It's Official, All Of The Kids In House Of The Dragon Are Doomed

This post contains spoilers of season 1 of "House of the Dragon."

Pour one out for the children of Westeros, because their days are clearly numbered.

Let's be clear here — Westeros is a terrible place for absolutely everyone. Whatever travel agents are repping the Seven Kingdoms really have their work cut out for them because why the hell would anyone in their right mind choose to reside on this cursed continent? It's a terrible place that's full of terrible people and everything about it sucks: the royal family is a band of vicious, blonde heathens who have a monopoly on sentient nukes; all the kingdoms are way too far apart; there are like 20 different religions, all with their own terrible implications; and sometimes, instead of regular ol' snowfall, winter arrives with an army of ice zombies. Why does anyone still live here?

But no one suffers a worse deal than Westeros' youngest residents, who are born into a cycle of violence that leaves them perpetually at risk and rarely equipped to protect themselves. Case-in-point: the "House of the Dragon" season 1 finale includes a tiny boy getting knocked out of the sky. Or bitten in half. Or swallowed whole. It was pretty cloudy at the time but  all we know for sure is that he's definitely dead and it was horrifically sad.

Steel yourself, folks, because this is probably the same fate that looms on the horizon for all the other young characters we've had the pleasure of meeting. So if you've grown attached to little Joffrey, his princely older brother Jacaerys, their delightful aunts Baela and Rhaena, or even the lovably weird bug-girl Helaena, then prepare to be extremely sad.

Don't get attached, this won't end well

This tragedy has been in the cards since the beginning. After all, what are children if not just a way to seek vengeance? The cold war between Alicent and Rhaenyra was brewing for years, but it didn't begin in fiery earnest until little Aemond was the victim of a bats*** crazy attack from his relatives. The event that we here at /Film like to call the Junior Targaryen Family Fight Club was a wild affair: the kid-on-kid violence got so bad that Alicent Hightower charged at a six-year-old with a knife, fully prepared to gouge out his eye. Fast forward a couple of years and that very same boy, Rhaenyra's son Lucerys, has been murdered. When she rises from the ashes of her grief, I sincerely doubt Rhaenyra plans to stop at an eye — she's gonna take the life that she believes she's owed.

Besides being unwilling participants in their parents' miserable war, most of these Royal kids are just pawns: a way to sure up succession or create union with another House. That's not to say they aren't loved, but there's no denying the political reason behind each of their births. Sometimes it's even evident in the way they're discussed.

When the Hightowers offer terms of peace and Daemon is told that his children will be given high positions at court (i.e. squire and cupbearer which, let's face it, are pretty sweet deals for those babies) he loses his mind. He tells Otto, "I would rather feed my sons to the dragons than have them carry shields and cups for your drunken usurper c*** of a king." Ahahahah, that's really funny. Or at least it would be, if the speaker wasn't Daemon "King of Chaos" Targaryen. I would be 100% unsurprised if Daemon followed through on that promise and actively tossed his toddlers into the mouth of the dragon just to prove a petty point. This is the kind of world that these kids are born into.

The kids aren't alright

Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) is a perfect example of the sadness that lies ahead. Even before he died, this kid was pretty damn tragic. From what we saw, he spent his days dreading the reality of his inheritance. Being honored with a title is supposed to be a big deal but Luc had a way of putting it into perspective. He gave it so much thought that back when he was eight years old, all he could think about was the inevitability of death. Told that he would inherit Driftmark, the tiny kid was terrified: "If I'm the lord of Driftmark, it means everyone is dead."

Who can blame him? What kind of kid wants to worry about the future of a castle, especially when it comes with the promise of a family tragedy? Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that awful conversation: "Guess what, son? Someday, your grandfather's gonna die, and when he does, you get to shoulder the burden of an entire fleet and a subsection of our kingdom. How would you like to be responsible for thousands of lives? Anyway, do you want some apple juice?" –Rhaenyra, probably

In the end, Luc was saved from that fate in the most tragic way possible — murder! Yes, after years spent worrying about his eventual ascension, terrified of messing it up or being rejected because of his brown hair, Luc was unceremoniously spared that fate when he was yeeted out of the sky. No amount of Targaryen blood or royal protection could save him from being a Dragon's lunch.

As above, so below

You think that's bad? We're still talking about the richest kids in all of Westeros. These are the children born with priceless dragon eggs in their cradles and gold spoons coming out of the wazoo. So what about the rest of Westeros' tiniest residents? I'm not gonna lie to you, their prospects aren't much better.

The unluckiest kids of Flea Bottom will find themselves with their teeth filed into fangs and their nails sharpened to perfection — then they'll be tossed into a fighting pit to claw out eyes for survival. If they manage to skirt past that fate, then their best bet is scurrying through castle halls as a Little Bird for one spymaster or another. And based on what we saw in "Game of Thrones," that deal sucks.

As a Little Bird, you may or may not be asked to stab an old man to death, you definitely won't be offered a 401k and even though candy is not a proper form of payment, it's pretty much the best you can ask for. Those kids held onto the kind of knowledge that made Kings rise and fall, yet they were dirty, unkept, and looked on the verge of starvation. But yeah, Qyburn, I'm sure that tootsie roll will go a long way.

The Targaryen family fighting pit

Rhaenyra has not literally grabbed a file and started sharpening her son's teeth, nor has Alicent. But also... haven't they?

In Aegon, Alicent has raised a revolting, miserable, and entitled man-child. He was taught to steal his sister's throne and we frequently watched his mother slap him around, yelling at him to be better, sharper, and wiser because he'll one day have to rule. Aemond, who trained at the Criston Cole School of Accidental Murder, has been preparing for this moment of crisis too. He's harnessed both his skills as a dragonrider and a warrior, just as he's harnessed his anger. He's spent so many years haunted by his trauma that he chased Luc into the sky on dragonback and oops, committed murder. Now he's earned a reputation as a kinslaying, homicidal maniac. 

Rhaenyra, though a much more outwardly loving mother, has passed her battle for acceptance on to her children. For Luc and Jace, the Greens are their enemies. They threaten their claim to the throne. She may not have hammered it in the same way Alicent did, but Jace got the message: one way or another, he'll have to fight for his life.

When you play the game of thrones ...

The dark impact of all this has been clear in Aemond for quite some time. He grew up to be a vicious teenager with murder on the brain. But what of Jacaerys? Much more princely than his uncle, Jace has shown restraint and kindness in the past. But when we first see him in "The Black Queen," he is pummeling his brother in sword practice. It isn't cruelty that drives Jacaerys to angrily reprimand his brother's swordplay. It's desperation. He understands that his fourteen-year-old kid brother is in danger and always will be. He desperately wants him to be a better fighter — that's how dire he understands their situation to be. Sadly, he was right. When the moment came, Luc didn't stand a chance.

Though they are two mothers desperate to protect their children, Alicent and Rhaenyra have essentially trained their children for a fighting pit of their own. In this case, the winner does get a throne, but otherwise, it's all the same. It's children forced to fight a battle for reasons that they barely understand. Survival is not a guarantee; after all, "When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die." That famous phrase was uttered by a woman who eventually lost all of her children to a war — yet another sign that the kids in this story are destined for tragedy.