House of the Dragon was adept at returning to earlier episodes – and season 1 episode 10 finale, was no exception. On it was some faded page torn from a large book, a return to the very first episode. This is so important that it almost prevented the declaration of war between the Greens, aka King Aegon’s followers, and the Blacks, aka Queen Rhaenyra’s clan.

But if you watched the finale, you know things got worse. Let’s discuss the significance of this torn page in the spoiler-filled section below.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

What does the torn page say?

Otto Hightower, aka the Hand of the King, produces a torn page at an opportune moment in hopes of preventing war. In episode 10, he and a small delegation meet with Queen Rhaenyra at Dragonstone Bridge. They present “generous terms”—possession of Dragonstone Castle, Driftmark Island, places of “high honor” at court—on behalf of King Aegon in exchange for peace and recognition of Aegon’s kingdom.

It goes down horribly – until Hightower reveals his trump card: a torn page from a big old book.

An old, faded page has a large image of a crowned woman standing over ocean waves and what appear to be red snakes. The old-style writing reads: “Tethered together by ropes and cables, Nymeria’s fleet dispersed as the first storms came, sweeping them across the sea, east, west, and south into the corsair-infested pockets of the Basilisk Isles.”

What book is the page torn from?

This excerpt is from a huge fictional tome called Ten Thousand Ships. It tells the story of the warrior queen Nymeria and first appeared in episode 1 when Septa Marlowe commissioned her childhood friends Alicent and Rhaenyra to study her. In the Red Keep’s divine forest, Alicent questions Rhaenyra about the contents of the book, including which husband Nymeria takes when she arrives in Dorne (the answer is Lord Morse Martell).

The conversation turns to Rhaenyra and her worries about her parents—King Viserys and Queen Emma—who may soon have a newborn son. Renyra says she hopes her father gets the son he always wanted. Meanwhile, she wants it”

“I want to fly with you on a baby dragon, see great wonders across the Narrow Sea, and eat nothing but cake.”

Raenira reveals that she studied the book before tearing out a special page. She hands it to Alicent and explains, “So you remember.”

Queen Rhaenyra is outside looking into the distance

Queen Rhaenyra has a lot to think about.

Ollie Upton/HBO

What does a page mean?

Apparently, Alicent has been holding onto this childhood memory for two decades. By giving it to Renira through Oto on the bridge, she can hope that it will remind Renira of a simpler time when both women did not fulfill their responsibilities to their families. It was a time when they truly loved each other and never dreamed of war with their friends on opposite sides.

“Queen Alicent has not forgotten the love you once had for each other,” Hightower says on the bridge. “There is no need to shed blood so that the kingdom can live in peace.”

Initially, this sweet souvenir inspires Rhaenyra to remain open to peace. Unfortunately – and unsurprisingly, given that House of the Dragon is about a civil war within House Targaryen – this takes a tragic turn when Alicent’s son, Emond, mostly inadvertently kills Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerius.

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