So Who Actually Ends up on the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon?

Photo credit: Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO

Oh House of the Dragon, how you confuse us. Since the jump (of the show, not the time jumps, plural), the whole premise of this has been the order of succession for when King Viserys dies, and it seems like this week’s episode is going to finally get into what happens when sh*t hits the fan. If you’re a little bit impatient and want to know what happens without having to watch potential three more seasons of this show, that’s understandable. We’re here to provide you with the TL;DR for… this whole thing? Based on the book, here’s who takes the throne and, more importantly, who gets to keep it.

[There are major, major spoilers ahead for the entire show. Continue at your own risk! And also, the show has taken some creative liberties with the book material, so this might not happen verbatim.]

Does Aegon take the throne after Viserys’s death?

According to the books, yes. Almost immediately after Viserys’s death, the people of the Red Keep start spreading the word that Aegon will be king, with messages in the streets saying “Long live King Aegon.” They get him on the throne as quickly as possible, despite his reluctance and despite the fact that Rhaenyra doesn’t have any say in this whole situation. His coronation takes place in the Dragonpit, with potentially thousands of supporters there to witness it (the accounts vary in the book).

Okay, what about Rhaenyra?

When her father dies, Rhaenyra is actually in Dragonstone giving birth to her third child with Daemon, a girl named Visenya. She hears about Aegon’s coronation and it causes her to go into labor way early. That baby doesn’t survive childbirth, and Rhaenyra partially attributes it to the stress of what happened in King’s Landing. She calls her own council together to start planning for what to do about King Aegon, and she eventually just crowns herself queen.

So there are literally two rulers of Westeros, which is obviously an issue. Rhaenyra starts rallying her allies, as does Aegon, and to make a very, very long story short, a battle starts, both sides suffer major losses, and at one point, Aegon flees King’s Landing. Rhaenyra and Daemon take over the throne while he is in hiding. But Rhaenyra only sits on the throne for six months. Bummer!

So what happens then?

While Rhaenyra is camped out in King’s Landing, Aegon decides it’s a great time to take Dragonstone for himself. He has to fight Baela Targaryen for it, but he does and he wins, although he’s seriously wounded in the process and basically loses function of both his legs. When Rhaenyra hears that he’s taken Dragonstone, which is her ancestral home, she decides she isn’t having any of that. She goes to Dragonstone to win it back, but she’s captured as soon as she gets there, and (major, major spoilers here) Aegon literally feeds her to his dragon.

Having killed Rhaenyra and basically clearing the path to the throne again, he returns to King’s Landing and takes it back.

So he takes back the throne and the fighting stops?

Lol, absolutely not. Rhaenyra still has supporters even though she’s dead, and those armies march their way toward King’s Landing to get rid of Aegon once and for all. But they’re too late, because he’s already dead. He’s killed by poisoning by his own men (!) in his carriage on the way from the Red Keep to the sept.

I sense this isn’t the end of this whole saga…

With both Rhaenyra and Aegon gone, there’s one clear person to inherit the throne: Rhaenyra’s son Aegon, known as “Aegon the younger” in the books (her older sons had all died by this point). With the help of Corlys Velaryon, he’s put on the throne at the age of 10 and eventually rules with his brother Viserys as his hand. Those two are credited with ending the era of turmoil that started with Viserys the older’s death.

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