<div>‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, episode 4: Is Aegon dead?</div>

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, episode 4: Is Aegon dead?

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A man in regal medieval clothes stands at the head of a table.

If ever there was an argument to be made for kings not going to battle, it would be Aegon II Targaryen’s (Tom Glynn-Carney’s) feeble attempt to do something useful in House of the Dragon Season 2, episode 4.

Desperate to be taken seriously the king hops aboard his tiny dragon Sunfyre, flying off to try and assist Hand of the King Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) and his troops in their attempt to storm Rook’s Rest.

The end result? The king quickly gets owned by Rhaenys (Eve Best) riding her dragon Meraxes, before his brother Prince Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) comes storming in on the enormous Vhagar to torch both of them, knocking the king out of the sky in what may-or-may-not be a death spiral.

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We can talk separately about whether Aemond was trying to kill Aegon and, indeed, who could become ruler if he’s out of commission. But before that, the most important question of all: Is Aegon actually dead?

Is Aegon dead at the end of episode 4?

OK, let’s look at the evidence. Not only did the king receive a faceful of Vhagar fire, but he also fell quite a long way out of the sky. The last time we see him, right at the end of the episode, he’s lying on his back in a little forest clearing beside Sunfyre.

The problem is we only see a very brief glimpse of his body, and it’s not long enough to say for sure whether he’s dead or just unconscious. The only other things we have to go on are a) his dragon, and b) the reactions of the people who find him.

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First of all, it’s worth noting that Sunfyre isn’t dead. Badly injured, sure. But still very clearly breathing, which means the fall itself wasn’t enough to kill him. This of course isn’t proof that the fall wasn’t enough to kill the king, but maybe it suggests their landing was somewhat cushioned by the trees.

Next, there’s Aemond and Criston. When Criston walks into the clearing at the end of the battle Aemond has his sword drawn, and is striding towards the king’s fallen body with purpose — the implication, of course, is that he’s planning to make sure the king’s dead. Cole’s arrival interrupts him, but the Hand’s expression when he sees the king’s body is total devastation as he sinks to his knees.

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The conclusion? The king is either dead, or close to dead. The survival of the dragon, and Aemond drawing his sword, suggest Aegon might still be clinging to life. But Cole’s look of horror suggests he’s either already a goner, or close to it. We’ll have to wait for episode 5 to find out which it is.

New episodes of House of the Dragon air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.

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