The penultimate episode of the first season of House of the Dragon sees the beginnings of the true conflict at the heart of the show.


Last week's eighth episode ended with the tragic death of King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) after his confused final words to his wife Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) left her convinced that she would have to deny his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) from ascending to the Iron Throne.

The conflict between the Princess and the Queen's children was evident at the family's final feast with Viserys, but none of this will compare to the coming Dance of the Dragons.

So, what happened in the aftermath of King Viserys' death? Here's everything you need to know about House of the Dragon episode 9, The Green Council.

**Spoiler warning for House of the Dragon episode 9**

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House of the Dragon episode 9 recap: The Green Council

Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon HBO

The silent and empty Throne room and parts of the Red Keep are shown as a young blond boy walks through the castle and down through the kitchens to whisper to the Queen's servant Talya (Alexis Raben). In Alicent’s bedroom, Talya tells the Queen that the King has died.

Alicent visits her father Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and tells him that the King is dead and he asks who else knows. Alicent reveals that Viserys told her he wanted Prince Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) to be King and she is convinced it was the truth and that she was the only one to do it.

Talya is then seen to light candles in a window of the Red Keep.

In the Small Council chamber, the council is gathered and told of King Viserys’ death. Ser Otto reveals the "final wish" that Aegon should inherit the Iron Throne. Ser Tyland Lannister (Jefferson Hall) and Lord Jasper Wylde (Paul Kennedy) then make clear they had long prepared for this and now do so with the King’s blessing. They discuss the removal of members of the City Watch who are loyal to Prince Daemon Targaryen and also ensure they have the funds they need in the treasury before sending ravens to their allies. Alicent then asks if they had been planning for Aegon’s ascension without her knowledge and it becomes clear they had, with Lord Wylde saying they did not wish to burden her with their schemes.

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Kurt Egyiawan as Grand Maester Orwyle and Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury in House of the Dragon
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Kurt Egyiawan as Grand Maester Orwyle and Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury in House of the Dragon

Standing up, the veteran councillor Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson) then speaks up in protest at their plotting, calling it seizure and treason. The others argue that it was Viserys’ wish and that the oath sworn by lords to Rhaenyra was 20 years ago. Lord Beesbury doubts Viserys would have made such a decision on his deathbed with only Alicent as the witness. Grand Maester Orwyle (Kurt Egyiawan) tells Lord Beesbury to mind his tongue. Lord Beesbury then questions whether the King died by natural causes and wants to know if any present were responsible. Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) then stands behind Lord Beesbury and tells him to sit before slamming his head down onto the council table, killing him. Lord Commander Ser Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish) then draws his sword and tells Ser Criston to put down his own and remove his Kingsguard cloak but, instead, Ser Criston draws his own sword and says he won’t suffer insults towards the Queen. Alicent denies an insult took place and asks him to put aside his blade. Grand Maester Orwyle suggests removing Lord Beesbury’s body but Ser Otto says they shall remain there until their business is ended.

Ser Tyland suggests they solve the issue of Storm’s End as Lord Borros Baratheon could be an issue unless they propose an advantageous marriage to one of his four daughters. Alicent asks about Rhaenyra and Ser Otto suggests they imprison her before getting her to publicly swear to obey King Aegon, with the Queen noting that Rhaenyra and Daemon won’t bend the knee and realises that the council plans to kill them. Grand Maester Orwyle agrees with killing them to avoid bloodshed and war. Ser Otto calls for this necessary evil and argues that Viserys would not have wanted Daemon to rule. Alicent protests that Viserys would not have wanted them killed and any further complainants to this she’ll have sent to the Wall, silencing Lord Wylde. Ser Tyland asks Alicent for her suggestion but she remains silent. Ser Otto then orders Ser Harrold to take his Kingsguard to Dragonstone to kill Rhaenyra’s family but the Lord Commander takes off his Kingsguard cloak and refuses the command until there is a new King. The Lord Commander leaves.

Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling in House of the Dragon
Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

Afterwards, Alicent and Ser Otto visit the rooms of Princess Helaena Targaryen (Phia Saban) as they cannot find her brother-husband, Aegon. Helaena does not know where he is as she sits sowing near her two children. Helaena asks Alicent what has happened and the Queen goes to tell her but then Heleaena asks after Viserys before growing upset and commenting, "There is a beast beneath the boards." Prince Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) then enters the room.

Ser Otto then pays a visit to the Kingsguad knight Ser Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor) asking after Aegon and he reveals that the Prince has evaded him despite Ser Erryk being his personal protector and has now likely left the Red Keep secretly. The Hand tells Ser Erryk to take his twin brother Ser Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor) and to track down Aegon in secret. Ser Otto asks for the Prince to be brought to him alone.

Meanwhile, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) awakens in her room in the Red Keep when she hears she has been locked in. From her window she notices all of the servants moving downstairs where they are locked up in the dungeons. Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) - now the Lord Confessor - also notes the happenings.

In the Queen’s chambers, Ser Criston tells Alicent that the Cargyll twins have been sent to find Aegon but she asks Ser Criston to bring the Prince to her alone, in conflict with her father. The knight promises to not fail her, before Aemond volunteers to join him in finding Aegon, despite Alicent’s worries about him leaving the Red Keep.

Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower and Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower and Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

Across King’s Landing, Ser Criston and Aemond visit the brothels in a bid to find Aegon, as the Cargyll twins also search. Aemond notes how Aegon once brought him to one brothel when he was younger to lose his virginity. One madame reveals to Ser Criston that Aegon hasn’t visited the Street of Silk in years and how his tastes are now "less discriminating", with the madame wishing Ser Criston luck in his search. Speaking to Aemond alone, the madame notes how he has grown, implying she may have been the one to take his virginity.

In the Iron Throne room, Ser Otto speaks with some lords and orders them to now switch their oaths of allegiance from Rhaenyra to Aegon. One lord says he must confer with his House on the matter but is barred from leaving. The Lord refuses to break his oath and won’t bend his knee. Ser Otto asks for other examples, including another lady who says House Fell keeps its sworn oaths. Both of them are led away. The remaining lords - including a hesitant Lord Allun Caswell (Paul Hicke) -swear to obey Aegon as Lord Larys watches.

In the slums of King’s Landing, the search for Aegon continues. The Cargyll twins come across a fighting pit where children are forced to fight each other with filed nails and teeth. Ser Erryk notes that Aegon spends many nights in that place and points out a small child with platinum blond hair to his brother - the child is Aegon’s bastard. Ser Erryk comments that they are likely one of many.

Luke Tittensor as Ser Arryk Cargyll and Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll in House of the Dragon
Luke Tittensor as Ser Arryk Cargyll and Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

In the Red Keep, Lord Caswell attempts to depart the castle on horseback.

Ser Criston and Aemond search for Aegon and the younger Prince notes how he himself is the better fighter and the one who studies and yet Aegon has always disregarded his duties or anything of importance. Aemond suggests it is he who should be King, but Ser Criston notes he knows what it is like to not have things handed to him. Aemond concludes that if they don’t find Aegon then he will happily take the Iron Throne if asked.

Meanwhile, Ser Erryk notes to his brother Ser Arryk that Aegon is not fit to rule but his brother argues they have sworn themselves to the boy. A girl emerges asking if they need anything but when they refuse she offers to take them to Aegon or to someone who knows where he is. The servant offers to have the White Worm treat with Ser Otto alone.

In the Red Keep, Lord Caswell is pulled from his horse as he tries to leave and seized. In the castle, Lord Larys accuses him of fleeing to warn Rhaenyra but he denies this to Ser Otto. However, the Hand does not believe it and orders Lord Caswell to be taken away to receive "the King’s Justice". Ser Otto thanks Lord Larys and refers to the many hours he has spent with the Queen, to which Lord Larys suggests those hours can benefit Ser Otto also.

In Viserys’ chambers, a conflicted and grieving Alicent stands as the Silent Sisters tend to the late King's body. Alicent lifts Viserys’ crown and places it on the King’s embalmed body and breaks down in tears.

Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon
Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

Alicent then pays a visit to Rhaenys who asks about why she has been imprisoned. The Queen apologises and Rhaenys realises that Viserys is dead and the Iron Throne is being usurped. Alicent asks for House Velaryon’s support, noting how their backing of Rhaenyra has only brought them pain and no heirs. The Queen also accuses Lord Corlys Velaryon of abandoning his wife Rhaenys. However, Rhaenys refuses to be fickle but Alicent notes that Rhaenys should have been the Queen and was more suited to it than Viserys, commenting that while they can’t rule but guide the men that do, gently and away from violence and destruction. Rhaenys asks where her dragon Meleys is and Alicent comments that she must be kept from Rhaenyra to avoid Aegon being outmatched in dragons and to try and encourage negotiation. Alicent offers Driftmark to Rhaenys and her granddaughters. Rhaenys concludes that Alicent is wiser than she imagined but continues to only serve the men around her, commenting that the Queen doesn’t desire freedom but a window in the wall to her prison, before asking Alicent if she has ever imagined herself on the Iron Throne. Alicent does not answer and leaves Rhaenys to make her decision.

In Flea Bottom, Ser Criston and Aemond search before witnessing a meeting between a hooded Ser Otto and the White Worm, Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), with the Cargyll twins keeping guard. Ser Otto asks if Mysaria is the White Worm and she offers her condolences on the King’s death -showing how effective her spies are. The Hand offers payment to Mysaria and asks for Aegon who she reveals is safely tucked away after ending up in Flea Bottom. Mysaria asks for an end to the savage use of children in Flea Bottom and wants the Crown to end it. Ser Otto promises to examine the issue but Mysaria remarks that when Aegon is made King that she is the one who put him there and for the royals to be aware that they are only in power so long as the people allow it. The Hand promises to remember.

Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria in House of the Dragon
Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria in House of the Dragon HBO

In the Great Sept, the Cargyll twins hear coughing beneath the high table and pull a drunk Aegon from out of it and he asks after the White Worm. The Cargyll twins tell him they are taking him to the Hand but he tries to flee. They capture him before they are ambushed by Ser Criston and Aemond. Aegon flees before Ser Arryk duels with Ser Criston. Aemond wrestles with Aegon and says he hoped he was dead. Aegon spits back in his brother’s face. Ser Criston bests Ser Arryk as Ser Erryk flees. Aegon confesses to Aemond that he does not want to be King and suggests they find a ship and sail away. Ser Criston, however, drags away Aegon to see the Queen.

In Ser Otto’s chambers, the Hand congratulates Alicent on her plotting and notes they have a shared goal: the good of the family. However, Alicent comments that their hearts were never one and he had manipulated her as a piece on his board. Ser Otto suggests that he is willing to make sacrifices for the greater good but Alicent does not see a reluctance to murder as a weakness. The Queen recognises that she has Aegon and they will proceed as she sees fit, which will be to send peaceful terms to Rhaenyra on Dragonstone, but Ser Otto argues that if Rhaenyra lives then her allies with swarm around her. Alicent answers that Viserys would want mercy shown to Rhaenyra but Ser Otto replies that it is Alicent who wants mercy for her. Alicent orders that she will name Ser Criston as the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and Aegon will be crowned with the Crown of his namesake, Aegon the Conqueror. Ser Otto then comments on Alicent’s likeness to her mother but Alicent leaves as he acquiesces to her desires.

Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon
Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon HBO

In Alicent’s chambers, Lord Larys approaches the Queen with some information that she should know. Lord Larys questions how Ser Otto found Aegon first and blames a spy network that her father knows of. Lord Larys exposes Alicent's lady-in-waiting Talya as a spy before suggesting he removes the head of this spy network. Lord Larys stares at the Queen’s bare feet after she removes her tights and as she looks away, he masturbates beneath his robes.

That night, Aegon eats alone as Aemond sits and ponders, while Alicent is also deep in thought.

Rhaenys sits thinking in her room when she hears a commotion and Ser Erryk Cargyll enters and offers her an escape from the treachery. During their escape, they see the body of Lord Caswell hanging in the Red Keep. They pass the skull of Balerion the Black Dread before finding passage out of the castle.

Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

Meanwhile, the house of Mysaria is shown burning as a hooded figure walks away.

Rhaenys and Ser Erryk walk the streets of the city as she argues that they head to the Dragonpit to free her dragon, Meleys. The pair then collide with the crowds as they are herded by soldiers towards the Dragonpit for the coronation of Aegon.

En route to the Dragonpit in a carriage, Alicent tells Aegon to be grateful for what is about to happen but he notes that his father didn’t want this, commenting how Viserys never wavered in supporting Rhaenyra. Aegon doesn’t believe Alicent when she tells him that Viserys changed his mind as he believes his father didn’t like him, but Alicent impresses that Viserys made his accession a final wish to her. Aegon laughs but then his mother shows him the dagger of Aegon the Conqueror and he lifts it, beginning to believe that Viserys indeed wanted this. Alicent encourages Aegon to ignore Ser Otto’s advice to kill Rhaenyra, suggesting he makes peace and to not rule with cruelty. Aegon asks Alicent if she loves him and she answers that he is an imbecile, implying that she does.

Olivia Cooke as Queen Mother Alicent Hightower, Tom Glynn-Carney as King Aegon II Targaryen and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Queen Mother Alicent Hightower, Tom Glynn-Carney as King Aegon II Targaryen and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

Meanwhile, Rhaenys is among the crowds as they arrive at the Dragonpit as the bells toll and the crowds enter the structure. Inside, Ser Otto announces the death of King Viserys the Peaceful and the late monarch's wish that Aegon should succeed him. The crowd murmurs and some people then cheer. Guards enter as trumpets sound and Aegon enters and heads to the stage and is kissed on his forehead by Alicent. Rhaenys watches from the crowd. Aegon bows before the High Septon who blesses him before Ser Criston crowns him as King Aegon II Targaryen. After Aegon is called the "true heir to the Iron Throne", the crowd murmurs. Alicent, Helaena, and Ser Otto - but not Aemond - bow to Aegon. The crowd is slow to applaud and cheer but eventually celebrates. Ser Otto is delighted before Aegon draws his sword and lifts it to cheers. Alicent smiles an uneasy smile.

However, the events are interrupted when the floor crashes open and in the dust the dragon Meleys emerges from the depths of the Dragonpit, causing chaos. Atop Meleys rides Rhaenys in her full Targaryen armour. Ser Otto orders the doors of the Dragonpit to open as the guards bar them. Alicent stands in front of Aegon as Meleys squares up to them all and Rhaenys stares them down. Alicent closes her eyes preparing for death but Meleys does not burn them, instead roaring before flying out of the Dragonpit. Alicent shows a pained look of relief before the doors of the Dragonpit are closed.

What book changes are in House of the Dragon episode 9?

Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO

There were a number of changes when adapting Fire and Blood into House of the Dragon episode 9, The Green Council.

  • The continued story of Alicent believing that King Viserys told her that Aegon should succeed is original for the series.
  • In the book Fire and Blood, Ser Harrold Westerling had already died prior to these events and had already been replaced as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard by Ser Criston Cole.
  • Princess Rhaenys Targaryen was not present in King's Landing for the death of King Viserys and the subsequent accession and coronation of King Aegon II Targaryen in the book, meaning her scenes including the big climactic moment with her dragon Meleys are original for the series.
  • In the book, in the most likely reading of events, Lord Lyman Beesbury is described as having had his throat slashed at the Green Council by Ser Criston Cole.
  • Lord Larys Strong was present at the Green Council in Fire and Blood as he was the Lord Confessor and Master of Whisperers. In the book, Lord Larys suggested they all swore a blood oath to honour their plan. All of Lord Larys' scenes in this episode are invented for the series - including THAT scene with Alicent.
  • The storyline of Lord Larys and his sexual response to Queen Alicent during their private audiences is original for the series.
  • Ser Erryk Cargyll was already on Dragonstone with Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen when her father died in the book Fire and Blood, with the series having him present in the city and acting out a role similar to Ser Steffon Darklyn in the book by rebelling to support Rhaenyra and escaping King's Landing with Viserys' crown. In the book, Ser Erryk was already the sworn protector of Rhaenyra, not Aegon.
Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/HBO
  • Grand Maester Orwyle is portrayed as at least more neutral in the book and at most as slightly combative in Rhaenyra's favour, compared to the series where he advocates her murder.
  • In the book, Alicent is less conflicted and sympathetic to Rhaenyra, arguing that the Princess will kill Alicent's children and they must move against her. Ser Criston also slams Rhaenyra and Daemon as likely creating a palace of depravity should the Princess take the throne and how the realm would be cursed if her bastard son Prince Jacaerys Velaryon took the throne after her.
  • The conflict between Alicent and Ser Otto over their past and how to proceed surrounding the succession is an invention for the series.
  • In the book, Aegon is not keen to steal the throne from Rhaenyra but is only convinced by Ser Criston who warned him that his half-sister would kill Alicent's children and Aegon's own.
  • In the book, the coronation also saw Alicent crown her daughter Helaena as the new Queen Consort of the Seven Kingdoms and bow to her.
  • The working relationship between Ser Otto Hightower and Mysaria is original for the series, as is Larys' attempts to kill the White Worm.
  • The series confirms rumours in the book that Aegon had fathered a number of bastards, with the show even highlighting one small child. Whether these children will amount to further importance in the show remains to be seen.
  • House of the Dragon has only introduced us to two of Aegon and Helaena's children so far but in the book, they have three: Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor.

Next week's episode is the House of the Dragon season 1 finale, The Black Queen.

Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

The tenth episode will see Princess Rhaenrya Targaryen and her husband Prince Daemon Targaryen learn the devastating news that King Viserys had died and King Aegon II has been crowned.

Of course, their response will no doubt be the chief focus of the episode, but is there any hope of peace? Going by that title, we guess not!

Finally, how will the series choose to conclude its first run now that we know the story will likely stretch across four seasons?

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