‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 8 Ending Explained: Is Viserys Dead? How “The Prince That Was Promised” Prophecy Connects to Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen

HBO’s House of the Dragon Episode 8 “The Lord of the Tides” gave Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) one last time to make things right. The decaying monarch roused himself from his sickbed to sit on the Iron Throne — for the last time? — to stick up for Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and confirm that her bastard Strong children are legitimate Targaryens and Velaryons in his eyes. He then attempted to heal his feuding family with an emotional plea at a “last supper” that might have just reunited Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Rhaenyra once and for all. And then Viserys pulled a Viserys and botched it all by leaving Alicent with a deathbed message intended for Rhaenyra. Alicent hears something about “Aegon” and “The Prince Who Was Promised” and assumes he wants Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) to inherit the throne.

So did Viserys finally die on HBO’s House of the Dragon? And what exactly did he say to Alicent about The Song of Ice and Fire? Did Alicent Hightower really understand that she was dealing with a severely confused Viserys? And what were Viserys’s last words?

Here’s everything you need to know about the ending House of the Dragon Episode 8 “The Lord of the Tides.”

Viserys and his gold mask in House of the Dragon Episode 8
Photo: HBO

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON EPISODE 8 ENDING EXPLAINED: DID VISERYS DIE? WHAT ARE VISERYS’S LAST WORDS?

Yep, Viserys is dead. The last thing we heard in this week’s House of the Dragon is Viserys taking what sounds an awful lot like a last breath and whispering, “My love.” And if that’s not enough, the Episode 9 preview confirms it.

The framing of the scene and his continued confusion makes us think that the “love” in question is his dead wife Aemma (Sian Brooke). He is, after all, reaching out to someone who is not there and is posed in a similar way to Aemma on her deathbed. He’s even outstretching his right hand, the hand he held up for Aemma. The fact that he keeps confusing the women in his life — even mistaking Alicent for Aemma last week! — seems to support our theory.

Most of House of the Dragon Episode 8 seems to foreshadow Viserys’s death; but then again, most of the whole show so far has seen the Targaryen king flirting with shuffling off his mortal coil. But this episode definitely felt like the end for good old Viserys I. First there was the fact that he made what felt like a final rally to the Iron Throne, complete with the help of his brother Daemon (Matt Smith).

He then presided over a dinner that was arranged like a Targaryen Last Supper. What do you think? To finally set the matter of succession right and to unite his family. At first, it seemed he succeeded. Even Alicent and Rhaenyra made peace! But between Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) heckling his “Strong” nephews and Aegon joining in the fight, it’s clear the younger generation has inherited too much hatred for each other. Although it was sweet to watch Jace (Henry Collett) ask Helaena (Phia Saban) to dance.

However, the real tragedy is that a confused Viserys thought that Rhaenyra was at his side in the final scene. He clearly wanted to finish the conversation his daughter initiated the night before, but Alicent is the woman listening. Alicent hears Viserys talk about “Aegon” and “The Prince That Was Promised,” and eventually says she understands. What does she understand?

Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon Episode 8
Photo: HBO

DOES ALICENT UNDERSTAND THE “PRINCE THAT WAS PROMISED” IN THE PROPHECY HOUSE OF THE DRAGON?

Alicent says she understands what Viserys just said to her, but she certainly doesn’t!

It’s clear that Alicent thinks Viserys is admitting that he knows Rhaenyra’s children are bastards, their delinquent son Aegon is “the Prince That Was Promised” who can unite the realm, and that she has to make sure Aegon sits on the Iron Throne. What Viserys was actually doing was continuing the conversation he had with Rhaenyra the night before about Aegon the Conqueror’s prophecy.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the transcript:

Viserys: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. But you wanted to know if I believe it to be true.
Alicent: Believe what to be true, my king?
Viserys: Don’t you remember? Aegon.
Alicent: Our son?
Viserys: His dream. The Song of Ice and Fire. It is true. What he saw in the north. The Prince That Was Promised.
Alicent: I don’t understand, Viserys.
Viserys: The Prince.
Alicent: Prince Aegon?
Viserys: To unite the realm. Against the cold and the dark. It is you. You are the one. You must do this. You must do this.
Alicent blows a candle out.
Alicent: I understand, my king.

NO, SHE DOESN’T!

Because Viserys is responding directly to Rhaenyra asking him the night before: “The Song of Ice and Fire, do you believe it to be true?” Viserys may not have been able to communicate with Rhaenyra the night before, but based on his actions, we know he was listening. Otherwise, he would not have stirred himself up from bed to defend his daughter.

Alicent, in a moment of tragic irony, doesn’t know anything about the Song of Ice and Fire or Rhaenyra’s conversation with Viserys. So she takes Viserys’s comments to mean he wants Aegon to unite the realm after his death.

This misunderstanding is all the more infuriating because Alicent and Rhaenyra finally made peace for the first time in decades. The brutal civil war that is inevitable actually could have been avoided, were it not for Viserys’s confusion and Alicent’s misunderstanding.

game of thrones season 8 final trailer daenerys and jon snow
Photo: HBO

WHO IS THE PRINCE WHO WAS PROMISED? JON SNOW OR DAENERYS TARGARYEN?

Judging by Viserys’s last words, it seems he believes his own daughter Rhaenyra is either the Prince That Was Promised, or at least one of her descendants will be. He is, uh, wrong. (Though not on the descendant part…*)

So who is the Prince (or Princess) Who Was Promised? Based on both the shows and the books, there are two main candidates: Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. You’ll remember that in game of thrones, there was constant talk of the Prince Who Was Promised. At various points, both John and Dany were considered the fulfillment of this prophecy, but ultimately the show never settles the question.

George RR Martin has not yet finished feeling A Song of Ice and Fire series, but in Book 5, it’s becoming increasingly clear that many characters believe Dany is this hero. After all, she has the dragons, the Targaryen blood, and the power to unite disparate peoples.

However, Jon Snow is another strong candidate. While it’s not been confirmed in the books, it is strongly hinted — and was revealed in the show — that Jon is secretly the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. He has the Targaryen blood, underused war magic, and, again, the power to unite disparate peoples.

My personal theory is that both John and Dany are the Prince/Princess That Was Promised and that they will have to work together — John represents “ice” magic and Dany “fire” — to unite the realm and fight back the White Walkers. But hey, this is just one woman’s opinion. The bottom line is that Alicent and Viserys’ rapist son is NOT the Prince That Was Promised.

*Daenerys is indeed a direct descendant of Rhaenyra; Jon is, as well, provided he is Rhaegar’s secret son.

Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon 102
Photo: HBO

DID CORLYS VELARYON, THE SEA SNAKE, ALSO DIE IN HOUSE OF THE DRAGON EPISODE 8?

While Viserys’s health is of utmost concern House of the Dragon Episode 8 “The Lord of Driftmark,” we never know for sure if he has died. Rhaenys (Eve Best) is told that he’s suffered a grievous wound on the Stepstones and has succumbed to a fever, ie infection. While her granddaughter Baela (Bethany Antonia) tries to console her, saying the Sea Snake is strong, it is Corlys’s health that sparks the succession crisis of the whole episode.

Here’s the thing: In George RR Martin’s Fire & Bloodthe Sea Snake does sustain a near mortal wound at this point in the story. The situation inspires Vaemond — who is Corlys’s nephew, not brother, in the books — to petition his own claim on the Driftmark throne. Vaemond does accuse Rhaenyra’s children of being bastards and Daemon does behead him for it. (And then Rhaenyra feeds Vaemond’s head to her dragon…in the books!)

However, after all that, Corlys Velaryon survives to fight another day. Provided that House of the Dragon follows the books, Rhaenys should get some good news next episode.

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