In episode seven of “House of the Dragon,” Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) uses the phrase “the greens.” It’s the first acknowledgment by the series of the two factions that have arisen in the quest for the throne: the greens, which back Aegon (Ty Tennant), and the blacks, who back Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra mentions the greens while talking to her uncle (and soon-to-be husband), Daemon (Matt Smith). But where did these names come from?
It all goes back to the fifth episode, when Queen Alicent (played at the time by Emily Carey) makes a bold declaration when she bursts into the welcome feast for Princess Rhaenyra’s wedding in a sumptuous green dress. Earlier in the episode, she learned that Rhaenyra had misled her, letting Alicent defend her to her father, Viserys (Paddy Considine), and losing Alicent’s own father, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), his place as Hand of the King. Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) asks his brother Harwin (Ryan Corr), “The beacon on the Hightower, do you know what color it glows when Oldtown calls its banners to war?” Harwin answers, “Green.” Since then, eagle-eyed fans might have noticed that Alicent only dresses in green, her family’s color, instead of the red and black of House Targaryen.
Who Are the Greens on “House of the Dragon”?
As viewers have seen over the course of “House of the Dragon,” Rhaenyra is technically King Viserys’s heir. Yet the king hasn’t done much to help her grow her claim. When he throws a birthday party for baby Aegon in episode three, for example, it seems to send the message to the realm that Aegon is the real heir. And the sexism of the kingdom is widespread.
Though King Viserys is still alive in the series, Alicent has already collected allies that Rhaenyra refers to as the greens. That includes her father, Ser Crison Cole (Fabien Frankel), Lord Larys (who’s now the head of House Strong), and her own three children. Her son Aemond’s claim of the old dragon Vhagar brings some literal fire power to their side.
In “Fire & Blood,” when Viserys finally dies, Alicent and Ser Criston summon the small council in secret to discuss what is to be done. Some in the room say obviously Rhaenyra should be queen, but Alicent and her father succeed in crowning Aegon anyway. Those who support them are known as the greens. In the book, their supporters also include Ser Tyland Lannister and Borros Baratheon. Alicent also decides to keep Viserys’s death a secret for seven days in order to cement their plans.
One change the show does make from the books is what event Alicent wears her first iconic green dress at. In “Fire & Blood,” she wears it to a tournament that celebrates her marriage to the king. Ser Criston Cole, competing with Rhaenyra’s favor, unhorses all of the queen’s champions in the tournament.
Who Are the Blacks on “House of the Dragon”?
Rhaenyra’s side in “House of the Dragon” is a little less clear, but it still has some strengths. She has her three children, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey, who all have dragons, though the dragons, like her sons, are also young. She now has Daemon and his dragon, Ceraxes, and his two daughters. And since she and Daemon both have the grandchildren of Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) and Rhaenys (Eve Best), they can probably count on Velaryon support.
In the book, when Rhaenyra learns that Aegon has been crowned, she makes her own council at Dragonstone, known as the black council. It includes her uncle (and husband), Daemon; her three sons from her first marriage, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey; Lord Corlys Velaryon; and Princess Rhaenys. Ser Steffon Darklyn also flees King’s Landing after Aegon is named king with Viserys’s crown and brings it to Rhaenyra. Though Rhaenyra may seem at a disadvantage, since she’s not in King’s Landing, she does have a major thing in her favor: her side has more dragons.
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