Spoilers for Episode 9 of House of the Dragon are present in this article.
The beast beneath the boards was finally exposed in the ninth episode of House of the Dragon when Rhaenys Velaryon, the Queen Who Never Was, and her dragon Medleys burst through the floor of the Dragonpit during Aegon II’s coronation, in a scene prophesied by Queen Alicent’s daughter Helena.
It makes perfect sense that the beast in question is a dragon. However, Rhaenys decided against burning King’s Landing down in a situation where it could have actually made sense for an almost-queen of House Targaryen to do so.
It was difficult to watch, especially if you supported Alicent’s devoted greens (and who doesn’t at this point?) But those who paid close attention might have had a clearer idea of why Rhaenys exercised restraint.
After her husband Lord Corlys was possibly terminally wounded, as viewers saw in the last episode, Rhaenys was forced into a shaky succession of her own in Driftmark, the ancestral home of House Veyron. The Lord of the Tides title was abrupt, reaffirmed when King Viserys made his famous entry in the throne room, cornering her hot-headed well, for as long as he had a head brother-in-law, and Alicent’s desire to win Driftmark’s sizable naval fleet over to her side.
A cunning Rhaenys understood that accepting Princess Rhaenyra’s earlier frantic offer to wed her attractive, powerful sons to Rhaenys granddaughters was her greatest chance of maintaining her line’s blood on the Driftwood Throne.
In Essence, Rhaenys Had the Acumen to Recognise when To Give up While She Was Ahead.
After Viserys’ death, the greens’ scheme to install Aegon as king got underway, and Rhaenys was imprisoned for her political beliefs, her future became somewhat less assured. She very easily may have been put to death along with the other black people in the castle if she had sworn fealty to Rhaenyra’s claim. Fortunately, Erryk Cargill helped Rhaenys avoid that punishment. However, no good Mother of Dragons would ever place her child in the care of an adversary.
However, there was a brief moment when Alicent and House of the Dragon enthusiasts believed Rhaenys would roast a few royals when Medleys and Rhaenys crashed Aegon’s banquet. Even Alicent had to steel herself due to the tension. But when there was no fire, the Queen That Never Was and the current Queen Mother exchanged a very serious glance, with the latter clearly hinting with a single arched brow. Oh, I could certainly make you into a kebab if I wanted to.
Earlier in the episode, Alliant approached Rhaenys with a similar pleading, mistaking Visery’s dying wish for Rhaenys to support Aegon’s coronation as her own. Alicent attempts to play the sisterhood card without a hint of irony, implying that since they are both females, they are aware of the limited influence the patriarchal world will provide them, but that women with intelligence can influence the men who hold the Iron Throne.
Alicent, for example, finds it hard to think that a fierce Targaryen woman wouldn’t see through the false riot girl plea. And Rhaenys wasn’t listening because she was aware from firsthand experience that the green queen had considered secretly assuming the Iron throne for herself if the opportunity presented itself.
The Dragonpit incinerating Alicent and her boys was neither a feasible chance nor a means of gaining the support of the common people for Rhaeny’s cause. Additionally, it would only increase confusion and raise doubts about Princess Rhaenyra’s legitimacy.
Still, Rhaeny’s best chance of maintaining some Velaryon blood on the Driftwood and Iron Thrones is Rhaenyra’s legitimate claim to her father’s seat. And maybe Alicent was right after all; shrewd women like Rhaenys can help lead from behind and guide her queen.
Rhaenys, who is also no stranger to The Stranger, was clearly deep in thought as she saw the preparation of Vaemond’s body in last week’s episode. She may not have wanted to see so many more tragic deaths after witnessing so many of them.
Or at the very least, give up the fight and run away to Dragonstone to have a chance of winning the bigger conflict. After this episode, the conflict will begin, and Rhaenyra and her supporters will require allies at any cost. And the winner will be very rewarding for those allies.
However, we can still be irritated with Rhaenys for not allowing Medleys to at least spew a small fireball at the ominous Lord Larys Strong as she left the Dragonpit.
Every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, new episodes of House of the Dragon debut on HBO and HBO Max in the United States and Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom.
Rhaenys’ Choice Explained from House of the Dragon appeared originally on Den of Geek.