Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole in 'House of the Dragon' Season 2

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Episode 4 of .

Those who thought House of the Dragon’s second season was moving slowly were in for a surprise during the final 20 minutes of Episode 4.

In Sunday’s episode, the midway point of Season 2, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) arrived at House Staunton’s seat of Rook’s Rest with his growing army. Cole’s plan was simple: lay siege to Rook’s Rest and force Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) to send one of Team Black’s dragons to defend the small, weakly fortified castle. Then, signal to Aemond (Ewan Mitchell)—who would be hiding nearby with his enormous dragon, —that it was time to attack.

Rhaenyra fell for the trap and, after being persuaded not to go herself, allowed Rhaenys (Eve Best) to fly to Rook’s Rest with her dragon, Meleys. Everything seemed to be going according to plan for Team Green. However, Cole hadn’t considered that his king, Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), would suddenly arrive on his own dragon, Sunfyre, and engage in battle with Meleys.

Meleys quickly gained the upper hand against Sunfyre, and it seemed like Rhaenys might win. But then, Vhagar showed up.

What happened to Rhaenys?

Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) rides her dragon Meleys in 'House of the Dragon'

Aegon was initially relieved to see his brother arrive, but Aemond apparently had no intention of rescuing him from the mess he’d created. In fact, Aemond’s shout of “Dracarys”—the High Valyrian command for a dragon to breathe fire—seemed deliberately timed so that Vhagar’s flames would hit Aegon and Sunfyre directly, sending both crashing to the ground.

Despite having the opportunity to retreat back to Dragonstone, Rhaenys chose to turn Meleys around and rejoin the battle. But despite the Red Queen and her rider managing a few attacks, the size difference between the two dragons proved too much to overcome when Vhagar got her jaws around Meleys’ throat. After watching helplessly as the life drained from her dragon, Rhaenys fell to her death on Meleys’ back. And so, the Queen Who Never Was met her end.

“I’m so proud of what I did in the last scene that I shot of the season because it was intensely physically, emotionally, and spiritually demanding,” Best told in June. “Every job you feel like is the hardest one you’ve done until the next, but it felt like more so than any I’ve ever done. I got through it, and I didn’t indulge myself. I didn’t let my own feelings get in the way of the job I had to do, which I feel is exactly what Rhaenys does. She just gets on with it.”

Is Aegon dead?

Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon II Targaryen in 'House of the Dragon' Season 2.

When the dust settled and Cole recovered from being knocked out, he stumbled into the forest to find Aemond standing over Aegon’s body with his sword drawn, seemingly preparing to finish what he had started with Vhagar.

Cole’s arrival clearly made Aemond reconsider what he was about to do, but his apparent desire to see Aegon dead aligns with what we’ve seen of Aemond’s disdain for his brother throughout the show. “Aegon is very brash and lacks perseverance to be king,” Mitchell told in June of Aemond’s view of Aegon’s ability to rule. “Aegon kind of squandered his inheritance and even said he didn’t want to be king.”

As for Aegon’s fate following that cliffhanger ending, we know from George R. R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the A Song of Ice and Fire companion novel on which House of the Dragon is based, that despite their near-fatal injuries, both he and Sunfyre survive the Battle of Rook’s Rest. But that doesn’t mean it won’t take a significant amount of time for him to heal, creating an opportunity for members of his court to gain more power.