House of the Dragon season 2: What really happens to Aegon Targaryen after episode 4's tragic twist?

House of the Dragon season 2: What really happens to Aegon Targaryen after episode 4's tragic twist?

*Warning - The following article contains spoilers from House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4 and major spoilers from George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood.*

Episode 4 of House of the Dragon season 2 left fans on the edge of their seats, as the speculated over the fate of Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) following a brutal betrayal by his brother Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell).

The latest instalment of the hit HBO series concludes with a massive cliffhanger, leaving viewers guessing whether Aegon survived a horrific fall alongside his faithful dragon Sunfyre.

At Rook's Rest, the conflict between House Black and House Green reaches boiling point when several royals unexpectedly arrive on their dragons, causing panic among the soldiers below.

Aegon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Aegon Targaryen's fate has been on everyone's mind -Credit:HBO/SKY

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Both factions try to gain the upper hand with surprise attacks, with Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) agreeing to send her aunt Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) to swiftly end the battle.

In a shocking twist, viewers discovered that Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) and Aemond had the same plan, with the latter concealed in the trees with his enormous dragon Vhagar. However, no one anticipates the inexperienced King Aegon joining the battle.

His rash decision seems to be triggered by a conversation with his mother Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), whose harsh words leave him feeling like an inadequate king. In a tragic turn of events, Rhaenys and Aegon's dragons get entangled during the fight and - instead of coming to his brother's aid - Aemond unleashes fire on them, resulting in Aegon and his dragon plummeting to the ground.

While Rhaenys manages to escape, she bravely decides to return and battle Aemond on his much larger dragon, which ultimately results in her demise.

By the episode's conclusion, it's clear that Rhaenys and her dragon Meleys have perished, but a horrified Ser Criston discovers Aegon and his dragon in the forest.

Viewers are left questioning whether Aegon is truly dead - and there's plenty of speculation about what the repercussions will be for Aemond if he isn't.

The final scene of the episode only shows viewers a glimpse of the barely alive dragon curled protectively around Aegon's motionless body. Criston appears convinced that his King has died under his watch, as he dramatically falls to his knees.

While Aegon’s fate is yet to be determined in the show, we can reveal how it all plays out in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood. But be warned - spoilers ahead!

What becomes of Aegon Targaryen in the books?

In Fire and Blood, the Battle at Rook's Rest unfolds in a manner very similar to its portrayal in the Game of Thrones spin-off series.

Contrary to what many viewers might assume, Aegon Targaryen is not dead. In the book, Aegon survives but suffers severe burns covering half of his body and multiple broken bones.

His injuries require a year to heal, during which time he endures an intense, coma-like rest induced by milk of the poppy and constant contemplation of his own mortality.

During this period, his brother Aemond assumes the role of Prince Regent, ruling in Aegon's place.

Indeed, Aegon's story is far from finished - and fans may either be disturbed or pleased to learn that the deeply flawed character has much more suffering in store.

In the books, he becomes even more embittered and spiteful, with his rage only growing over time.

With the two brothers' paths headed in completely different directions thanks to these shocking scenes, plenty of twists still lie ahead.

House of the Dragon season 2 lands in the UK on Mondays at 2am BST (British Summer Time) on Sky Atlantic and NOW, with a repeat airing later on at 9pm.