'House of the Dragon' Episode 9 Had Two Shocking Scenes that Weren't in the Book

House of the Dragon Episode 9 may have the biggest deviations from the source material since the pilot. One is a sensationalized moment that already has social media in an uproar, but will ultimately not impact the plot much. The other bears deeper consideration.

Fair warning: there are spoilers for House of the Dragon and Fire & Blood ahead! House of the Dragon has lots of room to interpret its source material creatively, as George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood is not a novel, but an "imaginary history book." This portion of the history is based on three unreliable in-world primary sources which often disagree about the events, so some things must necessarily be changed.

That said, Episode 9 added a scene between Larys "The Clubfoot" Strong (Matthew Needham) and Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) that was not in the book – not even in the exaggerated, bawdy account of Mushroom, the court fool. It revealed that Larys is now an accomplished spymaster with the ability to arrange assassinations and that he extorts a very specific sexual favor from the queen in order to share all of his information and resources.

This scene will surely inspire some memes, keep the show trending and maybe even lure in some curious new viewers, but ultimately, it seems like it will have little impact on the plot. Larys' arc has already been changed slightly from the book since the position "Master of Whisperers" does not seem to exist in House of the Dragon. By now in the book, Larys already holds that title and sits on the Small Council. However, in either case, he has a mysterious agenda and only allies himself with Alicent's faction to promote his own interests.

Meanwhile, the other change represented in this episode raises more questions and may have fans of the book perplexed. In the book, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) is not mentioned in the coronation of King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), but in the show, she is still a visitor at the Red Keep when the time comes. She is briefly imprisoned in her chamber and then spirited away with one of the Kingsguard knights who decides to join Rhaenyra's cause rather than stay with Aegon.

In the final moments of this episode, Rhaenys decides not to leave quietly. She sneaks to the Dragonpit and mounts her dragon Meleys, "The Red Queen." She flies her dragon into the pit's large chamber where the coronation is being held, smashing apart the masonry and trampling many commoners – though she knows those people were forced into the chamber at sword-point to witness the coronation.

Most surprisingly, Rhaenys does not make any use of this moment of advantage. She and Meleys stalk up to the stage and glare at the "Green Council," including the newly-crowned king. However, she does not order her dragon to bathe them in fire or harm them at all. She simply flies away – presumably to join Rhaenyra and her "Black Council."

This scene is open-ended and could inspire many interpretations. For example, it could be that Rhaenys planned to kill Aegon but found she didn't have the heart when she saw Alicent standing between the dragon and her cowering son. This makes sense in the context of a conversation that Rhaenys and Alicent had earlier in the episode.

It could also be that Rhaenys did not want to risk retribution, since she may not have been certain how Rhaenyra and her faction intended to proceed here. However, in either case it is jarring to see her flagrantly stomp through a crowd of trapped smallfolk. This element of the episode bears further explanation. In fact, the dragon riders on both sides of this civil war will have to grapple with the destructive power they wield in the battles to come, and their apparent difficulty in controlling it.

House of the Dragon has already shown the imprecise brutality of this power in a previous episode about Daemon's (Matt Smith) war in the Stepstones. Hopefully, scenes like this will inspire some philosophical queries in the episodes to come. House of the Dragon Season 1 concludes on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max. Fire & Blood is available now in print, digital and audiobook formats.