It is starting – the Dance of the Dragons, I mean. As Rhaenys Targaryen shows all of Westeros that she’s a true power player, what will happen next?
House of the Dragon’s episode 9, the final episode of season 1, starts in the twilight hours of the morning following King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) death in his sleep.
Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and his knit on the Small Council don’t waste a second in starting their longstanding plans to place Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) on the Iron Throne. But, at the same time, Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) is propelled to act on her own.
In the ending scene, a lavish coronation is hosted at the Dragonpit’s sept. Aegon, donning the crow of the Conqueror, shoved his father’s Valyrian steel blade Blackfyre into the air in front of the people of King’s Landing as the new ruler of the realms.
However, an explosion hit. A wave of dust and stone blasts from the ground under the Dragonpit, showering death on those caught in its tracks. It’s “the beast beneath the boards” – a phrase that Alicent’s daughter Helaena (Phia Saban) has talked about since episode 8.
As the dark cloud clears, then emerges Meleys, the dragon known as the Red Queen, for the spikes on her neck. Her rider, Rhaenys (Eve Best), is wearing silver and red armor on her back.
Ryan Condal, series co-creator and co-producer, was careful in hiding the armor from the crowd until this very moment.
“We wanted her to be rising like a phoenix from the ashes,” filmmaker Clare Kilner told EW.
“She’s packed it,” Best says of Rhaeney’s battle gear.
“She’s traveled to King’s Landing with it because it’s part of her dragon-riding equipment. Also, probably in that moment of knowledge in episode 8, she’s flying into tricky waters… She hasn’t worn it for a very, very, very long time, and the fact that she’s wearing it means business. It’s like, ‘This is it. No more games.’”
Rhaenys’ move during Aegon’s coronation is an event author George R.R. Martin did not write in the source document, the Targaryen historical record of Fire and Blood.
But it’s not difficult to see a royal family moving to clear the official account of any shame for the history books. Moreover, Rhaenys has the influence and capability to conclude the potential civil war over succession ahead of its beginning.
Best on Rhaenys’ Entrance
Meanwhile, Alicent readies herself as Meleys looks down on her. However, rather than lighting them all in dragon fire, the creature releases a fierce cry. Rhaenys and her allies then appear through the Dragon pit doors and fly to Dragonstone to tell Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy), Viserys’ chosen heir, that her throne has been taken over.
“It’s the pinnacle,” Best explains in this scene.
“It’s the moment when she shows herself to be the greatest possible ruler. It was the most outrageous and explosive action of the season. In a way, it’s also the most merciful and most graceful act.”
She adds: “It’s because she’s so intelligent and, in the end, chooses to do the right thing, which is not to destroy. It’s a truly forgiving moment and sort of a loving moment, in a weird way. She has all the ammunition, and the desire for revenge is so great.
“She’s suffered so much loss, and for her own sake and on behalf of so many others, the urge to destroy is so strong. And yet the choice not to destroy becomes even stronger. That’s the mark of greatness and [a] truly inspiring moment – I think actually one that is particularly resonate in this context of what we’re going through right now in our world with everything that’s going on with Russia. The choice not to drop the bombs is the greater choice.”