which side has the advantage?

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Paddy Considine joue le tragique roi Viserys, le premier du nom, dans HBO

The war is coming.

What began as a slow but satisfying burn in HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ series, harking back to previous seasons of ‘Game of Thrones’, has metastasized into a clash of epic proportions between two factions: Black and the Greens, with main characters and their children all involved.

The Dance of the Dragons, the civil war over who will succeed King Viserys I Targaryen and sit on the Iron Throne, draws near as we reach the penultimate episode of the season – historically the busiest chapter in history. action and the most substantial of the series of eight seasons of the sequel. (remember the Red Wedding, the beheading of Ned Stark, the Battle of the Bastards, etc.).

Viserys, though serious and loving (let’s ignore his role in the death of his first wife, Aemma, during childbirth), allowed the conflicts in the kingdom to escalate. He names his freewheeling eldest daughter, Rhaenyra, as his heiress when she is only 8 years old, which places a huge burden on the child in a patriarchal and hostile environment. A little later, he has no problem taking his best friend, the devoted Alicent Hightower, as his new bride, and having four children with her.

Paddy Considine, who plays the pitiful monarch, delivers a masterful performance through Viserys’ decades-long decline, from his hellish desire for a male heir to his ruinous but touching devotion to Rhaenyra. Couple that with his flaccid attempt to appease everyone and his last ditch effort to put things right about 20 years too late – literally spending the last of his energy – and you have one of the most tragic figures in The Seven Kingdoms. (Give this man an Emmy already!)

Paddy Considine plays the tragic King Viserys, the first of his name, in HBO's
Paddy Considine plays the tragic King Viserys, the first of his name, in HBO’s “House of the Dragon.”HBO

In one of the most beautiful scenes of the season so far, Viserys’ dinner party – aka the Last Supper, which served as inspiration for the showrunners here – we see all of the key cast members sitting together, peacefully, for one last time. There are moments of levity, tension, and – a wild thought for any “Game of Thrones” fan – hope. Yes, there is a brief moment when we think disaster could be averted.

But nothing is that simple in the worlds of George RR Martin. “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself,” the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ author said on an episode of the official ‘Game of Thrones’ podcast, paraphrasing the writer William Faulkner.

Here’s a look at some of those heart-to-heart conflicts, played out on a grander scale, and a breakdown of whether Team Black or Team Green has the edge going into the coming war (and seasons to come).

Note: This article discusses the plots and characters of the first eight episodes of “House of the Dragon”.

Who are the Greens and the Blacks in the Dance of the Dragons?

The Greens represent Queen Alicent’s party as she grows from a rule-abiding child into an independent, defiant woman, as symbolized by her grand entrance in a green dress at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding feast in episode five.

Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent in
Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent in ‘House of the Dragon’ wearing the required green.HBO

“Green is the color Hightower burns when they call their banners to war,” whispers Larys Strong, referring to House Hightower’s headquarters in Oldtown, whose motto is “We Light the Way”, which also happens to be the name of the episode.

Alicent and her father, Otto Hightower, seek to install Prince Aegon II as king – despite his many shortcomings and lack of ambition – once Viserys is dead. Otto conveniently believes, along with many men in the kingdom, that one man must rule the kingdom – or at least that’s the only way to maintain stability. Alicent, who by the eighth episode is an ardent follower of the religion called the Faith of the Seven, begins to doubt her belief in Aegon’s cause. She even tells Rhaenyra that she will make a “beautiful queen” at the last supper until she misinterprets Viserys’ wishes on her deathbed.

The Blacks represent the faction supporting Princess Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne. When Viserys declared her his heiress, he swore loyalty to the lords of the great houses. How many of these men will break their word?

Their name comes in part from the colors of House Targaryen, black and red, as shown on the sigil of the three-headed dragon (in the book, Rhaenyra also wore the colors black and red at a party celebrating the fifth wedding anniversary of Viserys and Alicent, resulting on behalf of the factions).

Later, Aegon II would choose a gold dragon as his personal sigil, matching the color of his dragon, Sunfyre.

It’s worth paying attention to the colors people wear in the series, as it could indicate which side someone might lean towards (although many characters wear black in general). Princess Rhaenys, for example, wore black in the pivotal throne room scene, where she lent her support to Rhaenyra and betrothed her granddaughters to Rhaenyra’s sons.

Which side has the advantage of the dragon?

HBO

Dragons are the ultimate weapons in this war. So it’s no surprise that Daemon, still strategizing, collects dragon eggs from one of Syrax’s claws at the start of the eighth episode. More dragons and riders mean more chance of success.

Team Black has the advantage not only in terms of the number of dragons but also in their base, Dragonstone, which is a volcanic island that provides a warm environment preferred by the creatures (and their eggs).

Still, don’t count the Greens. Vhagar is the largest living dragon and she is under the control of Aemond, one of the most unpredictable and aggressive characters in the series. While size matters, it’s not everything when it comes to dragon battles. As Aemond’s first flight demonstrated, Vhagar is so huge that takeoff is an awkward undertaking. But once in the air, it’s pretty much a tank with wings. Young dragons are smaller and more agile, which can become a strategic advantage.

Here is the range of dragons.

Greens: 3

Noirs : 7

  • Syrax (Rhaenrya), Caraxes (Daemon), Meleys (Rhaenys), Vermax (Jacaerys), Arrax (Lucerys), Tyraxes (Joffrey), Moondancer (Baela)
  • TBD/Unclaimed: Seasmoke, Laenor’s dragon, is unclaimed now that it has lost its rider. Does he hang around Dragonstone? Rhaena is still looking for a dragon.

Who are the main allies of Blacks and Greens?

Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria.
Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria.Liam Daniels / HBO

Both parties seem to have a dark figure that takes care of some sneaky business. For the Greens, we have already seen Larys fortis the dirty work of killing his own father and brother. Daemon’s former lover, Mysaire, aka the White Worm, seems to have eyes and ears in the castle. Talya, one of the Queen’s attendants, is seen visiting her late at night.

Within the small council, divisions appeared. Seigneur Beesbury, the aging master of money, is often depicted in black. He talks about Lucerys’ claim to the throne of Driftwood in the eighth episode. Meanwhile, the new Master of Laws, Jasper Wylde, showed his leanings, stating that Corlys Velaryon never officially named Luke his heir. Maybe he’ll show up to the next meeting — the ninth episode is called “The Green Council,” after all — wearing his true colors, or his color.

Lord Beesbury wears black and red to the small council.
Lord Beesbury wears black and red to the small council.Liam Daniels / HBO

The show also focuses on Seigneur Caswell at key times; he is the man sent to greet Rhaenyra and Daemon upon their return to King’s Landing (a welcome befitting their station, by Otto Hightower’s order). In a previous episode, he also congratulates Rhaenyra on the birth of Joffrey. Let’s put him on the black side.

Lord Caswell wears black.
Lord Caswell wears black.Liam Daniels / HBO

The show recently featured a new set of twins, Sir Eric and Sir Eric Cargyll, casually, Alicent mistaking one for the other. (The other twins are Jason and Tyland Lannister.) The brothers, both members of the Kingsguard, are indeed supposed to be nearly indistinguishable physically. If these brothers find themselves on opposite sides, we can only imagine the level of disappointment in store.

Erryk and Arryk, or is it Arryk and Erryk?  Who can say?
Erryk and Arryk, or is it Arryk and Erryk? Who can say?Liam Daniels / HBO

The thing about wedding rings, though? They are never set in stone.

Which side has more resources and manpower?

Strategically, the Greens are better placed at King’s Landing. They are the first to know of Viserys’ death, and their central location means they can influence others more easily through direct contact with the lords of the realm. They can also influence the hearts and minds of the masses, whether with carrots or sticks. And the Greens, in the seat of power, have the power of the stock market and control over other resources.

However, Rhaerya’s alliance with Rhaenys means the Blacks have the enormous sea power and wealth of Driftmark at their disposal. And since the beginning of the season, we know that Daemon created the golden cloaks, the watch of the city of King’s Landing, which were dedicated to him. It’s been a few years, but his influence and charisma are major assets for the Blacks.

Which key Black and Green players have died so far?

Green vegetables: Vaemond Velaryon

Noirs : Lyonel Strong, Harwin Strong, Laena Targaryen, Laenor Velaryon (he is alive but probably in Essos; could he come back?)

Injured: Corlys VelaryonAs who will have the advantage after episode nine? Let’s go.

Find out more about ‘House of the Dragon’

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