In the “House of the Dragon” recap, King Viserys has died and now Queen Alicent and Otto Hightower plot to take the Iron Throne for Prince Aegon…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
A case of mistaken identity and a king on his deathbed will ultimately lead to one of the bloodiest wars in the history of The Seven Kingdoms.
Last week on “House of the Dragon,” King Viserys I Targaryen managed to return to rule for at least one more day to end a dispute that would have seen House Velaryon fall into different hands than the chosen successor — his grandson Lucerys Velaryon — and the claim ultimately ended with Vaemond Velaryon beheaded for daring to calling Rhaenyra Targaryen’s children bastards.
Following a contentious family dinner that night, King Viserys retired to his chambers for one last sleep but not before his wife, Queen Alicent Hightower came to pay him a visit. In his haze of sickness and Milk of the Poppy, King Viserys thought he was speaking to his daughter Rhaenyra about the prophecy spoken by Aegon the Conqueror about a Song of Ice and Fire — the great war looming north of The Wall that would pit the living against the dead.
Sadly, King Viserys spoke about the prophecy only to Rhaenyra as his chosen successor and heir to the Iron Throne so when Alicent heard him speak about Aegon and prophecy, she took it to mean her husband had changed his mind about the line of succession. Rather than anoint his daughter as queen, Alicent believed that King Viserys bestowed that honor on his oldest son before passing away.
Those few words from King Viserys have now ignited a battle for the Iron Throne as Alicent intends to make her son king while lords from all over the Seven Kingdoms have already pledged their fealty to the future queen Rhaenyra Targaryen.
When we pick up this week, Viserys’ death and his supposed wish that Aegon would succeed him has Alicent and her father Otto Hightower scrambling to capture the Iron Throne before word leaks out of King’s Landing and eventually makes it back to Rhaenyra on Dragonstone. To make matters worse, the future King Aegon has disappeared from his chambers to enjoy a night of debauchery in Flea Bottom, which seems to be his favorite place to call home these days.
The race is on to find Aegon, secure his place as King and put a crown upon his head long before Rhaenyra ever learns that her father is dead.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of “House of the Dragon” titled “The Green Council”…
The King is Dead
In the moments just after King Viserys I Targaryen expired, his servants and handmaids rush to spread the news to the queen and those in positions of power. Queen Alicent’s own handmaid Talya has her own allegiances as she tells a boy from the court, who rushes out to then get word to “The White Worm” — better known as Mysaria, the former paramour of Daemon Targaryen, who now runs brothels and a network of whisperers around King’s Landing.
As for Queen Alicent, she makes it to her father’s chambers to inform The Hand of the King that Viserys is dead but his dying wish was that his son Aegon would succeed him on the Iron Throne. Of course, Alicent knows that this claim will be challenged because she’s the only one who heard his wishes but Otto doesn’t seem all that concerned.
Instead, a meeting is called at the Small Council where all of the members are assembled and told about the passing of King Viserys.
Otto Hightower then informs the entire court that with his dying breath, King Viserys commanded that his son Aegon serve as his heir to sit on the Iron Throne. In response, Tyland Lannister essentially says that now their plans can go into motion with the full backing of the crown.
It seems that Otto had already been orchestrating a coup that would see his grandson Aegon crowned king even before Viserys had died. He had gathered various members of the Small Council to work alongside him to ensure that Aegon would be king even if Viserys never spoke a word about it.
This all comes as a surprise to Queen Alicent, who isn’t pleased to learn that her father had been working behind her back this entire time without her knowledge.
As Otto plans to dispatch members of the City Watch who remain loyal to Daemon Targaryen, Queen Alicent is told by Lord Jasper Wylde — the Master of Laws — that she didn’t need to be bothered with such scheming regarding the plot to crown her son as king. Jasper Wylde — who’s nicknamed Ironrod — supposedly due to his unwavering attitude towards the law while others claimed it had more to do with his overactive cock after he sired 29 children by four different wives.
Either way, Lord Jasper acts on behalf of The Hand of the King to plot the overthrow Princess Rhaenyra and install Aegon as king.
It should also be noted that Otto and Tyland Lannister begin plotting to reach out to the other Lords who will be loyal to them. Tyland wonders if Lord Borros Baratheon will pledge fealty to Aegon or Rhaenyra but he then tells the Queen that Lord Borros has four daughters, all of them unmarried, and pledging them to marry Alicent’s sons would go a long way to gaining his support.
The only member of the Small Council to speak up against the treasonous act is Lord Lyman Beesbury — the Master of Coin — who refused to believe that King Viserys just suddenly changed his mind on his deathbed to make Aegon king over his chosen heir Rhaenyra much less does he buy that that claim because it comes from Queen Alicent who means to put her son on the Iron Throne.
As Lord Beesbury objects, he’s approached by Ser Criston Cole, who ends up slamming the poor old man’s head into the table and he dies instantly.
Harrold Westerling — the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard — pulls his sword and approaches Ser Criston while ordering him to sheathe his weapon. Instead, Criston pulls his own blade and tells the Lord Commander that he will not suffer insults lobbied towards the queen.
Alicent tells Ser Criston to put his sword away as she was not insulted by Lord Beesbury, although he’s already dead so it’s too late to do anything about that!
From there, Otto begins making his next move, which is dealing with Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen.
He knows they will not willingly bend the knee to Aegon, which means they will challenge his claim and thus start a war for the Iron Throne. Rather than see that happen, Otto wants to have his own men invade Dragonstone and kill the prince and the princess to ensure they never get the chance.
Queen Alicent will not hear it — regardless of King Viserys supposedly changing his mind to have Aegon succeed him, she knows he loved his daughter dearly and would not want her harmed. Still, Otto believes this is the only course of action to save further bloodshed so he orders Harrold Westerling to lead a charge to Dragonstone to snuff out Rhaenyra and Daemon.
Rather than take those orders, Harrold Westerling lays down his cloak and tells the Small Council that he only answers to the king and as it stands, the King is dead.
Following the meeting, Queen Alicent rushes to find Aegon to begin proceedings to crown him king. Unfortunately when she arrives at his chambers, she only finds her daughter Helaena and her children but Prince Aegon is nowhere to be found.
Helaena — ever the one to speak words that seemingly have no meaning — mentions to her mother about a beast beneath the boards. By this point it’s safe to say that Helaena is obviously speaking prophecies after she foretold that Aemond would lose an eye to gain a dragon among other predictions she’s made this season. Her words about a beast beneath the boards would come true before this episode came to an end.
As for Princess Rhaenys, who remained in King’s Landing after the meeting to confirm Lucerys Velaryon as the rightful heir to Driftmark, finds that her doors are locked and she’s unable to leave.
After discovering that Aegon has gone missing, Otto turns to Erryk and Arryk Cargyll — twin brothers and sworn protectors of Prince Aegon — to help find him. It seems Erryk has no idea about Aegon’s whereabouts either but that’s nothing unusual because the prince loves to slip free of his Kingsguard to them enjoy himself out in the city where he can drink and whore himself into a stupor.
Realizing that time is of the essence, Otto orders the Cargyll brothers to search for Aegon and bring him directly back to his grandfather and no one else. Otto wants to ensure that he influences Aegon’s first decisions as King, which include orders to kill his sister Rhaenyra and her husband Daemon.
Meanwhile, Queen Alicent asks Ser Criston Cole to hunt for Aegon personally and her son Aemond volunteers to help the search as well. Aemond tells his mother that Erryk Cargyll isn’t the only one who knows about Aegon’s appetite so his help will be needed.
Much like her father, Queen Alicent wants to influence Aegon’s decisions because she refuses to order Rhaenyra’s death. It’s not what King Viserys would have wanted but now the only way to guarantee Aegon doesn’t order her killed is to pass that information along herself before Otto has a chance to conspire against those plans.
The Search for Aegon
Into the city, Aemond leads Ser Criston to a brothel on the Street of Silk where he reveals that his brother once took him on his 13th birthday. It seems Aegon felt it was time that his brother lost his virginity and so Aemond was bedded with a prostitute for his first time.
The woman of the house recognizes Aemond — likely as the girl who shared a bed with him once upon a time — but she informs them that Prince Aegon is not there. It seems his tastes have wandered into more exotic and far more illicit places in the depths of Flea Bottom.
After leaving, Aemond expresses his frustration with his brother — the eldest son yet the boy who wanted nothing to do with his birthright. Instead it was Aemond who read books, studied philosophy, trained with a sword and prepared himself in all the ways that should make him the perfect person to ascend the Iron Throne.
Aemond even tells Ser Criston that if his brother can’t bothered to be found, he’ll gladly make sure he’s available when the lords come looking for a new King.
As for Erryk and Arryk, they get a head start and go directly to Flea Bottom because they know that’s where Aegon would likely end up. After arriving at one particularly nasty establishment, the brothers witness an atrocity where children no older than 10 are put into rings and pitting against each other in gruesome fights. The children are mutilated — their teeth filed down to fangs and their fingernails transformed into claws — so better to maul each other.
While there, Erryk tells his brother that Aegon comes there to watch the fights among other activities. He then points to a small child sitting nearby with hair as golden as the son. It seems Aegon has more than a few bastard children floating around Flea Bottom.
Before leaving, the Cargyll twins are approached by a woman named Jayne, who tells them that she knows the location of Prince Aegon but to retrieve him it will cost them. She informs them that her boss requires a sit down with the Hand of the King before she’ll reveal Prince Aegon’s location.
Back at the Red Keep, Otto Hightower has gathered all the Lords still in King’s Landing to inform them that Viserys is dead and his son Prince Aegon will be crowned king. He asks all of them to bend the knee to King Aegon and all but a few do exactly that.
The two Lords who refuse and pledge loyalty to Princess Rhaenyra are dragged away by members of the Kingsguard. The last member still standing is Lord Allun Caswell but he eventually kneels before Otto and says “long live the king.”
Of course, Lord Caswell was only biding his time until he could attempt an escape from the city to inform Rhaenyra about what’s happening. Before he’s allowed to leave, however, Larys Strong has him captured and imprisoned before being brought before Otto where he refuses to bow down to a usurper like Aegon, who is attempting to steal the throne from his half-sister.
With that, Lord Caswell is hanged outside the Red Keep as an example to anyone who dares to question Aegon’s rightful place as heir to the Iron Throne.
As for Alicent, she pays a visit to Princess Rhaenys to inform her that Aegon will soon be crowned king and she wants to have her support. Alicent reminds Rhaenys that her wayward husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon, is the only one who truly supports Rhaenyra’s claim along with her bastard children.
Alicent promises if Rhaenys swears fealty to Aegon that she will put the princess on the throne at Driftmark where she can rule with her granddaughters while insuring that the Velaryon bloodline lives on. Alicent also confesses that she knows Rhaenys should have been made queen over Viserys but she was passed over simply because she was a woman.
That alone makes Rhaenys wonder why Alicent is so determined to continue serving the men in her life — from King Viserys to her father Otto Hightower and now her son Prince Aegon. Rhaenys can’t help but wonder if Queen Alicent hasn’t already envisioned herself sitting on the Iron Throne.
Meanwhile, Ser Criston and Prince Aemond make their way to Flea Bottom, they spot the Cargyll brothers sitting down at a meeting where they also see Otto Hightower dressed in a cloak to attempt to hide his identity. They keep a close eye on them as a woman approaches the table.
The woman is none other than Mysaria — the White Worm and the woman in charge of all the little spiders roaming around King’s Landing. She tells Otto that she will return Prince Aegon for a bag of gold and a promise that the savagery carried out against the children in Flea Bottom will be stopped.
Otto concedes to look into it while also providing her a bag of gold for her troubles.
With that, Mysaria hands over the location where she’s had Prince Aegon stashed after discovering him drunk and passed out in Flea Bottom just hours earlier.
Soon enough, Erryk and Arryk find Aegon where he’s been hidden and once retrieved he immediately begins asking for the White Worm. It seems Aegon desperately wants to escape his birthright and he has no desire to become king.
The brothers drag him outside where they are met by Ser Criston Cole and Aemond Targaryen, who mean to take Aegon and return him to his mother, Queen Alicent rather than his grandfather, Otto Hightower.
Erryk attempts to put up a fight and engages in a battle with Ser Criston but he’s eventually disarmed while his brother Arryk just watches and refuses to engage. As for Aegon, he once again tries to flee only to be captured by his brother Aemond.
Aegon ends up spitting in his face while continuing to proclaim that he wants nothing to do with the responsibility of sitting on the Iron Throne. He even tells his brother that he’ll get on a ship and disappear forever, which would mean Aemond would actually end up as the person to sit on the Iron Throne but he doesn’t get a chance to accept that offer after Ser Criston Cole returns.
After returning as Aegon sobers up, Alicent goes to pay a visit to her father after learning he was also trying to retrieve her son in an attempt to color his decisions as king. Alicent has come to realize that just about everything that has happened in her life came by direction of her father while he believes it’s exactly what she always wanted.
Alicent decides that Otto has moved enough chess pieces around the board and now she’ll guide Aegon’s hand by telling him to send word to Rhaenyra to ask for her to bend the knee under terms that won’t make her lose face among her followers. Otto warns that Rhaenyra will never swear fealty to Aegon and there are a lot of Lords that will raise their banners in support of her claim as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
She refuses to back down and tells her father than the next morning her son Aegon will be crowned king — he will wear the crown that once belonged to Aegon the Conqueror and he will carry Blackfyre, the ancient Valyrian steel sword that has been passed down among Targaryen kings. She also informs her father that Ser Criston Cole will be named the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
Alicent leaves her father’s chambers and she’s soon met by Lord Larys Strong, who has returned with further news about how Otto was able to track down Aegon so quickly.
Larys informs the queen that there are a network of spiders thriving inside the Red Keep including her own lady in waiting, who then passes along whatever news they hear to their mistress, The White Worm aka Mysaria. Otto Hightower has allowed these spiders to remain in the Red Keep because it’s always benefitted him — much like the time he was told about Rhaenyra escaping her chambers with Daemon and losing her maidenhood.
But if Alicent means to rule alongside her son, she needs to maintain a network of her own spies without all of them reporting back to Mysaria. Larys then says the best course of action will be to kill the queen — or in this case kill Mysaria — and her little spiders will have no nest where they can return. Alicent trusts that Larys can carry out these plans and he promises that it will be done.
As payment, Queen Alicent removes her stockings and exposes her feet while Larys pleasures himself.
Long Live the King
The next morning, Princess Rhaenys hears a knocking on her door and she’s soon met by Erryk Cargyll — one half of the brother tandem that was sent to retrieve Prince Aegon. He tells Rhaenys that he wants to help her escape the city before Aegon is crowned the king, which should give her enough time to get on a boat bound for Driftmark.
Sadly that means Rhaenys would have to leave her dragon Meleys behind but she would escape without being forced to abandon Princess Rhaenyra and pledge fealty to Aegon.
Along the path to escape the city, Erryk and Rhaenys get separated because the Gold Cloaks are pushing crowds towards the Great Sept of Baelor where the new king will be crowned. At the same time, a great fire has broken out at Mysaria’s home — a strike ordered by Lord Larys Strong no doubt.
On the road to the coronation, Aegon continues to question his father’s supposed deathbed declaration that he should be king. Aegon doesn’t believe his father ever liked him very much and in the past 20 years he never wavered for a moment when it came to Rhaenyra serving as his rightful heir.
Still, Alicent insists that this is what his father wanted and she presents to him the catspaw dagger that once belonged to Viserys — and holds the key to the prophecy of a Song of Ice and Fire. Aegon sees the dagger and begins to believe that perhaps his father really did decide he should succeed him as king.
She also tells him that he needs to ignore the wishes of his grandfather when it comes to Rhaenyra’s fate — she is still his half-sister and deserves to be spared from harm.
Inside the Great Sept of Baelor, Otto Hightower takes the stage to announce to the people gathered that King Viserys has died but as a last wish, he anointed his son Aegon as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
“People of King’s Landing, today is the saddest of days, our beloved king Viserys the Peaceful is dead. But it also the most joyous of days because as his spirit left us, he whispered his final wish that his firstborn son Aegon should succeed him.”
~ Otto Hightower
A huge procession of soldiers enters the Great Sept to make way for Aegon as he walks through a cascade of swords before making it the stage. He’s given a blessing by the septon and the crown is placed upon his head before he’s announced as King Aegon, Second of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
He turns to face the crowd after his entire family bows their heads to him and Aegon begins to feel the power that comes along with being called the King. Aegon then pulls Blackfyre from its sheath and he holds up the sword along with his fist as the crowd cheers for him.
As all of this is happening, Rhaenys has witnessed the coronation of a false king and she can no longer abide by what’s happening. She leaves the ceremony and escapes downstairs where she’s reunited with her dragon, Meleys.
With King Aegon now celebrating his moment as the crowd continues cheering for him, a great roar is heard from underneath the sept and then the ground is swallowed up as a dragon emerges from beneath the floor. As the dust settles and the people flee out of the building, Rhaenys sits atop her dragon while now wearing battle armor.
Alicent steps in front of Aegon, preparing to be drowned in dragon fire but Rhaenys just looks down on them as Meleys gives a mighty roar before turning and flying out of the Great Sept of Baelor. Rhaenys chose not to kill them all — a decision she will surely regret one day very soon — but for now she’s seen enough people killed for that damn Iron Throne.
This particular moment wasn’t actually in the books at all but rather something added for the show as Rhaenys escaping on her dragon at the conclusion of Aegon’s coronation certainly made a massive impact for what’s coming next.
With that, King Aegon has officially been crowned by his mother and grandfather but it won’t be long before Rhaenys reaches Dragonstone to inform Princess Rhaenyra that her half-brother has attempted to usurp the Iron Throne despite her claim as the rightful heir in the line of succession.
Next week will be the “House of the Dragon” season finale — an episode dedicated to the Black Council as Rhaenyra begins gathering her forces to stake her claim to the Iron Throne and thus begin the bloody and deadly war known as the Dance of the Dragons.