Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Episode 9 of House of the Dragon.
After the death of Viserys (Paddy Considine), Episode 9 of House of the Dragon, “The Green Council,” kicks off with subterfuge and treason. Misinterpreting Viserys’ final words, Alicent (Olivia Cooke) tells her father Otto (Rhys Ifans) that with his dying breath Viserys wanted Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) to be king. Knowing that one single person hearing Viserys’ final words can be questioned and not wanting word to get out to Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) about her father’s death, Otto begins to shut down the palace. He replaces members of the Goldcloaks who are still loyal to Daemon (Matt Smith), Criston (Fabien Frankel) kills Lord Beesbury (Bill Paterson), the only member of the small council who is loyal to Rhaenyra still, servants who know the truth about Viserys’ death are locked up by Larys (Matthew Needham), and Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) is locked in her room until Aegon is crowned.
The episode puts us squarely in the realm of the Greens as they plot to install Aegon as the king quickly following the death is Viserys. It exposes some of the darkest aspects of the family, who are all too eager to seize the opportunity of Viserys’ death while his body rots. The episode ends with Aegon’s not-so-triumphant coronation where Criston crowns the prince and declares, “Let the seven bear witness, Aegon Targaryen is the true heir to the Iron Throne.”
Of course, nothing in Westeros ever goes off without a hitch and that includes the crowning of the wrong heir. After raising the ancestral Valyrian blade Blackfyre over his head and embracing the cheering crowd of smallfolk, the ground explodes in the dragon pit and Meleys, the Red Queen, bursts forward from the Dragon Pit where the coronation is held.
What Happens to Rhaenys During the Episode?
As scheming and king-making were occurring throughout the episode, Rhaenys is trapped in her room. When Alicent visits her, she quickly deduces that the king is dead. After Alicent tries to unsuccessfully convert Rhaenys to the side of the Greens, Rhaenys is told that Meleys’ dragon would give Rhaenyra too much power, and it might lead the country to war. However, when Ser Erryk (Elliott Tittensor) steals into her room, he comes with the promise to get her out of the city.
Escaping the keep, we see what comes of opposing the Greens when Lord Caswell (Paul Hickey), who had been trying to leave King’s Landing to warn Rhaenyra of what’s happening, is hung in the square to send a message to any Black supporters. It is very likely that Rhaenys might have met her end by staying in the Red Keep much longer. When Erryk tells her to find a ship and escape King’s Landing she refuses to leave her dragon. The two are fortuitously separated when the City Watch rounds up the people and starts funneling them toward the Dragon Pits where most people can witness the coronation.
What Happens in the Dragon Pits?
Being funneled into the Dragon Pits, Rhaenys watched as Aegon is blessed by a septon and then crowned by Criston Cole before she goes beneath the building to find Meleys. During the coronation, Otto publicly claims that on his deathbed Viserys claimed that Aegon should be his heir, and although the people seem initially confused, they cheer for Aegon when he is crowned.
The celebrations don’t last long because suddenly Meleys bursts out of the ground below, killing the people above and causing a panic. The small folk run for the doors but the City Watch is trying to close them. In the chaos, Rhaenys is seen on top of Meleys in armor and stares down the Greens. With Meleys’ face a few inches away from Aegon’s head, she could have killed Aegon and his entire family, but instead, Meleys roars in their faces and Rhaenys takes off out of the Dragon Pit and presumably toward Rhaenyra and Daemon.
In the conversation that Rhaenys and Alicent had it’s clear that although Alicent holds a position of power in court, Rhaenys doesn’t see her as in control. Instead, she considers Alicent someone who upholds the men around her when she is potentially a better fit on the throne. Asking Rhaenys to switch sides by appealing to her position as an almost-queen does not end up working, and it is clear in the final moments that the Queen for a Day has made her decision. With Meleys on their side, Rhaenyra will have a strong alliance and one that is worthy of taking on the Greens.
The Season 1 finale of House of the Dragon premieres next Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.