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SYFY WIRE House of the Dragon

'House of the Dragon' teases a fiery civil war in trailer for Season 1 finale on HBO

The Game of Thrones spinoff will wrap up its first season on Sunday, Oct. 23.

By Josh Weiss
Tom Glynn-Carney, Olivia Cooke, Fabien Frankel in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 9

It's the Targaryens vs. the Hightowers in HBO's official teaser trailer for the Season 1 finale of House of the Dragon (premiering next Sunday). A fiery civil war — the likes of which Westeros has never seen — is brewing, now that Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) has taken the Iron Throne in direct violation of Princess Rhaenyra's birthright. And all because of a minor (strike that, egregious) miscommunication between the dying King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and the ambitious Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke).

Princess Rhaenys — aka The Queen That Never Was (Eve Best) — sounds the alarm, warning Viserys' first-born child (Emma D'Arcy) that the Hightowers intend to wipe out her, Daemon (Matt Smith), and their children. There can be nothing left if the reluctant Aegon is to rule without constant fear of reprisal. Both sides will fight tooth and nail to ensure a swift victory for themselves, which means bringing out the greatest weapons ever to darken the skies of the Seven Kingdoms: dragons. It's no wonder then that the Westerosi history books refer to this brutal conflict as the "Dance of the Dragons."

Watch the teaser below:

The big question on everyone's mind is why Rhaenys didn't simply fry the throne usurpers like KFC Original Recipe when she bursts out of the floor with Meleys, effectively ruining the triumphant moment of of Aegon's coronation. This entire war could have been avoided if she took out the opposition in one fell swoop with a heaping scoop of Dragonflame. Surely Rhaenyra would have rewarded the Driftmark royal beyond her wildest dreams for this incredible favor, right?

"I think she just can’t do it. It’s not her war," writer and executive producer Sara Hess explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "The fight is between these two sides and she’s kind of not in it. She doesn’t feel like she’s the one to come in and do that. But you’re right. If she had just incinerated everybody, it’s game over, Rhaenyra wins and we’re done here. But the cost is huge. I also feel like that moment, she looks Alicent in the eye and Alicent walks in front of her kid to shield him. It’s one mother to another. Rhaenys is angry, but in her previous scene with Alicent, she respected her, even if she doesn’t agree with her. So she’s not going to kill another woman like that."

Eve Best in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 9

Chatting with Entertainment Weekly, Best described Rhaenys' mercy as "a truly forgiving moment and sort of a loving moment, in a weird way."

The actress continued: "She's suffered so much loss, and for her own sake and on behalf of so many others, the urge to destroy is so strong. And yet the choice not to destroy becomes even stronger. That's the mark of greatness and [a] truly inspiring moment — I think actually one that is particularly resonate in this context of what we're going through right now in our world with everything that's going on with Russia. The choice not to drop the bombs is the greater choice."

Episodes 1-9 of House of the Dragon are now streaming on HBO Max. The Season 1 finale drops next Sunday — Oct. 23 — at 9 p.m. Eastern. A second season has already been green-lit.

Looking for more fantasy adventure? The entire Harry Potter film saga is streaming now on Peacock.