As season 1 of the 'Game of Thrones' prequel gets closer to the end, the penultimate episode got fans talking.
After the death of King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) at the end of episode 8, House of the Dragon picks up immediately the next morning in episode 9, as Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) starts making moves -- ones that seem to counter what was set in place by the king and his council many years prior. Not only that, but the queen’s sons prove just how much of a hot mess they are while Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) finally finds herself provoked to get up off the sidelines and take action in the battle of succession for the Iron Throne.
As the penultimate episode set up the season 1 finale, which will surely end with a fiery fight between families, fans took to social media to share their thoughts about the queen’s change of plans and that shocking show of restraint that ended the aptly titled “The Green Council.” [Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9.]
With the king now dead, after a miraculously long health battle that ended with him crying into the night, the queen wastes no time to start making moves of her own, believing that Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) is now the rightful heir to the throne -- and not Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy), who was previously promised to rule after her father’s death and even seemed to finally heal the festering wounds between her and her former best friend.
However, the news of the king’s death is not yet widely known, allowing the queen and her father, the Hand of the King Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifan), to call their own small council (err “Green Council”) to determine the line of succession. In doing so, she locks Rhaenys in her room to prevent her from being present at a meeting among the realm’s many houses, who previously pledged their loyalty to the king’s divisive plan to name his daughter the first female ruler of King’s Landing.
While Alicent and Otto get to plotting, making it clear that those who do not fall in line risk imprisonment or an even deadlier fate, Aegon has gone missing, forcing them both to send their teams to search the kingdom and bring him back. While Otto sends a pair of trusted twin guards, Alicent employs Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) and Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) to find him first.
Aegon is eventually found in the outskirts of town, where the brothels meet illegal gambling and children fights, as he renounces any interest in taking the throne or playing along with his mother’s plans for their family. Of course, Aemond, who would become second in line behind his philandering brother, is not interested in his whiny protests or displays of disloyalty.
Meanwhile, Rhaenys eventually confronts Alicent, who finally reveals that the king is dead and that loyalties among the houses have shifted and not so subtly suggests that the princess fall in line. With her life now in danger, Rhaenys attempts to flee King’s Landing but gets caught up in the crowd gathering to see Aegon’s coronation.
Seizing an opportunity, Rhaenys realizes she can actually go to the dragonpit and fetch Meleys. In doing so, she bursts through the crowd, with her dragon leaning in to torch Alicent, Aegon, Otto and everyone else present for the ceremony. But in a shocking sign of restraint, Rhaenys doesn’t let Meleys breathe fire. Instead, the creature rattles them with a thunderous roar before the two fly off toward Dragonstone.
Read on below for some of the best reactions to the latest events on the series:
House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max.