DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers for George R.R. Martin‘s Fire & Blood and HBO’s House of the Dragon. Proceed at your peril. 

After Paddy Considine‘s award-worthy swan song as Viserys I Targaryen in “The Lord of the Tides,” we’re one step closer to the unmitigated bloodshed brought on by the Dance of the Dragons. We’re in penultimate episode territory now, citizens of the realm. 

As a book reader, I can tell you that so much transpires in such a short period. The Dance itself is only two years long. I hope the writers slow their pacing roll now that we’re essentially where they want to be. Let’s take our time with the Dance, you know? 

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So, in honor of episode 9, “The Green Council,” arriving this Sunday, I’ve compiled a list of predictions. I’ll reiterate — the night is dark and full of spoilers, especially from Fire & Blood

Aemond Will Travel to Storm’s End 

After Viserys’s passing, Alicent (Olivia Cooke), Otto (Rhys Ifans) and the green council determine which houses will side with Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) and which will support Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy). They deem the most significant obstacle will be House Baratheon, as they’ve always staunchly supported Rhaenys (Eve Best) and her claim to the Iron Throne following Jaehaerys’s death. If you recall, Rhaenys’s mother, Jocelyn, was a Baratheon, making Borros Baratheon (the head of the house at the time of Viserys’s death) her cousin. 

To secure House Baratheon’s support, Otto dispatches Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) to Storm’s End to woo one of Borros’s daughters. Aemond must wed one of the four women in the hope this act will deliver the stormlands to Aegon. Of course, book readers know Aemond encounters an unexpected foe while there.

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Otto Will Ask Ser Arryk Cargyll to Infiltrate Dragonstone

Here’s where House of the Dragon will deviate slightly from the tale told in Fire & Blood. In the book, Criston (Fabien Frankel) asks Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor) to infiltrate Dragonstone. However, based on the episode 9 preview, it appears Otto will assign Arryk this dangerous task. Arryk’s identical twin brother, Erryk (Elliott Tittensor), also serves on the Kingsguard. When the Dance breaks out, Erryk throws his support behind Rhaenyra, joining her on Dragonstone as part of her Queensguard. 

Otto wears his Hand of the King pin while looking smug in House of the Dragon.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — Pictured: Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower. Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

Even the brothers of the Kingsguard can’t tell Erryk and Arryk apart. Ergo, it’s easy for Arryk to sneak undetected onto Dragonstone while pretending to be his brother so he can spy on the enemy. 

Gaemon Palehair Will Throw a Wrench in the Proceedings 

It’s an undisputed fact that Aegon sleeps around on this show. He only warms his wife Helaena’s (Phia Saban) bed to pop out more babies. While he wasn’t shown in last week’s episode, their third child, Maelor, should be around at this point. 

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Back to the philandering thing: Aegon’s insatiable sexual appetites come back to bite him in the ass. In the trailer, we ostensibly see Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) addressing the bastard elephant in the room — Gaemon Palehair. Gaemon’s mother, Essie, a prostitute in the House of Kisses, insists that Aegon is his biological father. In truth, he’s not, but this declaration will undoubtedly throw a wrench in Aegon’s ascension plans. 

The Green Council Meeting Will Turn Deadly 

As the title implies, the penultimate episode of the season will delve into the green council convening directly after Viserys’s death. Spearheaded by Alicent and Otto, the meeting includes Viserys’s small council. Lines are drawn, and allegiances are tested. Among the first casualties of the Dance of the Dragons? Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson). Even if you haven’t read Fire & Blood, it’s pretty evident from the preview for episode 9 that Beesbury won’t be long for this world. 

Aegon Targaryen sits at a table for dinner while looking suspiciously at something off screen in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 8, "The Lord of the Tides."

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — Pictured: Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon Targaryen. Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

The lord’s unwavering support of Rhaenyra is well chronicled. He also believes Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) should inherit Driftmark per Corlys’s (Steve Toussaint) wishes. Beesbury vehemently voices his disapproval of Alicent and the council’s plans to crown Aegon. His dissent culminates in death as Criston kills him right then and there. Well, sources differ on the manner of murder, but I’m sure it’ll happen in the council room. 

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Aemond Will Say This Line From the Book 

Aemond regularly trains in the castle yard, so it’s no surprise he finds out about his father’s death while preparing for a vigorous training session. In the book, he asks, “Is Aegon king, or must we kneel and kiss the old whore’s cunny?” It’s a bit vulgar, to be sure, although we’ve heard worse in the Game of Thrones universe. This show tends to pluck dialogue from its source material verbatim, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the above line is his reaction in the episode. 

Aemond Targaryen stands by a dinner table while holding a glass of wine to toast someone in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 8, "The Lord of the Tides."

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — Pictured: Ewan Mitchell as Aemond Targaryen. Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

Harrold Westerling Will Choose Rhaenyra Over Aegon

Perhaps one of House of the Dragon’s most significant deviations from Fire & Blood is keeping Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish) alive. Harrold perishes in 112 AC, and Criston becomes the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. However, as the book doesn’t give us much info about Harrold, it’s easy for the series to expand his role. Plus, why would you waste an actor like Graham McTavish on a few episodes? 

While we’ve seen little of Harrold up to this point, his loyalty to Rhaenyra was never questioned. We’ll see him choose her over Aegon in the green council meeting. There’s a moment in the episode 9 preview when Criston draws his sword, and it appears he’s thrusting it in Harrold’s direction. Harrold’s his superior, so this smacks of insubordination. I don’t think Harrold will die, but he might be thrown in the dungeons and somehow escape, making a beeline for Dragonstone. 

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Aegon Will Initially Resist Becoming King 

There’s a whole to-do about tracking down Aegon after Viserys’s passing. As usual, the late king’s son is “at his revels,” as it’s succinctly put in Fire & Blood. There’s one scene in the preview for “The Green Council” where we see men fighting and some cheering from the sidelines. According to Mushroom, Aegon’s eventually found “drunk and naked in a Flea Bottom rat pit, where two guttersnipes with filed teeth were biting and tearing at each other for his amusement.” There’s also a very young girl giving him a blow job. 

However, Septon Eustace paints a different picture, claiming Aegon was found with a paramour, the daughter of a wealthy trader. He’s adamant about Rhaenyra being the heir to the Iron Throne. I think we’ll see a combination of Mushroom and Eustace’s accounts. Instead of Criston looking for him, however, I believe Arryk will hunt Aegon down. 

Mysaria wears a white cloak while standing in a cavern and looking determined in House of the Dragon.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — Pictured: Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria. Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

Mysaria Will Tell Daemon and Rhaenyra About Viserys’s Death 

I’ve heard whispers passing through the digital sphere that Rhaenyra and Daemon (Matt Smith) won’t appear in “The Green Council.” This makes sense, given their omission from the episode’s preview trailer and the focus on the greens usurping the throne. All based on Alicent misinterpreting Viserys’s statement about “The Song of Ice and Fire” prophecy, mind you. 

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Rhaenyra finds out about her father’s death and Aegon’s ascension. Thus, her fury induces labor earlier than expected. While this isn’t in the book, I’d like to think Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) will pass on the news to her and Daemon. She has informants all over King’s Landing and beyond, so why not?

The Greens Won’t Inform the Public of Viserys’s Passing Until a Week Later

In the book, a serving man discovers Viserys’s body at “the hour of the bat,” a.k.a. after the sun sets. Alicent orders everyone in the Red Keep to remain mum regarding the king’s death. Additionally, she orders the septons and silent sisters to steer clear of Viserys’s body until Aegon’s position as king is secured. Naturally, Viserys’s corpse rots and swells for a week before it’s finally prepared for a proper Targaryen funeral. It’s also a week before the public learns of his passing. 

Rhaenyra Targaryen stands in the throne room while wearing a black dress with red trim and looking pensive in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 8, "The Lord of the Tides."

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — Pictured: Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen. Photo credit: Ollie Upton/HBO.

Arryk Will Fight His Brother Erryk 

While the battle between the twin Kingsguard brothers would be happening out of sequence per the book’s timeline, there’s a moment in the preview for “The Green Council” where it looks like the Cargylls are duking it out. House of the Dragon is no stranger to presenting plot points out of literary progression. It’s a tragic fight as these identical twin brothers battle it out to fatal results on Dragonstone. 

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What are your theories for House of the Dragon episode 9, “The Green Council”? Sound off in the comments below!

House of the Dragon drops new episodes every Sunday at 9 pm EST on HBO and HBO Max

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