Why Were Major Characters Missing From House of the Dragon Episode 9?

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from House of the Dragon's latest episode... Sunday night marked the arrival of the second-to-last episode of House of the Dragon's ultra-successful first season. The entire episode dealt with the aftermath of King Viserys' death, and how the line of succession for the Iron Throne will shake out. That's exactly what people expected to see in the episode, but it may have been a bit surprising to go through the entire penultimate episode of Season 1 without two of the show's most popular and important characters.

Sunday's episode, "The Green Council," takes place entirely in King's Landing, as Alicent crowns Aegon II the new King of Westeros. Rhaenyra, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, is entirely missing from the episode. Daemon, her uncle-husband, is missing as well. Despite being at the heart of the show's story, and some of the most important pieces of said story, neither show up at any point. There's a reason for that.

Where Were Rhaenyra and Daemon in Episode 9?

Near the end of last week's episode, Rhaenyra mentions that she will take her family back to Dragonstone before returning to King's Landing on her own, in order to spend time with Viserys and Alicent. So her whole family is making their way back home when the events of "The Green Council" take place. 

It makes sense why Rhaenyra and Daemon weren't still in King's Landing, but Game of Thrones hasn't often been a franchise that sticks to just one location. The point of that will likely be stressed in next week's finale.

Each side of the battle for the Iron Throne with react to King Viserys' death very differently. In order to show how Alicent and Otto worked to get Aegon on the throne behind Rhaenyra's back, the episode needed to focus solely on their efforts. Viewers got the chance to see exactly how everything transpired in King's Landing once Viserys passed. 

A lot of Aegon's ascension relies on careful plotting and movement in the shadows. Rhaenyra's claim to the throne is much simpler. Her father told her she was to succeed him, so she feels that his death means she should be Queen. To her, things are that simple. There won't be a need for an episode devoted solely to her decision-making in order to help explain her side of things. 

When Is the House of the Dragon Finale?

Believe it or not, "The Green Council" is the second-to-last episode of House of the Dragon's freshman season. The finale will air on Sunday, October 23rd at 9pm ET. The episode will air on HBO and stream simultaneously on HBO Max.