House of the Dragon Episode 9 effectively kicks of the Dance of the Dragons – let’s break down the ending and what it means for the Season 1 finale.
Game of Thrones had a storyline that still hasn’t been completed by George R.R. Martin, with TV pariahs David Benioff and D.B. Weiss boldly taking the show into uncharted narrative territory – and completely fumbling it by the end.
House of the Dragon should be different. The whole endeavour revolves around the Dance of the Dragons, a historic Targaryen civil war chronicled in the author’s Fire & Blood.
After Viserys accidentally guaranteed war in Episode 8, the ending of the ninth instalment feels like it’s truly begun – let us explain.
House of the Dragon Episode 9 ending explained
Episode 9 ends with Aegon II’s coronation, after Otto and Alicent enlisted their own forces to track him down from self-imposed squalor in Flea Bottom. He didn’t want to be king… at first, until he saw his father’s catspaw dagger.
As the people of King’s Landing pack into the building – including Rhaenys, who tried to escape the city before being caught in the traffic – Otto announces Viserys’ death and his apparent wish for Aegon to succeed him, rather than his daughter Rhaenyra.
Under the swords of the Kingsguard and through the crowd, Aegon makes his way to the front, where he’s coronated with Aegon the Conqueror’s crown. He isn’t particularly receptive to his family’s curtseys and nods, but as soon as he hears the people chanting “long live the king”, he raises his Blackfyre sword and welcomes their adoration.
Just as you think the credits are going to roll, and explosion of stone hits the center of the arena. From the smoke emerges a dragon: Meleys, with Rhaenys on her back, who managed to slip away and into the dragon pit to retrieve her. Panic sets in, with the city’s residents either crushed, whipped by the beast’s tail, or legging it for the doors.
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Alicent prepares to die in a blaze of dragonflame, but Rhaenys doesn’t command it. Meleys roars in the face of the new king, and Rhaenys flies away, presumably to Dragonstone to inform Rhaenyra and Daemon.
House of the Dragon Episode 9: What does the ending mean?
Considering Alicent offered Rhaenys everything – including Driftmark, despite Viserys ruling on its inheritance to Lucerys Velaryon – and she still wished to escape with Meleys, we shouldn’t understate what happened: the Dance of the Dragons has begun.
Alicent, Otto, Aegon, and the Greens have lost the support of the Velaryon side, and the opposing Targaryens were not informed of Aegon’s coronation. In the book, it’s this very act of treason – despite Alicent’s well intentions – that sparks the civil war.
House of the Dragon Episode 10, the Season 1 finale, will be available to watch on October 23 in the US and October 24 in the UK.