War is afoot in House of the Dragon episode 10, but the most important weapon is up in the air: dragons. Daemon Targaryen is all over this, naturally, but one scene in the season 1 finale might throw off even the most dedicated viewers.
As the literal name of the game (or the show, as it were), it’s no surprise that much of House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale is dedicated to taking inventory of how many dragons each side has in its command. In a modern, nonfantasy narrative, this would be the briefing the president gets in the war room about the other side’s nuclear capabilities. Here, it’s just Daemon (Matt Smith) at the war table reminding Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) of the tools at their disposal, and the firepower they could flex if possible allies need convincing to join their side in the brewing war. Ultimately, it all means going to round up more dragons.
After the two eldest Velaryon boys take off to woo allies, “The Black Queen” follows Daemon into a cave, lit only by a torch (no doubt to some consternation by Thrones fans who haven’t already seen to their TV settings), singing a song in High Valyrian that is almost surely a show invention. He cautiously kneels and puts the torch on the ground, as a guttural, almost alien growl is heard somewhere in front of him. Then it’s revealed who he is serenading: a massive dragon, who lets loose a tremendous fire burst in response.
So who is the giant dragon Daemon is convening with?
In the earlier war council scene, Daemon was very intentional about taking note of all the dragons that the Blacks command. By his count, there are 13 dragons controlled (or accessible) by the Blacks — plus a “score of eggs incubating” — to the Greens’ three adults (plus a baby). Though Rhaenyra points out that none of their dragons have been to war, he insists it’s a numbers game they’ve already won, should they be able to find dragon riders.
After all, Rhaenyra’s children have dragons, as does Daemon’s daughter Baela (Bethany Antonia). When combined with Daemon’s, Rhaenyra’s, and Rhaenys’ dragons, they have seven adults. Then he drops the interesting tidbit about the “neutral” dragons (dragons with no riders) at play: “Seasmoke still resides on Driftmark, Vermithor and Silverwing dwell on Dragonmont [...] then there are the three wild dragons, all of whom nest here.”
Given the size of that dragon and the response to his song, this can only be Vermithor, who was King Jaehaerys’ dragon — something the show’s Twitter account confirmed. (Silverwing, who Daemon mentions is coiled up with Vermithor, is Jaehaerys’ wife’s dragon — love is real.) Vermithor is described in Fire and Blood as a bronze dragon with “great tan wings,” already large when Jaehaerys was accepted as his rider. By the time we meet him here at the start of the Dance of the Dragons, he’d be about 100 years old.
Still, as episode 10 makes clear, winning the war isn’t just a matter of quantity. By the time Daemon makes it back from Dragonmont, Team Black is already down one dragon and one dragon rider thanks to Vhagar, the oldest, largest dragon in the world. It’s a tough break, but hopefully Vermithor and the other dragons will be able to fill out the fleet in season 2 — if they hope to go toe to toe with the Greens’ chonky gal.