House of the Dragon: Confused viewers call out ‘bizarre’ episode 9 ending scene

Some viewers think the climactic scene ‘made no sense’

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 19 October 2022 21:30 BST
House of the Dragon episode 9 trailer

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Louise Thomas

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House of the Dragon’s big ninth episode ended on a moment that has left many viewers feeling confused.

The HBO show’s predecessor,Game of Thrones, traditionally reserved some of each season’s biggest moments for the penultimate episode.

Appearing to follow suit, the prequel’s latest instalment dealt with the fallout of the death of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) from the previous episode.

*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*

Alicent (Olivia Cooke), incorrectly believing Visery’s dying wish was for their son Aegon to succeed him as ruler, informs her father Otto (Rhys Ifans), who jumps to action in order to prevent Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) from taking her rightful place on the Iron Throne.

Throughout the episode, the Hightowers attempt to convince the people of King’s Landing, including Viserys’s sister Rhaenys (Eve Best), that, in the final moments of his life, he went against his steadfast wish to have Rhaenyra succeed him.

Rhaenys attempts to escape King’s Landing when she realises the Hightowers are fast-tracking the coronation before Rhaenyra has a chance to prevent it. Disguised in a shawl, Rhaenys slinks away as Aegon is being crowned – only to return on dragonback, dressed in silver and red armour.

She rides Meleys from the Dragonpit, landing directly in front of the Hightowers, with Alicent shielding her son, believing death to be imminent.

However, instead of ordering Meleys to breathe fire on the usurpers, which would have put at end to any civil war about to begin, she flies off, presumably to Dragonstone to inform a clueless Rhaenyra and Dameon (Matt Smith) about everything that’s happened.

Despite the fact that Rhaenys clearly wasn’t going to kill the Hightower family, because that would have essentially put an end to the series, many viewers were left feeling underwhelmed by the climactic scene.

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‘House of the Dragon’s climactic episode nine scene
‘House of the Dragon’s climactic episode nine scene (HBO)

Writer Alan Sepinwall tweeted: “Several days after watching a screener of tonight’s HotD, I’m still not sure why Rhaenys did what she did at the very end of the episode. Other than because the show needed her to, which is not great character work.”

He continued: “How many innocent people will now die in the war she could have prevented with one command? Felt like the show needed a big set piece to end the episode but also couldn’t change George RR Martin’s history to do so.”

Another fan added: “Her not killing them makes no sense,” while one viewer called it a “bizarre choice, especially to end an episode on,” asking: “What was the point?”

However, many are pointing out that, should Rhaenys have given the “Dracarys” order, she would be killing her nephews and niece in the process.

“The kinslaying aspect is the only thing I could think of that rationally explains why she didn’t just wipe them all out and end the war before it starts, too,” one fan stated, adding: “Otherwise…curious decision at best.”

Best, alongside the episode’s writer, Sara Hess, appeared to pre-empt the lukewarm reaction, and have explained the motivations behind Rhaenys’ divisive decision.

Meanwhile, fans were left in disbelief over a scene involving Larys (Matthew Needham) and Alicent’s feet.

‘House of the Dragon’ continues in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 2am, before repeating at 9pm later that day. It is also available to watch on NOW.

Find all the talking points from the latest episode here.

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