House of the Dragon preview: Episode 9, “The Green Council”

House of the Dragon Episode 9
House of the Dragon Episode 9 /

We’re coming up on the penultimate episode of House of the Dragon season 1! Things are getting properly heated. Where do our players stand heading into Episode 9, “The Green Council”?

The Dance of the Dragons is afoot, people.

House of the Dragon Episode 9
House of the Dragon Episode 9 /

King Viserys Targaryen — Status: Making bad decisions with angels now

After eight episodes of waffling, dithering, and doing his damndest to make everyone happy, King Viserys made one final heroic push to unite the warring branches of his family in “The Lord of the Tides”…and it almost worked. It was a terrific send-off for a beautifully complicated characters. Three cheers for King Viserys and three more for Paddy Considine, who played him with Emmy-worthy panache.

House of the Dragon Episode 9
House of the Dragon Episode 9 /

Alicent Hightower — Status: Almost did the right thing, biggest regret of her life

Alicent seemed to soften up a bit in the latest episode, perhaps realizing that her enmity with Rhaenyra wasn’t worth plunging the Seven Kingdoms into war, and certainly not over her lout of a son. But then her husband Viserys had to go and talk about “Aegon” in his delirium. He was talking about Aegon the Conquerer, she thinks he was talking about their son Aegon the Elder, and now she’s probably going to ignore her better instincts and push for her dickwad son to succeed his father.

Alicent has sometimes come across as a villain, but I think the show has given her enough shading that it’s possible to sympathize with her even if you don’t want her to win, particularly with someone as good as Olivia Cooke playing her.

It would’ve helped if she and Viserys hadn’t named their kid Aegon, though. There are other names out there, y’know.

House of the Dragon
Image: House of the Dragon/HBO /

Aegon Targaryen — Status: “Maybe if I drink enough they won’t make me be king”

Speaking of Aegon the Elder (remember, Rhaenyra also has a son named Aegon, henceforth known as Aegon the Younger), it’s pretty clear he would suck at being king. He’s a callow, loutish kid very unsure about his place in the world…and I think he knows it. Alicent may have reservations about Aegon becoming king, but Aegon himself isn’t thrilled about the idea either.

But when push comes to shove, that might not matter. Otto, Alicent and the rest of the greens are going to try and shove his butt on the Iron Throne whether he wants it or not. The only question is: what will he do with his new authority once he has it?

House of the Dragon Episode 9
House of the Dragon Episode 9 /

Aemond Targaryen — Status: “When can I kill everyone?”

Aegon’s younger brother Aemond would make a more confident king, but he’s also…kinda scary. Aemond had a bit of a god complex even when he was younger and claimed Vhagar, the largest and oldest dragon in the world, as his own. Now he’s older, stronger, and more dangerous, and he’s holding a major grudge against his nephews for slashing out his eye. And that’s fair, but still…scary.

Incidentally, “When can I kill everyone?” is also the status for Larys Strong.

House of the Dragon Episode 9
House of the Dragon Episode 9 /

Criston Cole — Status: Setting the world record for the longest-held grudge in history

We haven’t heard a ton from Criston Cole over the last couple episodes, which is fine by me. This is the guy who was rejected by a girl well over a decade ago and is holding onto the grudge for dear life. If he were in our world, he’d be stalking Rhaenyra on social media and writing nasty comments on her posts using dummy accounts. But on House of the Dragon, he has a position on the Kingsguard and is passing on his hatred to the next generation of Targaryens, particularly Aemond.

With Viserys dead, people are going to have to choose whether to support Rhaenyra or Aegon as the new ruler. I think we all know which side Criston will be on. We can also count on Otto Hightower throwing his weight behind his grandson.

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

Rhaenyra Targaryen — Status: Almost hopeful things will work out, biggest regret of her life

Rhaenyra’s father the king is dead, but she doesn’t know it yet, and if the greens have her way, she won’t for as long as possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rhaenyra didn’t appear in the next episode at all as we watch as the greens move to consolidate their power after Viserys’ death.

But hopefully we’ll see her a bit. She’s probably at Dragonstone making her own preparations for what to do after her father dies, which she knows is going to happen any day now. After reconnecting with Alicent, she may be hoping that she can ascend the Iron Throne more or less peacefully, but she’ll soon be disabused of that notion.

Also, Rhaenyra was pregnant in the latest episode, so she may have to take to the birthing bed again soon.

Image: House of the Dragon/YouTube
Image: House of the Dragon/YouTube /

Daemon Targaryen — Status: Committed to family life, would still like to kill people

When we first met Daemon Targaryen, he was forming a posse of goldcloaks to brutalize the people of King’s Landing, memorably having a guy’s scrotum cut off in the town square. All these years later, he’s settled down, married, had children…and still chopped a guy’s head in half in open court.

Daemon is older, wiser, and more experienced, but he’ll always that rebel heart in him. That could be an asset or a detriment as war breaks out between the greens and the blacks.

House of the Dragon episode 8
House of the Dragon episode 8 /

Jacaerys Velaryon — Status: A good guy who would make a good king, so he’s probably toast

Alicent’s firstborn son Aegon is clearly unfit to rule anybody, but Rhaenyra’s firstborn Jaecerys seems like he’d be great at it. He’s hardworking, respectful of everyone, and eager to contribute.

Look, this is a Game of Thrones show, so it probably doesn’t pay to get attached to the character clearly being painted as the good guy. He’s giving me Robb Stark vibes, and we all know what happened to Robb Stark.

House of the Dragon Episode 7
House of the Dragon Episode 7 /

Corlys Velaryon — Status: Still alive, don’t worry

Episode 8, “The Lord of the Tides,” was named for Corlys Velaryon, so it’s kind of weird that he doesn’t show up at all. When last we heard about him, he’d taken a wound fighting in the Stepstones and was suffering from fever. It was unclear if he would live or die, which set off the main conflict of the episode.

Well, unless the showrunners are prepared to make a major change from George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, Corlys will pull through. In fact, he goes on to play a major role in the story, so don’t count him out yet.

House of the Dragon Episode 9
House of the Dragon Episode 9 /

Rhaenys Targaryen — Status: A black dragon in the garden of the greens

This one’s interesting. In the book, Rhaenys is safe away from King’s Landing when her cousin King Viserys dies. But in the trailer for Episode 9, it looks like she’s still in the city, and given that she’s on record as supporting Rhaenyra, the greens can’t allow her to just wander around freely. How will she navigate this? Probably with pluck, grit, fire and blood.

Next. Why House of the Dragon should have killed Laenor Velaryon. dark

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