The strategic reason why Rhaenys made that divisive call at the end of Sunday’s ‘House of the Dragon’ episode
Warning: Spoilers forward for “Home of the Dragon” season one, episode 9 “The Inexperienced Council.”
HBO’s TV adaptation of “Fireplace and Blood” has made some modifications to the story of Home Targaryen’s battle.
When Rhaenys killed a bunch of individuals within the dragonpit, there was strong technique behind the daring transfer.
On the finish of “Home of the Dragon” episode 9, which aired Sunday, Rhaenys shocked everybody by bursting by means of the ground of the dragonpit on the again of Meleys (her dragon). Regardless of killing lots of of random King’s Touchdown residents who had been herded in there with out selection, Rhaenys selected to not kill the newly topped King Aegon II and nearly each Hightower supporter with any energy.
Rhaenys might have ended the battle earlier than it began, or so some have interpreted that scene.
However there is a layer of technique at play right here that may not be clear but if you do not know the context of “Fireplace and Blood,” the ebook upon which the sequence relies. This whole Rhaenys sequence was created for the present’s extra omniscient telling of occasions within the fictional historical past of Home Targaryen.
‘Fireplace and Blood’ is giving extra characterization and nuance to the aftermath of Viserys’ loss of life
In George R.R. Martin’s “Fireplace and Blood,” the story readers are informed comes from numerous sources of both biased or unreliable witnesses. “Home of the Dragon” is presenting a brand new, extra nuanced sequence of occasions and selections that may finally result in tragedy. Anybody who has seen “Sport of Thrones” is aware of that Home Targaryen started declining after their dragons died out — that’s the complete magic and awe of Daenerys Targaryen’s accomplishment of hatching not one however three dragons and reviving the ability of Home Targaryen within the earlier HBO sequence.
So, what does this all need to do with Rhaenys?
All through “The Inexperienced Council” episode, each Otto Hightower and Queen Alicent are vying for management of the scenario. Otto needs Rhaenyra, Daemon, and all their kids killed instantly — earlier than the individuals of King’s Touchdown even know that King Viserys is useless.
Alicent needs to ship phrases to Rhaenyra and crown Aegon within the meantime as quick as attainable (wrongly believing that was Viserys’ dying want), and hoping for a truce between their households with out bloodshed.
Each of those are fairly bold plans, given the defenses Rhaenyra and Daemon have at Dragonstone and the bonus of Rhaenyra’s rightful declare to the Iron Throne by public decree of the late King.
Rhaenys is the one one who is aware of what’s going on and might relay the true order of occasions to Rhaenyra and Daemon and their kids (who’re additionally meant to be within the true line of succession).
Rhaenys was imprisoned within the Purple Preserve whereas Otto had highborns like Lord Caswell executed for making an attempt to ship phrase to Rhaenyra that her father had died. Rhaenys’ life was completely in peril, ought to she fail to bend the knee to Aegon. So she wanted an out — and located it along with her dragon.
However guess who is aware of none of this? The precise individuals who stay within the Seven Kingdoms
Only a few individuals knew Viserys had died within the first full day after he took his ultimate breath.
And as we have seen in conversations over on a regular basis jumps in earlier episodes, the lords and women of the court docket have both stayed loyal to the oath they swore to Viserys almost 21 years in the past, or have determined that after all a son ought to inherit the throne over a daughter as a result of male rulers are all they’ve ever identified.
The individuals of the Seven Kingdoms don’t have any purpose to doubt the account from the Hand of the King himself that Viserys modified his thoughts and needed Aegon to rule as an alternative of Rhaenyra.
Rhaenys is the one who brings Aegon’s crowning into doubt — reminding the individuals how dragons are the actual energy. The creatures are weapons able to mass homicide at a whim, and when bonded with a Targaryen, the dragons will serve their instructions.
By crashing into the dragonpit like that, after which sparing the lives of the newly ascended king and his household, Rhaenys introduced the story of the household’s divide into public view. In her personal method, Rhaenys was setting the tone for the individuals of the Seven Kingdoms: Get consistent with the rightful Queen Rhaenyra, or endure the destiny of our dragons.
However Rhaenys additionally makes the strategic option to not kill the freshly topped King Aegon II or Alicent and Helaena and the opposite members of her family by blood and marriage.
Rhaenys does not needs the general public story to be “Rhaenys is a kinslayer and Rhaenyra simply needed energy at any price.” Rhaenys needs to show her energy, give Alicent yet another shot at doing the best factor, after which get the heck out of King’s Touchdown safely.
How passages in ‘Fireplace and Blood’ additionally give context to the technique round Aegon’s coronation on the dragonpit
We all know that public notion is one thing that components into wars and political technique. In “Fireplace and Blood,” Martin tells us that “riders went forth on pale horses to unfold the phrase to the individuals of King’s Touchdown, crying ‘King Viserys is useless, lengthy stay King Aegon'” as soon as the Hightowers determined it was time to make Viserys’ loss of life public.
“Listening to the cries, Munkun writes, some wept while others cheered,” the ebook continues. “However a lot of the smallfolk stared in silence, confused and cautious, and on occasion a voice cried out, ‘Lengthy stay our queen.'”
Martin additionally says on this fictional historical past ebook that the dragonpit seated 80,000 individuals (about 4 instances as many as in the actual Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis), and that the Hightowers thought the construction would shield them from outdoors “traitors.”
“The pit’s thick partitions, sturdy roof, and towering bronze doorways made it defensible, ought to traitors try to disrupt the ceremony,” the ebook says.
“Home of the Dragon” pokes an enormous gap into this logic with the surprising scene of Rhaenys bursting out of the ground, placing the Greens on their again ft and giving one other win to Staff Rhaenyra.
The episode additionally goes out of its option to present us that Aegon is a disastrous candidate for the job of King. He is extra desirous about watching kids struggle to the loss of life and siring bastards and getting drunk than something to do with ruling.
His opponent, and the precise one who Viserys needed topped, is Rhaenyra — a conventional Targaryen queen who served in Small Council conferences from a younger age and was appointed inheritor at 14 years outdated, giving her greater than 20 years to organize for ruling.
Rhaenyra has finished lots to show public opinion in opposition to her, together with siring bastards in a way more public method than Aegon and passing them off as trueborn (with the consent of her complete instant household and husband). She’s additionally rumored to have murdered her husband in an effort to marry her uncle within the custom of incest that the majority believers of the Religion assume is incorrect.
So if Rhaenys had killed her family members and shed the primary royal blood within the struggle over the throne, it could sway opinion in opposition to Staff Rhaenyra. Kinslaying is a particular type of ethical flagrance in Westeros.
And sure, so is murdering lots of of harmless residents of your metropolis. This has been a significant sticking level for many individuals who did not assume the ending of the episode was satisfying.
With out going into spoilers from “Fireplace and Blood,” I am going to simply say this: Do not assume that the deaths of all these individuals will go unremarked upon by the entire story’s ending.
The season one finale of “Home of the Dragon” airs Sunday on HBO at 9 p.m. ET. For extra, learn our breakdown of the perfect particulars you might need missed in final week’s episode.
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