House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 9 “The Green Council” Recap

King's Landing Red Keep Small Council, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), 1x09 (1)

I don’t want to be rude, but someone needs to tell Lord Beesbury he’s got something on his face. It’s making this Small Council meeting so awkward.

Spoiler Note: This recap and the comments section may contain mild spoilers from George R.R. Martin’s novels and Westeros histories, whether or not that material has appeared on the show yet. If you have not read the books and wish to remain completely Unsullied, we encourage you to check out our non-book-reader recap by Oz of Thrones!

So did the first “epic episode nine” for House of the Dragon measure up to Game of Thrones‘ storied episode nines? Hmmm….no. But it was a pretty good episode with a great final few minutes! In case you missed the episode or have forgotten already…

Word of the king’s death slowly trickles through the castle to some servants (notably the spy Talya) and the queen makes her move to set things in motion for her son Aegon to become the ruler instead of Rhaenyra. Otto is thrilled with Viserys’ dying “declaration” for the prince, of course.

King's Landing Red Keep Small Council, Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson), Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), 1x09 (1)
The Small Council convenes, and Otto is way too prepared to crown Prince Aegon as the king, with his strategy in place and allies lined up. Alicent is perturbed. Lord Beesbury is straight up pissed, he is not down with this coup. Criston Cole goes full on HULK SMASH on the old man, and now there’s a Council position open!

The Kingsguard Commander Harrold Westerling wasn’t in on the plan either. After challenging Cole for his murderous behavior, Westerling removes his cloak and signs off rather than imprison the true heir and her family. (It’s a striking contrast with Cole removing his cloak for lust- or love, your mileage may vary- a handful of episodes ago.)

Alicent finally tells her children the news.

King's Landing, Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor), Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor), 1x09 (1)Given that he’s now about to become king, everyone’s looking for Aegon. But Ser Erryk has unfortunately lost his asshole charge with the prince sneaking off into the city for whoring and whatnot. The Cargyll twins (named Erryk and Arryk because their parents hate them) are sent in plainclothes to fetch him. Though I’m not sure how discreet this really is, when the Kingsguard soldiers are generally famous and completely identical tall twins will not go unnoticed anywhere they go. Maybe just send one next time?

The Greens fail to coordinate their efforts- Alicent also sends people to hunt for her son, having his brother Aemond head out with Criston Cole to search. (Again…hood or not, the scarred and eyepatched face of a royal prince is incredibly recognizable. This is not the  greatest plan.) Aemond does know some places his brother likes to go- brothels they visited in their younger years. Nothing pans out though; it’s just a trip down memory lane for Aemond and a chance for Cole to wear his unfortunate penis hat.

Meanwhile, Otto is playing king again in the throne, demanding people kneel. They mostly do but a few don’t and are imprisoned for their loyalty to Rhaenyra. Lord Caswell hesitates, but kneels in the end. Larys silently watches.

A girl follows the Cargyll twins into fighting pits where we see children battling for the entertainment of others. (Forerunners of Biter. They were all tweens, once. Yep, ASOIAF can always get more depressing.) The girl is one of Mysaria’s little spies and has info to share.

fabien-frankel-ewan-mitchellAemond and Cole search, and the second son is much chattier this week; Aemond more or less admitting to wanting the throne and feeling he’s better suited.

The previously kneeling Lord Caswell tries to make a run for it and escape the Red Keep. Larys discovers his plans and has him stopped.  Otto sentences him to the King’s Justice.

The Silent Sisters prepare Viserys’ graying body. Alicent mourns genuinely, and lays his crown upon his chest.

Alicent visits with the imprisoned Rhaenys, who is outraged about her treatment, locked up with her dragon far from her. Alicent attempts to appeal to her logic and challenges the worth of the alliance Rhaenys made with Rhaenyra. “You should’ve been queen.” Rhaenys scorns her, and the way Alicent still serves men- she is the one imprisoned.

rhys-ifans_0Otto joins the ugly commoner disguise party in Flea Bottom, with Cole and surprise – Mysaria! Mysaria looks gorgeous of course. She confesses to having Prince Aegon “tucked away” safely  and subtly reminds them- she saved him from himself but she could have killed him too. That is the power a commoner can hold.

King's Landing Grand Sept, Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor), Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor), 1x09 (1)
It must’ve been hot as seven hells under there, Aegon

Aegon is revealed to be stashed…. underneath the ring of candles in the sept and he isn’t happy to be found. He has to be dragged kicked and screaming back to his own life. Criston Cole shows up and fights…I’m pretty sure it’s Arryk. (They should wear nametags.) Aemond tackles Aegon and keeps him from running off. Erryk watches, indecisively, his distaste for their prince keeping him from acting. He slips away. Arryk loses the fight, but Cole doesn’t draw blood. They have the prince.

King's Landing Red Keep, Larys Strong (Matthew Nedham), 1x09 (2)Otto and Alicent review the happenings and the Hand challenges his daughter for still being squeamish; she’s still playing games.  He wants Rhaenyra and her children dead and Alicent’s dead set against it.

After Otto leaves, Larys creeps in, as he does. He and Alicent play a game of tit for tat; more like…foot for dirt. He reveals what he knows about how her daddy finds out things and she gives him access to her bare feet. The nonverbal aspects and speed with which she takes off her shoes suggests that this is not the first time. He exposes Talya the maid as a spy and recommends removing Mysaria. Then it gets very very uncomfortable for everyone.

elliot-tittensor Ser Erryk Cargyll helps Rhaenys escape, having decided to change his loyalties. As they depart, we see Lord Caswell has been hung for his attempt to leave.

In the city, Mysaria’s house burns.

Erryk escorts Rhaenys through the King’s Landing streets but she gets lost amid the chaos of the crowds rushing to the announcement/crowning.

tom-glynn-carney_1Aegon is hungover for his own coronation because yeah, why wouldn’t he be. Ahead of it, Alicent presents him with the Catspaw dagger. Otto announces the king’s death officially and the prince marches into the sept nervously, with great ceremony. Rhaenys watches from the crowds until she slips away….and down.

Aegon basks in the approval of the crowd, gradually accepting his new role as king and the love that comes with it.

Until Rhaenys and and her dragon Meleys burst in through the back wall! Thrashing the crowd, sending people running, and scaring the hell out of everyone. The Greens are thunderstruck onstage. And it’s a beautifully brutal reminder that the Targaryens’ power lies in their dragons. Not in petty politics and manipulations.

Meleys roars. Standing in front of Alicent and her children, they have the power to destroy their entire line, all of the Greens at once. Rhaenys chooses not to. Instead, she turns and flies away, escaping the city.


Thoughts

Rhaenys’ Choice: Some people may hate it but I can respect it. It’s not an easy thing, to roast a large portion of your family all at once. Especially when (you think) both of your children and your cousin just died recently, and your husband might be on his deathbed. She may live to regret the decision but in the moment, we can only make the best decision possible based on the info we have and what we’re feeling. And she’s already seen so much death.

Sad Alicent: Alicent has natural hopes for her family, but no realistic ideas of the ramifications. Her tussles with Otto show that she’s trying to maintain a kind of morals but it’s rather half-assed. Her exchange with Larys is presented in a way that didn’t come across as empowering; it was just sad and transactional and her face indicated she didn’t want to be there. But she chose to be, for the sake of information. She’s still trying to figure out how to play the game, because she was pushed into it too young and now she’s stuck. But I don’t think she’s cut out for it at all. There’s something very joyless about her existence. I do pity Alicent. I think Olivia Cooke is doing a tremendous acting job with her.

The Twins: Look it’s not the writers’ fault that GRRM gave these guys basically the same name but maybe next season you could like…color-code their costumes more clearly or give one of them a haircut? Until we need them to look completely identical again for a certain scene from FaB. All I can think is, the people who haven’t read Fire and Blood must be totally lost on which one is which at any given time.

A Piece of Sh*t: Aegon really is, though. Hanging around a fighting pit where you’ve got a bastard? Just letting the kid stay there? Going to a fighting pit full of children to begin with?! Maybe to start with, as king, you could shut that shit down. Oh right, he won’t, because it still exists in King Robert’s time.

Meleys: You big beautiful girl! I was definitely rooting for her to burn the motherfuckers down. And I live for Rhaenys’ armor when she’s on her dragon. Complicated choices aside, such beauty!

paul-hickey_0

Valar Morghulis

Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson): It turns out all the Westerosi historians were wrong about the manner of Beesbury’s death. No one could have predicted “Death by ceremonial balls.”

Lord Caswell (Paul Hickey): Hanging, huh. Doesn’t the King’s Justice behead the lords who refuse to kneel? Ah well. Whatever happened to class!

Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of WatchersOnTheWall.com

120 Comments

  1. BURN THE MALL.

    I feel bad for Lord Caswell, he was a good one. And can someone just shank Crispin, already?

  2. Rhaenys’ entrance on Meleys was awesome and badass, but I think we should also keep in mind that she killed thousands of innocent civilians. As much as we might want to root for one side or the other, the truth is, neither of them really give a shit about the smallfolk.

  3. Malcolm Ferguson:
    Rhaenys’ entrance on Meleys was awesome and badass, but I think we should also keep in mind that she killed thousands of innocent civilians. As much as we might want to root for one side or the other, the truth is, neither of them really give a shit about the smallfolk.

    This! We will look back on this scene in the future with different eyes. I hope.

    There’s no good guys vs. bad guys.

  4. What I think this series does really well (possibly better than GoT) is that it offers more space for smaller characters to shine. Throughout season, characters like Beesbury, Harwin, the Cargyll twins (who I also have trouble distinguishing, but I don’t really think who is who is really important at this point) have all managed to come off as interesting despite having barely any screentime. And I find this very important. Martin’s universe, for me, was always about small characters, who may be just as charismatic and quirky as the main ones.

  5. “(Again…hood or not, the scarred and eyepatched face of a royal prince is incredibly recognizable. This is not the greatest plan.)”

    Even if he didn’t have the eyepatch and the scar, his identity would still be obvious. When you’ve got a chin a yard long, a hoodie doesn’t do much to disguise it.

  6. I lickad that episode and I was especially pleased to see Lord Strong’s motivation. Although I don’t think Alicent’s feet are anything special

  7. Firannion:

    Even if he didn’t have the eyepatch and the scar, his identity would still be obvious. When you’ve got a chin a yard long, a hoodie doesn’t do much to disguise it.

    I’ve lovingly referred to Matt Smith as having a face like an anvil, and Ewan is similarly strong featured and loooong faced. He’s good looking, but your comment made my mind go straight to this:

  8. Are you honestly telling me that Rhaenys could have ended the war before it started? And she left… to tell Rhaenyra and start the war? It was tense and I was worried for her during that sequence (that cone head is pretty noticeable under that cloak lol) her entrance was amazing, but it made no sense. She happily killed a few hundred people but spared the usurpers? Please…. Rhaenys knows better than that. This to me screamed ‘oh shit its Episode 9 and we need a big moment, who cares if it makes sense?’

  9. Jenny,

    I was watching the scene wondering why the writers didn’t have Rhaenys use those exterior exists we saw Daemon and Rhaenyra use in episode 1 lol. Made no sense.

  10. Jenny,

    As much as I liked that episode, the end was also a big problem for me. It doesn’t add up to me that she would spare the Greens on the moment (especially right after killing dozens or hundreds of smallfolk. Okay I know all of them royalty people do not care for smallfolk but still, we can’t just ignore this) and then go to Rhaenyra’s council and tell her to start/prepare for the war.
    And according to the “Inside the Episode” , it WAS a decision from the showrunners to add this scene and have a big moment at this coronation..

  11. Jenny,

    Yeah, that entire scene didn’t make any sense to me either. Actually, it really bothered me to no end.

    So far, Rhaenys was one of the only characters I connected with – partly because of Eve Best’s brilliant acting, partly because of her story arc. In all her scenes so far (some of the strongest of the entire show IMO were between her and Rhaenyra / Corlys). Rhaenys came across as ‘the sensible one’. Now for no reason other than boasting she’s escaped and powerfull, she crushes hundreds of people and leaves her opponents unscathed, making sure they will come after her (and her family).

    The rest of the episode? Well, I liked the opening sequence with Djawadi’s beautiful music.

  12. Tar Kidho,

    It didn’t bother me immediately while watching it, but indeed it doesn’t make any sense, it’s pure spectacle for the sake of it. She could have also landed in front of the gates and have her dragon roar through the gates.

    And how did Rhaenys assume the whole building would not be destabilised by her entrance and collapse over everyone? Pretty risky, IMO.

    To my eyes it looked like she burst through the floor so I was mostly wondering how she managed to get down there with her dragon. lol

  13. I just watched it and would give it a 7/10 it felt much more like GOT but some of the writing had flaws. Aegon is clearly a bad king but he seems so one dimensional, a clear bad guy, compare that to his one eyed brother and his aunty who both have screen gravitas. Some of the actions of Ser Criston make no sense, he’s been built up as a fundamentally good guy then randomly kills someone by smashing his head on a table?! The twin guards, are confusing and I don’t recognise them from before this episode. Otto comes across as a poor Littlefinger throughout, Helena again feels very one dimensional. Only really Alicent comes across well the entire episode at least you can still root for her and she is uncomfortable with what is going on around her but she knows she doesn’t really have a choice.

    I like the season overall but the pacing has been so confusing, I just hope in the remaining two seasons it can improve with more character investment, I’m optimistic it will.

  14. Ok, I just watched Inside the Episode, and i’m even more annoyed. ‘She doesn’t want to be responsible for doing that to another mother’ Oh please, they know it’s bullshit lol.

    I assume that she doesn’t fight in the war, that is the only way to justify this

  15. Jenny,

    I take everything the showrunners say with a grain of salt. Especially after D&D said that Dany “just kind of forgot about the Iron Fleet”. XD

    This applies to every story for me, not just this one. I’m always interested to hear what the creator has to say, but I don’t necessarily see theirs as the definitive take on how something should be interpreted.

  16. The writing did have its moments in this episode, but like many others here, I found Rhaenys’s decision at the end of the episode confusing and that’s where the writing faltered for me. Criston is also contradictory which I know is canon. I think he was referenced in GoT as being a very divisive historical figure. I mean his comment to Aemond about women being in the mother’s image or whatever, but then there’s the way he speaks about Rhaenyra. I realize that he resents her for being the cause of breaking his vows while taking zero responsibility for his own actions. And then there’s Criston killing Lord Beesbury which I believe is also canon.

    My interest in HotD has been pretty much fluctuating throughout, however I am fascinated with the historical aspect in all this because it’s so subjective (like in reality). We as viewers and ASOIAF characters have only what has been recorded through Maesters/ Fire & Blood. So I’m interested in seeing how the show continues to interpret the records of Maester Gyldayn, Yandel, Mushroom, etc.

  17. Like it or not, Alicent’s children are Rhaenys’ kin. I thought it was clear that Rhaenys’ status as a mother and seeing Alicent try to protect her son (however futile it may have been) stayed her hand. Rhaenys has had a lot of her family die on her lately. That on top of kin slaying…it worked for me. My worry is by destroying the floor…how will that play into future events?

  18. I’ll admit, I do have a bit of a hard time justifying Rhaenys’ decision at the end. I get that she doesn’t want to kill them… but by going to Rhaenyra, she must know a war will erupt, and they will all die anyway.

    I really liked the rest of the episode, and how it fleshed out Team Green. I love how sympathetic they’re making Alicent (the scene between her & Rhaenys was great); I’m enjoying the twin knights, and am interested to see them clash (how often do you see twin actors cast as enemies?); Even Aegon, as awful as he is, has more layers than I expected.
    And I loved that Small Council scene at the beginning, especially Ser Harrold’s Barristan moment.
    I’m also really relieved that it doesn’t seem like this war will hinge on a misunderstanding. Otto and the Small Council were already plotting to install Aegon. Otto is just using Viserys’ last words as another justification.

    But yeah, the Rhaenys thing at the end did kind of feel like they just wanted a “big moment” because it was episode 9.

  19. I am curious what the show does with Harrold Westerling. Was he one of the Kingsguard at Dragonstone in the preview of the finale? It was hard to make out, tbh.

  20. “Rhaenys’ Choice: Some people may hate it but I can respect it. It’s not an easy thing, to roast a large portion of your family all at once. Especially when (you think) both of your children and your cousin just died recently, and your husband might be on his deathbed. She may live to regret the decision but in the moment, we can only make the best decision possible based on the info we have and what we’re feeling. And she’s already seen so much death.”

    You must’ve missed the part where she killed a bunch of random people in the crowd.

    She could’ve killed the very people that want to start a war, but no, she killed a bunch of people that have nothing to do with anything and left the horrible people alive to continue being horrible. I don’t understand how anyone can support what she did at all.

  21. Malcolm Ferguson,

    I think an aspect of her bursting through the floor is that she had to get her dragon out somehow. That was her main motivation. In my head, I imagine that the “dragon gates” at the base of other side of the building (where we saw Syrax being led in ep 1) were closed, so she had to the small-folk-killing floor burst, regardless of her other decision

    It requires a bit of suspension of disbelief, but I do like it in the end

  22. I liked the ending, illogical as it may be… Rhaenys refusing to abandon her dragon and then, in spite of the clear display of power, choosing not to take lives were choices which spoke to me. I think that sometimes one cannot act in cold blood and use violence if not in clear danger. I know, that’s a fine line between being stupid and merciful.
    I have always felt sorry for Alicent and her sad life, even when her narrow-minded annoyed me. This is the first episode when I like her.

  23. Mr Derp,

    I choose to believe that the dragon gates (where Syrax entered back in ep 1) were closed. Rheanys really wanted to get her dragon out, and saw no other choice but burst through the floor. It makes a lot of sense in my mind, and since it’s probably never going to explain better than this, I’m going to stick with it. It think it makes the choice of not burning the Greens a lot more sensible. It’s an entirely different thing to actively and deliberately kill your own family. And Rheany’s doesn’t know that there will even be a war. It seems as she advocates against war in the preview for next ep.

    I think she is trying to threaten Alicent to stand by her promise of not killing R and her children. And at the same time making a gesture of good will by showing that “hey, I did not kill you when I had the chance. Remember that. Don’t start a war.” In the long run, if that action would work, it would save a lot more people than anything else.

  24. The more I think about it this episode has writing on a par with S7 of Game of Thrones. Just so many weird inconsistencies happening. I liked it overall but did anyone look at the script and not challenge that perhaps things won’t make real sense?

  25. Team Green: I choose to believe that the dragon gates (where Syrax entered back in ep 1) were closed. Rheanys really wanted to get her dragon out, and saw no other choice but burst through the floor.

    You’re right. Anytime my car is trapped in a parking garage it’s clearly acceptable to kill everyone in the parking garage until I get my car out. I mean, I really wanted that car!

    I’m joking, but that’s kind of how the defense of what Rhaenys did is coming off to me.

    It is what it is, but this kind of opens the door to questioning why we’re supposed to think this was a badass moment, while if say Dany did this, the show would want to frame it as though we’re supposed to be concerned that she’s going mad.

    Dany kills the Tarly’s, slavers = signs she’s going crazy
    Rhaenys kills a bunch of random small folk to get her dragon = badass yasss queen slay moment. She’s so strong and independent!

  26. Team Green: I think she is trying to threaten Alicent to stand by her promise of not killing R and her children. And at the same time making a gesture of good will by showing that “hey, I did not kill you when I had the chance. Remember that. Don’t start a war.” In the long run, if that action would work, it would save a lot more people than anything else.

    Rhaenys knows that Alicent is still “serving men”, so Rhaenys should also understand that what happens moving forward is not entirely going to be up to Alicent. Otto and the rest are going to do what they want to do. Trying to appeal to Alicent is not going to go very far.

  27. I’m confused by the comments. Why would Rhaenys roast the wife and children of her brother… to support Rhaenyra? She begrudingly supports Rhae’s claim, but is hardly likely to publically execute her brothers family for her.

  28. Malcolm Ferguson,

    I like to hear what creators say too, they wrote it, so they know better than anyone. Some of them aren’t great at expressing it though. I sometimes interpret things differently, which is totally fine, but it’s nice to have the ‘official’ version. They choose to make it available, or HBO does lol. In the absence of that, I’m happy to chat with other fans about our various interpretations.

    In D&D’s case, they practically controlled everything, so I took their comments seriously. In this case, we’ve got Sapochnik and Condal giving their opinions on something they didn’t write. So they get a bit of leeway, though not much because they were ofc heavily involved in the creation of that scene. I think there is a Sara Hess interview out so I need to read that

  29. Mr Derp,

    Well, you’re kind basing your argument on two unfair presumptions:

    1. That the characters are perfectly rational actors,

    2. and that they care about the small folk.

    I don’t believe neither applies. What Rhaeny’s does might not be the most rational choice. But it’s a choice she makes in the moment, which I believe is in line with her character. But sure, it is def one of the more fantastic moments in the show, and requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. I agree that it’s close to my personal limit as far as realism is concerned. But I still believe it works.

  30. Joe,

    He had better be there, why cast Graham McTavish otherwise? But then, Bill Paterson had about 2 minutes of screen time before he got killed by a small ball. Maybe they just wanted to get involved with the show?

    Which reminds me, Criston needs to die badly, that man is UNHINGED. Alicent can’t control her boys at all, they are beyond her power

  31. I think I would have been happy with Rhaenys escaping leaving Team Green shaken, because they know that the secret is out and Rhaenyra will be gathering her supporters. They need to prepare for war. She didn’t need to burst through the floorboards (which was of course seen by Helaena) that wasn’t big enough though. I’m just annoyed that they put her in that position at all. She has just condemned them all to death by running off to Rhaenyra anyway

  32. Team Green:
    Mr Derp,

    Well, you’re kind basing your argument on two unfair presumptions:

    1. That the characters are perfectly rational actors,

    2. and that they care about the small folk.

    I don’t believe neither applies. What Rhaeny’s does might not be the most rational choice. But it’s a choice she makes in the moment, which I believe is in line with her character. But sure, it is def one of the more fantastic moments in the show, and requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. I agree that it’s close to my personal limit as far as realism is concerned. But I still believe it works.

    I still don’t know why any of what I said is unfair. Anyway, this is all about consistency for me.

    GoT acted like the small folk were untouchable and any Targaryen who dared mess with the small folk should be considered BY THE AUDIENCE to be “mad” or crazy”. However, in HotD, you can kill a bunch of small folk and not only does no one care, it’s actually supposed to come off as “badass” TO THE AUDIENCE.

    Maybe the bar is just different when it’s all Targaryens ruling in the first place? I don’t know. I just wish it was a bit more consistent. That’s all, really. Canonically, am I supposed to think killing innocent small folk is terrible or badass?

  33. Something else I’ve been thinking about since I watched the episode last night. If Rhaenyra is expecting to be Queen, why is she being so passive about it? Especially when she knows it’s such an unpopular and controversial decision.

    She knows the king is about to die and everyone in KL wants Aegon to be named the successor, yet she decides to go back to Dragonstone and wait for all this to play out? She’s giving her enemies all the time in the world to organize a coup against her.

    We also haven’t seen her really do anything to secure alliances with anyone. It just feels strangely naive. We’ll see how Rhaenyra responds in episode 10.

  34. The “killing civilians” thing, from a writing standpoint, is something I’m going to reserve judgement on for now. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at the moment, because I don’t necessarily think it’s something the showrunners want us to overlook. I could be wrong though, so like I said, I’m reserving judgement until I see more of the show.

    My issue with Rhaenys’ decision is more that she should have realized that their deaths (and those of many others) would be inevitable in the event of a war anyway, so why not just kill them now, to avoid even more bloodshed? As Team Green said above though, she likely wasn’t thinking entirely rationally in the moment.

  35. Jenny:
    I think I would have been happy with Rhaenys escaping leaving Team Green shaken, because they know that the secret is out and Rhaenyra will be gathering her supporters. They need to prepare for war. She didn’t need to burst through the floorboards (which was of course seen by Helaena) that wasn’t big enough though. I’m just annoyed that they put her in that position at all. She has just condemned them all to death by running off to Rhaenyra anyway

    Agreed. Like what does she think will happen when Daemon finds out about the Greens? lol

    The show’s reasoning that she didn’t kill the Greens because she couldn’t do it to a mother (Alicent) falls flat the moment she flies off with the dragon.

  36. Jenny,

    I was happy to see Graham finally do something, albeit not much. It seems like he’s basically the Ser Barriston of this series; quits the KG and defects to the other side kind of thing.
    He makes every scene better. We need more of him.

    He’s going to appear in Outlander season 7!

  37. We really needed more politicking and plotting in the small council scene to hammer in the motivations behind the coup and plans. I wish the scene had been longer.

  38. Team Green,

    I’m fairly certain the gates to the Dragonpit are closed and locked any time a dragon isn’t being brought out to fly or put in to be “stabled”. The only opportunity to get Meleys out would have been during the coronation. She got Meleys out with as little bloodshed as possible, given the circumstances. I’d like to see someone explain plausibly how Meleys could have been emancipated from the Dragonpit without any bloodshed.

    If Rhaenys was truly cold blooded and indifferent to the smallfolk, she would have had Meleys blasting fire indiscriminately. Meleys stayed relatively still, aside from some tail lashing, she didn’t do anything to harm people close to her who were trying to flee. My impression is that most of the people at ground level were able to escape, unless they were standing where the floor was breached, fell into the pit bc of the debris, or got tailswiped.
    The Dragonpit would have been locked down as soon as Rhaenys was clocked as being missing from the Red Keep.

    I believe Meleys could have broken out of the stable area by herself. She’s a large, formidable dragon and we’ve seen dragons violently act out of their own initiative when their riders are threatened or under extreme duress.

    I saw Rhaenys (in)action while facing the coronation party on the dais as a direct parallel to Ned Stark offering Cersei a chance to flee with her kids in “You Win or You Die”.

    Why is nobody as upset over the children fighting to the death for the newly crowned kings amusement? Dozens if not hundreds of kids have been forced to beat and murder each other for years in KL apparently. Where’s the outrage for that?

  39. Mr Derp,

    I think she planned to come straight back on her dragon and this Episode took place the next day. Agree about her decamping to Dragonstone in general though, she left to ease the tensions but as the future Queen, her place was surely in KL? But she is the Princess of Dragonstone, so I don’t really know how it’s supposed to work. I expect her PR tour from hell to come back to bite her, she hasn’t made many alliances, people seem to be following her based on the oaths they swore 20 years ago, and Alicent said that a lot of those people are dead. It will be interesting to see how she manages to get support, her most active decision was marrying Daemon.

    I’ve been thinking about Alicent, a person who believed that Rhaenyra would murder her children because her father told her ONCE, but she’s shocked that her side would murder Rhaenyra? What is going on there?

    Mr Derp,

    I reeeally hope that he pops up to help Rhaenyra, he was her sworn sword once. He obviously had some affection for her.

    I need to catch up with Outlander, he was fabulous in it

  40. Mr Derp,

    I reeeally hope that he pops up to help Rhaenyra, he was her sworn sword once. He obviously had some affection for her.

    I need to catch up with Outlander, he was fabulous in ti

  41. Mr Derp,

    My theory is that the writers started to ‘develop’ Rhaenyra’s character and make her likeable to the audience via early Dany / early Arya parallels (most notable before the time skip), and it’s kind of backfiring now. Because Rhaenyra is neither of these characters and the writers have now created inconsistencies in her characterization.

    Book Rhaenyra is spoiled and entitled like her show counterpart (but the writers try to minimize her faults as much as possible in the show because it will make her too unlikeable).

    Book Rhaenyra also has a violent and tyrannical streak, but they minimized that in the show even more, to the point where it’s a blink and you miss it moment (see the “sharply questioned” line). The changes they made to the Vaemond death scene is imo the biggest evidence of the minimizing.

    I suspect they are afraid of the season 8 Dany backlash occuring, so Rhaenyra becomes passive and a victim of schemes and bastard children accusations (accusations that are true). To be fair, she is passive in the book, but circumstances for that differ, and imo the show exaggerates the passive trait to keep her likeable / a fan favorite. And I think these decisions will at some point backfire on the writers unless something changes.

  42. Malcolm Ferguson:
    3eyes,
    I feel like she’s a character who would have gotten an onscreen death. My guess is, she survived.

    I really hope she’s getting an onscreen death. To have her character disappear like that would be really disappointing. Or at least have someone in the next episode talk about that she was burnt in her house. Anything else would be lazy, imho.

  43. Mr Derp,

    I’m sure you wouldn’t kill people to get your car, but wouldn’t you punch some guys who took your dog or horse? Just continuing your joke, I know the smallfolk did no such thing! A dragon can be a means of transportation, but it’s also a living, inteligent creature, which can’t stand being locked.
    I am a fan of Graham as well. I was very pleased when I found out he would be in HOTD and you have just given me a great piece of news, I’m looking forward to his return in Outlander.

  44. So people are justifying breaking through the sept’s massive vaults by insisting this was easier than breaking through the “closed and guarded” dragon pit door? And (per the creators) that Rhaenys didn’t roast Team Green because “she couldn’t do that to another mother”? (Luckily there were NO mothers/children AT ALL hurt in the entire sept, phew!)

    Yeah nah, if disbelief has to be suspended to such a ridiculous degree, you lose me. This was just poorly written Episode 9 thrill-seeking.

  45. flintstonewielder:
    Anyone into foot fetishism?

    Haha, that made me cringe so hard! It took me a while to grasp what was happening – I guess people with a foot fetish were quicker to pick up where that scene was going 🙂

  46. Flayed Potatoes,

    “Book Rhaenyra is spoiled and entitled like her show counterpart (but the writers try to minimize her faults as much as possible in the show because it will make her too unlikeable).

    Book Rhaenyra also has a violent and tyrannical streak, but they minimized that in the show even more, to the point where it’s a blink and you miss it moment (see the “sharply questioned” line).”

    That’s IF you believe the histories about her which are based on Maesters’ records, sometimes given second- or third-hand. Aegon II wanted her struck from the records as being the first Targaryen queen so who knows what else has been omitted or just straight up recorded incorrectly. It reminds me so much of how Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard had been recorded in history before academics started questioning her upbringing and life. She is predominantly recorded as being ‘promiscuous’ and an ‘adulterer’ but given her age when she married the king, and even prior to the marriage, there’s now pretty valid suggestions that she was sexually abused and assaulted. “History belongs to the victors” and all that.

  47. WolfHart: My impression is that most of the people at ground level were able to escape, unless they were standing where the floor was breached, fell into the pit bc of the debris, or got tailswiped.

    This touches upon another one of my ‘suspension of disbelief’ gripes with that scene – how quickly the entire sept was cleared by thousands of people. One utterly chaotic moment all the smallfolk are desperately trying to get away from a floor-bursting dragon, the next minute (or just 30 seconds later) almost all of them had gotten organised and made it to safety. My mind simply could not accept such ulterior crowd self-management skills.

  48. Dark Sister,

    True, but the Vaemond death has a lot of witnesses and consequences in the book, so it being altered is imo more of a show writer thing than a history is written by the winners thing.

    Because of the way F&B is written, the showrunners have the excuse to cherry pick what version of events they want for tv purposes, and will sacrifice logic and characterization if they need to to obtain a certain result. We see this with them having Rhaenys interrupting the coronation because the showrunners wanted an epic moment for her regardless of what that meant in terms of logic. The coronation happens differently in F&B, and I would argue that in a historical document, something as important as a coronation ceremony would be more accurately depicted in writing.

    I also think the show is afraid to depict ambitious and violent women characters. Which is a shame.

  49. Urs:
    Tar Kidho,

    It didn’t bother me immediately while watching it, but indeed it doesn’t make any sense, it’s pure spectacle for the sake of it. She could have also landed in front of the gates and have her dragon roar through the gates.

    And how did Rhaenys assume the whole building would not be destabilised by herentrance and collapse over everyone? Pretty risky, IMO.

    To my eyes it looked like she burst through the floor so I was mostly wondering how she managed to get down there with her dragon. lol

    When I wrote that comment, I had not yet realised that the building where the coronation took place was actually above the dragon pit (or is this even the famous dragon pit prior to its destruction and ruin?). – I thought the coronation took place in the sept of King’s Landing. – So it makes much more sense that Raenys could quickly go downstairs and mount her dragon. And yet, it’s still all a bit weird. Was there no security down there guarding the dragon (dragons?). Did Raenys have some armour stored next to the dragon? Because she’s clearly wearing some kind of armour that she didn’t wear before. Was breaking through the floor the only way out of the building or did Raenys chose this way to impress her family? How could she know that her dragon would be strong enough to burst through the floor? And without making the whole building collapse?

  50. Urs: or is this even the famous dragon pit prior to its destruction and ruin? – I thought the coronation took place in the sept of King’s Landing

    The famous GoT dragon pit must be another location altogether, since that was quite a ways outside the city proper, and here we saw cityfolk being herded into a city sept (which I assumed was the same one or at least at the same site as the big GoT sept, but maybe a reader of FaB could step in to ‘educate’ us?).

    Anyway, layer upon layer of suspense of disbelief required indeed… (yes, that armour!)

  51. Richard:
    I’m confused by the comments. Why would Rhaenys roast the wife and children of her brother… to support Rhaenyra? She begrudingly supports Rhae’s claim, but is hardly likely to publically execute her brothers family for her.

    This is exactly where I’m at. Rhaenys doesn’t want any of this mess at all. She said so to Corlys several times. She’s not for either side. And I think the only reason she backed Rhaenerya the day before was b/c of Viserys’ walk through the great hall. She looked moved by what he did with his last bit of strength.

    Rhaenys has drawn the short straw her whole life: her opportunity to be queen, both her kids, probably her husband, annoying brother-in-law who was still family, and her cousin who she has shown affection for. She has had her dragon her whole life and gods be damned if she was going to leave Meleys behind. I can completely get her single-minded determination to rescue her last remaining bit of family that she cares about.

    And it seemed like she initially tried to just leave straight away, but they were closing the doors. So, she turns around to demand they let her out. More along the lines of:
    “If you try to stop me, you’re toast, but let me the ef out of here.”

    I honestly don’t think she was thinking about killing them. And I also don’t think that she has much personal reason to anyway. She doesn’t want to be in this mess and is pissed she’s been pulled into it. I suspect she’ll stop by Dragonstone to give a heads up on her way to holding up in Driftmark trying to stay out of it.

  52. This is a response to a lot of posts so I hope the relevant people will read without me tagging.

    1. The coronation ceremony too place at the Dragonpit. At first I though sept but someone corrected me.

    2. At the Dragonpit, the dragons are kept underneath, as has been established multiple times.

    3. The gates of the Dragonpit were guarded. I don’t think they knew Rhaenys has escaped yet, but they were not going to give her access to the dragons from the outside.

    4. Rhaenys snuck in with the crowd and therefore did not go to Meleys via those guarded gates but via stairs down on the inside where noone was expecting her and where regular people would never go, because, you know, dragons. We saw what happened when Aemond went down there.

    5. If the gates are barred, presumably with strong gates that also protect people from dragons, what other way out does Rhaenys have? Through the floor/ceiling apparently, I find the breaking of the floor a bit hard to figure out structurally, but suspended belief enough to enjoy the stare down.

    6. I think Rhaenys’s decision not to burn the Greens present (Aegon’s kids were not there, nor was Daeron) doesn’t make the slightest difference when it comes to the war. There is going to be one no matter what. Even with all the greens dead, the Westerosi Lords would still fight against a woman on the Throne.

  53. Does anyone know what that sigil on Larys’ staff was supposed to tell us? It looked like a bee to me? I think there was another close-up on his staff in one of the previous episodes. It surely must have some importance but I have no clue what it could be.

  54. Tar Kidho,

    The smallfolk were hoarded into the Dragonpit, which was built on top of the ruins of the Sept of Rememberance. There’s the normal ground level, where they had the ceremony, and deep underneath is where they keep the dragons (you see young Aemond run deep into the tunnels below after the pink dread prank). The Dragonpit has exterior exists/entrances that we see used in episode 1 by Rhaenyra and Syrax.

    In the book, they also have the crowning in the dragonpit and there’s no dragon incident.

    The sept from GoT is the Sept of Baelor and it is built some decades after HOTD.

  55. Flayed Potatoes,

    Thanks for filling in the gaps of my/our knowledge!

    So if the Dragonpit’s ‘ground level’ is built to support dragons, it makes even less sense to me that Rhaenys’s dragon could simply break through that way. And don’t get me started on the practicalities of Rhaenys not being crushed while her dragon breaks and claws its way through a figurative mountain of rock…

  56. Jenny: I expect her PR tour from hell to come back to bite her, she hasn’t made many alliances, people seem to be following her based on the oaths they swore 20 years ago, and Alicent said that a lot of those people are dead. It will be interesting to see how she manages to get support, her most active decision was marrying Daemon.

    We can expect that the Hightowers have natural enemies that have nothing to do with stuff going on in Kings Landing. The 7 kingdoms was a mess of active rivalries and warring before Aegon I came along. And some house heirs will uphold allegiances sworn by their forbearers. In the end, that’s not the part that’s going to matter. This isn’t a show about who has the most houses/people on their side.

  57. Tar Kidho,

    Yeah come to think of it the foundation would have to be extra strong to make sure they don’t break through it. Definitely an oversight on the show’s end.

    I just rewatched the clip of young Rhaenyra flying with Syrax to the exterior entry/exit from the dragonpit and it’s basically a tunel with no gates. The only people there with the dragons would be the valyrian shepherds we saw in episode 1, who aren’t heavily armed.

  58. awol: 5. If the gates are barred, presumably with strong gates that also protect people from dragons, what other way out does Rhaenys have? Through the floor/ceiling apparently, I find the breaking of the floor a bit hard to figure out structurally, but suspended belief enough to enjoy the stare down.

    I’ll just add that we saw in GoT that it is possible to confine dragons – Dany held her dragons in that place in Meereen (actually can’t remember which city in Essos) and even tied them up. So, there is some kind of structure that they can’t break though.

    I don’t have my architectural plans of the dragon pit handy, but I thought the door that everyone was already going through was THE entrance to the dragon pit, and then you have that slope going down to where the dragons hang out. It also wouldn’t surprise me if there was a back door, but I dunno. I can’t be bothered to go rewatch the first episode and compare the door(s) we’ve seen.

    Again, I hope someone with some actual architectural training could weigh in, but in domed structures, I thought the weight of the dome rests on the walls. So a stone/packed mud floor wouldn’t be a structural element anyway.

  59. I thought this was the weakest written episode of the series so far. Probably my least favorite. Weird decisions that felt more like…well the plot dictates this happens so let’s write something to ensure it does.

  60. JenStar Runner,

    Oh I am not concerned about the floor being a problem for the rest of the building. I am more just struggle a bit with how easily a dragon broke the floor of a bulilding that is supposed to be strong enough for dragons.

    But ultimately not worried about it, because I think Rhaenys and the Greens staring at each other and each character’s reaction to the thought they might be about to die was very rich. I don’t thing it would have been as good to just see her flying off out some door.

  61. awol,

    Yeah, I dunno what the exact dragon-confining needs are. It’s not that fun for me to parse the show at this level of detail. I’m an overthinker IRL, so try not to do it when I’m hoping to be entertained. I’m actively trying to restrain the parts of my brain that are tempted to puzzle through this. 😉 Not that I can suspend my disbelief through everything but it has to be really, really stupid and even then I can usually offer up some snark and forget about it.

    I do think character motivation is fun to explore. A thought that just occurred to me about why Rhaenys might not take out The Greens in that moment is that she may not view it as her call. If she is operating from the perspective that Rhaeneyra is now queen, does she think it’s OK for her to launch the first attack on two houses without Rhaenerya even knowing this is all happening? Rhaenys isn’t Daemon, after all. But it did seem like she was sending them a kind of mafia-style warning.

    I really enjoyed that face-off as well.

  62. Mr Derp:
    Something else I’ve been thinking about since I watched the episode last night.If Rhaenyra is expecting to be Queen, why is she being so passive about it?Especially when she knows it’s such an unpopular and controversial decision.

    She knows the king is about to die and everyone in KL wants Aegon to be named the successor, yet she decides to go back to Dragonstone and wait for all this to play out?She’s giving her enemies all the time in the world to organize a coup against her.

    We also haven’t seen her really do anything to secure alliances with anyone.It just feels strangely naive.We’ll see how Rhaenyra responds in episode 10.

    Princess Rhaenyra should be more assertive… She should act like a Queen! Command Respect and Honor. She made her father fire Hand of the King Otto Hightower but had no issue when Otto was brought back as hand of the King? Crazy… I like Princess Rhaenyra but the she doesn’t act like the Queen of the 7 Kingdoms.

    I like the first 5 episodes twice as much as these past 4 episodes

  63. I have loved every episode this season.

    That being said, this episode was an ok one but the low point for the season so far.

    I have no problems with the “logistics or thought process” of the final scene. I just think it overall fell a little flat because the entire episode felt oddly paced and off for me.

  64. JenStar Runner:
    Tar Kidho,

    The dragon pit is and was always in the city. It’s just not right up next to the Red Keep. They have to Uber between the two.

    Thanks. You are correct with respect to book lore, as this map shows:
    https://awoiaf.westeros.org/images/b/bb/Kings_landing_ACOK_map.gif

    My reason for thinking the Dragonpit was a ways out of the city stems from GoT. My memory for such things isn’t the best, but I seem to remember scenes where they walked in the countryside towards the Pit. Also seen from within the broken Dragonpit, there’s a lot of green around it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=403jzB62dAs

  65. JenStar Runner,

    The first scene of the first episode showed some kind of side entrance, Syrax was herded into it. How easily that is accessed is anyones guess.

    Flayed Potatoes,

    TBF, the writers are breaking their backs to shift blame from Alicent as well. The whole premise of the shows seems to be about these two women who are manipulated and used by the men in their lives. All part of that society. It’s pretty sad really

  66. If Rhaenys refuses to participate in the conflict, I will take back a lot of my criticism. Since I am 99.9% sure that she will get her hands dirty, i’m pretty happy to call that scene exciting and stupid. But I wont dwell on it anymore

  67. Oh, my sweet summer children 😜

    Firstly, Rhaenys ROCKS!!!

    One of my major issues with the show has been the slow burn, which I now understand (and in hindsight agree) is wholly necessary to flesh out the characters, the dynamics and the impact of what’s to come. But what I feel was lacking were the real bitchslapping twists that GOT gave us in spades. Vaemond’s death, and Rhaenys being a badass MOFO gave us those. LOVED it’

    So some smallfolk died. What’s new? The high lords and ladies play their game of throne and it’s the little folk who suffer. This we know. Besides, she watched them cheer in horror while the throne was usurped and taken from the rightful female ruler. AGAIN. They watch little kids beat and kill each other. Fuck em.

    As for not toasting the Targs, she knew that would bring war (inevitable as it is), but would destroy all support for Rhaenyra’s cause. She’s the smartest of them all by a mile, and we’ve seen this in every single scene she’s in.

    And let’s not forget.. no man (or woman) is so accursed as the kinslayer.

    Besides, that exchange was all about Rhaenys and Alicent. She was showing Alicent what it looks like to truly take charge as a woman, rather than capitulate to the men. They set that up so well beforehand.

    And on THAT subject.. did Alicent and Larys really have a wank-off?? Did my eyes see that? Cos they can’t unsee it! I get the foot fetish, but Jeez, Louise. They also set this up before, albeit subtly, because in a previous episode she took her shoes off when she joined Larys for dinner. I had no idea why at the time (it felt so weird), but I figured it was to show how close and familiar they’d become. Boy, have they!!

    And as for the “beasts under the boards”. You guys… the Dragonpit has no floorboards. Flammable wood in a Dragonpit? Nah. That was solid rock we saw flying around. Helaena’s words are referring to something entirely different. You know…

  68. Flayed Potatoes,

    I believe that there was a temporary floor laid down over a ramp that led to the dragon stable area, the ramp and entrance are shown in E6. (staring Vermax & the Pink Dread) Rhaenys should have been familiar with the layout of the stabling area, she grew up in KL, so she should remember the subterranean layout, as well as being able to gauge the end of the ramp vs. the floor laid over it.
    It would make sense that the Dragonpit would have a temp floor that could be laid down to accommodate public ceremonies. It’s cited several times in F&B that the Dragonpit is the only structure in KL large enough to hold the people who want to attend a royal function. I believe several weddings and at least 1 other coronation are held there prior to Aegon II & the events of the Dance.

  69. Jenny,

    They are. Let my girl be ambitious and scheme! 🙁 She was supposed to lead the plot and remind people Daemon can kill her family if Rhaenyra gets crowned. Honestly, their decisions to make both Alicent and Rhaenyra passive because of the premise they chose is not that strong.

    WolfHart,

    Yeah I remember the Dragonpit was the place where they housed a bunch of events, but I don’t have the book on me to double check what. I think Jaeherys was crowned in Oldtown, so Viseys might have been crowned in the Dragonpit?

  70. Richard,

    Because her granddaughters are Daemon’s daughters and betrothed to Rhaenyra’s sons, meaning they are fully team Black. Don’t you think that Team Green is going to try their best to do away with every single member of Team Black? That is why you would consider killing them because else they would come for you and yours. Team Green just usurped a throne that did not belong to them, naive/hypocritical Alicent may not want to shed unnecessary blood but we all know she’s not really in charged as much as she thinks she may be.

  71. Apollo,

    “And yet you toil still in service to men.
    Your father, your husband your son. You desire not to be free but to make a window in the wall of your prison”.

    Whereas Rhaenys smashed that place to shit to escape from hers.

    That, is the Queen who should have been!!

  72. Tar Kidho,

    The floor escape plan contra the gates:

    For this thought to work, you kind of have to assume that the floor of the dragon pit (unlike the gates) was not made for the intentional “ramming-of-dragon” through it. Just like many fences for cattle does actually not hold their weight, but stops them physociogically, as they don’t know this. This particular floor might be wooden, covered in thin stone slabs. We don’t know if it is, but that is something one would have to imagine. It is not an unreasonable thought to entertain IMO. There are other logical inconsistencies in the World of Ice and Fire that seem worse (how do northerners survive year-long winters when they sow and harvest, for example). You are exaggerating the putative writing-issue anyhow.

    Rhaeny’s choice:

    Stop getting caught up in this one quote about motherhood. Sapochnik and Condal said much more than that line. My main takeaway was the “moral high ground part” and her “choice in the moment”. Contextually intepreted, what they’re actually getting at is that she simply does not want to kill the Greens for moral reasons, and she wants to show them that she is better and presumably (if connected to her discussion with Alicent) that they can be too. That there is no need to start killing kinslaying and dragging the realm into war.

    I don’t know why people assume Rhaeny’s sees this as a declaration of war. I think she still wants to find a diplomatic solution. Remember, none of these characters have any idea of the scope of the tragedy that will unfold- They all believe they can solve the issue with relatively little bloodshed (only Otto actually wants to kill Rhaenyra at this point as well). Jumping the gun and instantly roasting half your FAMILY just hours after the conflict has started seems psychotic. Nah, you are viewing Rhaeny’s decsion from your own external and pansophical perspective.

  73. Mr Derp,

    There’s a difference between killing people trying to get your dragon and yourself out the only way available, and roasting to death a cowering family lol.

  74. Team Green,

    That’s quite the number of assumptions to putatively establish why your pansophical understanding of the Dragonpit’s structure and Rhaenys’ inner motivations are suppreme…

    FWIW, I thought WolfHart ‘s suggestion that the ramp got covered by a temporary floor, and they burst through that, was the first believable theory I’d read here. Just a pity then that the CGI made it look like Meleys broke through a substantial stone vault (or the back wall, as Sue saw it), because as soon as you make it look like that, there’s no reason why they couldn’t have escaped through the outside guarded/walled exit. Other than to create an unnecessarily ‘spectacular’ exit, that is. (My view was not that Rhaenys should have toasted your precious Team Green, but that she should have taken the safer, less confrontational way out, avoiding any contrived ‘choice’ altogether)

  75. Btw, I really hope that Oz will find the time this week to write his Unsullied recap. Very curious to know his thoughts on this episode and that final scene.

  76. I wonder why they decided to make everything so drab with all the colours drained out. And murky too. This should have been a feast for the eyes.

    Who was the little boy who presumably was the first to find Viserys dead? I thought he was a Targaryen at first, with the blond hair.
    And I might have missed something, but I had no idea whose house was burning. How we were supposed to associate it with Mysaria? Last I saw of her, she was on Dragonstone with Daemon.

    I really liked the music in this episode though.

  77. I finally understand Aegon’s weird hairstyle, it looks great with a crown. I loved his growing confidence as the crowd cheered. Its the only thing he’s ever wanted. I hate his guts but its interesting. I wonder if he will be a puppet controlled by Otto. Speaking of, his smugness in this episode was infuriating, I hope he dies miserably. He’s just too happy right now, and he has used his daughter abominably. I didn’t really understand what went on during that Criston/Aemond/Twins confrontation, it was all a bit confusing. Duelling Team Green wasn’t very entertaining, but I liked pretty much everything else, the opening sequence was really effective

    Grandmaester Flash:
    I wonder why they decided to make everything so drab with all the colours drained out.And murky too.This should have been a feast for the eyes.

    Who was the little boy who presumably was the first to find Viserys dead?I thought he was a Targaryen at first, with the blond hair.
    And I might have missed something, but I had no idea whose house was burning.How we were supposed to associate it with Mysaria?Last I saw of her, she was on Dragonstone with Daemon.

    I really liked the music in this episode though.

    The smoke machine was dialled up to 11 in last nights Episode, I just don’t understand it

  78. For me, the fact that 99% of the conversations about the episode revolve around Rhaenys and her decision at the end, is pretty annoying as the episode was full of great moments and scenes.

    Here is my two cents. I think most people mix what they want to happen and what should happen, knowing the characters and what they know. And what I know about Rhaenys is:
    1. She cares about her family
    2. She doesn’t care about the throne
    And to think the she would burn wife and children of her beloved cousin because they took the throne, is crazy. She doesn’t care about the throne nor does she have any particularly warm feelings towards Rhaenyra. And she doesn’t know what the book readers know. So far the worst thing to happen was her locked up in her chambers until afternoon.

    Anything else than her leaving would be murdering her character. And I don’t think she meant to kill the small folk, they were simply on the way, collateral damage.

  79. Daniela:
    Richard,

    Because her granddaughters are Daemon’s daughters and betrothed to Rhaenyra’s sons, meaning they are fully team Black.Don’t you think that Team Green is going to try their best to do away with every single member of Team Black?That is why you would consider killing them because else they would come for you and yours.Team Green just usurped athrone that did not belong to them, naive/hypocritical Alicent may not want to shed unnecessary blood but we all know she’s not really in charged as much as she thinks she may be.

    To me the writers are damned if they do damned if they don’t. Imagine the internet if she’d done that! She has been the most restrained and shrewdest character on the show so far; the comparisons to S8 Dany would have come thick and fast if she’d suddenly cracked and decided to burn Viserys’ family alive as there was a chance her grandchildren could be at risk further down the road! She sent Alicent a very clear message of disaproval, in no uncertain terms, which is about the strongest, IMO, you could realistically expect her character to do at this early stage of things.

  80. The episode was fine. Very slow-burnish which I liked.

    Honestly, I wasn’t too bothered by Rhaenys’s decision to not roast the Greens. It makes sense in the way that it is not outright war situation yet, she is also not a contender to the Iron throne, so it doesnt make sense for her to kill her kin in full public view and be named Kinslayer right now. Before actual fight starts there is always a round of needless posturing and power moves that both side indulge in. Now that I think about it, its not very sensible to do that but oh, well…

    Also I think it was a nice parallel between Rhaneys and Alicent’s characters. Alicent doesn’t like murder but she mostly ends up giving in when people around her commit it and makes her peace with it. She still sees power as something that men around her have and she can just be adjacent to it. Then she got to see Rhaenys, who showed her that power comes from actively wielding it, put your foot down and be an active decision maker, not driven by other people’s expectations.

  81. Jenny:
    If Rhaenys refuses to participate in the conflict, I will take back a lot of my criticism. Since I am 99.9% sure that she will get her hands dirty, i’m pretty happy to call that scene exciting and stupid. But I wont dwell on it anymore.

    This is a strange stance to me. She broke through the floor, we can assume at least in part because the gates (made to slow down dragons) were barred and guarded. She probably wanted to make a bit of a scene too, but this was a woman and dragon breaking out of prison, dramatically. She threatened but did not kill the greens who were present for a whole bunch of complex reasons, not least of which is that outright murder is a big step to take for most people, and that is a good thing.

    The greens may have staged a coup but there is no declared war yet, so murder and kinslaying is all that it would have been. And even if she did kill them all, Daeron lives in Oldtown and Aegon’s kids were not present, so no war would be prevented. She is THE character who, for the entire show has been telling us that the Lords of Westeros will fight against a queen on the Iron Throne no matter what. No war at all would be prevented by killing those people. She would have just been a murderer.

    So what exactly are you saying? She should just choose murder because murder is awesome?

  82. Knowledge is Power,

    I definitely agree. I kept thinking about Margaery Tyrell and how, yes she was incredibly manipulative, but also intelligent in that she endeared herself to the public. Rhaenyra should have done something similar to command respect and also the love of the people of King’s Landing. What was it that Mysaria said to Otto? something along the lines of “the only power you have is what the people allow you to have.”

  83. Grandmaester Flash:
    And I might have missed something, but I had no idea whose house was burning.How we were supposed to associate it with Mysaria?Last I saw of her, she was on Dragonstone with Daemon.

    Mysaria was shown in one of the last episodes (maybe even Ep 8?) as being in that particular house in Kings Landing, receiving inside information from the palace via Alicent’s handmaiden.

    But I agree, it was a bit difficult to figure out, if you only watch every episode once. Mysaria seemed to be very important in the first few episodes as Daemon’s lover and then she just disappeared until that brief reappearance and now this episode. It took me a while to figure out that this was meant to be her place that burned down.

  84. awol,

    That’s a rather uncharitable interpretation of what I said. This particular post was in response to people who insist that she hasn’t and won’t choose sides, that she will let them fight it out or council against war.

    I’ve written plenty about the scene in general, so I wont rehash it all. Basically, that scene was put there for spectacle alone and it irritates me. They basically admit to it in the Inside the Episode interviews. They wanted to disrupt the Coronation in the worst way possible, and they gave a bunch of feeble character motivations to justify it. Rhaenys shouldn’t have been put in the position to end the war before it started, and now she has flown straight to Rhaenyra, what does she think is going to happen? Will she feel guilty when her family tears itself apart? I doubt the writers care. I’ve watched the trailer for next week, she literally tells Rhaenyra that the Greens are coming for her and her children. As I said in the post you quoted, if she warns against war, that will go a long way to make the scene less irritating to me

  85. Jon Snowed:
    The more I think about it this episode has writing on a par with S7 of Game of Thrones. Just so many weird inconsistencies happening. I liked it overall but did anyone look at the script and not challenge that perhaps things won’t make real sense?

    I disagree. For me, this was the worst episode in the GOT universe. GOT episodes, including those from season 7, are superior.

  86. I think the final cliffhanger scene of Season 1 will be

    Queen Rhaenyra will find out that her half brother Prince Aemond killed her son Luke and that will trigger early labor and her daughter Visenya will be a stillborn miscarriage

    I think/hope the news that Aegon II is crowned King and the final cliffhanger scene will change Queen Rhaenyra in Season 2 and make her more like Queen Daenerys … More focused, More of a Ruler/Conqueror who commands authority.

  87. Grandmaester Flash:

    And I might have missed something, but I had no idea whose house was burning. How we were supposed to associate it with Mysaria? Last I saw of her, she was on Dragonstone with Daemon.

    Mysaria is the White Worm…

  88. Jenny,

    Ok, but she wasn’t though. As I said several times, killing the Greens who were there would not at all have stopped the war.

    Daeron lives in Oldtown and Aegon’s kids were not there and fully protected by Green loyalists. Rhaenys pointed out a thousand times tgat the Lirds of Westeros will fight against a queen on the Iron Throne no matter what.

    It woukd not have made the slightest difference to the likelihood of war and would have made Rhaenys a murderer.

    I have a few quibbles with the scene and mostly agree it was for drama, but there is some logic to it. Gow else was she going to get out except by forcing her way out?

  89. Urs: Mysaria was shown in one of the last episodes (maybe even Ep 8?) as being in that particular house in Kings Landing, receiving inside information from the palace via Alicent’s handmaiden.
    But I agree, it was a bit difficult to figure out, if you only watch every episode once. Mysaria seemed to be very important in the first few episodes as Daemon’s lover and then she just disappeared until that brief reappearance and now this episode. It took me a while to figure out that this was meant to be her place that burned down.

    Ah I remember that now, but I didn’t know where the house was and I didn’t recognise the hooded visitor. It was all so quick and I didn’t really see enough to know that it was the same house.

  90. Jenny,

    Beyond the Wall was a 7/10 for me, while this episode was a 5/10. I enjoyed the interactions between the characters of the wight hunt party and Dany’s rescue was a cool set piece.

  91. awol,

    Thinking it through, Rhaenys could have got rid of the King, the future Queen, Aemond (who apparently plans to usurp Aegon’s son) the Hand, the Queen, the head of the KG and probably the High Septon. So Otto’s brother could pop up to proclaim Aegon’s son King, and the Lords would fight for a child over the King’s chosen heir of 20 years. One problem, Rhaenys just took out all of the adult dragon riders, while Team Black have 6 (?) The Greens would be entirely outmatched. I’m sorry but I don’t know who Daeron is, so can’t comment on him. I haven’t read F&B so I might have forgot some dragon riders somewhere

  92. Young Dragon,

    Yeah, BTW did have that going for it. I enjoyed this Episode more than you did. I thought the opening sequence was really effective and I did like Rhaenys’ attempted escape on foot. Aegon made a good entrance at the coronation as well. I wasn’t a fan of the Aegon hunt, it seemed a bit like filler. I’m not sure why they ended up fighting

  93. awol,

    I assume Dareon is from Fire and Blood, but if he’s another claimant to the throne, it’s odd that he hasn’t been mentioned before. Or has he and I just missed it? If not, he may have been cut.

    I know Aegon has bastards, but I don’t remember him having legitimate children. Where was that mentioned?

  94. The hunt for Aegon is a way to show his backstory without flashbacks or exposition. Its only purpose is to remind us of how much a monster Aegon is likely to be as king, as well as to sow the seeds of possible rebellion by Aemond.

  95. Young Dragon:
    awol,

    I assume Dareon is from Fire and Blood, but if he’s another claimant to the throne, it’s odd that he hasn’t been mentioned before. Or has he and I just missed it? If not, he may have been cut.

    I know Aegon has bastards, but I don’t remember him having legitimate children. Where was that mentioned?

    Daeron’s blood streak showed up for the first time in the opening credits this episode (showing 4 children of Viserys and Alicent, not only the 3 we have met so far) and also GRRM confirmed in his blog recently that Daeron is not cut there was just no time to include him this season.

    Helaena mentioned her (and Aegon’s) children in the previous episode. The girl who was raped was supposed to dress them and did not show up. We then caught a brief glimpse of the twins this episode when Alicent came looking for Aegon. I don’t know about Maegor. We’ll see in season 2 probably.

  96. Young Dragon:
    awol,
    I assume Dareon is from Fire and Blood, but if he’s another claimant to the throne, it’s odd that he hasn’t been mentioned before. Or has he and I just missed it? If not, he may have been cut.

    I know Aegon has bastards, but I don’t remember him having legitimate children. Where was that mentioned?

    No clue who Daeron is (I guess a book character), but in this episode (ep 9), Helaena was shown sitting with two very blond young children who were playing with a nanny until Alicent came in asking about Aegon. I assumed that these two were the offspring of Aegon and Helaena, even if it was not explicitely said.

  97. Young Dragon:
    awol,

    I assume Dareon is from Fire and Blood, but if he’s another claimant to the throne, it’s odd that he hasn’t been mentioned before. Or has he and I just missed it? If not, he may have been cut.

    I know Aegon has bastards, but I don’t remember him having legitimate children. Where was that mentioned?

    Daeron is the youngest (4th) kid of Viserys and Alicent. He’s apparently going to be in Season 2, but we haven’t seen him yet in Season 1 because reasons.

    Aegon and Halaena have 3 kids I think, or will have, but we’ve just seen the 2.

  98. So yeah, this episode in many ways embodied what I’ve loved / hated about the series. Overall, I liked it, wasn’t my favorite episode of the season, but still was very good. On a micro level, the scenes, dialogue and characters were good. The tension was very high in the episode and it was all engaging.

    However, the big climactic moment with Rhaenys landed with a bit of a thud. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool, but I think once again, they failed to build to the moment in doing a poor job of establishing the character in the previous episodes. I know she’s had a few important conversations throughout the season, but still wasn’t a character that was really firmly established such that I have a good understanding of her wants and goals. Definitely more of a side character. I think that’s why the moment didn’t really resonate. And also didn’t really understand why she didn’t just roast everyone. I guess she has somewhat of a moral compass.

    And I think that’s been one of the shortcomings of the series so far, the wishy-washy character development, especially of the side characters. Whether it be due to the time jumping structure or the less compelling characters, I’m not sure. I hope it’s more the former so the issue can be corrected in season 2.

    Also is the fact they’ve done a poor job of letting us know who has how many dragons and which ones are the biggest / most powerful, so it lessens the importance of her stealing back her dragon.

  99. Loved it. From the opening, through the search for Aegon.
    Chills To Alicent and Rhaenys, including her last warning: I won’t kill you but, hey girl, look what you’ve done!

  100. Jenny,

    To be clear, I really liked 7 out of 9 HotD episodes and thought 1 was ok. This episode was the only bad one and hasn’t turned me off the show.

  101. Jenny:
    awol,

    Thinking it through, Rhaenys could have got rid of the King, the future Queen, Aemond (who apparently plans to usurp Aegon’s son) the Hand, the Queen, the head of the KG and probably the High Septon. So Otto’s brother could pop up to proclaim Aegon’s son King, and the Lords would fight for a child over the King’s chosen heir of 20 years. One problem, Rhaenys just took out all of the adult dragon riders, while Team Black have 6 (?) The Greens would be entirely outmatched. I’m sorry but I don’t know who Daeron is, so can’t comment on him. I haven’t read F&B so I might have forgot some dragon riders somewhere

    See my previous post about who Daeron is not to repeat myself.

    But you are right that most of the Greens’ dragonriders were there and could have been burned. But not all, because Daeron is also a dragonrider. So it would have changed the NATURE of the war, but not the fact of war itself. As we will see later, there are other means to fight that will be used against Rhaenyra that are not dragons. The Greens have very significant support throughout Westeros because they specifically do not want to be ruled by a queen. That basic fact would not have been changed by Rhaenys burning most (but not all) of the Greens’ dragonriders.

  102. A general question for everyone:

    I do of course get that a dragon bursting though the floor would not have been a great thing for any smallfolk standing right there, but did anyone actually see any smallfolk die, or even appear hurt, or were they just running away?

    It seems to me this might be a problem of over-zealous CGI that exaggerated both the crowd and the explosion. I think if the storytellers had intended for smallfolk to be casualties, they would have shown some casualties.

    I am assuming some injured smallfolk, and lots of very scared people but no deaths.

  103. I liked the episode, not all of it, but I can live with it. For me it’s not as bad as season 8 for me, it’s more like season 7 which I liked but had its flaws.

    I still do have questions about the pacing. I thought they would end the season with the dead of King Viserys. I think episode 8 would have fit better to be episode 10. That way they would have the time to flesh out the characters a little more. I still don’t know who is who at the small council. I can’t remember what Lord Beesebury’s function is there. I did read Fire & Blood long time ago and I reread last week the chapters that are leading up to the dance of dragons. This website helps to understand what is happening or I couldn’t follow at all. I know Laena and Harwin aren’t important for the endgame since they are already dead long before the dance begins. But it would have helped to show more, just to know who their children are. Suddenly there was a bunch of children from Laena, Rhaenyra and Alicent. I know who is who because I looked it up online, but for the casual viewer it’s confusing.

    I think it would have been nice to have season 2 begin with the green council.

  104. awol,

    If the storytellers want us to assume that a dragon bursting through the floor in an overcrowded room caused no casualties but only injured a few smallfolk then that scene goes from ridiculous to utterly stupid.

  105. Rhaenyra’s bastard,

    I am not sure you read what I said correctly. The story writing and the execution are two different things. In this case both the crowds and the level of violence of the dragon bursting through the floor were computer graphics decisions, not writing decisions. The editors should probably have caught the problem. The point is, if the writers indended smallfolk deaths they would have shown smallfolk deaths. They did not. Which means this is an execution problem not a writing problem.

  106. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    It’s a shame because I do like the actress, but the accent is a choice. If she’s back in S2, I hope she tones it down a little bit

    awol,

    I think they definitely died, people were getting whipped by her tail, knocked into the pit and crushed by debris. These shots go on for 30-40 seconds. Then they show people trying to climb a barrier of some kind, so people would have been crushed in their attempts to escape. I hate to think how many people died when she initially crashed through the floor. The creators also spoke about the small folk not being important to these people, so it doesn’t seem like a mistake

  107. Mr Derp,

    I think it has been established that the ruling class in Westeros doesn’t even consider the small folk. Rhaenyra expressed this viewpoint earlier in the season, saying something like “who cares about the small folk, what they think doesn’t matter”. It makes sense that Rhaenys would also have little thought of killing random dirty stupid peasants. It also makes sense that she would have pause over kinslaying, kingslaying, and all the doom and gloom and shame associated with those crimes.

    Also, while I think the moment was badass for the tv viewers, because dragons are cool and it was a shocking moment in the dramatic Aegon crowning ceremony, I don’t think we are meant to be like “yeah Rhaenys is a badass she’s the best go team Valaryon.” She did what she had to do to get her dragon and escape, as she was probably getting murdered by the greens if she didn’t. What makes you think the show is telling us to think she is badass or cool for killing those people. She’s badass for escaping on her dragon, yeah, but I don’t think the show is telling us how to judge the slaughter of innocent smallfolk either way.

    Also, you should remember that this tale takes place far in the past compared to game of thrones, so it makes sense that maybe views toward the smallfolk may have evolved over the hundreds of years between the two shows.

    I absolutely loved this episode, the scheming, the conflicted morals, the subterfuge, the dragon, the child fighting pit and foot reveals. It’s so good. Loving HOTD even more than GOT so far.

  108. Richard,

    I don’t think the comparisons to Daenerys would have been apt at all. For one, Daenerys decided to burn a city mostly inhabited by people who had done no harm to her. The people on the streets were mostly regular citizens walking around minding their own business and Daenerys aimed Drogon at them indiscriminately. She was simply lost in rage. If Rhaenys had Dracarys The Greens, most would have felt she was doing what Daenerys did when she Dracarys the Slave Master who sold her the Unsullied. Most people cheered her on if you remember. Of course, it would have been awful to do away with Helaena who is an innocent but Otto, Alicent, Aemond, Aegon, Larys and Criston won’t hesitate to kill Rhaeny’s granddaughters, no matter what they may promise. Those girls as Daemon’s daughters and Daemon is someone the Greens hate/are fearful of.

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