House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 9 Recap: Conquest of Aegon
The Game of Thrones franchise has a grand tradition of explosive final episodes, and the first season of House of the Dragon is no different, even if it feels more like an inevitability than a hard left turn like the Red Wedding. What it lacks in the shocking beheading of the main character, “The Green Council” boasts clarity of vision. Episode nine of House of the Dragon delivers on the promise of the last eight hours of the series, which is on the verge of a violent war for the Iron Throne, with the commoners of King’s Landing trapped in the middle.
“The Green Council” begins hours after the last episode. King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine), his maiden name, is dead. King Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney), the second of his namesake, is now set to rule the Seven Kingdoms, assuming anyone can find him. Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) takes Viserys’ confused final words about Aegon the Conqueror – not her son Aegon – and runs away with them. She sincerely believes that her late husband wanted their child to sit on the Iron Throne instead of Renera (Emma d’Arcy), the official heir to the two-decade-running monarchy. This is a huge misunderstanding on the part of Alicent, and it is certain that a ton of people will be killed.
The first of those who died lost his life on the same night that Viserys died. In the middle of the night, Alicent and Otto Hightower (Rice Ifans) assemble a small council to share the news of the king’s passing, as well as his death wishing to install Aegon on the throne. The news strangely descends inside the room. Many are ready to step in and take immediate action, as Otto and his allies, unbeknownst to Alicent, are making contingency plans for the occasion. Some in the room are annoyed at the move to the Hightowers, such as Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson), who calls the coup exactly the same. In response, Kristen Cole (Fabian Frankel) slams Beesbury’s head on the Small Council table, killing her instantly.
Further bloodshed almost ensued in the Small Council Chamber, when Ser Harold Westerling (Graham McTavish) removed his white cloak and relinquished his position as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. “I don’t recognize any authority other than the king,” he says from the room. “Unless there is someone, I have no place here.” He walks out, somehow with his life still intact, but without leaving a single person behind who can fight against the power grabber on behalf of the absent Rainera.
Perhaps there’s one person still ready to extend himself to Rainera, and that’s an unlikely one: Alicent. In the hours following Viserys’ death, Alicent and Otto race against each other to see who can first find Aegon Targaryen and install him on the throne. Anyone who finds the earliest boy-king, lost somewhere in King’s Landing, knows that the first whisper in his ear will be the one that sets the tone for things to come. Alicent quickly learns that her father is there to kill Rainyra and her entire family, which she cannot obey, despite the years between them. And so she sends Ser Kristen and her other son Amond (Evan Mitchell) to find Aegon before Otto’s true henchman, the twin knights Erik and Erik Cargill (Elliot and Luke the Titanser), can reach him first.
A game of cat and mouse begins as four swordsmen – Kristen, Amond, and brother Kargil – do their best and crawl across town in search of Aegon. Their relatable quest takes them through the bowels of King’s Landing, discovering one of Aegon’s many bastards, not to mention a small army of kids battling each other for games at an illegal fighting club. For. to do. All these paths lead to Aegon, a scathing indictment of the kind of man who is about to take the crown, and an early preview of the cruel kings of the future. One thing that separates Aegon from Joffrey Baratheon, at least, is a complete lack of interest in taking the throne.