How does episode 9 of “House of the Dragon” compare with episodes 9 of “Game of Thrones”?

Pronounce the words “episode 9” in a game of Thrones fans and you will likely get a concerned reaction.

For years, the number nine has been a harbinger of the deaths of important characters or of epic battles (which often included the deaths of important characters). The ninth episode of game of Thrones the seasons have brought us such hits as the execution of Ned Stark, the Red Wedding and the death of Shireen Baratheon at the hands of her father. However, they also gave us the Battle of the Blackwater, the Battle of Castle Black and the Battle of the Bastards, as well as Daenerys’ first ever ride on Drogon.

Even in the short seasons 7 and 8, the penultimate episodes proved to be groundbreaking. “Beyond the Wall”, the seventh episode of the seventh season, saw Daenerys and Jon face the Night King together and ended with the tragic death of the dragon Viserion. Then there is the controversial “The Bells”, the penultimate episode of the entire series. Love it or hate it, “The Bells” gave us a quantity to process: Daenerys’ descent into madness, the King’s Landing massacre, Cleganebowl, and the deaths of Cersei and Jaime.

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Everyone greets Prince Aemond, the last king of the “House of the Dragon” drama.

game of Thrones clearly has a proud history of smashing fans with its ninth episode, but as for its prequel series, House of the Dragon? Is your first ever entry into the “Episode 9” club up to scratch?

“The Green Council”, episode 9 of House of the DragonThe first season certainly ends on a dramatic note, as Aegon Targaryen’s coronation will have huge consequences for the whole of Westeros. However, the episode is primarily an examination of the political tension in King’s Landing following the death of King Viserys. This more contained approach creates a different type of episode 9 than we may be used to, although it still shares similarities with its game of Thrones predecessors.

Let’s analyze it.

Are there any deaths of important people? House of the Dragon episode 9?

Photos taken seconds before the disaster.
Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

To put it simply, no. Your favorites are safe for now, unless your favorite is Master of Coin Lyman Beesbury, in which case my sincere condolences. Beesbury is the first official victim of what will become the Dance of the Dragons. In the Green Council, he rejects Alice and Otto’s claim that Viserys wanted Aegon to be crowned. Unfortunately, his defense of Rhaenyra earns him a strong push from Ser Criston Cole … one who bangs his head against one of the stone balls that Small Council members use to celebrate their presence. Ouch. The episode also implies that Mysaria is dead, burned in a fire started by Larys Strong. However, until we see her body, I am adamant that the white worm is still out there.

Overall, though, “The Green Council” doesn’t see on-screen deaths at the level of Ned, Robb, or Catelyn Stark. However, the entire episode deals with the relapses of House of the DragonBiggest loss so far: that of King Viserys. His death may have occurred at the end of episode 8, but it looms over every single moment of episode 9. There’s also a shot of his eyeless corpse to remind us of the dear deceased ruler.

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King Viserys gets not 1 but 2 perfect death scenes in “House of the Dragon”

And the battles? Are there fights? House of the Dragon episode 9?

A woman in a green dress sits at the head of a large table.  A man in knight's armor stands on one side of her and a man dressed in black with a bronze pin stands on the other side of her.

Time for a sneaky coup.
Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Don’t enter the “Green Council” expecting action at the Battle of the Bastards level. Yes, Criston and Aemond have a quick brawl with the Cargyll twins, and yes, we have a quick flash of brawl between street urchins. But most of the fighting in “The Green Council” comes in the form of underhanded political maneuvers and behind-the-scenes deals.

The hunt for Aegon sees Otto versus Alicent in a surprising showdown. Whoever finds him first apparently decides how the coronation will proceed and what will happen with Rhaenyra. Alicent doesn’t want her childhood best friend killed, while Otto has no such scruples. Tension hovers between them by the end of the episode, suggesting difficult times for the future.

Structurally, “The Green Council” has enough in common with battle-focused 9 episodes like “Blackwater”, “The Watchers on the Wall” and “Battle of the Bastards”. Like those three episodes, “The Green Council” focuses on a specific location in Westeros, with no cuts to other storylines like that of Rhaenyra and Daemon. This choice keeps us tied to the very turbulent events of King’s Landing in view of the coronation. It also creates anticipation for the Season 1 finale. How will Rhaenyra and Daemon take revenge once they discover Viserys’ death and Aegon’s coronation?

Are there any level 9 scenes from the episode in “The Green Council”?

A woman with silver hair in a black dress stands before a window.

Shout out to Rhaenys and Meleys.
Credit: Ollie Upton / HBO

Surely. “The Green Council” may not be a particularly battle-filled episode, but all hell breaks loose in its final minutes.

Princess Rhaenys and her dragon Meleys burst through the floor of the dragon pit where the coronation is taking place, taking a big old bite from the mock proceeding. However, if you thought we were going to have another Red Wedding-style massacre on our hands, think again! Rhaenys spares Alicent and her entire family. Instead, she flies away from King’s Landing, presumably to tell Rhaenyra everything that has happened.

It’s an undeniably tough moment, which wasn’t even George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood! He also remembers Daenerys’ flight over Drogon in Season 5, Episode 9, “Dance of the Dragons”. Dramatic escapes on Dragonback? It’s a Targaryen thing.

Although “The Green Council” may not have the level of death and bloodshed that is expected from the penultimate episodes of game of Thrones seasons, it’s definitely full of twists, twists, and creepy moments. But House of the Dragon it is also quite different from game of Thronesfocused on the political drama of one family rather than the many, many families of game of Thrones. Focusing on the political ramifications of Viserys’ death, House of the Dragon stays true to its main objective of Targaryen, all while preparing what is likely to be a spectacular ending. Give the dance!

New House of the Dragon episodes are available every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)

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