Who wins the Dance of the Dragons in House of the Dragon?

Aegon and Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

The House of the Dragon finale tees up a fiery civil war among the separate branches of House Targaryen – the greens and the blacks – that comes to be known as the Dance of the Dragons. Of course, since the show is based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood novel, just who wins this bitter civil war isn't such a mystery, as it's all right there in the pages of the book. 

If you're particularly impatient for answers, though, we've got everything you need to know about the outcome of the Dance of the Dragons right here. Though, it should go without saying, the following contains major, major spoilers. This is very likely how the entire show will end, so go no further if you don't want to have the book or the show spoiled for you! 

Who wins the Dance of the Dragons? 

Still reading? Then you're ready for the biggest of House of the Dragon spoilers: who wins the Dance of the Dragons? It's a complex – and bleak – answer. In fact, the real answer is probably "no one," but someone is seated on the Iron Throne when all is said and done, and that's what we're about to get into. 

As you'd expect, a lot goes down during the Targaryen civil war. We'll fast forward right to the end. Rhaenyra eventually takes King's Landing, but flees when the people turn on her for a number of reasons – and by then, her uncle/husband Daemon has died in battle. 

When Rhaenyra gets back to Dragonstone, her half-brother Aegon the Second – currently King of Westeros in the show's timeline – is awaiting her. He ruthlessly, gruesomely has his half-sister murdered by his dragon Sunfyre: the creature first burns Rhaenyra, then eats her. All that's left is a bit of leg. If you've just finished a Game of Thrones rewatch, you might know this already, thanks to Joffrey Baratheon spoiling Rhaenyra's fate

After Rhaenyra's death, her son – confusingly also named Aegon, so we'll call him Aegon the Younger – is taken hostage by Aegon the Second. Sunfyre, badly injured from the war, succumbs to his wounds shortly after killing Rhaenyra and dies, leaving Aegon the Second without a dragon. 

Lord Borros Baratheon, who you'll remember from the House of the Dragon finale, takes King's Landing for Aegon the Second – or so he thinks. Team Black begins to converge on King's Landing, Borros is killed, and there's no significant resistance from the greens that can stop the blacks' advance. Aegon the Second refuses to surrender, though. He cuts off the ear of Aegon the Younger and sends it to the blacks as a warning. Soon after this, Aegon the Second is found dead, poisoned by an unknown assailant. 

Aegon the Younger, Rhaenyra's son, then becomes King of Westeros – Aegon the Third. He's so young that he has a number of regents helping him, with Corlys Velaryon among them. Aegon the Third is married to Aegon the Second's daughter Jaehaera, which brings together the split factions of the Targaryen family. Jaehaera eventually dies in suspicious circumstances, though, which means Aegon the Second ultimately has no surviving children (one of his other children with Helaena is killed in a disturbing storyline known as Blood and Cheese). 

Alicent survives the war, but is kept imprisoned in the Red Keep until her death from fever. All of her children with Viserys – Aegon the Second, Helaena, Aemond, and Daeron (who hasn't yet been introduced in the show) – die earlier in the Dance of the Dragons, meaning the greens are soundly defeated. Before her death, Alicent stops liking the color green... 

Eventually, Aegon the Third is old enough to rule alone, and his brother Prince Viserys becomes Hand of the King (all of Rhaenyra's other children, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey, are killed earlier in the war.) Aegon the Third is melancholy and withdrawn for the rest of his life, and under his reign, the last of the dragons die (until Daenerys Targaryen hatches three eggs a century and a half later, of course). So, while this is technically a victory for the blacks, it's safe to say no one escapes the Dance of the Dragons unscathed. 

For even more book spoiler deep dives on House of the Dragon, check out our explainers on a tragedy at the Dragonpit, a heartbreaking battle between brothers, and a legendary showdown between dragon riders

You can also see our guides on the Targaryen family tree, all of the show's dragons, and all we know about House of the Dragon season 2. There's all of our House of the Dragon reviews in one place for some analysis on the show, too. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.