It wouldn’t be a Game of Thrones show if it didn’t end in a major death, and House of the Dragon’s debut season did not disappoint. While the penultimate Episode 9 wasn’t quite as exciting as GoT Season 1’s infamous beheading, the series made up for it with a brutal cliffhanger at the end of House of the Dragon Episode 10.
So why did a certain character do a certain murder? And how does it change the books? And the course of the series by extension? Let’s dive in.
Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 10.
House of the Dragon Episode 10’s ending explained
Episode 10 focuses on Rhaenyra Targaryen’s reaction to the news that her father is dead and her claim to the Iron Throne is being usurped by the Hightower family and her half-brother Aegon II. While everyone on Rhaenyra’s side is eager to go to war (Daemon points out that they have more than twice as many dragons and could end the entire thing in a day), the queen attempts to be slightly more diplomatic.
When Otto Hightower arrives with a questionable peace offering, she says she’ll consider it. Later, she makes it clear her top priority is confirming that several key houses of Westeros (the Starks, the Tullys, and the Baratheons) still support her. On that note, she decides to send her two oldest sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys, to shore up support.
Unfortunately, things don’t go well for Lucerys after he’s sent to Storm’s End to meet with Lord Borros Baratheon. When Lucerys arrives, Aemond Targaryen (the son of Alicent and younger brother to “King” Aegon II) is already there on a similar mission. He’s even offered to marry one of Borros’ daughters in exchange for supporting Aegon’s claim to the throne.
Lucerys doesn’t have anything to offer so he’s basically told to get lost, but not before Aemond chimes in and demands an eye in exchange for the one Lucerys cut out many years ago. At this point, Borros puts an end to the discussion and has his guards escort Lucerys back to his dragon Arrax. But it’s not over yet.
As Lucerys flies off, Aemond is close behind on his much larger dragon Vhagar. Lucerys tries to escape, but can’t get away in the storm. After Arrax launches a surprise attack, Vhagar responds by biting the smaller dragon in half mid-air, killing both Arrax and Lucerys instantly.
Why did Aemond kill Lucerys?
The answer, in short, is that it was an accident. From the look on his face after it happens, it’s clear that Aemond Targaryen realizes he’s made a grave error. While Aemond clearly wanted to hurt his relative, he knows that murder will have consequences.
We see this as well in Aemond’s attempts to stop Vhagar. It’s clear that in the moment, he’s lost control of the dragon entirely. So perhaps the real question is: Why did Vhagar kill Lucerys? And the answer is simply: because she’s a dragon.
How does Lucerys Velaryon die in the books?
In George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood” series, Lucerys dies in a similar way, but with a few notable changes. The most critical is that in the books, it’s suggested Aemond killed him on purpose. This is part of a general trend in the books to paint the “Greens” as clear villains, while the HBO show has attempted to inject a bit more humanity into this side of the conflict.
The books also make it clear that shortly after Lucerys leaves Storm’s End, Borros gives Aemond permission to leave too. In this sense, the Baratheon lord shares some responsibility — at least, that’s how Lucerys’ family sees it in the books.
What happens to Jacaerys Velaryon? (Warning: book spoilers ahead)
House of the Dragon Episode 10 didn’t show what happened to Jacaerys on his more difficult mission north. However, without going into too much detail, we can confirm that in the books he is mostly successful and manages to secure the support of both House Tully and House Stark. Of course, it’s possible House of the Dragon could change that. We’ll just have to wait until Season 2 to find out.
House of the Dragon is streaming now on HBO Max.