Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon. You can check out our full review for Episode 8, too!
Before he took his final breaths in this week’s episode of House of the Dragon, King Viserys I mistook his wife, Queen Alicent, for his daughter and heir, Rhaenyra, and unintentionally provided her with a new motive to go to war for the Iron Throne .
Earlier in the season, Viserys revealed to young Rhaenyra the dream of their ancestor Aegon the Conqueror, a secret knowledge that has been passed down to successive Targaryen monarchs. Calling his dream The Song of Ice and Fire, Aegon prophesied the events depicted in Game of Thrones where a Targaryen ruler must unite all the peoples of Westeros in order to battle the White Walkers and save humanity.
Viserys named Rhaenyra his heir in the first episode, a decision he stuck with despite it breaking tradition and over the objections of some of his nobles. His second wife, Alicent, is a traditionalist who wants their son Aegon II to be king after Viserys and not Rhaenyra. By unintentionally passing on the secret knowledge of Aegon’s dream to Alicent and urging her to do everything she must to make sure her line holds on to the Iron Throne for the good of the realm, Alicent now has a justification, and an additional motive, for the bloody actions she may take in the looming Dance of the Dragons.
Yet just a few scenes earlier, Viserys appeared to have finally achieved the peace between his daughter and his wife he had long sought. It was a rough start, to be sure. What with Prince Daemon beheading Vaemond Velaryon for calling his wife’s children bastards but, hey, things turned around in time for a big family dinner!
At dinner, in what was truly an appetite-killing moment, the long-ailing Viserys removed his face mask to reveal his rotten flesh and missing eye so that his feuding family could see him not as their king but as a sick, old man who just wants his loved ones to make peace before he dies. Rhaenyra then toasted her rival Alicent for the love and devotion she has shown her father all these years. It seemed sincere and heartfelt, as did Alicent’s reaction. Rhaenyra took the high road and showed respect to the Queen.
Every Dragon in Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon