“House of the Dragon,” episode 8, was a dramatic one. Alicent, Viserys’s wife, misinterpreted her husband’s words before he passed away and now thinks Aegon should ascend to the Iron Throne. The question is, “What comes next?” Will Westeros know of his King’s passing, or will Alicent choose to keep his death secret to fuel her evil intentions? Let’s find out.
Otto Hightower, Placing A Final Brick In A Long-Laid Plan
“House of the Dragon,” episode 9, starts with a display of a dark and empty Iron Throne, council chambers, and hallways. The handmaiden of the Queen is informed of distressing news, which is then passed on to Queen Alicent, and she takes it with a heavy heart. King Viserys the Peaceful has passed away in his sleep. She immediately gets dressed so that she can inform others and get the process started for his funeral. Otto Hightower is grieving the death of his King in his way. The father and daughter discuss who should ascend to the Throne now. As was shown in “House of the Dragon” Episode 8, the King mistakes Alicent for Rhaenyra and tells her that he believes in the “Song of Ice and Fire.” He insists that she needs to be “the prince” who’ll the kingdoms against the cold and the dark beyond the walls in the North. Queen Alicent takes this as the King’s way of saying Aegon should be the one to succeed him. She conveys to her father that, whether or not he believes her, it was the King’s dying wish that Aegon ascend the Throne. Otto’s plans to rule Westeros through his children and grandchildren take a giant leap. His daughter is the Queen, and his grandson is about to be the next King.
Otto Hightower called an emergency council meeting of all the lords. He informs them that the King is dead, and according to the Queen, the King has whispered in his dying breath that his son will be the next successor. He continues that the pieces of their plan have fallen into place on their own. Alicent is shocked to hear that, behind her back, her father and everyone in the council was planning to usurp the Throne from Princess Rhaenyra. But not everyone has been in on the plan. Lymon Beesbury, enraged, states this as “seizure,” “theft,” and “treason. He refuses to believe the words of Queen Alicent as he has known the King longer than anyone present around the table. He tries to get up, but his head is smashed into the table by Ser Criston, resulting in the death of Lymon.
The Lord Commander draws his blade and points it at Ser Criston, commanding him to remove his robe since he has just slaughtered a noble lord in front of the most prestigious nobles in the council. Which brings us to the issue: who will rule next? Otto Hightower insists that they must eliminate the Princess and anybody else who stymies the pursuit of Aegon’s ascendancy in order to achieve what is right. As a close childhood friend and wife to the father of Rhaenyra, she refuses to have them killed. Everyone knows the Princess will not bend the knee, and definitely not Daemon. Otto Hightower interprets the Queen’s silence as consent and commands the Lord Commander to travel to Dragonstone to carry out the act in secret. The Lord Commander is conflicted about whether to pledge allegiance to Rhaenyra or the newly appointed heir presumptive. He takes off his robe and lays it flat on the tabletop, professing his allegiance to the occupant of the Iron Throne alone.
The Race To Prince Aegon!
The Hightowers visit Aegon’s quarters, expecting to discover Aegon, but instead, they find Helaena. They inquire about Aegon’s whereabouts, and she admits she is as clueless as they are. Otto abandons the palace in quest of the Prince. Alicent is breaking the news of the King’s death to her son’s wife. She warns us to watch out for the “beast beneath the boards,” of which we learn the identity towards the episode’s finale. Aemond walks in, takes one look at their faces, and knows his father is dead. The scene shifts to Otto Hightower asking Ser Erryk about Prince Aegon’s whereabouts, but he doesn’t know either, as Aegon constantly evades him whenever he gets the chance. In a terse voice, Otto tells him to abandon his armor, grab Arryk, and venture out into the city to look for Aegon. Things are really on the edge as the cat-and-mouse game has begun. So, who will get hold of the Prince first?
We go back to the chambers where Alicent, Helaena, Aemond, and Criston are discussing the future of Westeros. She wants Ser Criston to swear her loyalty to her as the Queen and bring her son to her and only to her. Aemond gets up to leave with Ser Criston, but Alicent is reluctant to let her second son go out among the dangers of unruly streets. Aemond shares that he knows him better than anyone in this castle, and as his brother, he wants to be the one to bring him home.
Ser Criston and Prince Aemond are scouring the Street of Silk, searching for Aegon. They knock on a door, ask discreetly about Aegon’s whereabouts, and are told that he hasn’t been here for years. They continue their mission of searching for their Prince. Simultaneously, the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower, is laying out the grounds for his grandson. He calls all houses and announces that the King has passed away and that Aegon will be ascending the Throne as per his wishes. The next in line to the Throne has changed, and it is time for them to bend the knee to a new king. But, as expected, some people disagreed. They refuse to bend a knee to another when they have already sworn an oath to the Princess. The same Lord tries to leave the room but is stopped by Otto, stating he cannot leave the room unless they pledge their fealty to Aegon. Everyone reluctantly lowered their heads to Otto Hightower. Nonetheless, there was someone else who refused to bend the knee—the Queen of House Fell, who stated she was no oathbreaker. Everyone who refused to change their fealty was carried out by the Kingsguard, probably to be imprisoned or killed.
The twins continue their search for Aegon in the lowly slums. They grumble when they see the Flea Bottom, where kids are thrown into the pits to fight against one another. Their nails are grown, and their teeth are filed to make them vicious fighters while people are betting on who wins. One of the twin brothers lands an eye on a white-blonde boy who he suspects to be the bastard of Aegon Targaryen. One of the many unknowns – they conclude. In another part of the city, Aemond and Ser Criston are having their discussion about the unfit nature of Aegon. Aemond has trained, learned, and been better at everything, yet the crown has been just handed down to the worst sibling possible. Aemond has no intention of bending his knee and swearing fealty to someone who bullied him as a child, along with his nephews. Aemond is also a second son, just like his Uncle Daemon, and sees himself fit to rule the seven kingdoms, and is furious seeing his incompetent brother being handled everything on the platter, everything he deserves. This might be the reason why he’s often intrigued by Daemon’s actions, as he sees his own reflection in him, and we have often seen him locking eyes with the Rogue Prince.
A woman approaches Arryk and Erryk, saying that she knows where the Prince is and can share that knowledge given the right price. Arryk and Erryk reply that only her answer will decide whether she deserves the coin or not. The woman says the one who knows where the Prince is will only share it with the Hand of the King. The Twins follow the woman to her master, who is later revealed to be Mysaria, aka The White Worm. While Alicent is overseeing the preparations for her late husband’s funeral, her father is out to meet White Worm to make sure Aegon attends his coronation. Alicent places the crown on King Viserys’ body as tears fall out while she grieves her loss.
Alicent Urges Rhaenys To Go Green
Afterward, we see Queen Alicent visiting Rhaenys, and the latter demands an answer as to why her door was barred from outside. Just like Aemond, she was instantly able to conclude that the King was dead. She acknowledges the audacity of Alicent in usurping the Throne from Princess Rhaenyra. Alicent tries to bond with her over being a woman and pleads with her for her support. She explains that women were never meant to rule; we are meant to stand behind our Kings supporting them. She doesn’t want to see the long-standing House Velaryon perish with her and the ever-away husband of hers who has left for six long years. Rhaenys has been the Lady of Driftmark, and she can continue only if she accepts Aegon’s coronation. But, Rhaenys’s refusal to accept the offer was a little surprising. Maybe deep down, the “Queen Who Never Was” wanted to see a woman ascend the Throne, a chance she never had. Queens and Princesses of Westeros bend over for their husbands, fathers, and kings. Otto Hightower used Alicent as his pawn to gain control over the Iron Throne, and she was forced to wed Viserys just to provide him with a male heir.
Going back to the White Worm, the Hand of the King, Arryk & Erryk. We come to know that when the White Worm heard of the King’s death and Aegon’s coronation through her spies, she hid him only to sell him back to his grandfather, the Hand of the King. She wanted the end of Flea Bottom as she no longer wanted to see children fight among themselves for the depraved pleasure of men and women from slums. The gold is handed over, a deal is made, and everyone goes their way. Arryk and Erryk find Aegon finally tucked under a table. They dragged him out to take him back to the castle. Aemond and Ser Criston were not far behind. They block Arryk and Aegon as they are coming out of the place. Aemond has decided that Aegon is an unfit king and cannot be allowed to ascend to the Iron Throne.
Aegon tries to run away, but Aemond goes after him, leaving Arryk and Criston to battle on their own. Aemond catches up to Aegon; there is a struggle between them, and Aegon does admit to not being fit enough for the Throne. At the castle, we see Alicent finally standing up to his father. Otto points out how weak she was when she refused to have the Princess killed. Alicent loudly states that refusing to commit murder is not a weakness. She wants him to send terms of surrender to Rhaenyra on Dragonstone and make Criston Cole the Lord Commander of Kingsguard. She also states that Aegon will carry the sword of legacy, Blackfyre, and ends the conversation. Otto tries to convince her again by reminding Alicent of her mother, but it is all in vain as Alicent has finally broken out of his spell.
Lord Larys visits Alicent’s chamber to seek an audience with the Queen to make her aware of his father’s plan, but for a price, of course!! She removes her sandals and places her feet on the table. Larys shares that there is a web of spies working in the Red Keep. They feed their weavers all the juicy tidbits of what is going on within the castle walls. Alicent removes her stockings as he continues that the lady-in-waiting, Talya, is one of those spies. The “foot-fetish” scene goes a bit further when Alicent turns away while Larys reaches under his clothing to masturbate while looking at Alicent’s feet. Queen Cerci was right on the spot-the only weapon and bargaining chip women have are just their bodies, nothing more, nothing less.
House of Dragon Episode 9 Ending Explained: Aegon’s Coronation And The “Beast Beneath The Boards”
Everyone was awake, anticipating the events of tomorrow. Aegon is eating with a grumpy face, Otto is awake scheming his plans, Aemond is glooming in the shadows, the Queen is distressed about the future, and Rhaenys is anxious about the instability of Westeros. Erryk enters Rhaenys’ chambers and states he cannot bear this treachery any longer. He helps her escape outside the castle walls, where she is separated from the crowded streets of King’s Landing. She cannot leave her dragon behind, but he says they will be expecting her there, and her dragon will be heavily guarded. Aegon and Alicent have a mother-son talk where she shares that her father will suggest killing off Rhaenyra and her family. But, he must refuse this, as no matter what, Rhaenyra is still his sister. He asks only one thing in return—”Do you love me?” To which Alicent responds, “You imbecile .” Maybe she was trying to imply that she does love him no matter what, and he shouldn’t have to ask such questions. Or, maybe she remembered all those times when he defied her and defiled all the women that worked for him. As the crowd gathers, the King is officially declared dead by Otto. Hence, the funeral and the coronation of the next King will happen at the same time. All the gold cloaks enter the chambers; they line up parallelly, raising their swords, and Aegon walks towards the stage of his coronation. Vows are made, the ceremony is conducted, and the crown is placed on the head of Aegon Targaryen, second of his name, heir to the Iron Throne, and he is named the King of the Seven Kingdoms and the Protector of the Realms.
While we think this is the end, an explosion on the floor says otherwise. People are scattering, screaming, and running toward the door. The majority of the people probably expected Rhaenyra to enter the scene with her dragon, but it was Meleys ridden by Rhaenys, or, according to Helaena’s visions, “The Best Beneath The Boards.” Rhaenys slowly inches toward the Queen and the newly-crowned King. Otto Hightower is screaming to open the doors while the gold cloaks are making sure the doors stay the way they are. When we think that everyone will be “Dracarys-ed” in hellfire by Meleys, she just screams in their face and flies away, leaving behind a very confused crowd. Why was no one killed even though they may have deserved it? Rhaenys shared a lengthy gaze with Alicent, realizing that the latter was also the victim of “Game of Thrones.”
Maybe things would have gone more smoothly if Rhaenys had said “Dracarys.” Exterminating them would have prevented the annihilation of the Empire at the hands of the Targaryen Civil War. And it would have saved her life as well. After all, Aegon and Aemond are responsible for her tragic death during the Dance of the Dragons.