No, [SPOILER] doesn't die in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4, but it's a close one

It's a huge week on House of the Dragon as several of the central characters battle it out at Rook's Rest.
Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) in House of the Dragon season 2.
Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) in House of the Dragon season 2. /

Aegon II Targaryen declares, "To war, then!" in House of the Dragon season 2, and war is what we get. The sophomore season of the Game of Thrones prequel has been incredibly fun to watch, and now that the Dance of the Dragons has begun, the momentum is only going to build as we get more battles and inevitably, many more deaths. Rhaenyra has confirmation that her father never changed his mind about her as his heir, and she's ready to defend her claim to the death. Those around her, who have been proposing attacks since the start of the season, feel that a battle is long overdue.

As teased in the preview for this week's episode of House of the Dragon, we get the highly anticipated Battle at Rook's Rest, which totally delivers. The action is suspenseful and wildly entertaining as the blacks and greens battle it out on horseback and on dragonback. Though Criston Cole has a plan to take out House Staunton and claim Rook's Rest, he doesn't foresee other parts of the equation with schemes of their own. One major character dies during battle, with another one's fate left up in the air. From reading Fire & Blood, we have the answers as to who does and doesn't survive the battle, so let's get into it!

WARNING: Major spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 AND Fire & Blood are below.

While Criston prepares to lead his army to Rook's Rest, two unexpected guests also get ready to head that way, both on dragonback. After Rhaenyra returns from King's Landing and gets caught up on the latest developments, Rhaenys volunteers to fly over on Meleys to confront Criston. Meanwhile, a drunken Aegon impulsively decides to join his army, flying to Rook's Rest on Sunfyre. Criston is shocked to see Aegon arrive, knowing it's not a good idea. While Criston carries out a signal to Aemond and Vhagar, Aemond sees Aegon fly over on Sunfyre and decides to wait to intervene.

Rhaenys and Meleys die, but what about Aegon?

Meleys and Sunfyre fight repeatedly before Aemond and Vhagar eventually fly over, and seemingly without any care for Aegon's life, Aemond commands a "Dracarys" and both Meleys and Sunfyre get hit. Sunfyre goes falling to the ground with Aegon on his back, while Vhagar continues attacking Meleys. Eventually, Meleys gets away, but not for long. Vhagar appears out of nowhere and either kills or seriously injures Meleys, causing her to fall to the ground from a seemingly farther distance than Sunfyre does.

There's no way Rhaenys would survive that fall, but just to confirm for certain, she dies in Fire & Blood during this battle, as does Meleys, so we're assuming they die in the show as well. So what about Aegon? At the end of the episode, Criston walks to the outskirts of the battlefield looking for his king, having seen him fall from the sky on Sunfyre. He finds Aemond, who's standing in front of the dying dragon and an unconscious Aegon with his sword drawn.

Aegon will live to see another day, but his injuries are bad

Criston falls to his knees when he sees Aegon lying on the ground, presumably thinking he's dead. So, is he? Even though it looks like Aemond is about to kill his brother before Criston interrupts, Aegon survives a potential murder and he survives the big fall. In Fire & Blood, Sunfyre loses half of his wing and Aegon has broken bones and bad burns, but they both survive the Battle at Rook's Rest. That said, Aegon is not ready to continue his duties as king; he needs to recover. It takes a long time for him to build up the strength to even walk again.

In his place, Aemond steps in and rules while Aegon is unable to, something that, if it happens in the show, I'm sure Aegon will not be happy about. It's said in Fire & Blood that it takes Aegon a year to recover; I'll be curious to see if that's the case for House of the Dragon, too. Knowing the tension that has been building between Aemond and Aegon, this new dynamic will be a tough blow for the usurper. But I must say, I'm excited to see Aemond with more power! He's such an interesting, unpredictable character.

As always, there's the chance that House of the Dragon will not follow Fire & Blood and some changes will be made to Aegon's story, though I think we can safely assume he survives the Battle at Rook's Rest. That big of a change for the show would be, frankly, shocking.

Who are you rooting for at this point in the story? I kind of love all the characters, with the exception of Criston. New episodes of House of the Dragon season 2 premiere every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.

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