it should be pretty clear that Rhaenyra Targaryen would make a much better ruler than her half-brother Aegon II. Unfortunately, in a deeply patriarchal society like Westeros, that claim seems frustratingly difficult to make. Despite his disgusting nature, disregard for human life, and abject disinterest in being the king, Aegon is crowned as Viserys' successor as soon as Otto and Alicent get hold of him. We don't yet know exactly what kind of king he'll be, but anyone familiar with the original "Game of Thrones" timeline should recognize his type.

All evidence points to Aegon being another Joffrey Baratheon — a boy king so distanced from the common person that he'll likely rule with oppressive cruelty. We've already seen Aegon get away with sexual assault, rampant debauchery, and numerous crimes within King's Landing. The smile that spreads across the young king's face when he lifts his sword in the Dragonpit is enough to send shivers down your spine. While he's clearly not as military minded as his mother and his younger brother, he's likely going to be a total nightmare for his servants and for the people of King's Landing. And, perhaps worst of all, Alicent may soon lose the last bit of control she has over him.

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Who will side with who?

The outcome of the coming war between the Greens and the Blacks may well come down to their dragons, but it will also depend on their political allies. By the end of Season 1, it seems that House Baratheon is firmly aligned with King Aegon II, but there are still a lot of powerful families currently unaffiliated, especially in the North. That's why Rhaenyra sends her son Jacaerys (Harry Collett) to meet with House Stark and House Arryn, and why Daemon wants to get House Tully of Riverrun on their side.

As one of Rhaenyra's advisors states, "With House Stark, the North will follow." "Game of Thrones" has shown us just how fearsome the combined might of the North can be, and the Stark family is as big of a deal in Rhaenyra's day as in that of Daenerys Targaryen. The lord named by Rhaenyra, Cregan Stark, is a particularly interesting character in George R.R. Martin's books, and he should make for a unique addition to the "House of the Dragon" cast.

Of course, the Starks and the Arryns aren't the only ones who could make a big difference in the coming conflict. While Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) claims that the Triarchy of Essos is no longer a concern, they could aid the Greens if sufficiently prompted. And then there's the matter of Rhaenyra's presumed-dead former husband Laenor (John Macmillan), who could play a part if he were to get pulled back into Westeros.

Where did Laenor go?

One of the larger mysteries in "House of the Dragon" Season 1 is what becomes of Laenor Velaryon. Rhaenyra Targaryen's first husband is believed by most of the realm to be dead after a fight with his lover Ser Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan), but that's far from the truth. In reality, Laenor faked his death, shaved his unmistakable Valyrian locks, and set off for parts unknown with Ser Qarl and a boatload of money courtesy of Daemon and Rhaenyra. The implication is that the two Targaryens never intended to kill Laenor, as faking his death serves multiple purposes. It allows him to set off on a life of adventure with his real love, it allows Rhaenyra and Daemon to marry, and it makes the realm fear Rhaenyra a bit more via the rumor that she had her husband murdered.

That's all confusing enough, and it doesn't even touch on the matter of where Laenor might be. In all likelihood, he's partying it up with Qarl in some far-flung corner of the Free Cities. But what if something happens? What if he and Qarl break up and the good knight decides to reveal the truth to the world? Or maybe Laenor lets his hair grow out and is recognized? It's possible that the former prince is out of the story for good, but he could return under a number of circumstances.

Is Mysaria still alive?

Some of the most powerful characters in the entire "A Song of Ice and Fire" franchise aren't kings or queens, nor lords or ladies. Rather, they're the ones who build themselves up from humble beginnings and broker in the business of secrets. One such character in "House of the Dragon" is Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), the King's Landing madam who sets up a spy network within the Red Keep itself. Though she lingers in the background for much of Season 1, Mysaria is always present, and she steps back into the spotlight late in the season to reveal the location of Prince Aegon upon King Viserys' death.

As Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) has a spy network of his own, he sees Mysaria as a dangerous rival and moves to eliminate her at the end of Season 1. We see an agent of Larys' walking away from Mysaria's burning brothel, presumably signaling her death. But is she actually out of the picture?

Surely someone with such power in King's Landing can't be relegated to an off-screen death. Mysaria has a whole system of agents and loyalists, and it's likely that she would have known about Lord Larys' attack ahead of time. In the books, her role is much expanded from what's been seen as of yet in "House of the Dragon," but that doesn't guarantee anything for certain in the show. If Mysaria is alive, she may not show her face any time soon — she's too smart for that.

Will Alicent ever escape her prison?

Alicent Hightower is a curious case. At times both a tragic character and a vile villain, she stands opposite Rhaenyra at nearly every turn. While it's easy to condemn her for following her father's power-hungry schemes and defending her sons during their many egregious crimes, Alicent isn't such a simple character. From the time she was a child, her father pushed her into intimacy with King Viserys, knowing full well that she might become his new queen. Alicent hardly had a say in this decision, and once she starts bearing the king's children, her sense of duty to her family prevents her from even considering escape.

With her own son Aemond now the murderer of Rhaenyra's son Lucerys, it seems unlikely that olive branches will ever be extended. And yet, it's still easy to see the regret in Alicent's eyes. Her closest allies are Larys Strong, who she seems to pay by gratifying his foot fetish, and Ser Criston Cole, who's proven to be a violent, jealous, and unpredictable man. Perhaps Rhaenys is right when she tells Alicent that she only wants "to build a window in the wall of [her] prison." Perhaps the Dowager Queen really is too far gone to ever find a life of real happiness. But maybe, just maybe, Alicent Hightower still has some surprises up her sleeve.

What will become of Aegon's prophecy?

Like her father before her, Rhaenyra Targaryen is obsessed with the prophetic Song of Ice and Fire, Aegon the Conqueror's dream foreseeing the invasion of Westeros by the White Walkers. While not explained in such detail in the books, the prophecy plays a huge part in the HBO series, as it gives Rhaenyra a big-picture reason to believe she must be the one to sit the Iron Throne. However, foresight is rarely a simple thing in fantasy, and it remains to be seen exactly how the Song of Ice and Fire will play into the coming conflict.

It's no secret that "Game of Thrones" makes some pretty big changes to the books, making the show something of an alternate timeline. "House of the Dragon" would seem to be set in the same canon as its predecessor, as it even shares the same theme song. But in "Game of Thrones," the Targaryen prophecy doesn't really play out the way you'd think. Arya Stark is the one who kills the Night King, Jon Snow proves largely ineffectual (even after being brought back from the dead for "reasons"), and Daenerys goes crazy and burns down King's Landing.

A prophecy that plays out so chaotically hardly seems like a good reason to put countless innocent lives at risk, but it may be the final push Rhaenyra needs to declare war after her son's death. Of course, Daemon doesn't even believe in the prophecy, and it's possible that it may be lost to history amidst all the fighting to come.