Is [SPOILER] Really Dead in 'House of the Dragon'?

Aegon's fall at the Battle of Rook's Rest happens after Aemond's betrayal -- but is he really dead?

Sara Belcher - Author

Jul. 7 2024, Published 10:02 p.m. ET

King Aegon in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO

This article contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 4 of House of the Dragon and Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin.

Episode 4 of House of the Dragon not only sees more of the carnage that comes with the Dance of the Dragons, but it also shows Aegon battling his ego. Though he is king, he finds few on the small council value his input on the ongoing war, resulting in his drunken decision to fly his dragon to the frontlines despite many recommendations against it.

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Even as he suits up for battle, Aegon can be seen drinking from his cups, suggesting he's not of sound mind as he decides to personally join the fray and fight alongside his men. This would be his downfall.

Despite his determination, the episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Aegon's body laying limp. Is he really dead though?

Tom Glynn Carney as King Aegon in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO
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Is Aegon really dead? Explaining the twist in Episode 4.

Aegon arrives at the Battle and Rook's Rest not long after Rhaenys has astride her dragon. Despite Rhaenys's attempts to take down Aegon and his dragon, it's actually Aemond who takes the king down, betraying his brother. When Aegon thinks Vhagar and Aemond are there to offer him support, the younger brother instead orders Vhagar to burn them both, causing Aegon and his dragon to fall.

Instead of moving to help his brother and king, though, Aemond turns his sights to Rhaenys, looking to claim a victory. It's a heated battle (literally), with both dragons spitting fire at each other as they barrel toward the ground and the waiting army below.

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Gwayne Hightower and Ser Criston Cole on their horses in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO

Ser Criston attempts to ride to Aegon's side, abandoning the battle to tend to his king, but is knocked unconscious after both dragons crash into the ground. Once much of the battle has passed, Ser Criston comes to and finally finds Aemond at Aegon's side. Though his dragon still stirs, Aegon's body is clearly laid out, surrounded by the dragon's limbs. The show doesn't make it clear if this is the end of the young king so early into his rule.

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Though House of the Dragon doesn't unveil if Aegon is actually dead or not before the conclusion of Episode 4, the novel Fire & Blood offers some better verification.

In the novel by George R.R. Martin, Aegon only manages to break both of his legs in this battle -- though it severely hinders him going forward. He continues to sit on the Iron Throne after the Battle at Rook's Rest, but his enemies have grown.

Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO

Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon in 'House of the Dragon.'

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In the source material, Aegon ultimately dies from poison, with someone poisoning the wine he keeps in his chambers. Though Aemond attempted to take down his own brother, he's not the prime suspect in Aegon's eventual death -- though it's not entirely clear who is to blame for his early demise.

Why did Aemond betray Aegon?

It isn't until the battle is well underway that Aemond's scheming with Ser Criston is unveiled. Though Aegon and some of the others in the small council argue that Harrenhal should be the next target, Aemond and Ser Criston have been plotting to take the battle to Rook's Rest next, essentially blockading Rhaenyra and her army from the mainland.

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Aemond smirking as he challenges Aegon in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO

During a meeting with the small council, Aemond challenges his brother's decision making, speaking to him in High Valereon before ultimately continuing to lead the meeting with his plans. It seems that after Aegon interrupted Aemond's intimate moment in the brothel in Episode 3, he's seeking some way to show authority over his brother again.

Though it still seems that Aemond is fighting for the greens, it seems his loyalties to Aegon are wavering -- but he won't be the one to dispose of his own brother.

House of the Dragon airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO and Max.

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