House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 9 Recap, Theories, and Thoughts

We’re coming to the end of House of the Dragon, folks. I’m bummed. I really like this show and could spend every week hanging out with Viserys, Rhaenyra, Daemon, and Alicent, no matter who plays them. They’re compelling characters with fascinating problems and they ride dragons. What’s not to love?

I’ve been wrong on almost everything about this show thus far, mainly because I keep expecting a Game of Thrones-styled tragedy/twist to occur. While one will undoubtedly happen, either in this episode or the next, I almost think the writers are counting on us expecting things to go bad, and playing that expectation against us.

A few episodes back, we had a wedding and a feast, and the show went out of its way to build a Red Wedding-like atmosphere only to deliver a much more emotional payoff instead. Similarly, last week saw our disputing families sit at the same table for the first time in a good while, a dinner sequence designed to make us think bloodshed was afoot before pulling back and giving us a … happy family gathering? This in and of itself was probably more shocking than any act of violence.

Really, the point was to show the influence King Viserys had on these very different people. Rhaenyra obviously respected and loved him enough to try to make peace with Alicent; Alicent cared for him enough to look after him for all those years; Daemon respected him enough to stay in his corner. While not perfect, Viserys was a man who at least tried to do the right thing right up until the moment when he died — and then he might of f—ing it all up.

His death could very well be akin to ringing the dinner bell — everyone will come rushing for their piece of the feast, and will likely do whatever it takes to make sure there’s enough food for their family. Or maybe not. I guess we’ll find out. Onto Episode 9, which is creatively titled “Episode 9.”

What Happened in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 9

As expected, the episode opens with a dark and gloomy King’s Landing. Viserys is dead. The Iron Throne lingers in darkness. The halls are quiet. Alicent hears the news and immediately tells her father. “He told me he wished Aegon to be King,” she says, recalling his last words, which she completely misunderstood.

A small council is summoned. Otto states the news: “He wished Aegon to be King.”

There’s a beat and then Tyland Lannister leans back in his chair. “So, we’re free to proceed as planned?” (Some of the council, like Ser Harrold Westerling, look surprised.)

“Yup,” Otto says casually before dishing out mission directives, ordering men loyal to Daemon to be removed from the City Watch immediately.

Alicent, who quickly assumes Viserys’ mantle as the exasperated ruler, is like dad … have you been planning to install my son on the throne without me?

Otto’s like, “Yup.”

Lyman Beesbury is most definitely against this act of treason. We see Criston Cole move behind him. Our goofy knight slams Lyman’s head down on the table hard enough to kill him. Ser Harrold draws his sword, but Alicent gently tells him to stand down and the meeting continues.

“What of Rhaenyra?” Alicent asks.

“…” says her father.

“You plan to kill them?”

“Well, yeah,” Otto states bluntly.

“This is madness,” Alicent snaps.

“Madness? This is King’s Landing,” Otto shouts. Granted, he gives Alicent a moment or two to come up with an alternative plan and then orders Ser Harrold to take his men to Dragonstone to execute Rhaenyra. Alicent says nothing.

Ser Harrold removes his white cloak and resigns. “F this place,” he says. “I answer only to the King.” Good for you, ole chap.

Keep in mind, no one knows the King is dead. Anyone who does know is rounded up and placed in prison.

Aegon, the heir, meanwhile, is missing. Otto orders some of his men to search for him. Elsewhere, the Queen asks Criston to do the same. Aemond offers to go along, the Christian Bale-crazy in his eye shining brightly. Both teams secretly branch out into the city to find the Prince. He’s not at any of the brothels … his tastes are less discriminating, whatever the hell that means.

Meanwhile, Otto calls all the houses into the throne room and orders them to bend the knee. Only a select few refuse to pledge their allegiance to Aegon and Otto has them removed. (Larys Strong watches from a nearby perch, his expression blank.)

As it turns out, Aegon is into, uh, child fighting. And he uses his own, er, bastards to carry out his hobby. Yikes. Aemond, for what it’s worth, tells Criston that he rides the biggest dragon in the realm and will happily take the crown should some sort of accident befall his brother. Interesting.

Later, Otto converses with Larys and notes how much time the meager Strong has been spending with his daughter. “There’s no reason the many hours I’ve spent with her can’t benefit you,” Larys says.

Elsewhere, we see the King wrapped up. Alicent weeps over his body and then goes and speaks with Rhaenys, who has been locked in her room for obvious reasons. “I came here to ask for your support,” Alicent states. “What has aligning with Rhaenyra done for you?”

“The word of my house is not fickle,” Rhaenys says.

“You should’ve been Queen,” Alicent says. “You can have Driftmark, your dragon, everything …”

“Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?” Rhaenys asks bluntly.

“Er, I’ll leave you to your thoughts,” Alicent says before leaving.

Meanwhile, Otto converses with the White Worm of Flea Bottom. She has the Prince, but will only release him if Otto promises to stop all the child fighting shit. Then reminds Otto that the Prince is only alive because she kept him alive — basically, the people are in charge.

“Riiiiiiiiight,” Otto says with a snarl.

So, Otto’s men find and capture Aegon and then contend with Aemond and Criston over his control. Our boys win and bring Aegon back to the Queen.

With Aegon in her possession, the Queen tells Otto that she will do things her way — and she plans to spare Rhaenyra. She doesn’t want bloodshed, but still plans to place her child on the throne. Otto gives her a, “you really think this is going to work?” look but then relents. “As you wish,” he whispers.

Alicent heads off to speak with Larys, who informs her of the web of little spiders roaming about the city. She asks for more info and places her feet on a stool … he reveals her handmaiden is one of those involved and suggests cutting off the head of the snake … she asks him for more info and he waits for her to remove her socks … yeah, he’ll do the deed so long as he’s allowed to (I shit you not) jerk off to her feet. Men are such simple beings.

Later that night, Rhaenys is escorted from her room by a loyal knight who guides her through the courtyard rather than the back door for some reason. They pass the hanged corpse of one of the lords who wouldn’t bend the knee, but no one seems to know just how bad things are at the moment. The pair move through the city streets, past a burning home (I assume the White Worm’s house?), and stumble into a mob. Not good.

Alicent and Aegon ride to his coronation. He looks glum as hell. “I don’t want this shit,” he says.

“Your father wanted this,” she snaps back.

“No, he had twenty years to name me heir but never did because he didn’t like me!”

Then she hands him Viserys’ dagger. He eyes it with all the enthusiasm of a contestant on the Price is Right who found out they have to play Plinko for a washer and dryer.

Otto addresses the city folk, among whom stands Rhaenys. When he announces Aegon’s ascension, the Queen That Never Was gives a look like Holy shit, they’re really doing this? Aegon moves towards his mother and Otto. She gives him a kiss. The ceremony goes as planned … Rhaenys vanishes from the crowd … Criston takes the crown and lowers it onto the boy’s head … it’s official, he’s the King. The crowd cheers. He raises his sword …

… and then a f—ing Drago bursts through the floor, likely killing hundreds of the poor common folk of King’s Landing who so often die as a result of the royal family’s petty squabbles. Atop the beast sits Rhaenys. She scowls at the Queen, the new King, and the entire family. Rather than roast them all right there, putting an end to the battle before it even begins, she actually flies off, likely to warn Rhaenyra of the oncoming war.

I mean, that’s one way to say no.

The episode ends and the trailer for the finale teases more dragons, more bloodshed, and more standoffs on that one bridge in Dragonstone. So, maybe the war won’t really kick into gear until next season, as the finale looks to focus more on Rhaenyra’s struggle to deal with the madness at hand.

Final Thoughts on House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 9

I’m cool with that. As stated above, this is a great show with great characters. I’m not too anxious to see any of them die just yet. The most interesting aspect of the series thus far has been seeing which characters align with Alicent and which ultimately pledge allegiance to Rhaenyra. After so many decades of scheming and plotting behind the scenes (without the knowledge of Alicent or Rhaenyra), the pieces are now in place to get down to business. Basically, this is all the result of a bunch of stupid men with lofty agendas, though neither Alicent nor Rhaenyra are entirely innocent. Whether intentional or not, their actions are about to lead to a massive war that will claim many lives.

I’m betting Rhaenyra tries to keep the peace, but ultimately takes up arms when one of her sons is killed. I imagine Daemon plays a hand in there as well, perhaps scheming on the side to ensure certain things happen at the right time. The same will likely happen with Alicent — she longs for peace, but the powers that be will propel her to war.

I’m prepared to be sad again.

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