HoTD S1 Final Scene Could've Been a Whole Lot Worse, But Was Saved Last Second

HoTD S1 Final Scene Could've Been a Whole Lot Worse, But Was Saved Last Second
Image credit: HBO

The only time they actually did not need a dragon.


  • House of The Dragon is an HBO fantasy TV show, prequel to Game of Thrones.
  • The first season ends with a famous shot of an enraged Rhaenyra Targaryen staring right into the camera.
  • However, initially, the ending was supposed to feature her dragon, Syrax, as well.

There is nothing more beautiful and powerful about House of The Dragon than its depiction of dragons themselves. While Game of Thrones took small steps to create the dragons throughout the show, House of The Dragon featured a dragon in the very first scene of the first season.

The dragon viewers first saw, and the character they met riding it, was Syrax and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the firstborn child of reigning King Viserys Targaryen. Her role in the story was immediately established, and the audience waited patiently to see where it would lead.

After 10 episodes and some big time jumps, the season ended with Rhaenyra as well. The queen, who lost her throne to her younger brother and just lost two children in a war that hasn't even started yet, looked into the camera with a cold, devastated and outraged look.

Thanks to Emma D'Arcy's brilliant acting, the finale was perfect. But it wasn't meant to be.

House of The Dragon Syrax’s Trailer Shot

If you have been following House of The Dragon production news from the very beginning, you may remember the excitement that came with the full-length trailer for the show. Among many other beautiful shots that we would later see in the context of the show, it featured a shot of Syrax coming out of the darkness to face the camera.

That shot is nowhere to be found in the actual footage of season 1, and the reason is that it was supposed to be the original ending. The proof is in an Instagram post by Adam Pescott, who, according to director Greg Yaitanes, created a storyboard of the final scene of season 1.

As you can see in the post, the grieving Rhaenyra's face was supposed to cut to Syrax's face with the same expression before the show would end. The CGI frame was already fully produced, but it was a last-minute decision to keep Emma D'Arcy's Rhaenyra as a stand-alone final shot.

And it was the right decision, considering how much praise that single expression has received. No CGI dragon, even as beautifully done as Syrax, could ever compare to the feeling that the real human face can express.

If you want to watch House of The Dragon again, the show is available for streaming on Max.