Farewell, the Queen Who Never Was. 

Spoilers below for the fourth episode of “House of the Dragon.” 

This week’s episode of “House of the Dragon” kills off Rhaenys (Eve Best), the most prominent character to die yet (and her dragon, Meleys). It also severely injured King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney).

The “Game of Thrones” spinoff series is set around 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” following a civil war in the Targaryen family. Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) is the rightful Queen, but her half-brother Aegon (Glynn-Carney) usurped her throne. With two different siblings claiming that they’re the real monarch, the kingdom is divided — and the two sides hadn’t yet battled each other on dragons, until now. 

This episode sees Rhaenys — who is on Rhaenyra’s side of the conflict — clash with Aegon and his fierce brother, Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), on the battlefield, with all three of them riding their dragons. 

Aemond rides the biggest and baddest dragon. Warner Bros. Discovery
Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) on “House of the Dragon” just lost an important ally. Theo Whiteman/HBO

Aemond rides the biggest and oldest dragon, Vhagar, so unsurprisingly, he’s the only one who makes it out of the fight unscathed. 

Since Aegon is the king, he’s not supposed to risk himself. His attendance at this battle was unplanned, but he shows up last minute.

“He’s branded as a villain often, and I see him more as a tragedy,” Glynn-Carney recently told The Post. “He’s heartbreaking. He’s broken in so many ways.” 

Aegon acted impulsively, riding out to battle to prove himself — since he knows deep down that he’s not king material. And, as Glynn-Carney alluded to, this has tragic consequences for him. 

Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) nearly dies on “House of the Dragon.” Ollie Upton/HBO
Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) nukes his own brother, Aegon. Ollie Upton/HBO

Aegon thinks that his brother, Aemond, is his loyal enforcer. But, Aegon has also bullied his brother for years, and he cruelly mocked him last episode. 

So, Aemond takes advantage of the situation. While Aemond is trying to unleash dragon fire on his enemy, Rhaenys, Aegon is in his way — and Aemond doesn’t wait for his brother to move. He nukes his own brother with dragon fire, capitalizing on the fact that they’re high in the sky, so their troops on the ground can’t clearly see that Aemond is burning their king. 

A tough break for Aegon, but after he bullied Aemond for years, nobody can say he didn’t have it coming.

It’s a chaotic scene, with smoke everywhere. And as the dragons fly low, their huge claws even squish soldiers on the ground like Godzilla. 

After Aegon gets nuked by his own brother, he and his dragon both fall out of the sky and are down for the count — clearly severely injured, but with their exact fates unknown.

Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) gets nuked by his own brother, Aemond, after bullying Aemond for years. Ollie Upton/HBO
Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) unleashes dragon fire on his own brother. Ollie Upton/HBO

Aemond and Rhaenys then fight. 

Rhaenys acts as the aggressor, pursuing Aemond as he flies away. It’s something of a suicide mission, since Aemond has the bigger and fiercer dragon — but Rhaenys either has a slim hope that she can beat Aemond, or she’s willing to die if she can take him down with her.

Just when it seems like Rhaenys might escape from this conflict with her life, Aemond and Vhagar give her a killing blow. Rhaenys and her dragon plummet to their deaths. 

This development is a big shake-up, and a blow to Rhaenyra’s side of the war effort. 

Rhaenys was Rhaenyra’s most valuable ally, as the only voice of reason on her often-squabbling Small Council. She was also the wife of Corlys (Steve Touissant), another important ally who controls the ships — so, depending on how he reacts to his wife’s death, Rhaenyra could lose her two most powerful allies in one fell swoop. 

Rhaenys (Eve Best) gets killed on “House of the Dragon.” Ollie Upton/HBO

After killing Rhaenys, Aemond lands his dragon and walks through the forest to where Aegon and his dragon lie on the ground.

Aemond has his sword out, implying that he plans to finish the job, if Aegon isn’t dead yet. 

But Criston Cole (Fabien Frankle), the newly appointed Hand of the King (and their mom’s secret lover), stops Aemond from killing Aegon. 

The episode ends on that ominous note. 

So, Rhaenyra’s side of the war had a major setback, in losing Rhaenys — but Aegon’s side also took a major blow, since he’s now out of commission. 

“House of the Dragon” airs Sundays at 9 p.m on HBO (and streams on Max). 

By Lauren Sarner

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