A Quick Guide to "House of the Dragon"'s Greens and Blacks

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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, who back Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), and the blacks, who back Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra mentions the greens while talking to her uncle (and 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, Alicent only dresses in green, her family's color, instead of the red and black of House Targaryen.

Let's break down the two factions, the blacks and the greens, and what roles they play in the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, with spoilers for George R.R. Martin's "Fire & Blood."

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.

While King Viserys is still alive, Alicent collects allies who 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. When the king dies, Alicent is surprised to learn that her father and some of the members of the small council, including Lord Tyland Lannister, had already planned to give the crown to Aegon and had been working in secret to drum up support. In "Fire & Blood," Lord Borros Baratheon will also join their cause, and Ser Arryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard chooses to side with the greens, too. Otto calls together a group of lords to make sure they'll bend the knee to Aegon. The main dissenter is Lady Fell (Miriam Lucia), who's arrested.

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. Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) also declares herself as a member of the blacks at the end of episode nine, and presumably her husband, Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint), will side with her (if he survives his illness). Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson) and Ser Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish) also side with the blacks, but the greens kill them swiftly during episode nine.

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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