The Game of Thrones The franchise has a great tradition of explosive penultimate episodes and the first season of Dragon’s House makes no difference, even if it feels more like a necessity than a difficult turn like the Red Wedding. What it lacks in a shocking beheading of its protagonist, “The Green Council” boasts clear vision. Episode nine of Dragon’s House fulfilled the series’ promise by eight o’clock, pushing the kingdom to the brink of a violent war for the throne, with the popular folk of King’s Landing caught in the middle.
“The Green Council” begins no more than a few hours after the previous episode. King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine), his name, is dead. King Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney), second in his name, is now poised to rule the Seven Kingdoms, assuming anyone can find him. Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) spoke Viserys’ confused final words about Aegon the Conqueror—not his son Aegon—and ran after them. She sincerely believed that her late husband wanted their children to sit on the Iron Throne instead of Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), the king’s official heir to the present day two decades. It was a huge misunderstanding on Alicent’s part, and one that was sure to cost tons of lives.
The first of those dead lost his life the very night Viserys died. In the middle of the night, Alicent and Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) gathers the Little Council to share the news of the king’s departure, as well as his dying wish to put Aegon on the throne. The news spread incomprehensibly through the room. Many were ready to step in and act immediately, as Otto and his allies had contingency plans for this very case, without Alicent’s knowledge. Some in the room were scandalized by the moves of the Hightowers, such as Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson), who called out the coup for exactly what it was. In response, Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) smashed Beesbury’s head against the Little Council table, killing him instantly.
Almost bloodshed in the Little Council room, when Ser Harold Westerling (Graham McTavish) takes off his white cloak and renounces his position as Lord of the Guard. “I recognize no authority but the king,” he told the room. “Until there is one, I have no place here.” He escaped, somehow with his life still intact, but not a single person was left behind who could fight against taking power on behalf of the absent Rhaenyra. .
Perhaps there is one person who is still willing to extend himself for Rhaenyra, and it is an unlikely one: Alicent. In the hours following Viserys’ death, Alicent and Otto race against each other to see who can find Aegon Targaryen first and put him on the throne. Whoever finds the soon-to-be king, lost somewhere in King’s Landing working god knows what, will be the first to whisper in his ear, setting the tone for whatever happens out next. Alicent quickly realizes her father’s intent to kill Rhaenyra and her entire family, which she cannot obey, despite all that has passed between them over the years. And so she sent Ser Criston and her second son Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) to find Aegon before Otto’s true minions, the twin knights Erryk and Arryk Cargyll (Elliott and Luke Tittensor), can contact him first.
A game of cat and mouse ensues, as four swordsmen – Criston, Aemond and the Cargyll brothers – disguise themselves well and crawl across the city to find Aegon. The respective quests take them all the way to the ends of King’s Landing, uncovering one of Aegon’s bastard children, not to mention a small army fighting for sport in an illegal fighting club. France. All of these roads lead to Aegon, a scathing indictment of the soon-to-be crowned type, and an early preview of future cruel kings. At least, one thing that separates Aegon from Joffrey Baratheon is his complete disinterest in taking the throne. He wants to be left to his own disruptive devices, but fate – and all the Hightowers – have other plans for him.
Through all of this, Dragon’s House examine the various figures regarding the aftermath of Viserys’ death. These players include Helaena, Aegon’s sister (Phia Saban), sparking warnings about her brother-in-law’s ascension to the throne; Mysaria the White Worm (Sonoya Mizuno) shadow brokers with Otto, revealing the extent of her spy network’s access to the Red Keep; and even Larrys Strong (Matthew Needham) trying to get the good graces of both Otto and Alicent, all but walking the frenzied path of the Hightowers to fill the power vacuum, and literally pass some Tarantino– strange obsession with Alicent’s feet. (It’s good to know that even in the midst of all these deadly serious stakes, Game of Thrones there’s still time to Game of Thrones.)