Episode 9 of House of the Dragon, “The Green Council,” is perhaps the most explosive episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series yet. The usual court intrigue the show has made its bones on has continued, but after the dramatic events of episode 8, “The Lord of the Tides,” the drama in Westeros is unfurling at a quickening pace.
You might also think you’re seeing double. But don’t touch that dial or put down your Negroni sbagliato; those two handsome bearded men are twin brothers. Both are members of the Kingsguard, and both have sick facial hair and a general air of “having it together.” And they are twins who are named Arryk and Erryk.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for episode 9 of House of the Dragon.]
Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO
The two brothers spend a good chunk of the episode attempting to track down Aegon, who has disappeared into the underbelly of the city just when his family needs him most — when he needs to get off his spoiled butt and be anointed king. Ser Erryk, the sworn shield of the then-Prince and now-King Aegon, complains to Ser Otto Hightower that he can’t keep track of the king-to-be because of how the youngster flaunts his power to create excuses to escape. When they finally find Aegon, they drag him out, only to be thwarted by Ser Criston Cole and Aegon’s brother Aemond, who take Aegon away to bring him to Queen Alicent.
But something very interesting happens in the meantime: While Ser Arryk duels Ser Criston (and loses), his brother Ser Erryk simply… watches and then nopes out of the whole proceeding. Disgusted by the political machinations going on after King Viserys’ death, he sneaks Rhaenys Targaryen out of the castle, leading to the episode’s explosive finale.
It’s lovely, for many reasons. First of all, twins are categorically fun in cinema: They’re a staple of the direct-to-video action movies I love, and these two guys (played by real-life twins Elliott Tittensor and Luke Tittensor, best known for their dual role as Carl Gallagher in the U.K.’s Shameless) would be a perfect fit trading kicks with the likes of Scott Adkins.
But it’s also thematically poignant. The whole episode focuses on a splintering kingdom, the disconnect between the ruling class and the people they purport to care for, and the fractures that arise when power vacuums appear (and who gets hurt in the process). What better example for that than twin brothers, torn apart by an impending war? It was a lovely device in one of my favorite fantasy novels, Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings, and I’m excited to see where House of the Dragon takes it as well.
Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO
It’s also a big upgrade for a character whose Thrones Wiki entry was led by, at the time of this writing, the following exchange:
Alicent: “Whatever it is, Ser Arryk, it’ll need to wait.”
Erryk: “I’m Erryk, Your Grace.”
I’d like to quickly direct this next portion of the post to the parents of Arryk and Erryk. Cargylls — what on Earth were you thinking??? (George R.R. Martin, I already know the naming shenanigans you’re up to.) How in the world did you yell at one and not the other, or praise one and not the other? Why did you put yourself in this bind???
I reached out to Polygon’s official parent of two, Matt Patches, for comment:
While I can see the advantages of summoning two twins by yelling one vaguely similar name from the other side of the castle, this is a clever failure for anyone else dealing with these goofs. Real “who’s on first” shit.
Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk, I salute you. But maybe think about nicknames.