All is quiet in King’s Landing at the beginning of House of the Dragon episode 9. Eerily quiet. A young servant walks through the Red Keep in the early hours of the morning. He tells one of the servants, one of Mysaria’s spies, that the king is dead. She immediately goes to tell Alicent.
Alicent goes to her father the news. He demands to know who is aware of the king’s death. Her handmaid knows and some of the servants. She reveals what Viserys said to her in his final moments. “He told me he wished for Aegon to be king… It is the truth. Out of his own lips. His last words to me, and I was the only to hear it. And now he’s dead,” Alicent says.
The small council assembles and Otto breaks the news about Viserys’ death. “He has left us a gift. With his last breath, he impressed upon the queen his final wish that his son, Aegon, should succeed him as Lord of the Seven Kingdoms,” Otto tells the council.
Everyone is silent for a beat until Tyland Lannister says they should go along with the king’s blessing. Alicent seems surprised by the reaction. Otto gets to work on establishing Aegon as king. Apparently, most of the small council has been plotting this for some time without her knowing.
Lyman Beesbury is the only one to speak up in defense of Rhaenyra. He doesn’t believe Alicent’s claims. “This is seizure. This is theft. This is treason at the least,” he says. Lyman wants no part of this plot. Criston tells him to sit down and then kills him.
Otto Wants Rhaenyra Dead
Lord Westerling draws his sword and orders Criston to remove his cloak and cast down his sword. It isn’t until Alicent tells Criston to settle down that he does. “The door remains shut until we finish our business,” Otto says as Lyman’s blood continues to spill out onto the table.
Tyland brings up that Storm’s End is of concern for them. Alicent asks about Rhaenyra. Otto says that Rhaenyra will be given the option to swear allegiance to Aegon. Alicent knows that Rhaenyra will never bend the knee, nor will Daemon. “You plan to kill her?” Alicent asks. Everyone stays silent. Otto says it’s a sacrifice they must make in order to ensure Aegon’s succession. And then there’s the Daemon of it all.
Alicent knows full well that Viserys did not wish for his daughter’s murder. Tyland wants to know what Alicent would suggest instead, but she comes up with nothing. Otto orders Lord Westerling to take his knights to Dragonstone and be “quick” and “clean” about killing Rhaenyra.
Lord Westerling doesn’t respond. He just takes off his white cloak. “I recognize no authority but the king’s. And until there is one. I have no place here,” he says before walking out.
Alicent and Otto go looking for Aegon. He’s not in his rooms with Helaena and the kids. “There is a beast beneath the boards,” Helaena mutters again as she refuses her mother’s touch.
When pressed by Otto, Ser Erryk doesn’t know where Aegon is. Otto demands that Erryk and his brother, Arryk, find Aegon and bring the prince straight to him. No one can know they’re out looking for Aegon, not even Alicent.
The Search For Aegon
Rhaenys is locked in her room while the hunt for Aegon is on. No one who works at the Red Keep is allowed to leave until Aegon is found. Criston is able to find out about Otto’s plan and tells Alicent. Alicent wants Aegon to be brought straight to her. She steps closer to him and mentions “everything” he feels for her to make sure her point comes across crystal clear. Aemond wants to go with Criston. He knows where Aegon’s haunts are in the city.
Otto has the leaders of other houses brought to the throne room to swear their loyalty to Aegon. Many kneel but some do not. No one is allowed to leave without declaring their intention. “I am no oath breaker. I will not bend the knee,” one man says. Others begin to kneel. “House Fell keeps its sworn oath to the princess,” a woman says. They are led away to their deaths. Lord Allun Caswell kneels after that. Lord Allun tries to leave King’s Landing but is caught and brought to Otto before being killed.
Erryk and Arryk lurk around the city looking for Aegon. Erryk knows that Aegon frequents this child fight club of sorts and spots one of Aegon’s bastard children. Erryk thinks Aegon is unfit to rule. A woman comes up to them and reveals that the White Worm, a.k.a. Mysaria, knows where Aegon is. However, Mysaria wants an audience with Otto and Otto only.
Aemond reveals to Criston that Aegon has no interest in his birthright. “It is I who should be…” Aemond says but doesn’t finish his sentence. He later quips, “I’m next in line to the throne. Should they come looking for me, I intend to be found.”
‘You Should Have Been Queen’
Alicent takes Viserys’ crown and places it on his body. She breaks down into tears before going to see Rhaenys. Alicent reveals that Viserys is dead. “And you’re usurping the throne,” Rhaenys says. Alicent has come to ask for support, but she does it with a dirty hand. She brings up Corlys, Laenor, and Laena.
“You should have been queen,” Alicent says to Rhaenys. She continues, “We do not rule but we may guide the men who do.” Rhaenys admits that Alicent is wiser than she thought. “A true queen counts the cost of her people,” Alicent says. Rhaenys replies, “And yet you toil still in service to men.” She whispers in Alicent’s ear, “Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?” Alicent leaves Rhaenys in her room. She can’t leave until she has an answer about her allegiance.
Otto heads into the city and meets with Mysaria. “He is safely tucked away,” Mysaria says. Mysaria wants cash and an end to the “savage use of children in Flea Bottom.” She also wants Otto to remember this when Aegon is king, “Remember it was me who put him there.”
Erryk and Arryk do find Aegon. He tries to run away, but he is caught and brought outside the city walls. They are met by Criston and Aemond. Criston and Erryk fight, while Aemond tackles Aegon to the ground. “I have no wish to rule. No taste for duty,” Aegon admits.
Alicent and Otto come face-to-face after having two very separate plans for Aegon. “Our hearts were never one. I see that now,” Alicent says. She’s finally realized she has only been a chess piece in her father’s game. She demands that they proceed now as she sees fit. Otto warns that if Rhaenyra stays alive, those loyal to her will rally behind her and look for her return. Alicent believes mercy must be shown to Rhaenyra.
Otto believes Rhaenyra to be Alicent’s weakness. Alicent ignores her father and installs Criston as the new Lord Commander. All of King’s Landing must witness Aegon’s ascent. He’ll take the Conqueror’s namesake and wield Blackfyre.
Rhaenys Escapes & Aegon Changes His Tune
After dealing with her father, Alicent has to have an audience with Larys. He’s the reason why Otto found Aegon first. In order to get more information, she must entertain him with her feet. Gross.
He reveals that there is a web of spies at work in the Red Keep, one of which is her lady-in-waiting. There is only one way to destroy Otto’s advantage in the Red Keep and that is to get rid of Mysaria. “If you wish it, it will be done,” Larys promises before pleasuring himself in front of the queen. Just like Rhaenys said, Alicent is always in service to men.
Erryk goes to Rhaenys’ chambers and gives her a way out. “I cannot let this treachery stand,” Erryk tells Rhaenys about Alicent and Otto’s plan to have Aegon usurp the crown. Erryk gets Rhaenys out of the Red Keep. She doesn’t want to leave her dragon, Meleys. Erryk knows that Alicent and Otto’s people will be looking for her there. They get pulled away from each other in the crowd.
Alicent rides with Aegon to the Dragonpit. “My father never wanted this,” Aegon tells his mother. He knows that Viserys never changed his mind. “He didn’t like me,” Aegon says. He even laughs when Alicent says that Viserys wished this on his deathbed.
When she shows him Viserys’ dagger, that’s when Aegon begins to change his tune. He picks it up. Alicent stresses to him that Otto is going to want him to kill Rhaenyra, but he must avoid that. “You must not rule with cruelty and callousness,” she says.
Rhaenys & Meleys Rise From Beneath The Boards
The crowd gathers to watch Aegon be crowned. Otto tells the crowd that this was Viserys’ dying wish. Rhaenys is watching this all go down until she sees her moment to escape down to Meleys below.
Criston crowns Aegon the new king with Aegon the Conqueror’s crown. They have to bow before him… even Otto. However, Aemond noticeably doesn’t. When Aegon hears the cheers from the crowd, that’s when everything changes for him. He’s got a thirst for power that he’s never had before.
Suddenly, Rhaenys and Meleys burst up from below, killing civilians and destroying a part of the Dragonpit in the process. This is the beast beneath the boards Helaena warned Alicent about. Rhaenys has the opportunity to kill Alicent, Otto, Aegon, and everyone else right then and there. Alicent stands in front of Aegon ready to die. However, Rhaenys shows them all mercy, but she issues a warning with Meleys’ fireless roar. This means war.