Episode 9: “The Green Council” – Usurping Rhaenyra’s Claim
House of the Dragon is nearing its season 1 finale, and episode 9, titled “The Green Council,” portrays a chaotic turn of events in King’s Landing. In this episode, the Hightowers make their move to seize the Iron Throne from Rhaenyra Targaryen, challenging her rightful claim. With the recent death of King Viserys I Targaryen, Queen Alicent informs her father, Otto Hightower, about Viserys’ alleged dying wish to crown their son, Aegon II, as King. However, doubts arise regarding the authenticity of this claim, as it could be either a misunderstanding or Alicent manipulating his final words to suit her own agenda. To maintain secrecy about the King’s passing, servants of the royal family, including Princess Rhaenys, are imprisoned within their own chambers.
A Green Council’s Assembly
In order to discuss the plan to keep the King’s death concealed until they can establish Aegon’s ascension to the throne, the Green Council is formed. Otto and Tyland Lannister voice their intentions, much to Alicent’s dismay, as she realizes she was excluded from their scheming. Lord Beesbury protests against the Greens’ objective, labeling it as treason against Rhaenyra. The disagreement leads to a violent confrontation, with Ser Criston Cole killing Lord Beesbury by smashing him onto the table. Another significant opposition arises when Ser Harold Westerling, the Commander of the Kingsguard, renounces his position after learning of Otto and Tyland’s plan to eliminate Rhaenyra and her family.
Aegon’s Elusive Whereabouts
The Hightowers’ plans face unexpected hurdles when they discover that Prince Aegon has managed to escape from the Red Keep. This sparks a game of cat and mouse as the Hightowers and Alicent separately send their trusted members to find and bring Aegon back. Otto dispatches the Cargyll twins, Ser Erryk and Ser Arryk, while Alicent entrusts Ser Criston Cole and her son, Aemond, with the task. The competition intensifies, as both factions vie for the opportunity to mold the future King according to their own desires. While Otto is willing to resort to violence, Alicent hopes to resolve the situation diplomatically to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.
Intrigues and Revelations
As Otto Hightower coerces the lords of the realm to pledge allegiance to Aegon, Aemond and Cole’s search for the Prince encounters setbacks. Aemond expresses his frustration with his older brother’s lack of interest in matters of history, warrior training, and his own birthright. Meanwhile, the Cargyll twins stumble upon a trafficking ring in Flea Bottom, where children are forced to fight for entertainment and profit. They discover a silver-haired toddler who is suggested to be Aegon’s illegitimate child. Throughout their search, the twins’ conflicting loyalties become evident, with Erryk appearing disgusted by the Prince’s actions while Arryk remains loyal to the Greens. Their quarrel is interrupted by a woman offering information about Aegon’s location.
Manipulations and Confrontations
After the proper handling of King Viserys’ body, Alicent visits Rhaenys in her chambers, attempting to sway the Princess to her side. She claims that it was the late King’s wish to name Aegon his heir, emphasizing that Rhaenys should not feel obliged to support Rhaenyra’s claim. Alicent even compliments Rhaenys, suggesting she is better suited to rule over Viserys, and asserts that women make better advisors than men. Rhaenys, however, mocks the Queen, highlighting that Alicent has constantly served and been manipulated by the men around her.
The Exchange and Deception
Aemond and Ser Criston Cole meet with the Hand of the King, accompanied by the Cargyll twins and Mysaria. The purpose of their meeting is to exchange information about Aegon’s whereabouts in return for a price. Mysaria seeks not only gold and Otto’s favor but also demands an end to the exploitation of children in Flea Bottom once Aegon assumes the throne. Promising to address the issue, Otto is reminded by Mysaria that she could have had the Prince killed and that the power the royal family holds is indebted to the common people.
Aegon’s Retrieval and Inner Conflicts
Arryk and Erryk manage to locate Aegon and attempt to return him to Otto, but their plans are disrupted by Aemond and Cole. A clash ensues between Arryk and Ser Criston Cole, as both parties are assigned to deliver the Prince to different individuals. Erryk, seemingly unaffected by the turmoil within House Hightower, refrains from intervening. As the members of the Kingsguard continue their confrontation, Aegon pleads with his younger brother to let him sail away from Westeros, allowing Aemond to become King. However, their negotiations are interrupted by Criston, who swiftly takes the Prince back to his mother.
Intrigue and Consequences
Otto and Alicent meet once again to discuss the intricate game they have played against each other. Alicent assures her father that they will proceed according to her original peaceful terms after gaining control over Aegon. Shortly after their conversation, Larys informs Alicent about how Otto’s men have found the Prince first. He reveals information about Mysaria and her