REVIEW: House of the Dragon-Episode 9 ‘The Green Council’

Last Updated on October 20, 2022

The penultimate episodes of each season of Game of Thrones would often be the most talked about episodes – think of Blackwater, Battle of the Bastards, Baelor (I still miss Ned), and The Rains of Castamere. House of the Dragon E9 doesn’t reach those dizzy heights. Instead, it delivers a solid, if plodding episode with a grand finish.

House of the Dragon E9 is all about the fallout of Visery’s final words to Alicent and the way in which she has interpreted them. The small council reveal that they have been preparing to claim that Alicent’s son Aegon is the next in line to the Iron Throne and although Alicent seems shocked, only poor Lord Lyman Beesbury voices his discomfort in such an act. The response from Criston Cole is to slam his head into the table, killing the one person objecting to the madness. It’s another sign of Cole’s descent throughout the season but whether it is the acting or the way his story has played out, Cole’s time on screen often leaves me perplexed and hoping for a grisly death for the knight. A rare weak point for the show. Of course, with Aegon now basically an uncrowned king, he has gone missing. Both Otto and Alicent send their people to track him down, allowing us a bit of time to enjoy the brilliant Prince Aemond who is fast becoming one of the most interesting characters in the series. The journey through Flea Bottom also gives the audience a chance to see how sick and twisted the soon-to-be king is, with him often attending brutal child fighting pits and even fathering his own bastards and leaving them to the hell of the pit. It shows the hypocrisy of the Greens who have fought against both Rhaenyra and Daemon being heir due to supposed lack of morals. We’ve gone from Otto, Alicent, and Cole wanting to protect the realm from the depravity of Rhaenyra and her uncle, to a king who loves child torture, Larys Strong who loves feet (I won’t explain), and Cole who loves… no idea to be honest. I think he just loves anything that will make Rhaenyra suffer after their little fling. The Greens are easy to hate, even though in Fire and Blood, the balance of depravity is shared more equally between the sides.

The star of House of the Dragon E9 is Rhaenys. The Queen Who Never Was spends much of the episode locked in her room as Alicent and the Greens attempt to control those in King’s Landing as they search for Aegon. She is an important piece on the board – a dragon rider respected by all and mother of children who will inherit control of the sea. Rhaenys feels like the character who understands more than anyone else the importance of the Iron Throne and the way in which many of the major players are trapped, especially the women in the show, even as they fight against it. She has one goal in the episode as the Greens rush to crown the petulant Aegon and that is to find her dragon. It leads to one of the best endings to any of the episodes set in Martin’s world and gives us the final piece needed as we head into what will be an explosive finale next week. There are little nods to what will be the future of Westeros with a network of spies gathering information around the city, more signs of the Seven, and the importance of bastards when dealing with the Iron Throne. Speaking of the future, everything poor Helaena Targaryen seems to say of late appears to be a prophecy so it will be interesting to see how things develop based on her few lines in each episode.

House of the Dragon E9 isn’t the best episode of the series but it does what it needs to do to set things up for the finish. The Greens and the Blacks are where they need to be and the battle for the Iron Throne is about to begin. A slow episode that gives way to a roaring finish. Let battle commence!

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Memories of Blood and Shadow, and The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of School at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Elden Ring. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.