House of the Dragon: The Green Council
October 17, 2022 8:47 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

While Alicent enlists Cole and Aemond to track down Aegon, Otto gathers the great houses of Westeros to affirm their allegiance.

Compelling episode. After some initial skepticism, I'm now convinced this season matches the best of the original Game of Thrones show.
posted by Hume (40 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
We finally find out what those little stone spheres on the table are for.
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:54 AM on October 17, 2022 [4 favorites]


one dracarys would've saved a lot of trouble

also...really annoyed by the Viserys said just before he died. would've been much more interesting if Alicent got swept along with the tide of everyone else's desire.
posted by kokaku at 9:29 AM on October 17, 2022 [4 favorites]


one dracarys would've saved a lot of trouble

So true. I guess Rhaenys is being presented as someone who cleaves pretty hard to honor, and so she won't kin-slay, but she just killed hundreds of small-folk to make a point. Guess that's just her classism peeking through.

Also, that scene with the quid pro toes, blech! Well acted, but geez lawheeze Larys is gross.
posted by ishmael at 9:44 AM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


this was a pretty great episode. the moments of waiting built some great tension...individual characters sitting in the dark...waiting...

Rhaenys' escape was pretty awesome, even if she chose not to toast the Alicent faction to ash.

and yeah, Larys ewwwwwwwwwww
posted by supermedusa at 10:02 AM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


This episode is a handy reminder that while we can all get very caught up in who should "rightfully" sit in the big stabby chair, the entire system is a horrific, illegitimate institution and even the most upstanding players of the game think nothing of killing dozens of peasants when they're in their way. I seriously don't think that Rhaenys spent even a moment worrying about that -- she clearly had a long think about whether to kill her extended family and ultimately decided that that would be wrong, but all those squashed peasants were just property damage.

(This is not a criticism of the series, which I enjoy -- I just get a bit annoyed with some people in the fandom who are completely seriously morally invested in their chosen sports team. None of these people are nice people! None of them should be in charge of a government!)

That Larys scene caught me totally unawares. I thought it was really weird that Alicent was taking her shoes off and putting her feet up on the table -- yes, she was probably stressed and tired, but it was such an intimate, familiar gesture, and so at odds with her clear discomfort in Larys' company. And then she started taking her stockings off and oh nooooo, that's why. Eww!
posted by confluency at 10:23 AM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


Not totally surprised that Larys would sexualize the thing that has totally defined the way he perceived by society and his family (see also: “giant of Lannister” Tyrion) but he’s certainly going about it in the Joss Whedonest possible way.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:27 AM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


Hand of the King...

Foot of the Queen?
posted by yonega at 11:46 AM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


Gods be good.
posted by ishmael at 1:09 PM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


I said to Mrs. about halfway through, "This show has never felt more I, Claudius than it does right now," and I was being at least half complimentary.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:07 PM on October 17, 2022 [4 favorites]


How stupid is Alicent to think her rapist, drunkard perv of a son can be "advised" into being a good king? Oh a mother's love... Also, did Viserys never mention the story of Aegon's dream, etc. etc. to her over the years? You would have thought he'd have maybe defended his decision that Rhaenyra inherit the throne by mentioning that whole prophecy thing.

Larys' foot fetish seemed totally gratuitous. He's got a bad foot, so he automatically lusts after feet? Also, way to throw in this Tarantino twist to his character like 5 episodes after introducing him. I don't think this is a case of him sexualizing the feature that defines him in society, since we've literally never seen or heard anyone making mention of his disability in the entire series. I think this is a case of the writers are assholes -- "hey, let's show his deformed foot right before we show her feet so everyone knows he's horny for feet and it's because his is so fucked up!" It's also a little iffy that the spymasters in both series are somehow "less" than "real" men; the association of disability with untrustworthiness is not cool.

Incidentally, I don't know that Tyrion specifically fetishized tall women. I mean, I'm sure he liked them, but I think he was just about getting laid. But I don't remember the details of the books that well anymore.

Not torching Aegon et al was an... interesting strategy. Like, maybe it could have caused some problems, with some of the other Houses thinking that it was dirty pool, but then again, these are the same people who bent the knee without a 2nd thought when Otto told them to, so I doubt they would need to worry about that. So why not just kill them? I mean, isn't she one of the people worried about a civil war tearing the kingdom apart? The "honor" justification starts to feel pretty weak, especially given that she knows the other faction isn't above murder, and probably would have killed her. (By the way, what happened to those other two nobles who didn't submit to Otto? We see them led off, but it's only the 3rd guy who gets killed. Are the other 2 coming back or what? That seemed like a weird hole in the narrative.) Anyway, kind of a dumb plot point solely to amp up the DRAMAAAAA!

I laughed when Ser Twinsie-Beard was trying to help her escape; she's all bundled up and disguised under her hood, but he's in full armor with the White Cloak of the Kingsguard on. D'oh! I think that's going to stand out, my dude -- except that it didn't. D'oh! Dumb writing, my dudes.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:09 PM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


I laughed when Ser Twinsie-Beard was trying to help her escape; she's all bundled up and disguised under her hood, but he's in full armor with the White Cloak of the Kingsguard on. D'oh! I think that's going to stand out, my dude -- except that it didn't.

That part dint bother me as much- he kinda blended in with all the other Kings Guards wandering around herding people, hiding in plain sight, as it were.
posted by ishmael at 6:04 PM on October 17, 2022


There are only 7 members of the Kings Guard; those others were members of the City Guard, Gold Cloaks.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:14 PM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


Ah, I see, so he should have stuck out.
posted by ishmael at 6:37 PM on October 17, 2022


Also, I didn't realize that the King's guard only had 7 members. Seems...insufficient.
posted by ishmael at 7:08 PM on October 17, 2022


I'm being reminded once again that there's a archetype of that, those who desire power - shouldn't get it.

Been wondering all season - why would one want the Iron Throne? It'll just get all your blood relations (that you are fond of) killed off. The desire for the Iron Throne is pathological.

GRRM's worldbuild can be entertaining, but the foundation of it doesn't make a lick of sense. 'The Last Kingdom' at least keeps it lively and the arcs self-contained and simple.
posted by porpoise at 7:55 PM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


Targaryens attempting to go incognito in King's Landing will never not be my favorite.

Also, Mr Kingsguard giving them a a hearty "fuck off" when ordered to singlehandedly haul Rhaenyra in was great. Like, that was the sum total of the plan to neutralize her? She's got dragons!
posted by BungaDunga at 8:32 PM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


I very much liked this episode. I love that the show continues to keep everyone completely unlikable. And emphasizes over and over again that these people shouldn't be allowed to run a Wendy's drive in, much less an entire nation.

I'm fine with the foot fetish scene. For one, I like it when the show winks back with some camp. And, I like how explicit the show makes the degradation of power-seeking. I mean, here's the Queen being forced to be a foot model just so her utterly incompetent and terrible son can have unlimited power.

I said "unlikable" but that's not entirely true. Aegon second of his name is made almost likable by showing a more self-awareness than most. Sure, he's stupid. Lazy. A rapist. A child-abuser and possibly a pedophile. But at least he's aware of who he is and is strongly opposed to seeing someone as idiotic as himself on the throne. Unlike the others who seem to have no clue of how bad things can get when someone like Aegon gets near unlimited power.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:03 PM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


Good episode. I sort of assumed that Otto meant to kill or imprison Aegon, thus putting the more temperate of Allicent's sons on the throne, but does he actually state his motivation for trying to get to Aegon first? Or am I misreading the situation?
posted by whir at 12:44 AM on October 18, 2022 [3 favorites]


Otto wants to kill Rhaenyra and her children, Alicent wants to treat with her. Whoever has Aegon in hand and under their control has the cards to call the next play. Does that totally make sense? Nope. But note that Alicent goes to her father after she has Aegon and says “I have him, here’s what will happen next.”
posted by jeoc at 4:44 AM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


Like, that was the sum total of the plan to neutralize her? She's got dragons!

One would think Otto would recall the last time he chugged down to Dragonstone to try to bring a Targaryen to heel and how that went and who is and is not on his side now. Maybe they thought he could just show up feigning a friendly visit and then kill them? I wouldn’t want to test myself against Daemon even as a Kingsguard.
posted by jeoc at 4:47 AM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


I like the theory that Larys doesn't actually get off on feet -- he gets off on power and control, and being able to manipulate the queen into doing something for him that she finds degrading. He's just picked feet because everyone will think well, obviously he's into feet.

IIRC Aegon's Dream was specifically introduced as a Targaryen family secret passed down from each king to his heir. That was why Viserys only spoke about it to Rhaenyra when she became his heir (presumably he also mentioned it to Daemon before that, but I don't think we've seen any evidence of that). Whether this makes logical sense given some of the inheritance hijinks that happened previously is unclear. It's possible that a king might also discuss it with other close family members, but while Viserys was very close to Aemma and she was also a Targaryen (woo, cousin incest), Alicent was an outsider who married into the family, and they never had the same kind of closeness. And he had no compelling reason to reveal it to any of his children with Alicent -- I definitely got the impression that he was a very distant father to them, and also explaining to your kid that he's not inheriting the throne partially because of a dream you had seems unkind if not politically stupid.
posted by confluency at 5:22 AM on October 18, 2022 [4 favorites]


I like the theory that Larys doesn't actually get off on feet -- he gets off on power and control, and being able to manipulate the queen into doing something for him that she finds degrading. He's just picked feet because everyone will think well, obviously he's into feet.

Maybe it is the casting and the portrayal, but Larys transposed into the modern age would certainly be plausible as a guy who sells rubber replica celebrity feet on the Internet.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:41 AM on October 18, 2022


This prequel is about the world ending in fire ("from what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire") while the original show was about the world ending in ice ("but if I had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate to say that for destruction Ice is also great and would suffice").

On the Kingsguard: when you wear a Kingsguard cloak virtually no one can question you, including the Gold Cloaks. And for the few people who could outrank Erryk (or Arryk), a disguise probably wouldn't be that helpful. What I wondered during that scene is why he didn't pretend she was his prisoner rather than just someone traveling with him. Less likely that a looky loo would realize its a highborn in disguise and investigate.

Another take on the Larys/feet creepiness: in a medieval setting where everyone is following a Catholic Church stand-in, just viewing a woman's bare skin, especially a highborn woman, is probably more than enough for a guy like Larys. There's not really a need to have fetishes like that when the female form in general is so off limits.
posted by Hume at 9:51 AM on October 18, 2022 [5 favorites]


Been wondering all season - why would one want the Iron Throne? ... The desire for the Iron Throne is pathological

The desire for power is pathological, and it is no different in the real world. How many wars have been fought, how many people have been killed, just to put some inept dipshit rich-boy on a throne? Why the fuck would anyone want to be a Governor, or a Senator, or President? Even among the best there's a baseline egotism for pretty much anyone who wants to be in power.

I like the theory that Larys doesn't actually get off on feet -- he gets off on power and control, and being able to manipulate the queen into doing something for him that she finds degrading. He's just picked feet because everyone will think well, obviously he's into feet.

I mean, that's a nice idea, and it certainly saves the audience from dealing with the insulting reduction of a disabled person to their disability, but I don't think there's any evidence in the text for that interpretation. Larys has consistently been portrayed as creepy and manipulative and... that's it. Clearly this interaction has happened before, as Alicent doesn't need to be prompted when he wants to see a little more skin. The visuals define it all for us at the start of the scene: one shot focusing on his feet (which might be the first time in the series they've done that) to show that one is deformed, followed by a shot of her taking off her shoes to show her pretty feet. Plus, he's clearly staring right at her feet while he's jacking it; if it was about her degradation, I think he'd be looking at her face as she turns away in disgust.

On the Kingsguard: when you wear a Kingsguard cloak virtually no one can question you, including the Gold Cloaks.

So he better hope that Otto doesn't send out any other Kingsguard to look for him then.

Regarding Otto's plan for Rhaenyra, I think the idea was that he was sending the Kingsguard on a covert assassination trip to kill Rhaenyra, Daemon, and the kids in their sleep. It's nice that Ser Baldy Beard refuses to commit murder in cold-blood, but again, it would have been nice to have a little more character development from him in previous episodes to establish his growing discomfort with the way things have been going. Like, where were you when Ser Cole was murdering Laenor's boyfriend in the middle of a party? (And I still have to ask... HOW HAS THIS GUY NOT AGED A DAY SINCE EP 1? He must have an amazing skin care regimen.)

I love that the show continues to keep everyone completely unlikable. And emphasizes over and over again that these people shouldn't be allowed to run a Wendy's drive in, much less an entire nation.

This is true, to some extent, but without the presentation of any alternative, it still comes off as Lifestyles of the Rich and Perverted. Take the Brotherhood without Banners from GoT, for example (I was about to type Brothers without Borders). They were an interesting idea: an explicitly anti-aristocratic group fighting to defend the smallfolk and preserve their interests. But they don't really make that big of an impact on the story, and that little glimpse of a non-feudal society and the idea that maybe there are a lot of people in Westeros who'd be happier without nobles and kings is just dropped without any development. At the end of the series, Bran is on the throne, the kingdom is united (sort of), and we're done, yay.

Similarly in this episode, the White Worm lady makes a speech about how the nobles only have their power on loan from the smallfolk and demands that they outlaw UFC Kids Division, but it is just shoe-horned in out of nowhere (and again, with no character development of the White Worm to indicate why she might care about any of this), and I'll bet a Costco Hot Dog we never hear about the kids again.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:24 AM on October 18, 2022 [5 favorites]


did anyone else think the little white-haired kid shown at the cage fight was implied to be Aegon's? and implied that he had other bastards sprinkled around Flea Bottom, and yes, liked to come see them get shredded by other children???
posted by supermedusa at 10:51 AM on October 18, 2022 [7 favorites]


supermedusa: Yep.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:48 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


I sort of assumed that Otto meant to kill or imprison Aegon, thus putting the more temperate of Allicent's sons on the throne, but does he actually state his motivation for trying to get to Aegon first

One-Eye is not next in line for the throne, Aegon’s kids are
posted by shothotbot at 6:13 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


did anyone else think the little white-haired kid shown at the cage fight was implied to be Aegon's? and implied that he had other bastards sprinkled around Flea Bottom, and yes, liked to come see them get shredded by other children???

The brothers Erryk and Arryk (however it is spelled) explicitly muse about this while wandering around the child sized fighting pits.
posted by mmascolino at 7:26 PM on October 18, 2022 [3 favorites]


One-Eye is not next in line for the throne, Aegon’s kids are

I suspect they have to be legitimate to count in the succession, and I doubt there's much chance of Aegon acknowledging them as anything other than fight fodder.
posted by Sparx at 8:43 PM on October 18, 2022


I believe as of this latest episode aegon is married to his sister and they have a couple of “legitimate” kids. But I don’t know that the normal rules of succession really matter much at this point.
posted by skewed at 8:56 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


I believe as of this latest episode aegon is married to his sister and they have a couple of “legitimate” kids.

Fair enough. I lose track with the time jumps, different actors and things happening offscreen. I have the book under a pile of other books in my to-read pile that I should really get on to in order to keep track...before the pile topples over and kills me in my sleep.
posted by Sparx at 9:17 PM on October 18, 2022


He's just picked feet because everyone will think well, obviously he's into feet.

Funnily enough, I've seen that interpretation of him intentionally playing to type:
Great thing about Larys is that he's faking being a personal resentment guy to fit in with the personal resentment side. Just nodding along when they're going on about their gripes, going through the motions of pretending he hated the family members he burnt down
I mean, that's a nice idea, and it certainly saves the audience from dealing with the insulting reduction of a disabled person to their disability, but I don't think there's any evidence in the text for that interpretation. Larys has consistently been portrayed as creepy and manipulative and... that's it.

And in a response to the above tweet:
on another show making the guy with a foot-based disability a foot pervert would be too on the nose, but it works here because they laid the groundwork for escalating transactions in the relationship. Wonderful character.
(author of first tweet):
He's also very much in line with foot perverts of all stripes so the foundations are built outside the disability. They did the lattice work
I don't know how people are getting this idea of him being some sort of... meta-psychopath? but it's interesting.

It's also a little iffy that the spymasters in both series are somehow "less" than "real" men; the association of disability with untrustworthiness is not cool.

I agree that it was gratuitous and hearkened back to the cheap titillation and shocks of the original GoT, but I'm not sure if the above statement is accurate, given how while Littlefinger was not actually a Master of Whispers, he was truly a spymaster in his own right. But then again, he was also portrayed with his own personal quirks, though they were more emotional than physical.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:51 PM on October 18, 2022


I suspect they have to be legitimate to count in the succession, and I doubt there's much chance of Aegon acknowledging them as anything other than fight fodder.

He has kids with his Sister-Wife. It was established... last episode? The one before? That Aegon was to be married to his unusual and seemingly mentally ill sister (the one who was obsessed with bugs and such, whose name I don't recall), and he wasn't too psyched about the idea. When Alicent goes looking for Aegon and talks with her daughter, we see a servant-woman playing with two little Targaryen Tots; those are (presumably) Aegon's official heirs.

I'm not sure if the above statement is accurate, given how while Littlefinger was not actually a Master of Whispers

I was thinking of Varys, not Littlefinger -- he had been "unmanned" as a youth by a necromancer or something. But, unlike Larys, Varys had good motivations and seemed like a decent sort -- or at least as decent as anyone could be in that world.

Great thing about Larys is that he's faking being a personal resentment guy to fit in with the personal resentment side. Just nodding along when they're going on about their gripes, going through the motions of pretending he hated the family members he burnt down

So... he loved the family members he killed? Or he didn't care? I don't get this interpretation at all. What does "faking being a personal resentment guy" mean? I don't remember Larys "faking" hatred, or really any reaction, to the death of his brother & father. Just, "You wanted it done, I did it for you, bada bing bada boom." I guess I just don't see the "lattice work" the author claims to find in the previous episodes.


Thinking about the scene with Alicent's Daughter/Aegon's Wife reminded me of an interesting detail that I'm a bit surprised no one's brought up: her ability to tell the future. She freaks out for a moment and shouts, "There's a beast beneath the boards!" (or something very close to that, definitely "a beast beneath the..." -- foretelling the Princess's escape on dragon-back. I guess she's the Bran of this series, mixed in with a bit o' Cassandra, since no one pays attention to her ramblings.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:11 AM on October 19, 2022 [4 favorites]


oh! Aegon's wife is his sister? I was wondering, where they got another blonde girl from!

I interpreted the "Beast beneath the boards" as telling a very immediate future, as she utters this and then the what's-his-name-without-the-eye turns up, so I thought he was "the beast", as there is for sure a power struggle looming on this front as well.

Can someone explain the dragon lore to me in this series? Do the dragons serve their human of their own free will (I'll count being a bonded pair through spending time in a crib as babies as "free will")? Are they kept in the dungeons because dragons like it this way? Or is it like keeping tiger in a tiny cage in a circus? Are they highly intelligent and charismatic (the D&D lore) or stupid smelly lizards (the Witcher lore)?. Additionally, this whole "claiming of the dragon" - can it be done by anyone? But only if the rider is dead? By walking up to a dragon and not being incinerated? Can a dragon be stolen this way from a living rider?

Much like the pointlessness of Rhaenys not incinerating the coronation party when given the opportunity, I'm also wondering why Rhaenyra didn't strike a deal with Aegon a long time ago - she wants to be queen, he doesn't want to be king, seems like they could find a solution pleasing both parties here.
posted by Dotty at 11:38 AM on October 19, 2022 [1 favorite]


Why doesn't Aegon just abdicate in favor of his younger brother. That's something all monarchies allow for.

I don't remember Larys "faking" hatred, or really any reaction, to the death of his brother & father.

His entire relationship with Alicent since the first time they met when she was a teenager was about identifying with her marginalized role as as outcast at court, then later identifying with her feeling deprived of her (or rather her children's) birthright to the throne. Being both a younger son and a clubfoot, he was passed over in favor of his elder brother Harwin, so his lot in life was not dissimilar to Alicent's own "second succession line" status. Thus he (and rather blatantly) puts himself into situations to ingratiate himself with the queen, as he appears to be the only one to emphasize with her position. But he probably doesn't care, he's just a psychopath.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:45 AM on October 19, 2022 [2 favorites]


she utters this and then the what's-his-name-without-the-eye turns up

I hadn't thought about that, but I think it's a possibility -- prophecies are often ambiguous and multi-faceted...

Why doesn't Aegon just abdicate in favor of his younger brother

Well now that he's got a taste for the adulation of the masses, I think Aegon is a lot more enthusiastic for the job. The way he kept raising the sword to get the crowd to cheer reminded me of Homer when he became head of the Stonecutters, running on and off stage so everyone has to keep bowing.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:52 AM on October 19, 2022 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Aegon has definitely changed his mind, but prior to his coronation he probably could have abdicated his claim. Or maybe it's just not a Westerosi thing that's done. Maybe like with the Ottomans, any sibling could pose a threat and so there would have been demand to eliminate him or send him to the Wall at best if he wanted to abandon his claim.

I was thinking of Varys, not Littlefinger -- he had been "unmanned" as a youth by a necromancer or something. But, unlike Larys, Varys had good motivations and seemed like a decent sort -- or at least as decent as anyone could be in that world.

Right, I got that, and I mentioned Littlefinger as an additional top schemer from GoT as a counterexample of an intricate webweaver who was not depicted as "less of a man." But after some consideration, he is in some ways. His obsession with Cat, and feeling aggrieved at Ned for "stealing" his love, does code him to be somewhat of a cuckold (his sigil being a mockingbird does reinforce that he is for the birds), and he is often depicted as less than. His house's claim is fairly small, his stature is meant to be, there's an undercurrent of him being a jumped-up little lord that's a ladder climber.

Maybe that's the way intrigue is coded in society. I'm also reminded of how poison is derided as "a woman's weapon" in GoT. I suppose there's a tendency to portray scheming as indirect, uncourageous, dishonorable tactics derided by real warriors. Never mind that the top schemer until season five is Tywin Lannister, who is not seen as any less for being a chess master. Thus there's a hypocrisy to it.

This reinforces that the Dornish, who acknowledge their bastards and accept males who use poison, are the least regressive culture in the Seven Kingdoms. Credit to this show for actually including "[monarch] of the Rhoynar" in royal declarations, which for some reason Game of Thrones omitted.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:08 PM on October 19, 2022


I get what you're saying about how Larys ingratiates himself with Alicent, I just don't buy the argument (made by whatever tweeter) that it somehow makes his foot fetish less clumsy as a plot point. Oh well, not a huge deal anyway.

And yes, the Dornish are the best (relatively speaking) society on Westeros, the kinky bi-devils that they are.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:45 PM on October 19, 2022


I assumed the “beast beneath the boards” is Larys and that he has been warging into the castle’s rats all season.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:12 PM on October 19, 2022 [1 favorite]


In terms of the succession - I think before he’s crowned, that Aegon could have withdrawn in favor of Aemond, but then Aemond would need to kill all of Aegon’s kids to prevent them from being claimants. A lot of kinslaying.

I actually think we are meant to think Rhaenys considered killing Aegon, etc, but was prevented by Alicent putting herself in front of her son - that being something she can deeply empathize with, and remembering that Alicent had treated with her fairly well.

But also, it’s just a reminder of how much even one dragon can fuck. shit, up.
posted by corb at 2:24 AM on October 20, 2022 [1 favorite]


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