House of the Dragon Episode 9 Review
I swore I wouldn’t take sides in this show. I swore that I would remain neutral in all of this. But Otto Hightower, you are poison.
King Viserys is dead. Now it’s left for the living to pick up the pieces. Or rather, for the circling vultures to come and feast on the carcass. And, much to Alicent Hightower’s shock, the vultures have been waiting for a long time for Viserys to rot.
In a moment meant to separate Alicent from the level of self-serving attitude of her father, most of the Small Council’s revealed to on Otto’s payroll. Alicent’s misguided beliefs of Viserys’ last wish merely gives them an excuse for something they were already going to do. First order of business: purge King’s Landing of Rhaenyra’s supporters, either with imprisonment…or execution.
To her credit, Alicent’s rightly horrified to learn what her father’s done behind her back. More so when Otto all but states he plans to assassinate Rhaenyra and her family. It shows that despite the hatred, a part of Alicent still cares about Rhaenyra. However, this episode also exposes how naive she’s truly been throughout the first season. It also gives voice to what’s probably Alicent’s greatest flaw.
Alicent Hightower Sucks
It’s said best by Rhaenys Targaryen, whose locked under guard by Otto’s men. When Alicent comes to visit the Princess to get her on their side, the former admits the latter should’ve been Queen. This segues into Rhaenys verbally chewing out Alicent for what’s wrong with her. What Rhaenys says is short, but it encapsulates just what it is about Alicent that sucks.
All her life, Alicent’s been a pawn for her father to maneuver in the great game. And even after reaching the point where she’s become aware of her pawn status, Alicent continues to let herself be treated as such when she’s capable of so much more. The fact that the most ambition she shows is to be the guiding influence behind the Iron Throne says it all. She wants to be free, but unlike Rhaenyra, she’s too afraid to act. So she resents her former friend since she can live the life she wants. Now, all I feel towards Alicent is pity.
Especially after what we saw Larys Strong…cringe.
Even Aegon Knows He Sucks!
Then we have Aegon. He’s a man who, were he not royalty, would belong in jail or the gutter. All he does every day is get drunk and sire illegitimate children with other women, whether they want it or not. In other words, he’s not the kind of person that should be king of anything.
The irony here is that Aegon knows that he’s not meant to be king. When he’s finally found in the Great Sept, he admits to the parties feuding over him that he shouldn’t be king. For all his faults, he’s well aware that he’d suck at the job. He even says that he’d rather board a boat and never come back.
No one cares, though. Despite everyone knowing that he’s not fit to lead, Otto Hightower and his cohorts want him as king anyway so they can control Westeros. Because that’s what it comes down to: power. That’s why Otto fears Rhaenyra so much. She’s a woman they cannot control and thus don’t want around. But as Game of Thrones showed us time and again, don’t underestimate a woman.
Don’t Mess With the Dragon, Otto
The episode’s climax comes with Aegon’s coronation at the Dragonpit with all of King’s Landing watching. Then, Rhaenys (who escaped thanks to a defecting Kingsguard) bursts through the floor on her dragon, killing dozens and causing chaos. She has the Greens dead to rights…and she lets them go. Simply escapes to Dragonstone.
Rhaenys’ message is clear: the Greens only live because she let them. That’s the kind of authority that Danaerys will exert centuries later. That said, she refuses to slay her kin, which is a huge mistake in this case. She could’ve ended the Dance of Dragons before it started. Or at least killed Otto Hightower and the main ringleaders. Instead, she kills innocents and leaves. Bad decision.
Game of Thrones did use the penultimate episode of each season to bring out the big guns. From the look of things, House of the Dragon seems ready to continue that tradition. Given the preview for the season finale, though, that could end up being proven wrong. Regardless, though, the long-brewing storm of the dragons is going to break. Expect a lot of characters to die before things blow over, because I know I am! Otto Hightower shall reap the seeds he has sown before the series ends!