TV Review: ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, Episode 9

by Frank Martin

It was bound to happen eventually. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is dead. The show had been building to this moment since the very first episode. In many respects, its entire premise hinged on how this week’s episode would handle that event. The result was decidedly mixed. On the one hand, the pomp and prestige of the Hightower coup was fairly entertaining to watch, but there were elements of conflict missing. Only one side was depicted in the episode, so it was impossible to gain the full scope and ramifications of the situation.

The episode largely plays out in predictable fashion. After the king dies, Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) tells the small council that he wanted their son, Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) to become king with his dying breath. It’s kind of murky as to whether or not that is actually what happened, but either way, her father, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) jumps at the opportunity to begin his coup. They just have to find the prince first, who unfortunately has to fend off an assassination attempt from his brother. Eventually, the prince is crowned king. However, Rhaenys (Eve Best) burst through the ground soon after atop her dragon. She threatens the new royal family before flying off.

While there is certainly some drama, the coup manages to succeed without a hitch. Of course, there is still the problem of Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) to deal with. She and Daemon (Matt Smith) were not even featured in the episode, so it’s unclear what will happen next. Overall, the episode had some fairly high tension, but not a whole lot of conflict. Because Rhaenyra was not in it, the suspense that’s been built up over the course of the season wasn’t able to unfold. Yet again, fans will just have to wait and see how this dance of dragons will take place.

House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO.

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