House of the Dragon – Season 1 Episode 9 Recap & Review
The Green Country
Episode 9 in House of the Dragon starts with birds singing in the quiet, eerie morning. It’s the peace before the storm as word starts to spread throughout the castle that King Viserys has passed away. Very Peaceful Peaceful has died.
Alicent is talking to her father and admits that Viserys said to her that he would like Aegon to become King. “It is the truth uttered with his own lips,” Alicent admits, and tears well up in her eyes. We know for sure that the man was referring to Aegon who was the Conqueror and, as the experts predicted, this is likely to cause the beginning of a conflict.
The council meets in the early hours, and Otto Hightower delivers the news to all who are present that Viserys has passed away. Otto mentions that his last desire was to see Aegon be The Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. As Jace was to the king, Otto and the others are quick to put the wheels in motion.
Members of Daemon’s City Watch loyal to Daemon are required to be replaced… But the entire process runs smoothly. Alicent is stunned to discover that they’ve thought of doing this for some time. Lord Lyman Lannister seems to be the sole person who believes that this is treason, and believes there’s something shady going on.
Ser Criston turns around and kills Lyman by smashing his face against the table, letting his blood run onto the table. The body will not be removed until they have completed their work, however; it’s as a symbol of how the blood will be released in the future.
Otto and the other members are now focusing their attention on Rhaenyra as well as her entire family. Now, they must publicly swear in obeisance to the King of the New Kingdom. If they don’t? Then they’ll be held in prison. Alicent is aware of the fact that Daemon and Rhaenyra will not bend their knees and Otto is too and has intentions to murder them if they do not.
Alicent is the only person who, out of all will not let this take place, even though she knows that Viserys wouldn’t have had a desire for Rhaenyra to be killed. A Lord Commanding the King’s Guard is unwilling to obey orders from Otto as well and suggests that they gather the troops and travel to Dragonstone. “Until there is a King, I have no place here.” He declares and then walks away.
Aegon has disappeared from his bedroom and isn’t inside the castle walls. Almond as well as Criston Cole both venture into the city with each other to search for Aegon. It’s a matter of time, however, given that the twin knights Ser Erryk and Ser Arryk Cargill are also looking for the man, working to protect Otto.
It’s a highly risky matter and more so due to the fact that Aegon is known to have “spread his seed” across the city, including to many blonde-haired kids who are battling each other in savage fighting pits.
For Aemond who is almond, he would like to be King, and since the fact that he is the biggest dragon and is a believer, he’s an ideal leader.
So, back in the castle, bannermen and women are split between a loyal adherence to Rhaenyra or switching towards Alicent and the King who is now in power. Some kneel down in fear, while others do so because they are truly convinced of the King’s word. Some who rise up and refuse to do so are taken out of the room by soldiers.
In the end, Alicent shows up to visit Rhaenys and announces that Aegon is going to be King. Alicent wants her support, however, Rhaenyra and Daemon will not be able to be happy with this. Alicent attempts to sweeten the deal by saying that Rhaenys might be able to acquire Driftmark and then pass it on to her daughters. Rhaenys is quick to throw back a surprise, asking if they’ve ever thought of herself sitting on the Iron Throne. The answer isn’t forthcoming.
The silence speaks for itself, and it’s a clever piece of dialogue about the strength of men, without turning into pot-shots at sexual or gender-based sexual or physical.
Otto Hightower meets with the White Worm, who appears to have all the answers – including the demise of King. As she passes over a pile filled with gold coins, she reveals that the Prince is “safely tucked away.” To be able to get Aegon returned, White Worm wants an end to the brutal treatment by children at Flea Bottom. We’ve seen the horrific fight pits in earlier shows as well. Otto says he’ll “look into it.”
The result is that Aegon is discovered and forced to fight his brother Aemond. It’s a minor skirmish, not exactly a blood sport, however, Aegon attempts to persuade Aemond to go with him, and then jump aboard an aircraft and go sailing away.
With Aegon returning, Alicent butts head with her father on the best method to go about it. Alicent has decided to offer favorable conditions for Rhaenyra on Dragonstone which she will accept without guilt. Otto thinks it’s an unwise move as it could mean Rhaenyra could rally others to her cause.
Alice decides to also apply for anointment to Criston Cole to be King’s Commander. Kingsguard in addition to Aegon will be honored at dawn. The entire town part of King’s Landing will see his anointment, and she plans to create a huge celebration.
While they are on their journey toward the Keep, Aegon chuckles at the idea that Viserys shifting his thoughts and calling him King. “He didn’t like me.” He says. After giving the dagger to Alicent, Alicent advises Aegon not to follow Otto and to certainly not rule with a sense of pity and inhumanity. With Rhaenys being smuggled out of the castle, she mixes with the people of the city when they are led to the great chamber to witness the new King being crowned.
When the crown is put on the head of Aegon The crowd murmurs and anticipates what’s going to happen the next time. Applause is finally heard throughout the room. As Aegon lifts his sword in the sky and composes the crowd, the dawn of a new era is in the air… however, suddenly an erupts dragon out of the ground. It’s Rhaenys!
The doors are locked and the dragon can be heard roaring in their direction all…but not in a fire-like manner. The dragon turns around and leaves the room, flying away and, possibly informing Rhaenyra of what’s occurred.
The Episode Review
There’s a lot of talk on the internet that this is the weakest episode in the season, but I’d have to say no. While it’s not the greatest, it’s still a good start considering the stakes and the drama we’ve seen in the last two weeks. But there’s plenty here to lay the groundwork for a thrilling finale to come.
Ramin Djawadi’s score for this episode, particularly in the opening 15 mins is beautifully composed and sets the stage so perfectly for the next scene. This show is a good way of creating high stakes from a few lines of dialogue. There’s also lots of symbolism in the show too.
The scene involving Larys The Strong as well as Alicent’s feet is bound to be a hot discussion topic, but what’s fascinating is the significance. There’s plenty of discussion about”push-back” those who are commoners in the midst of “stamping” down with authority on those at the lowest. The sight of Strong delighting himself while the camera’s focus is on Alicent’s feet, is like a symbol on a more fundamental dimension than “foot fetish”; it directly connects to the notion that Alicent along with the rest of the High Lords tearing down commoners in their game of the throne.
The final scene with Rhaenys could be seen as a deus ex machina that leaves many wondering why she didn’t eliminate the entire house and move on. But the truth is that Kinslaying is considered a crime in Westeros and we’ve already seen Jaime Lannister slaying the Mad King. What we receive instead is a warning and an assurance that the throne will not be going to be uncontested. The blood is set to spill in a massive way.
After two shambolic finales in the last week (looking at She-Hulk’s finale as well as Rings of Power), House of the Dragon steps out of the smoldering ruins to present a delicious final episode that leaves the door open to a bloody good conclusion to follow. It’s time to get going!
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