When it comes to House of the Dragon, it’s really hard to just pick one great episode out of the bunch that we were given within the first season, but because I’m a huge nerd for this franchise, I can openly say that I think I’ve picked out the best episodes and the not as great ones, because let’s be honest, there were really no bad episodes in House of the Dragon Season 1.
From dragon fights to betrayals to so much more, these are the best episodes, ranked from worst to the one that I seriously can’t stop talking about.
10. Episode 9 – The Green Council
You know, in hindsight, just about every Game of Thrones fan had high expectations for “The Green Council” episode. For those who don’t know, in the Game of Thrones universe, the ninth episode of a season – or, usually the penultimate episode – is always known to be one of the best, from “Battle of the Bastards” in Season 6 to “The Rains of Castamere” in Season 3, so everyone was expecting this episode to be insane.
But, in reality, it didn’t make a lot of sense. The council of the king conspiring this whole time behind Alicent’s back didn’t really make sense, because it felt like that would be something that she would be included on. The quest to find Aegon felt very anticlimactic, and while Rhaenys popping in on her dragon was cool, it didn’t fit the moment. Why kill all those smallfolk just to not say “Dracarys” and end this war before it even began?
9. Episode 2 – The Rogue Prince
“The Rogue Prince,” was like much of the first half of House of the Dragon, where most of it was truly just set up for the bigger battles to come. While this episode does start one of the main plot-points of the show – Viserys marrying Alicent and creating the rift between Alicent and Rhaenyra – it’s really just there for exposition and nothing else.
However, one thing I do like about this episode is that it further builds that chemistry and story between Daemon and Rhaenyra, which we really see later on down the line.
8. Episode 3 – Second Of His Name
Another build-up episode, but eventful all the same, which is why it’s at number eight. “Second of His Name” features the first time jump of the series and has several momentous events, such as Rhaenyra deciding that she can pick her own husband to court, and Daemon fighting away in the Stepstones with Corlys.
This episode is yet another where we really start to see things build up more and more, but I have to put this one at number eight for the killer battle scene at the end. Daemon really said, “I’m just going to take this Crabfeeder out by myself.”
7. Episode 4 – King Of The Narrow Sea
Episode 4, called “King of the Narrow Sea,” is where things start to get spicy – literally. It’s where we really see that sexual tension that’s been kindling between Rhaenyra and Daemon finally reach its peak, and we start to see more and more tension grow between both Alicent and Rhaenyra.
What makes it even crazier is the fact that Rhaenyra ends up sleeping with Ser Criston Cole, which is the catalyst for many events that happen later on, because he ends up growing feelings for her, which causes a ton of drama.
6. Episode 6 – The Princess And The Queen
This was where we finally got to see the House of the Dragon cast that we were promised in all those trailers, after another ridiculous time-jump (thank God Season 2 won’t have any more). And, to be honest, it was…average. It was cool to see the older cast for the show, finally, along with this giant Targaryen family tree.
I mean, it could have been done better, but “The Princess and the Queen” was a great stepping off point to show just how separate Alicent and Rhaenyra had gotten and how far they are willing to go to protect their children.
5. Episode 5 – We Light The Way
A wedding in Westeros is never a fun time, and “We Light The Way” further proved that fact. Featuring the wedding of cousins Laenor Velaryon and Rhaenyra Targaryen, it was this moment that really solidified that this season was going to be dramatic and bloody from here on out.
From Ser Criston Cole beating up Laenor’s lover to Alicent wearing green in open rebellion of the crown, and everything else, it was the beginning of the end of peace – and all it took was for Viserys to die a few episodes later, but we’ll get into that in a second.
4. Episode 1 – The Heirs Of The Dragon
I’m going to go out on a limb here and says that “The Heirs of the Dragon” was one of the best premiere episodes of any season that the Game of Thrones universe has ever had. I really enjoyed it and it’s the reason why I was hooked from the very start.
From the small tribute to Daenerys Targaryen in the beginning to the introductions of all the characters, to the show practically opening up on dragonback, there are so many reasons why I loved this pilot. It made me discover and love Milly Alcock and Emily Carey – whom I will dearly miss as the younger versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent – and had me realize that there was still a lot of love for Game of Thrones somewhere deep down in my heart.
Also, that connection between the battle with the Night King at the very end of the episode and the Prince who was Promised was just perfect. This episode deserved to break records.
3. Episode 10 – The Black Queen
This. Episode. Slapped.
From the moment the finale started, we were thrown right into it with the aftermath of Aegon the Second taking the throne, and it was heartwrenching from beginning to end. We saw Rhaenyra lose her only daughter, Visenya, and then, in the same episode, her son is killed by Vhagar and Aemond.
That look she gives the camera at the end – that is the look of a Targaryen woman who is pissed off and yes, I will be supporting every single war crime she commits in the next season because I am still upset about these deaths. This isn’t just a war for the crown anymore. This is personal.
That dragon chase between Lucerys and Aemond was also remarkable – and, fun fact, was inspired by House to Train Your Dragon.
2. Episode 7 – Driftmark
“Driftmark” was an incredible episode that really started to change things for both the Greens and the Blacks in House of the Dragon, specifically for one reason – that fight scene, both with the children and the adults.
While the fight with the children was certainly what caused the tension with the adults, it’s the reason why everything really happened later on. It was the last bit of story we needed to show that strained relationship between Lucerys and Aemond, and the perfect way to exemplify just how far Alicent and Rhaenyra had fallen away from each other.
Also, just want to give praise to Olivia Cooke, who gave an absolutely stellar performance.
1. Episode 8 – The Lord Of The Tides
This is, hands down, the best episode of House of the Dragon Season 1. “Lord of the Tides” was an episode that truly blew my mind from beginning to end, but I have to say that one particular factor places it over every other episode.
And, that’s Paddy Considine’s performance.
This man deserves all the nominations and awards and everything else, because I truly felt moved by his role as Viserys, specifically in this episode. It’s here where you really see just how much Viserys loves his daughter, how he literally left his death bed just to support her claim to the throne, and her son’s claim to Driftmark.
It’s gut wrenching to see him so weak when he started the season so strong and yet, it was the perfect way for him to go out – surrounded by his family, thinking that everything had worked out, and then reunited with his love, Aemma, as he was dying. It was beautiful.
I also have to give praise to that beheading scene, because when I tell you I gasped, the air left my body.
What are you the most excited for with House of the Dragon Season 2? We’re going to need to probably wait two years for it, but at least we can re-watch these episodes over and over. Ugh, can 2024 come sooner? Bring on the dragons!
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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