After being locked in her room as Alicent and Otto plotted to usurp the throne, Rhaenys Velaryon showed everyone exactly whose side she was on in the final moments of House of the Dragon episode 9. In the middle of Aegon’s coronation, Rhaenys burst from below the Dragonpit on top of her dragon, Meleys.
She turned towards Aegon and the rest of the family, and it seemed like this could be the end for these Targaryens and Hightowers. Instead of burning them all to ashes, Rhaenys had Meleys roar in their face, a terrifying warning about what is to come. But why didn’t she just kill Aegon, Alicent, and the others who are technically traitors to Viserys’ chosen heir, Rhaenyra?
“In the end, she makes a bigger choice. We see that at the moment with what’s going on in Ukraine; to choose not to destroy is the better choice. That’s an important thing for us all to remember right now,” Eve Best told Vulture.
She continued, “It’s why she would have made such a great leader. She had, in that moment, all the power. Yet she has respect for Alicent as a woman and a mother. They understand being in the grip of other people who might torch them. They know the only right choice is not to go there. Furthermore, it’s the intelligent choice, on her part, not to torch a whole bunch of innocent people in the room. What’s to be gained? In the end, it’s not her battle.”
After making a grand entrance, Rhaenys and Meleys flew out of the Dragonpit and headed straight to Dragonstone to tell Rhaenyra of this coup against her. Alicent and Otto didn’t even have the decency to let Rhaenyra know that her father had died. They went straight into usurper mode to get Aegon on the Iron Throne.
House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal said in an Inside the Episode video, “She knows if she sets fire to that dais, she ends any possibility of war and probably sets peace throughout the Realm, but I think probably doesn’t want to be responsible for doing that to another mother. It’s a complex choice and one that people might dispute or have a problem with, but that’s the choice Rhaenys makes in that moment.”
Executive producer Miguel Sapochnik noted that this was an “incredibly valuable moment” for Rhaenys to take a stand. “But her moral standpoint becomes the reason for inaction rather than action,” he said. The House of the Dragon finale airs October 23 on HBO.