House of the Dragon Review: Season 1 Episode 9 ‘The Green Council’


House of the Dragon

The penultimate episode of the first season of House of the Dragon has finally arrived, and it brings into focus the Hightowers‘ plan to supplant Princess Rhaenyra as heir to the Iron Throne. However, the ultimate highlight of the episode is the searing and sombre musical score by Ramin Djawadi which sets an ominous tone for subsequent events.

The king is dead, long live the king … or queen. With Viserys finally having succumbed to his long-running illness, the Iron Throne is up for grabs, and many in Westeros will need to decide whether they support Aegon II or Rhaenyra. As Episode 9 of House of the Dragon, “The Green Council,” conveyed, the Dance of the Dragons is beginning.

Read Also: House Of The Dragon Review: Season 1, Episode 8 “Lord Of The Tides”

But a civil war will involve more than just the Targaryens and Hightowers at the heart of the conflict. Will the rest of the realm align with the greens (as Alicent’s contingent is known, for Hightower green) or the blacks (Rhaenyra’s faction, for House Targaryen’s black color)?


Alicent (Olivia Cooke) tells her father about the late king’s deathbed mutterings – that he wanted Aegon on the Iron Throne – inevitably misinterpreting it along the way (wrong Aegon, alas!). Not that it matters: Otto (Rhys Ifans) and the rest of the small council have already been planning to do away with Rhaenyra and put Aegon, currently missing in action, on the throne. Alicent, after last episode’s détente with her former BFF, is understandably torn, leading to the question of the week: is Alicent Hightower a good person?

Alicent’s confrontation with Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best), easily the stand-out scene in this episode, really brings the Queen’s actions into focus. The two women, in their own sad ways, are the victims of other people’s plans. Alicent hopes to win the allegiance of the princess, who has been locked up unceremoniously overnight, selling her on a vision of a peaceful Hightower-led rule. Rhaenys is as impressed with the queen’s manipulation as she is appalled by her shamelessness; it’s a reckoning for both characters. Finally, Rhaenys helps Alicent see what she truly is: a prisoner. “You desire not to be free, but to make a window in the wall of your prison,” Rhaenys tells her. It’s a good line – delivering the kind of melodrama fantasy fans lap up – and the penny drops for Alicent.

Still, that ending is fairly undeniable. The sight of Rhaenys atop her dragon, Meleys, interrupting the coronation is exactly the type of memeable moment this show loves. Best portrays the Rhaenys as a hurt, resigned royal who, like a slumbering dragon, has just awoken in a thunderous mood. Her showdown with Cooke, who stands in front of her quivering son, is a satisfying conclusion for this pair (no blood is shed): mothers and manipulators squaring off. Sometimes it’s hard to take a show which relies on dragons for drama too seriously, but when the moment is earned, it’s a reliable dopamine hit.

More Questions

* Something I’ll admit that I’m stumped/did not follow: Who was that man walking away from the burning building around the hour’s 43-minute mark? One of Larys’ fireflies destroying the web he referenced earlier? I’m open — educate me!

* Ugh Larys’ foot-fetish scene. Alicent, you are a QUEEN. Do not put up with gross men being gross IN YOUR CLOSE PROXIMITY.

* R.I.P. Lyman Beesbury! It’s so hard to believe I ever found Ser Criston Cole charming.

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