Why on earth did The Queen Who Never Was Rhaenys spare Queen Alicent’s life, when a mere episode earlier Rhaenys was willing to throw her own cousin Rhaenyra and her heirs under the proverbial carriage in order to protect Baela and Rhaena’s claim to Driftmark?
Check out Last Week’s Episode Review.
Although House of the Dragon has been great fun to watch so far, I had a lot of problems with Episode nine. Useless plot points that seemed out of character and awkward long shot sequences of characters staring off into the distance felt reminiscent of Game of Thrones Season 8.
…And none of us want to go back to Game of Thrones Season 8.
Why Didn’t Rhaenys Kill Alicent and Aegon?
Rhaenys taking her dragon from the pit and not burning Queen Alicent because she is “also a mother” as Ryan Condal stated in the Inside the Episode segment is absolutely ridiculous to me. How is Rhaenys taking her dragon, killing hundreds of innocent King’s Landing peasants, and failing the stop the coup of Rhaenyra’s crown a “…great heroic moment for her character…”?
Rhaenys directing her dragon Meleys to scream in the face of Alicent Hightower felt very much like John Snow holding a sword in his hand while screaming at a dragon during the ‘Long Night’ battle at Winterfell.
It was an utterly ridiculous plot point that thankfully was not in the original Fire & Blood book. While the show made the decision to seemingly “flesh out Rhaenys’ character” it felt more like the showrunners needed to fill time.
Thus, they purposefully had Rhaenys spend the night in King’s Landing to await Vaemond’s body and not fly back to Driftmark, and upon hearing that her cousin King Viserys is dead decide to not kill the people responsible for possibly disinheriting her granddaughters’ seat all because Rhaenys ‘sympathized with Alicent as a mother’.
This is the same Rhaenys who showed up to court ready to disinherit her cousin Rhaenyra and her children’s claim, and side with her brother-in-law Vaemond over her husband’s wishes all in order to secure her granddaughters Baela and Rhaena’s claim to Driftmark.
The same Rhaenys who just accepts that Queen Alicent basically said in their conversation that Rhaenys could “have Driftmark” if she came to the Greens side – meaning Alicent acknowledged that everything Viserys said mere hours ago on the throne was now null and void – making her precious grandchildren unsafe again.
Rhaenys is no longer merely The Queen Who Never Was, but also now The Queen Who Never Said Dracarys to me.
The Unnecessary Race for Aegon Targaryen
The fact that Alicent and her father Otto were both racing to find Aegon first despite wanting the same thing was utterly ridiculous to me.
Alicent’s later speech about acknowledging that she has always been a pawn to her father and in the next breath declaring she will do the exact thing Otto wanted was equal parts mindboggling but unfortunately, very much in character for Alicent Hightower.
As The Queen Who Never Said Dracarys mentioned earlier, Alicent does not seek to be free – but rather decidedly wants a window in her prison cell.
I mean truly, Alicent could have let her (former) best friend Rhaenyra become Queen and enjoy the privileges associated with that proximity to power.
Alicent could have acknowledged that Rhaenyra had premarital sex with Ser Criston Cole and left the matter alone.
Alicent could have ignored Larys Strong’s earlier attempts at manipulation and not become the sole member of the “Larys Foot Club” in The Red Keep.
Alicent could have embraced some of the ‘queer’ Targaryen customs of having pleasure and love in a relationship instead of forcing her children to marry and inbreed based on the continued schemes and treacherous treason whispered in her ear by father Otto.
What this story could have been if only Alicent didn’t struggle so fiercely to remain in the box her father Otto placed her in as a child.
Ser Erryk Cargyll Defects from the Kingsguard
While I can understand differences in the Cargyll twin’s reaction to (then Prince) Aegon’s growing depravity, I wish something of this magnitude had been introduced into our story much earlier.
I know the timeskips had a lot to cover and I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing of each episode before this, but a throwaway scene other than Aegon being a serial rapist and ignoring Helaena except for when drunk would have done wonders for his characterization.
Aegon’s coronation scene was powerful as the love from the smallfolk of King’s Landing seemingly gave him the affection he always craved from his family, but never received. I could see in motion the origins of King Aegon II’s villain origin story so to speak and although the scene played out beautifully, Helaena’s prophecy of “the beast beneath the boards” in Meleys showing up quickly ruined the sequence for me.
I don’t know, I just expected more from HoTD episode nine in terms of story progression and writing, and felt sorely disappointed by what I watched. It’s not even like I care so much about the GoT tradition of the penultimate episode for the season having a shocking moment – I just wanted another episode of solid writing and politicking in a medieval setting.
(Was it even explained how Rhaenys found and put on her armor so quickly despite being alone and armor dressing historically being at least a two-person job?)
Even the nonsense with the White Worm Mysaria made no sense to me.
Like Mysaria is going to utilize the spy network she built and kidnap the future King the day before his intended coronation to petition his notoriously untrustworthy grandfather to stop the child fighting ring the future king that is about to be installed often frequented?
Mysaria endorsed installing the depraved princeling who actively attended and patronized child fighting rings and allowed his own bastards to live in squalor?
Is this the same White Worm who sold information on Daemon’s whereabouts when he took Rhaenyra to a Flea Bottom brothel during her youth? The White Worm who has a network of spies yet didn’t see the aggressions and assassination attempt by Larys Strong coming?
I mean…I just don’t know.
Is it just me?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below, and I’ll catch you in the final review for the season shortly!
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