Alas! HBO aired the last episode of House of the Dragon on Sunday, October 23, ending with the wage of civil war, which was staved off for as long as possible.
The 10th episode, titled 'The Black Queen', records Rhaenyra’s father's death. The unforeseen news prompts the princess' premature labor causing a stillbirth. She's faced with the tough decision of whether to wage war while fighting for the throne. But her wishes are entirely overridden by the sea of testosterone around her, much like Alicent’s experience.
If you’ve already watched the last episode, you know things take a turn for the worst at the end. But most importantly, let’s talk about the meaning of the torn page that Alicent issues Rhaenyra through Otto Hightower at the bridge.
Where Did the Torn Page Come From?
The torn page is from a fictional tome called “Ten Thousand Ships”. If you backtrack to the first episode, “The Heirs of the Dragon”, childhood friends Rhaenyra and Alicent are instructed by Septa Marlow to study the passage book that tells the history of warrior queen Nymeria.
In the Red Keep’s godswood, Alicent asks Rhaenyra questions about the book's content. Rhaenyra then confesses her dismay about her parents, King Viserys and Queen Aemma, who are expecting a newborn. She tells her friend that she prays her father gets the son he’s always wanted.
She says that her wish is to fly with Alicent on dragonback, see the great wonders across the Narrow Sea and eat only cake. Rhaenyra rips a special page and gives it to Alicent, citing, 'So you remember.'
The Contents of the Torn Page
The torn page contains a large picture of queen Nymeria standing over ocean waves and presumably red snakes.
Written in ancient style, the page reads, “Lashed together with ropes and cables, Nymeria’s fleet dispersed at the coming of the first storms, sweeping them across the sea, east, west and south into corsair-infested pockets of the Basilisk Isles.'
The Meaning of the Torn Page
Alicent kept the torn page that bared sentimental meaning for two decades. That means she still holds her childhood memories with her once dear friend Rhaenyra. And that she gave the page to Rhaenyra via Otto Hightower to remind her friend of the long time they cared for each other and would never dare of waging war against each other, weren't it for family obligations.
Otto, the Hand of the King, gives Rhaenyra the torn page at a critical moment in the hopes of averting a civil war. He and a few delegates met with Queen Rhaenyra at the Dragonstone Bridge to present a generous offer on behalf of King Aegon in exchange for peace and acceptance of Aegon's power. The meeting doesn't go successfully until Otto issues his trump card.
He tells the queen, “Queen Alicent has not forgotten the love you once had for each other. No blood need be spilt so the realm can continue in peace.'
The plan seems to be working as Rhaenyra is touched by the sweet memento but shockingly things take a wrong turn when Aemond, Alicent’s son murders Lucerys, Rhaenyra’s son.
A civil war looks unavoidable at this moment. So, brace yourselves for a bloody twist.