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'House of the Dragon' recap: Every death, ranked by gruesomeness

So much blood.
'House of the Dragon' recap: Every death, ranked by gruesomeness Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

House of the Dragon Season 2 is fast approaching, and what better way to get in the mood for it than by reminding ourselves just how gory Season 1 was?

The Game of Thrones' prequel's body count hasn't caught up with that of its eight-season origin show quite yet, but it's certainly on track. As we prepare for another outing in George R.R. Martin's brutal continent of Westeros, here's a breakdown of all the key deaths so far in House of the Dragon — from least to most gruesome.

Lord Lyman Beesbury

Credit: HBO

Cause of death: Murdered with marble of office

Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) doesn't quite rival Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith)'s body count in Season 1, but he makes a good go at it. Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson) becomes one of his victims when he makes the terrible mistake of protesting about Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) sitting on the Iron Throne instead of Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy). Ser Criston's response? Smashing his head down onto Beesbury's marble of office, a little round stone that kills him instantly on impact.

Lady Rhea Royce

Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Cause of death: Murdered with a rock

Being in close proximity to Daemon Targaryen is a perilous situation. In episode 5 we get a (brief) introduction to Lady Rhea Royce (Rachel Redford), Daemon's wife, shortly before he knocks her off her horse in broad daylight and then – presumably – murders her with a rock offscreen. Pretty shocking and gruesome, sure, but this one is low on the list because we don't see the actual death itself.

Harwin Strong

Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Cause of death: Murdered by house fire

We also don't see Harwin Strong's (Ryan Corr) death, which is due to a fire at Harrenhal, but we do see the build-up. What makes this one more unpleasant is the fact that Harwin's father, Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes), dies along with him — and what makes it even worse is the fact that Harwin's own brother Larys (Matthew Needham) arranges for the building to be burned down.

Lucerys Velaryon

Credit: HBO

Cause of death: Chomped mid-air by a dragon

You've got to feel a bit sorry for Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault). The minute he steps into Storm's End and sees Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), you know things aren't going to end well. Exactly how not well is made clear once he tries to flee on his dragon Arrax, only for Aemond to give chase on his significantly larger dragon Vhagar. Arrax goes rogue and breathes fire on the chasing dragon, only for Vhagar to decide enough is enough: He goes against his master's wishes and basically chomps both Arrax and Lucerys in two. One of the major moments of the Season 1 finale, it's not the most gruesome death in the series – you don't really see much gore – but it's certainly a shocking one.

Crabfeeder

Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

Cause of death: Cut in half

Craghas Draghar (Daniel Scott-Smith), or Crabfeeder to his friends, initially appears to be one of the main villains in the first season — at least until he comes face-to-mask with Daemon. During a memorable dragon-assisted battle in episode 3, Daemon takes the fight to the Crabfeeder's beach and pursues him into a cave. When Daemon comes back out, he's dragging approximately 50 percent of Craghas behind him.

Ser Vaemond Velaryon

Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Cause of death: Head sliced in half

That's right, it's yet another death caused by Daemon, who racks up the body count in Season 1 faster than you can say "Valar Morghulis". This time the victim is Ser Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), who makes the bad mistake of calling Rhaenyra's son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) a bastard in front of the king himself. Vaemond's head is quickly sliced in half, but the really gruesome bit is the close-up of what's left of him, including his tongue hanging out of what remains of his head. Ick.

King Viserys Targaryen

Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Cause of death: A painfully slow infection of wounds

King Viserys (Paddy Considine) gets not one but two death scenes in House of the Dragon, but he is essentially killed by the Iron Throne itself. What starts with an infected cut in episode 1 quickly leads to parts of his body literally rotting away, with the fifth Targaryen king eventually having to wear a mask to conceal the damage his condition has done to him. Is it as abrupt and bloody as some of the deaths in the show? No. But slowly losing body parts to rot is not something we'd wish on anyone.

Ser Joffrey Lonmouth

Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Cause of death: Beaten to death

Turns out a House of the Dragon wedding is almost as terrible as a Game of Thrones one. The victim in episode 5's marriage is Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), who makes the very bad mistake of goading Ser Criston Cole about his fling with bride Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock). The result? A brutal beating-to-death at Cole's hands, and a very unpleasant close-up of Joffrey's bloodied, caved-in face.

Queen Aemma Arryn

Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Cause of death: Childbirth

The first key death in the show sets the tone for what's to come. Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) goes into labor at the end of episode 1, but there are complications. Her husband, King Viserys, is called into the room and told that the maesters may be able to save his son by carrying out a caesarean section, but the procedure will result in the death of his wife. Forced to choose, he tells them to go ahead. It's a truly horrifying sequence made even more upsetting by the fact that the child dies anyway shortly after the Queen passes.

Laena Velaryon

Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Cause of death: Burned to death by her own dragon during childbirth

Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), daughter of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon (Eve Best and Steve Toussaint), and Daemon's wife, endures the most gruesome, harrowing death of House of the Dragon.

In yet another horrifying childbirth sequence in episode 6, we once again see a maester giving a father unimaginable news after complications arise in labor: a fatal c-section is the only way to potentially save the baby. Daemon asks if Laena will survive the procedure, and when the answer is "no", it's clear Laena hears the exchange. She decides to take her fate into her own hands. Laena staggers outside and gives her dragon Vhagar one last order, "Dracarys," which the dragon visibly struggles with, before burning her and her unborn child to death. A truly upsetting scene.

How to watch: House of the Dragon Season 1 is streaming on Max.

Want more House of the Dragon? Here's the most WTF moments of Season 1.

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