WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from the latest episode of House of the Dragon... The eighth episode of House of the Dragon's first season might turn out to be its most important. "The Lord of the Tides" ended with the the most significant event of the series so far, as fans saw King Viserys Targaryen take his final breath. Now, the game of thrones can actually begin for House of the Dragon, so to speak.
Viserys' final scene is a quiet one, surrounded by miscommunication and a bit of confusion. The King is joined by Alicent, his wife, who is there to give him some painkillers. He believes he is talking to his daughter, Rhaenyra, opening up about the Prince that was Promised and the Song of Ice and Fire. He says she needs to be the one to unite the realm, mentioning Aegon the Conqueror by name. Alicent, however, thinks he is talking about her and their son, Aegon II. It's hard to tell if the Queen actually believes that her husband's words are for her, or if she knows the truth and will act in spit of it. Episode director Geeta Patel is setting the record straight.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Patel reveals that Alicent actually thought Viserys was talking about their son, alluding to him becoming the heir. The dinner scene with the whole family earlier in the episode is meant to set up Alicent as a more sincere person than we've seen in recent weeks, specifically when it comes to the differences with Rhaenyra.
"The intention was that she genuinely thought he was telling her that her son was going to be the heir," Patel explained. "The only way to get even close to achieving that was to feel the vulnerability and innocence in Alicent. We had to feel less of the conniving and more of the girl that we grew up with in episode one. The fact that you were even confused makes me feel good because I felt like that was such a high bar for us coming out of Miguel [Sapochnick]'s [episode seven] when she was was hanging out with Larys in the last scene. The joke is, I called Miguel and I was like, 'Can you please like do something at the end of your episode to help me a little bit with Alicent?' Nope, you're on your own!"
Will Rhaenyra Be Queen?
In those final moments of Viserys' life, Alicent thought he changed his mind and finally decided to put the fate of the Realm into the hands of their son, Aegon II. We know that's not the case, and Rhaenyra likely won't believe it either. She was his choice to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Unfortunately, she won't get that chance, at least not in the near future.
As explained in Fire & Blood, the book House of the Dragon is based on, Alicent uses Viserys' death as a way to crown Aegon the new King of Westeros. Putting Aegon in charge is what sparks the civil war with Rhaenyra known as the Dance of the Dragons, because the King's daughter knows she is supposed to be next in line.
What did you think of Sunday's new episodes of House of the Dragon? Let us know in the comments!