REVIEW: House of the Dragon – Season 1, Episode 9, “The Green Council”

Many viewers of HBO’s House of the Dragon have held off on recommending the show to others until its conclusion, fearing that it will take a sharp turn like Game of Thrones did. Those concerns prove more than valid with episode 9, “The Green Council.” This episode takes a swift nosedive in quality, reaching near season 8 levels of badness. Furthermore, it systematically ignores or destroys any points of value the show previously held. The complexity of Aemond is thrown aside, Viserys is dead, and Daemon is excluded from this episode. “The Green Council” is, without doubt, the worst episode of the season, dragging down House of the Dragon substantially.

“The Green Council” is slow and monotonous, wasting an inordinate amount of time on simple interactions. However, its worst sin comes in abandoning the show’s greatest aspect. For much of this season, House of the Dragon has trusted its audience to infer character development and plot-related information from provided clues. That is not the case for “The Green Council.” On several occasions, characters stop in the middle of an already dragging sequence to monologue their character motivations and qualifications for the throne. Everything clunkily explained to the audience in these moments was already apparent based on context and setup from previous episodes.


“The Green Council” starts with the death of the King and the Greens scrambling to fill the power vacuum before the Blacks learn of his passing. Using the king’s misunderstood final words as justification, Otto and Alicent search high and low for Aegon to crown him king. Aegon is nowhere to be found, and people are sent to locate him. Through a tedious series of events that speak very little to character and could have been cut down by at least 2/3, Aegon is found and crowned king in front of all of King’s Landing. Finally, Rhaenys bursts forth with her dragon from beneath the coronation ceremony, killing hundreds, if not thousands, with little regard. Even the showrunners in the behind-the-scenes segment fail to justify this choice. That is the sum total of an hour’s worth of television. The characters struggle to find someone, then mass murder erupts from the Keep’s bowels.

In terms of positives, the only thing deserving praise in “The Green Council” is the music, which is surprisingly phenomenal. The initial “Search for Aegon” melody and boisterous track that follow Aegon down the line of soldiers toward his coronation stand out in particular. The soundtrack to “The Green Council” is more memorable than the rest of this season’s original music.

House of the Dragon The Green Council

“The Green Council” is bloated beyond belief. The search for Aegon is far longer than it needs to be. Some of the revelations regarding his character are necessary and intriguing, but it’s mostly just walking around and staring at things. Not only is this search padded for maximum runtime, but characters also randomly stop and monologue. The twins constantly declare their pro or anti-Aegon positions at every opportunity, despite their mannerisms and reactions already telegraphing their stances. Alicent whines that she’s being manipulated and that her father is being mean to her, even though, again, her physical performance could have sold it with far less exposition and clunky dialogue.

Perhaps the worst of these tell-don’t-show offenses comes from Aemond, who quickly became a fan favorite after the last two episodes. In the middle of his and Cole’s search for Aegon, he stops in the middle of the street and monologues his motivations, his wish to be king, and his better qualifications for the position. All of this was already known from the context of both prior episodes. The audience learned about his dedication to duty and intelligence from his childhood scenes. His great combat skill was shown in his fight with Cole in “The Lord of the Tides.” The audience did not need this description of his previously shown character, and neither did Cole care. This monologue doesn’t benefit either of these characters, it makes no sense in the context of the scene, and it drags out this plodding runtime even longer.

House of the Dragon The Green Council

But “The Green Council” has worse problems than these inexplicable monologues. The final scene, with Rhaenys committing mass murder, is borderline asinine. This contradicts the morally upright character she has been portrayed as. Her declaration that women keep men from destroying the world earlier in the episode does nothing but harm Rhaenyra, Rhaenys’ ally, politically. This single action could turn the populace of the Seven Kingdoms to Team Green and annihilate any chance for the Blacks to be accepted. It’s not as if this is Rhaenys’ only exit from the dragon pit. As established in “The Heirs of the Dragon,” the high cliffside entrance would afford a stealthier escape with little risk to Rhaenys and little chance for mass murder. In the behind-the-scenes, the showrunners just said they wanted the craziest thing possible to happen during the coronation while giving Rhaenys some agency during these events. Feminism and mindless spectacle were valued above having this scene follow the show’s logic, destroying immersion and ruining an already disappointing episode.

Luckily, “The Green Council” is the penultimate episode. Many viewers disillusioned by it will likely continue through the end. If the finale is anything like “The Green Council,” House of the Dragon season 1 will not be remembered fondly. It’s not how you begin; it’s how you finish. With “The Green Council” as the beginning of the end, hope for a satisfying conclusion is quickly waning. “The Green Council” is still miles better than the best of Rings of Power, likely inspiring some viewers to give it a pass. However, it does not deserve it. “The Green Council” would fit soundly in a lineup of Game of Thrones season 8 episodes. It does not belong with the rest of this season.

House of the Dragon – Season 1, Episode 9, "The Green Council"

Plot - 3
Acting - 6.5
Progression - 2
Production Design - 8
Intrigue - 3



"The Green Council" is still miles better than the best of Rings of Power, which will inspire some viewers to give it a pass. However, it does not deserve it. "The Green Council" would fit soundly in a lineup of Game of Thrones season 8 episodes. It does not belong with the rest of this season.

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