We’re at the precipice of the Dance of the Dragons: Viserys is dead and the Green Council fervently conspires to have Aegon II on the Throne. The situation favors them as Rhaenrya is neither aware of her father’s death, nor is she in Kings Landing.
Does this mean that Aegon will be Westeros’ next king instead of Rhaenyra?
Although Aegon II Targaryen usurped the Iron Throne that rightfully belonged to his sister, Rhaenyra Targaryen, he will be officially recognized as the sixth Targaryen king to rule over Westeros. His ascension takes place in 129 AC, as depicted in the show.
Let’s have a look at how it all went down:
How did Aegon II usurp Rhaenyra’s Iron Throne?
It wouldn’t be right to say that Aegon used his own agency to usurp Rhaenyra’s throne and violate her birthright. It seems like the Green council was formed as soon as he was born and has been making the necessary preparations to overthrow Rhaenyra without Aegon or Alicent’s knowledge.
For one silver second in Episode 8, Alicent had a slight change of heart and accepted Rhaenyra as the future Queen. However, she later misinterpreted Viserys’ dying words as his wish to install Aegon II on the Iron Throne.
Alicent calls on the Small Council to announce the King’s death and discuss their further actions. At this point of time, Rhaenyra and her family are back at Dragonstone, awaiting the birth of her next child.
Alicent is appalled to hear that a secret Green Council led by her father has been in the works all this while.
What’s worse, is that they’re keen on murdering Rhaenyra to end her claim to the throne. Plus to ensure their loyalties, they trap several nobles (including Princess Rhaenys) within the Red Keep and kill anyone who refuses to bend the knee to Aegon II.
While the Green Council is conspiring for his ascension, Aegon is literally missing from the Red Keep. (But I’m sure you can guess where he is!) Otto seeks to have Aegon in his custody so that he can be a puppeteer to him as he was for Alicent.
Alicent too sends a search party out for Aegon, knowing that her father will convince him to order a hit on Rhaenyra and her family. For all her faults, Alicent does draws some lines (if, askew) of morality and beseeches Aegon to not pay heed to Otto’s advice.
As Alicent and Aegon are riding to the Dragon Pit for his coronation, Aegon once again confesses that he has no interest in becoming king.
This is driven by the fact that in all his 20 years of existence, Viserys never once changed his mind about Rhaenyra and declared Aegon the next heir. It’s clear that the boy felt he had never received his father’s affection.
At the coronation, Otto announces the King’s death to the realm and says that his dying wish was for Aegon to be the next heir. Aegon II is bestowed Aegon the Conqueror’s crown and Viserys’ Valyrian steel dagger.
While at first Aegon reluctantly accepts the crown, his response to the cheering rowd makes it evident that he is happy about this new admiration—happy enough to wager a war with his step-sister.
For how long does Aegon II rule Westeros? Does he win the Dance of the Dragons?
Given the nature of the civil war, Aegon II doesn’t rule Westeros for long. He ascends the throne in 129 AC and dies in 131 AC. Towards the end of the war, he grows complacent and overconfident, which ultimately results in his death.
For everyone hooked on House of the Dragon, who wins the Targaryen civil war is of paramount importance. Sadly, let’s just say that the Dance of the Dragons is a losing game for all the parties contending.
The non-spoiler version: Aegon II has never wanted to be king. So while he will enjoy quite a few wins, he will experience hardships that outweigh his victories. Any story set in the Game of Thrones universe is more about the journey than the end, and the same can be said for the Dance of the Dragons.
For a more spoiler-ridden version, read the article down below!
About House Of The Dragon
House of the Dragon is the prequel series to HBO’s blockbuster Game of Thrones based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood.
Set three hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will show Westeros under the Targaryen family’s rule before the dragons went extinct. It will follow the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war between siblings Aegon II and Rhaenyra, who fought for the throne after the death of their father, Viserys I.
Directed by Ryan Condall and Miguel Sapochnik, the show stars Paddy Considine as Viserys I Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Tom Glynn-Craney as Aegon II Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon, Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole, and Graham McTavish.