The Ending of 'House of the Dragon' Episode 9, Explained (2024)

The penultimate episode of the first season of House of the Dragon has finally arrived, and it brings into focus the Hightowers' plan to supplant Princess Rhaenyra as heir to the Iron Throne.

Ahead, we recap the events of Episode 9 and break down the eyebrow-raising ending—including the unexpected person who has been seated on the Iron Throne. Beware—spoilers are below.

Recapping Episode 9

Upon the discovery of the corpse of King Viserys (Paddy Considine), Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) seeks the counsel of her father, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). She tells him of her last conversation with Viserys from the night before, in which she mistakenly interpreted his last words to mean that he wished for their firstborn son, Prince Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), to become king after his death.

Alicent and Otto call for an emergency meeting of the small council, in which they announce both Viserys's death and his supposed last wish. Some members of the council immediately accept Aegon's ascension to the Iron Throne, to Alicent's surprise. The queen then realizes that Otto and some council members had been preparing and conspiring for Aegon's ascension without involving her in their plans. Meanwhile, Master of Coin Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson) is outraged by this scheme and argues against the possibility of Viserys naming Aegon his heir when the king had so staunchly defended and propped up his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy), in his lifetime. In response, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) delivers one of his infamous temper tantrums and kills Lyman.

When Alicent asks of the fate of Rhaenyra and her family, Otto says that the princess will be given the opportunity to bend the knee to the new King Aegon II, but Alicent knows Rhaenyra would never do so. This leaves one option: Kill Rhaenyra and her children, thus disposing of any living challenge to Aegon. Alicent deems this option unacceptable, wishing to spare their lives.

After the tense meeting, Alicent and Otto set off in search of Aegon, each with opposing objectives. When it becomes apparent that Aegon has fled the Red Keep, Otto sends two knights, twin brothers Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk (Elliott and Luke Tittensor), to find him. Meanwhile, Alicent charges Criston and Prince Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) to recover Aegon.

Both search parties explore known haunts of the missing prince in King's Landing, including a brothel and a fighting pit in which children are forced to battle to the death. In the latter location, Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk discover one of Aegon's bastard children.

Finally, a spy working for Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) has the brothers arrange a meeting between Otto and her boss. Mysaria, who has hidden Aegon, exchanges his location for Otto's promise that the children's death pit will be shut down under the new king's reign. She also helpfully reminds him that no ruler can rule without the consent of his people (Comrade Mysaria, anyone?).

The brother knights at last locate Aegon, but they are confronted by Criston and Aemond, who wrest the prince from the knights' capture. Aegon, bereft, begs for an escape, wishing to flee the city so as not to assume the duty and burden of king. He is refused.

Back at the Red Keep, Alicent pays a visit to Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best), whom she had kept locked in her chambers to keep her from fleeing. Alicent asks for Rhaenys's support of Aegon's claim to the throne. Alicent appeals to Rhaenys's ego, saying that she—not Viserys—was entitled to inherit the Iron Throne due to both her birth right and her sensibilities as a leader. "We do not rule," Alicent says, "but we may guide the men that do." Rhaenys provokes her back, saying, "Yet you toil still in service to men: your father, your husband, your son. You desire not to be free, but to make a window in the wall of your prison. Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?"

After, Alicent confronts her father, declaring her independence from him upon realizing she has been a piece he's played in his political games for power. She also announces she intends to send "true terms" to Rhaenyra so that she may accept her loss of the crown "without shame." Otto warns her that this mercy will lead to rebellion from her and her allies.

Meanwhile, Ser Erryk helps Rhaenys flee the Red Keep. While outside the castle walls, the two are separated as crowds of people are herded into a chapel where the coronation of Aegon is set to take place. Rhaenys is shuffled into the ceremony, where Aegon, encouraged by applause and cheering, begins to embrace his new role as king.

However, Rhaenys takes the fete as an opportunity to retrieve her dragon from the dragon pit. In the midst of the celebration, she bursts from underneath the floor of the chapel, now clad in armor and with her dragon in tow. She has her beast face the Hightower family and the newly crowned king. For a moment, it seems as though she may utter the fatal command, dracarys, and put an end to their treason by setting the family on fire. As she contemplates, Alicent steps in front of her son, placing her body between Aegon and the dragon. She shares a brief, desperate look with Rhaenys before bowing her head and closing her eyes, accepting her fate. Instead, Rhaenys's dragon lets out a mighty screech before flying off and away from King's Landing.

Who is the new ruler of Westeros?

The Hightowers' longtime plan to usurp the throne from Rhaenyra upon Viserys's death has at last been put into action, with Aegon now seated on the Iron Throne. However, as George R.R. Martin's novel Fire & Blood shows, Rhaenyra won't quietly accept this betrayal.

The resulting conflict leads to what we now know as the Dance of the Dragons, or the Targaryen civil war that will pit Team Green and Team Black against each other as they contest control of Westeros.

The Ending of 'House of the Dragon' Episode 9, Explained (2)

Chelsey Sanchez

Digital Associate Editor

As an associate editor at, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers' rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset.

The Ending of 'House of the Dragon' Episode 9, Explained (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 6330

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Birthday: 1996-05-10

Address: Apt. 425 4346 Santiago Islands, Shariside, AK 38830-1874

Phone: +96313309894162

Job: Legacy Sales Designer

Hobby: Baseball, Wood carving, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Lacemaking, Parkour, Drawing

Introduction: My name is Dean Jakubowski Ret, I am a enthusiastic, friendly, homely, handsome, zealous, brainy, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.