The fantasy epic goes political thriller as a vast dragon-wing conspiracy ushers a new king into power
It starts quietly. Through the halls and stairways of an empty palace just before daybreak, a serving boy brings news: The King is dead.
It ends spectacularly: From beneath the ground where thousands have gathered to pay homage to their new ruler, a dragon erupts, screaming its fury before flying away with its rider, Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, aboard. This, too, is news of a sort: There’s a new King in town, but for how long?
Titled “The Green Council” — after the circle of conspirators who plot to remove Rhaenyra Targaryen from her position as heir to the Iron Throne — this episode follows in their footsteps by removing the would-be queen (along with her husband Daemon and their entire brood of children) from the proceedings altogether. Instead, the focus is squarely on Rhaenyra’s friend-turned-rival-turned-friend-again-turned-rival-again, Queen Alicent Hightower, and the men trying to make her awful son Aegon monarch instead.
The plan, which we learn has been in the works without Alicent’s knowledge for some time, does not go off without a hitch. Lord Lyman Beesbury, the Small Council’s aged Master of Coin, was not consulted by Hand of the King Otto Hightower on this matter, and he’s outraged that his colleagues plan to break the oaths the Seven Kingdoms swore to Rhaenyra years earlier. He angrily objects — and promptly gets his head bashed in against the table by the fanatical Ser Criston Cole, the princess’s bitterest enemy.
Beesbury is not the only one to suffer at the conspirators’ hands. The palace servants are herded en masse into the dungeon to keep them from talking. Rebellious lords are threatened with execution and, in one case, hanged in the courtyard. Otto is not messing around.
But when he announces his intention to have Rhaenyra and her children killed to keep them from challenging Aegon’s ascension, the Queen has had enough. True, she erroneously believes that Viserys’s garbled last words about the original Aegon and his prophecy about the “Prince That Was Promised” to unite the realm referred to their son. But that doesn’t mean she wants her old friend dead, especially not just after they seem to have partially reconciled.
And when the future Aegon II goes missing, the race is on between Otto and Alicent to recover him first, knowing that whoever finds the king-to-be can probably persuade him to follow their orders regarding Rhaenyra.
The regent relies on the loyal Ser Criston and her ambitious, clearly very dangerous younger son Aemond One-Eye to hunt Aegon down. Otto goes with the twin Kingsguard knights Erryk and Arryk Cargyll, who are played by real-life twins Elliott and Luke Tittensor. (Nothing gives away George R.R. Martin’s New York tri-state area roots like his apparent belief that most people pronounce “Erryk” and “Arryk” differently.) Erryk may be Aegon’s sworn protector, yet he hates the prince, a.k.a. an alcoholic rapist who watches children fight each other to the death for fun. Arryk, on the other hand, seems to feel that an order is an order.
Otto and the twins get help in their hunt from an interesting source: Daemon Targaryen’s old lover Mysaria, now a high-powered spymaster known as the White Worm. Well aware of everything that’s been going on in the Red Keep, she hid Aegon for safekeeping and allows the twins to retrieve him…for a price.
But in the end, they’re beaten out by Cole and Aemond, who kidnap the future king away from Arryk (or is that Erryk?) and return him to Alicent. We then see how the Queen comes by her own intel: by allowing the mild-mannered mastermind Lord Larys “The Clubfoot” Strong to jerk off to her feet in exchange for his info and aid. (Finally, TV gives the foot fetishists of the world some long overdue representation!) Larys reveals Mysaria’s role in all this to the Queen and has the White Worm’s base of operations burned — the same method he used to take out his own dad and brother in hopes of currying the queen’s favor years earlier.
Otto arranges for Aegon II to be crowned in full view of the city’s populace. At Alicent’s insistence, the young man is given the crown and sword of his ancestor — “the Conqueror” — to further cement his claim. Everybody cheers!
Everybody, that is, except Rhaenys. Held captive in the Red Keep until such time as she swears loyalty, she’s freed by Ser Erryk and gets swept up in the crowd stampeding towards the coronation. She sneaks away, fetches her dragon Meleys, and sends the beast bursting through the ground beneath the crowd’s feat. But instead of torching the usurper and his supporters, she flies away, delaying the inevitable conflagration to come.
Writer Sara Hess and director Clare Kilner give the whole affair the vibe of a tense political thriller, as alliances are forged and broken and various players jockey for position in the new regime. Much of this is achieved through deft character work that helps shore up some of the show’s shakier decisions.
For example, is it a little annoying that Alicent decides to crown Aegon instead of Rhaenyra due to a sitcom-style mix-up involving Viserys’s dying declaration? Sure. But it’s worth noting how duty-bound she seems to feel about it; as far as she’s concerned, she’s doing the right thing and honoring the late king’s wishes, not gleefully screwing her frenemy over. In fact, she fights — hard — to keep Rhaenyra alive in the face of opposition from no less than her own father. Actor Olivia Cooke threads this needle with aplomb.
Similarly, Rhaenys’s decision not to roast the whole royal family comes across as foolhardy, at least at first. But keep in mind that, like Alicent, the older woman is trying to avoid a war, not start one. If she were to inaugurate her former daughter-in-law Rhaenyra’s reign by sneak-attack slaughtering Aegon II, Otto, and Alicent, as well as innocents like Aegon’s sister-wife Helaena, how would that help anyone?
(One quick note: Helaena appears to have foreseen Rhaenys’s dragon attack, muttering about “a beast beneath the boards” earlier in the episode. Pay attention to this one, folks.)
Then there’s Aegon himself. He’s a thoroughly contemptible person, and he both knows it and hates himself for it, as conveyed through a remarkable performance by actor Tom Glynn-Carney. He has no desire to be king, and says so; Aegon thinks his mother’s claim that his dad declared him the heir on his deathbed is bullshit, and says so too. But once he hears the roar of the crowd, he begins to change his tune, holding his legendary sword Blackfyre aloft and pumping it to pump up the people. Given that his only hobbies appear to be drinking and making weaker people suffer, that’s not a good sign.
Only one episode remains in House of the Dragon’s stellar first season. Presumably, it will show us Rhaenyra and Daemon’s reaction to all this, and it’s unlikely to be pretty. Rhaenyra left King’s Landing believing she’d mended fences with Alicent, eager to return to her old friend’s side. How will she react to being stabbed in the back, even if the Queen tried to do so as politely as possible? Both the Seven Kingdoms and the show hang in the balance.
Two of them are promptly arrested and one that was seemingly trying to escape the Red Keep to warn Rhaenyra is hanged in the castle's courtyard. The only head of house who escapes Lord Otto's small purge is Lady Rhaenys, who was locked in her room by Queen Alicent.Who was hanging in the red keep House of the Dragon? ›
In “The Green Council,” we see a lord bend the knee to Aegon II, then try to escape the Red Keep. Larys catches him, and he's hanged as a result. Just who is this guy? He's Allun Caswell, the head of House Caswell, who is named only as “Lord Caswell” in Fire & Blood.What is the House of the Dragon recap? ›
Based on material from George R. R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon tells the story of the Dance of Dragons and the events leading up to the brutal civil war. King Viserys I Targaryen rules over an unprecedented time of peace, but questions about his succession threaten to send the realm into chaos.Who did Larys burn in Episode 9? ›
This penultimate episode's incomprehensible scene comes about midway through, when Mysaria, Daemon's former lover and now a formidable spymaster in King's Landing, is seemingly burned to death at the behest of Larys Strong.Who tells Rhaenyra that her father died? ›
Rhaenys (Eve Best) goes to Dragonstone. She informs Rhaenyra not only of her father's death, but also of Aegon's coronation.Who is Rhaenyra Targaryen child? › Why didn t Rhaenyra bend the knee? ›
Ultimately, Rhaenys doesn't kneel before Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon episode 10 because she needed to discuss House Velaryon's loyalty with Corlys first. After telling Corlys they'll be supporting Rhaenyra in this war, Rhaenys makes Rhaenyra's fight her own.Who killed Lady Rhea in House of the Dragon? ›
Lady Rhea Royce
Then, although not explicitly stated in House of the Dragon, Daemon killed Rhea by hitting her in the head with a rock after being provoked in order for him to inherit the Runestone and wed another wife.
The 10th and final episode of House of the Dragon's freshman season took a major step toward that war, as Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) was crowned Queen of Westeros on Dragonstone in front of her numerous followers only one episode after Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) usurped the true succession plans ...Why did Daemon give Rhaenyra a necklace? ›
In episode 1, Daemon gifts Rhaenyra with a Valyrian steel necklace, so that she can carry a piece of their ancestral land with her. Rhaenyra takes to wearing the necklace everywhere, highlighting her connection to — and later love of — Daemon.
When Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) arrives at Dragonstone to offer her peace terms he brings with him a torn page from a book as a message to Rhaenyra from his daughter the dowager Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke).Who beat Daemon Targaryen in jousting? ›
The twenty-two-year-old Ser Criston Cole defeated Prince Daemon Targaryen, the brother of Viserys, in the melee by knocking aside Dark Sister with his morningstar.Why did Mysaria betray daemon? ›
She knew she was a pawn in Daemon's selfish ambitions, and that he couldn't be trusted.Why is Larys called clubfoot? ›
The second son of Lord Lyonel Strong, Larys was born with a twisted foot, leading to him being called "the Clubfoot," though not to his face.What is the relationship between Larys and Alicent? ›
Larys is Queen Alicent's unofficial master of whisperers. For much of House of the Dragon's first season, he's kept her abreast of happenings, opportunities and liabilities. He did exactly that in episode 9, making Alicent aware of the ring of spies that "White Worm" Mysaria has inside the Red Keep.Who impregnated Rhaenyra Targaryen? ›
In George R.R. Martin's fictitious history of the Targaryen family, we learn that Rhaenyra does eventually have children with her uncle Daemon: two boys named Viserys II and Aegon III, both of whom eventually become king.Does Rhaenyra find out Luke dies? ›
The HBO series' Season 1 finale on Sunday ended with Princess Queen Rhaenyra receiving the news that her second-born son, Lucerys “Luke” Velaryon, had been killed by a dragon ridden by Alicent's son, Aemond Targaryen.Who killed Rhaenyra and Daemon? ›
Not great, and apparently her first words to him are, “Dear brother. I had hoped that you were dead.” Things only get worse when Aegon straight-up has his dragon Sunfyre kill and eat Rhaenyra—in front of her last remaining child Prince Aegon the Younger.Did daemon sleep with Rhaenyra? ›
Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) and Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) finally had sex on House of the Dragon. After teasing their deep connection for weeks, making out in a brothel, and flirting their way through King's Landing, uncle and niece at long last did the dirty.How old was Rhaenyra Targaryen when she lost her virginity? ›
The story of the princess and her valiant knight did not end as a fairy tale, though. A sordid and controversial story began to spread that Rhaenyra lost her virginity to her uncle Daemon at age 16.
Rhaenyra Targaryen is killed by her half-brother Aegon II Targaryen when he cruelly feeds her to his dragon Sunfyre. Don't worry, Aegon II and the Greens don't win the war, though the Blacks ultimately triumph and put Rhaenyra's son Aegon the Younger on the throne.Did Rhaenyra sleep with her uncle in episode 4? ›
In Episode Four, the young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and her uncle, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), get hot and heavy in a brothel. Fans at home were shocked by the event (of course), but not everyone found the scene so awkward to see as we did.Why did Rhaenyra spare them? ›
Simply put, Rhaenys is familiar with family tragedy, and likely doesn't wish to inflict that on others, especially not those within her own extended family.Why is Rhaenyra stillborn? ›
So, why exactly does Rhaenyra lose the baby in House of the Dragon? In the book, it says that Rhaenyra wasn't set to give birth for “another turn of the moon” but is induced into early labor after a fit of rage following the news of the coronation of her brother Aegon (totally merited).Why did Daemon laugh at the funeral? ›
It was clear that Leana and Laenor had a close relationship, and she likely would not appreciate her uncle choosing this moment to make a statement while her brother grieves. Daemon laughs at this moment because Vaemond is choosing this moment to guilt Rhaenyra for having children with Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr).Why didn t Daemon marry Rhaenyra? ›
Per Fire & Blood (which is basically a long fact-filled history of the Targaryens), there are two rumors surrounding their relationship: one that Daemon seduces Rhaenyra and “claims her maidenhood” but the king doesn't let them marry because Daemon already has a wife.What disease does Viserys have? ›
Leprosy is a slow moving disease
The show has got the speed of the disease correct. King Viserys has lived with leprosy for many decades and the disease has grown very slowly.
Rhaenyra does everything to prevent war, until the end
Daemon himself places the crown on her head and bows to his wife, saying "My queen."
Aemond, like, totally didn't mean it
"He didn't set out to kill Luke, but he also was out there playing a very dangerous game," says Yaitanes. "His last expression is just complete regret and shock. It's almost incomprehensible for him to process."
Lucerys Velaryon died after riding away from Storm's End when he was eaten mid-flight by Aemond Targaryen's dragon, Vhagar.
He chokes Rhaenyra after she starts telling him The Song of Ice and Fire prophecy and learning that Viserys kept secrets from him. Perhaps Daemon's attack was motivated by this perceived betrayal? Part of it also may be related to his dislike of Viserys weakness.Does Damon really love Rhaenyra? ›
1 Daemon Probably Loves Rhaenyra
However, Fire & Blood gives some insights into Daemon's character, which House of the Dragon only touches on in the last episodes of Season 1. Daemon shows his genuine care and attention to Rhaenyra several times before the two marry.
Daemon strangled Rhaenyra because he felt betrayed by Viserys. “It's a moment that I think is surprising and shocking for Daemon as a character, but I also think it's one of those things that's been set up over the course of the entire season.What was the secret told to Rhaenyra? ›
Viserys also shares a secret with Rhaenyra, one that she must hold with her, and it's pretty big. He reveals that Aegon Targaryen, the first king to sit on the Iron Throne, foresaw the end of mankind.Why did Rhaenyra refuse help giving birth? ›
Rhaenyra, recalling the death of her mother in childbirth, refuses help from her maidens as the pregnancy wreaks havoc on her body. Knowing something is wrong, she gives birth all by herself.Why does Rhaenyra marry her uncle? ›
Why do Targaryens keep marrying each other? In short, to keep the blood of the dragon as pure as possible.Who became king after Daemon Targaryen? ›
Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith)
King Viserys's right-hand man, Otto Hightower (played by Rhys Ifans), repeatedly blocks Daemon from becoming the next heir and then chooses Rhaenyra over him as successor — at least, he does until his own daughter Alicent marries the king.
At the heart of it is always the person stepping up to truly prop the House up as a great one, which is why fans will always debate who's the most powerful Targaryen. Thanks to the spinoff series, it's perfectly clear that it's none other than Daemon.Who will killed Daemon Targaryen? ›
Daemon and Prince Aemond Get Into a Huge Fight
According to Fire & Blood (the source material for House of the Dragon), Daemon dies after an epic dragon fight with Prince Aemond…
Shockingly, Ser Criston Cole grabs Lord Beesbury, yells at him to sit down, and quickly smashes his head against the table, killing him.
In the show, The death of Lucerys (a.k.a. Luke) occurs in the season one finale. Aegon II, known as Aegon the Elder, is Alicent and Viserys's eldest son who rules (briefly) as king. During the Dance of the Dragon, he is badly burned in a battle and his legs are crippled.Who died at the beginning of episode 9 House of dragon? ›
Otto announces that the king is dead, and that his dying wish was for Aegon the Aess to replace him. It quickly becomes clear that several members of the Small Council, led by Otto, are relieved at this, because they'd been secretly planning as much already.Who was killed in the last episode of House of the Dragon? ›
The takeaway from House of the Dragon season 1 is clear for Condal, the finale just makes it more apparent. Aemond, intending to taunt Luke, ends up killing him in a brutal manner.What did Rhaenyra do in episode 9? ›
Rhaenys would rather watch the realm burn than see Aegon sit on the Iron Throne. While that may be what Rhaenys believes was the righteous or only choice, she immediately went for the nuclear option, taking any political solution off the table in what the Greens can now only see as an act of war.Where did Rhaenyra go in episode 9? ›
Rhaenyra and Daemon headed back to Dragonstone, where they live, with their respective broods, just before Viserys died in his bed.Who was killed in episode 10 of House of the Dragon? ›
In Episode 10, Lucerys and his dragon Arrax are killed by Aemond and Vhagar after a fight at Storm's End.How did Rhaenyra Targaryen died? ›
Joffrey Baratheon spoils Rhaenyra Targaryen's fate on Game of Thrones. As Joffrey tells us, eventually, Rhaenyra's half-brother Aegon Targaryen will feed her to his dragon Sunfyre. She dies as her son, Aegon III, watches. That's the bullet point version.Why does daemon choke Rhaenyra? ›
While Daemon and Rhaenyra have been circling each other for quite some time, the finale revealed a darker and more toxic aspect of their relationship when, arguing over how to proceed against Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), Daemon chokes Rhaenyra in order to get his point across.Who kills Daemon Targaryen? ›
Daemon Targaryen dies in battle fighting his nephew Aemond. The pair meet in the Riverlands, both atop their dragons, and have a prolonged fight above a lake known as the God's Eye. In the end, Daemon leaps from Caraxes onto Vhagar and stabs Aemond through his sapphire eye.Was Lucerys death an accident? ›
While Ned's death was planned, Lucerys' death was an accident.
Sadly, Alicent believes King Viserys' dying wish was to have their son Prince Aegon succeed the throne. Really she should take into account all of Viserys' words, instead of hearing what best suits her family over at House Hightower.What did Viserys say before he died? ›
Viserys' final words in the text are, “Then the storm broke, and the dragons danced.” This was represented in the episode very artfully. A storm was present, and it picked up as Viserys was dying. The Catspaw dagger begins to hum, a weapon that symbolizes Aegon's prophecy and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.