WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9, “The Green Council.”The Iron Throne is finally stolen in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9’s ending, with Rhaenys even teasing how devastating the dragon warfare will be in the impending civil war. House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9 is a culmination of the tension built up over the past 30 years, with King Viserys’ death and a grave miscommunication giving the green council the green light to steal the crown from Rhaenyra. With Rhaenyra’s half-brother being crowned King Aegon II Targaryen and Rhaenys destroying the coronation on dragonback in the episode’s final moments, “The Green Council” marks a point of no return for the Hightower beginning the Targaryen civil war.
House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9 takes place entirely in King’s Landing, beginning with the search for Aegon in Flea Bottom after the green council officially decides to usurp the throne and crown him as King. Alicent attempts to bring important figures to her side, such as Rhaenys Targaryen, but the treachery of the greens, the tyrannical natures of Aegon and his brother Aemond “One-Eye” Targaryen, and loyalty to King Viserys’ memory bring several key figures to Rhaenyra’s cause instead. In House of the Dragon episode 9’s ending, all of King’s Landing gathers in the Dragonpit to watch Prince Aegon be crowned King of Westeros, only for Rhaenys Targaryen to sneak down into the pit, retrieve her dragon, and break through the building as Meleys roars down at the greens. Rhaenys flees King’s Landing without harming the greens, but as the powerful House of the Dragon character flies off, one thing is clear: The Dance of the Dragons has begun.
Why Rhaenys Refuses To Burn The Greens With Meleys
With Otto, Alicent, Aegon, Criston, and Aemond all standing on the platform in front of her dragon, Rhaenys had the opportunity to end the war right then and there by simply saying the High Valyrian command “Dracarys.” However, it isn’t Rhaenys’ place to begin this war, especially since Rhaenyra still has no idea that her father has died or Aegon has been crowned. Rhaenys still has Meleys roar at them to assert her dominance and prove that she could kill them if she wanted to, but decides to head for Dragonstone and inform Rhaenyra of what has happened instead.
This moment in House of the Dragon episode 9’s ending represents Rhaenys declaring herself for Rhaenyra’s cause, but Rhaenys will meet with her Velaryon and Targaryen family on Dragonstone before making any big moves. Rhaenys is one of the smartest characters in House of the Dragon, so she knows that even though Alicent and Aegon wouldn’t accept terms of surrender from Rhaenyra, and vice versa, they must offer them before any blood is shed. Additionally, Rhaenys killing Aegon and the greens during the coronation would have made the people of King’s Landing fearful of and full of hatred for Rhaenyra, which would kick off her reign as the tyrant she didn’t want to be.
House Of The Dragon Episode 9’s Ending Fulfills Helaena’s “Beast” Prophecy
Rhaenys shockingly breaking through the Dragonpit from below fulfills Helaena Targaryen’s “beware the beast beneath the boards” warning from House of the Dragon episode 8. Helaena first uttered this line at dinner in House of the Dragon episode 8 when she had a toy dragon in her hands, with this prophecy coming back once more in episode 8 when Alicent tells her that King Viserys is dead. Helaena’s “beast beneath the boards” prophecy was thought to be referring to a traitor or dangerous figure working from the shadows, but it turned out to be far more literal. Rhaenys breaks through the boards above the dragons’ caves that the people of King’s Landing are standing on, with her dragon Meleys being the beast that destroys the Dragonpit. This is the second prophecy from Helaena to have come true in House of the Dragon, with the first being that Aemond would lose an eye in order to gain a dragon.
Otto Hightower’s Plan For Aegon Explained (Is He HOTD’s Big Villain?)
Otto has been planting the seeds to usurp the Iron Throne since Aemma Arryn died in House of the Dragon episode 1. From making Alicent the Queen to pressing Aegon’s claim and trying to ruin Rhaenyra’s reputation, Hand of the King Otto Hightower was solely driven by his ambition to place his own blood on the Iron Throne. To Otto, it doesn’t matter that Aegon is a despicable rapist who should be nowhere near the Iron Throne, it only matters that he’s Viserys’ firstborn son and has his own blood. Since Aegon has no idea how to rule a kingdom, Otto understands that it will truly be himself that is running the realm, just as he was for the past six years before King Viserys’ death.
Otto’s only redeeming trait so far in House of the Dragon has been his kindness toward Alicent’s cryptic daughter Helaena Targaryen, but his manipulations of the civil war end up indirectly causing many horrors that she’ll face. Otto Hightower is certainly one of House of the Dragon’s overarching villains – even Alicent is now seeing him as one after episode 9 – but he’s not the villain. There’s not truly one main villain in House of the Dragon, but it would be slightly disappointing if it was Otto Hightower considering he’s not nearly as compelling as Game of Thrones’ big villain Cersei Lannister. Rather, Otto is one of many key antagonists during the Dance of the Dragons, who is similar to a Littlefinger-type character that is widely hated and largely irredeemable.
What Aegon Becoming King Really Means
Even Aegon himself acknowledges he isn’t fit to rule, yet he has now been anointed and crowned the King of Westeros. He still didn’t seem confident in his ability to replace King Viserys on the Iron Throne until he thrust his sword in the air and heard waves of cheers from the people of King’s Landing, which is a dangerous boost to his already-high ego. His public coronation means that Aegon will now be seen as the legitimate King, as he’s been officially crowned whereas Rhaenyra is simply back on Dragonstone. Having the people of King’s Landing bear witness to his coronation also gives Aegon a leg up by having the support of the smallfolk, who aren’t fully informed of the truth behind the bitter rivalries and manipulations within the Red Keep that have led to this moment.
Aegon being King means that Rhaenyra is in the more difficult position of being the one fighting to sit on the Iron Throne, and not the other way around – it may rightfully be hers, but it lawfully remains Aegon’s until she takes it. Unless Aegon abdicates, the only ways for Rhaenyra to get back the Iron Throne after House of the Dragon episode 9 are to kill him or force his surrender.
How House Of The Dragon Episode 9’s Ending Sets Up The Finale
WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Fire & Blood book!House of the Dragon episode 9 was focused on the greens, while episode 10 will follow the blacks. Rhaenyra and Daemon are still unaware of King Viserys’ death, but House of the Dragon episode 9’s ending suggests they’ll find out at the start of the finale when Rhaenys arrives at Dragonstone. House of the Dragon episode 9 also set up a few key figures who will join Rhaenyra’s cause after Aegon’s usurpation of the Iron Throne, which includes Rhaenys, Ser Erryk Cargyll (whose twin brother Arryk is still loyal to Aegon), Ser Harrold Westerling, and Mysaria, a.k.a. the White Worm. Such figures are set to flee King’s Landing for Dragonstone to pledge their loyalties to Rhaenyra, with the blacks also needing to quickly host a coronation for Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen.
House of the Dragon episode 9’s ending also set up one of the most important tragedies of the civil war. Earlier in the episode, Tyland Lannister remarked that gaining Storm’s End as an ally would be an issue, as the Baratheons previously supported Rhaenys Targaryen (whose mother was Jocelyn Baratheon) in the Great Council of 101 AC. In House of the Dragon’s finale, it’s likely that both sides will make a bid for the Baratheons and other houses whose loyalties haven’t clearly been decided. If House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale does feature the confrontation at Storm’s End, then this will be the moment when Aemond Targaryen kills Lucerys Velaryon, thus shifting the war’s focus from forming alliances to bloodshed on the battlefield. By the end of House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale, the war will have escalated significantly, with the greens drawing first blood.
New episodes of House of the Dragon release Sundays on HBO/HBO Max.