House of the Dragon Episode 9 Review: The Green Council
Viserys has drawn his last breath. The Greens have been planning for this day. They gather their forces. Anyone who doesn’t swear allegiance to Aegon is imprisoned or worse. Alicent pleads with Princess Rhaenys to side with Aegon. All seems to be going well for the Greens. Or is it?
The Greens must make the right moves carefully at the right times and in the right order. The writers make a shrewd choice as they slow the pacing down from breakneck to methodical. It reflects how the Greens must move to secure Aegon's claim to the Iron Throne. They also do an excellent job of revealing the internal conflicts within the Greens. There is a plot afoot—a plot within a plot. The writers deepen it by adding texture to the divide through the character motivations.
Prince Aemond Targaryen is brave enough to conquer Vhagar, so he could ride the most enormous dragon in the world. He devours the histories to glean the strategies of his forebears. He studies the craft of swordsmanship daily to sharpen his mind and body to the consistency of steel so that he may attain a dream that he dare not utter openly. Aemond doesn't respect his elder brother, who is given so easily something he does not earn and isn't worthy of. And if he were king, Otto wouldn't control him.
Otto seemingly accomplishes all that he wants. With his grandson on the throne and himself as the Hand, he can rule by proxy. Aegon is a vapid waste of space. He is unfit to be king. But it's better for Otto that Aegon be in the seat of power because he knows that Aegon will defer to him. Aegon has not prepared himself to be king. And he has vigorously resisted anyone that has made the attempt. So he will have to lean on Otto for everything. Something tells this viewer that's the way that Otto likes it.
Aegon is not suited for the job. He may even be less suited than Viserys, who ruled with too much heart. But Aegon will have a greater problem. Aside from his lack of knowledge, unwillingness to learn and basic ineptitude, he suffers from a type of depravity that will most certainly injure the crown in some way.
Alicent has always been under the thumb of someone else. And it’s because she is weak-minded. From the beginning, she is under her father’s influence. Later she’s rolled into Larys Strong’s web. Now, indebted to him, she has to serve his strange desires to get him to act on her behalf. And it’s all to place her undeserving son on the throne. Alicent wouldn’t make a bad ruling queen if she only had some intestinal fortitude. She couldn't do much worse than Aegon. She does have some wisdom. Alicent and Otto do share the same worldview. But they don't agree on how to shape it. She may attempt to compete with Otto for Aegon's ear.
Larys is shrewd and always planning something. This viewer is unsure what he has in store for the Greens or the Blacks. Only time will tell.
Rhaenys is not Green. But she is a wild card. She has been far too passive up to this point. This viewer has been waiting for her to make her presence felt. Finally, she makes a move that shakes the ground beneath everyone's feet—literally. Rhaenys is as wise as she is tough and intelligent. Everyone wants her support. With her husband gone, she makes the decisions in Driftmark. It’s a powerful seat. And given how few dragons there are, one could easily turn the tide of the war between Green and Black that is to come. And she most certainly is a dragonlord. There can be no doubt of that.
But one thing puzzles this viewer. With one word, Rhaenys could’ve wiped out the Greens and put Rhaenyra on the throne. But she chooses mercy. Do wise people always make wise decisions? Because this move isn't wise. Good deeds are always punished in that universe. The Greens will surely not return that favor of kindness—not with Otto at the reigns.
Helaena Targaryen is one character that this viewer wishes would have more screen time. She is interesting beyond measure. The audience should know more about how her gift works. Helaena prophesies another event in this episode. Not that this viewer wants the Greens to win, but when will her family recognize her true potential and start paying attention to her? Her gift can be a valuable tool. But they seem to think she is crazy and just spouts off nonsense. Because of their lack of understanding, will she follow the fate of the Apollo-cursed Cassandra—destined to warn of calamities only to have no one listen?
The Greens have an alliance that would’ve put Vince McMahon to shame during his reign in the vaunted Age of Attitude. But at the end of the day, what do they accomplish? And how can a house so divided ever hope to win the coming war? Blacks' move.