House of the Dragon fans spot disturbing, significant detail in Rhaenyra birth scene

The first season of House of the Dragon has come to a dramatic conclusion.

Fans are already running through every detail in the 10th and final episode of season one, which aired on Sunday (23 October).

Spoilers for House of the Dragon below! You have been warned!

After Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) manages to make it out of King’s Landing on her dragon Maelys, she flies to Dragonstone to inform Rhaneyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Daemon (Matt Smith) of King Viserys’s death – and Aegon’s (Tom Glynn-Carney) subsequent ascension to the throne.

The shock of learning of her father’s death appears to induce early labour for Rhaneyra, who undergoes a distressing and bloody labour in a scene that many viewers have criticised as “traumatic” and “overkill”.

The scene culminates in the birth of a stillborn girl.

While many viewers agonised over the nature of how the birthing scene was depicted, eagle-eyed fans noticed that the bloodied baby, which is shown on screen, appeared to have scales and the stump of a tail.

As per George RR Martin’s source material, Rhaenyra’s first daughter was named Visenya, after Aegon the Conqueror’s wife.

In this way, at least, the scene appeared to stay true to Martin’s books, which describe Visenya as a “stillborn girl, twisted and malformed, with a hole in her chest where her heart should have been, and a stubby, scaled tail”. She is also called a “monster” in the book.

As one fan explained to others on Twitter: “It’s like a birth defect on the Targaryens, just like what happened to Dany’s baby (scales, dragon tail, stillborn).”

Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra in ‘harrowing’ scene from ‘House of the Dragon’ episode 10 (HBO)
Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra in ‘harrowing’ scene from ‘House of the Dragon’ episode 10 (HBO)

Some people have criticised the episode for not showing the tail and scales clearly enough.

“They didn’t even show us baby Visenya and how she was supposed to look like,” one person said. “They didn’t even mention her name nor the importance she has for Rhaenyra, the daughter she always wanted.”

Another added: “The thing is they didn’t even emphasise on the fact that she was born with a dragon tail etc like…?”

One person pointed out that “you can see the scales”, but noted that any fan of the series who is unfamiliar with the books won’t pick up on the detail.

Elsewhere in the finale, in a climactic scene that takes place on the bridge at Dragonstone, Otto Hightower presents Rhaneyra with a meaningful note from Alicent. You can find an explanation of its significance and callback to episode one here.

In another reference to episode one, the final dramatic scenes of episode 10 were foreshadowed in Viserys and young Rhaenyra scene from the pilot, while a Game of Thrones quote came back to haunt Aemond.

The writers also cleared up a controversial plot point that angered many fans following the broadcast of the penultimate ninth episode.

The series, which has been renewed for a second season, is available to watch on NOW.