House of The Dragon Episode 9 review

The King’s gone, and the House of The Dragon has descended into chaos.

The penultimate episodes of anything remotely related to Game of Thrones are never supposed to be peaceful — after all, the poison, intrigue, betrayal, and insidiousness of humanity usually burst forth like an unstoppable dam. House of the Dragon’s latest Episode 9 doesn’t have any specific shock and awe moments, something that could match Ned Stark’s beheading — which also paved the path for the original series — but it had everything else. Episode 9 was filled to the brim with tension, panic, and unpredictability, you never know whose head could be cut off, and who could be burnt to cinders. Everyone’s trying to play chess — some with trembling and nervous fingers without giving much thought — others more coolly, but playing the wrong pieces.

The episode continues in the aftermath of King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) death. His former close friend and Hand of The King, Otto Hightower doesn’t waste his breath in expressing his grief; he has other matters at hand to worry about, like plotting to kill Viserys’ daughter, Rhaenyra (Emma D’arcy), the heir to the throne, and imprisoning everyone who won’t swear fealty. Ser Criston is now a schemer as well and reveals his murderous side as he eliminates Lord Beesbury from the council, who is appalled at the plans to usurp the throne and expresses his spluttering displeasure. Sigh, bad time and place for being a good person.

But Rhaenyra and Daemon are suspiciously absent in this episode, probably awaiting the real gory showdown in the finale. While Daemon’s cold savagery is dearly missed, there’s still a lot happening here as Alicent Hightower has to locate her decrepit and depraved son Aegon and make him king, as well as try to save her former best friend from being butchered by her father. Aegon is as unlikeable as such Game of Thrones characters can be — he has fathered numerous children across the city and runs an abhorrent child-fighting ring.

Alicient anchors this episode marvelously as she finally states what we’ve all been thinking — she has been a shameless pawn in Otto Hightower’s plans, something that she might be regretting. Her expressions are ridden with exhaustion and weariness as she struggles to use her power of words against a world of conniving men, but it’s not of much use. The other woman who exudes the same magnetic hold over the show is Queen Rhaenys—the Queen Who Never Was. She has been playing with loyalties for a while now, but she also wants it known that she will not be messed with—-as she shows in the final moments of the show. Rhaenys bursts through with a dragon, while Alicent and the whole squad tremble in their boots. There’s a moment where I almost believed that this could be that defining moment in the show and she would burn them all to death—-but that doesn’t happen, disappointingly. She glowers with a cold fury at the lot and then turns away. They won’t have it that easy, now would they?

House of the Dragon Episode 9 portrays the poisonous seeping tension in the realms, matched with the morbidly remarkable OST—-you know that whenever such ominous music plays, nothing good is going to happen. The episode, filled with well-suited gloom and shadows (there literally is no form of bright light) was quite gripping and riveting, and it remains to be seen who lives, or dies, in the finale.

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