The penultimate episode of House of the Dragon did its best to match Game of Thrones‘ Episode 9s, let’s check into how they are preparing for the season finale.
The Green Council
After the initial discovery of Viserys’s death, the Hightowers quickly corraled anyone who would know about it, in order to keep things quiet while they did their scheming. Alicent told the council about her interpretation of Viserys’s last words, which she believed to mean that he wished that his son Aegon to succeed him as king. Stop naming your kids Aegon, please. Get creative.
This was all the justification that the rest of the council needed, as it became clear that Otto and company have been planning to usurp the throne without Alicent’s knowledge. This knowledge seemed to paint her in an innocent light and not the mastermind of these plans. The only two to oppose the seizing of the throne were the Master of Coin, Lord Beesbury, and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Harrold Westerling. Beesbury got his head caved in by our favorite guy, Criston Cole, for speaking out, but Westerling was let go after he tossed his white cloak off.
The Search for King Aegon II
Now, you can’t exactly place a new king on the throne without the king, so where was Aegon? Two search parties were sent out. One by Otto, led by the twins Erryk and Arryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard, and one by Alicent, led by Cole and Aemond. The race for Aegon was a little cloudy, but the root cause is that Otto will try to convince Aegon that Rhaenyra and her family must die in order for him to keep the throne while Alicent would try to offer mercy.
After a romp through the bowels of Flea Bottom where Aegon spends a lot of time, we got a look at one of his bastards, as well as the child fighting pits that Aegon reportedly frequents. All this to prove that Aegon is a scumbag whereas Aemond studied the blade. Aegon was fiinally found being held captive by Mysaria, who was flexing her status as the true power of King’s Landing. She gave up Aegon’s location to Otto after negotiating the end of child fighting pits in Flea Bottom: a true hero to the smallfolk.
Mysaria was ratted out by Larys the clubfoot, who shockingly has a fetish for normal-looking feet. In exchange for getting a look at Alicent’s piggies, he promised that Mysaria will die, and the information being fed to Otto through her will also end.
After being freed from captivity, Aegon felt that he wasn’t truly worthy of the crown, being spurned by his father for Rhaenyra, as well as being a general screw-up in his family’s eyes. Only when he learned from Alicent that Viserys “wanted” him to ascend did we get the full Joffrey look in his eyes when he was toying with Aegon the Conqueror’s dagger. Alicent’s pleas to give Rhaenyra mercy fell on deaf ears as well. The smallfolk cheering for Aegon II had him puffing his chest out, until Helaena’s dragon dream from the last episode came to fruition.
The Beast Beneath the Boards
It turns out that Rhaenys and her dragon, Meleys, were the beast beneath the boards. Moments after Aegon was crowned, Meleys burst out of the floor of the dragon pit, killing and injuring a couple hundred/thousand smallfolk before giving the Greens a death stare. This fell really flat for me. Rhaenys knew that this act would lead to war, because she knew that Rhaenyra would not sit idly by while her half-brother steals her birthright. Her act of mercy to the royal family was pure plot armor, and had vibes of the later seasons of Game of Thrones. She had no problem with demolishing the smallfolk to get in a stare-down with Alicent, and then chose to fly away without royal bloodshed, to avoid being a kinslayer. Killing a couple hundred commoners, no problem, but if you choose to kill a distant third cousin, you’re DAMNED to eternity.
I’m still convinced there is another beast between the boards, but that is likely being pushed to season 2. The rats will have a part to play, I guarantee it.
Things to Come
The Black council was omitted from this episode, but they’ll be taking over for most of the season finale. Rhaenys and Erryk Cargyll will be delivering the bad news, and we’ll get to see the reactions. Surely Rhaenyra and Daemon will handle things in a mature matter, right?
This coming episode will not only see the Black Council’s planning but also the gathering of allies and dragons as well. We’ll finally see Storm’s End, where the Baratheons will have to decide which side to join, whether it be the Greens or the Blacks. No spoilers, but this meeting on Storm’s End will set the tone for the entire war in the seasons to come.