WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 4!The consequences of Rhaenyra’s scandal set up major changes after House of the Dragon episode 4’s ending. As she leaves childhood behind, Rhaenyra Targaryen discovers certain pleasures of life with the assistance of her uncle Daemon, but when rumors of their tryst are spread, her position as heir comes into question. However, despite the gossip of Westeros failing to get the facts straight, the end of House of the Dragon episode 4 sees the tragic King Viserys defend Rhaenyra’s claim through dire means.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
House of the Dragon episode 4 begins with Daemon returning from the Stepstones, where he gives Viserys his crown as the King of the Narrow Sea. Daemon’s arrival sees him teach Rhaenyra about taking what she wants and understanding that sex is a pleasure for women just as it is for men, leading the two to sneak into a Flea Bottom brothel where Daemon kisses and disrobes Rhaenyra. When the Princess returns to her chambers, she decides to lose her virginity to Ser Criston Cole, but her enjoyment turns to strife when Otto Hightower tells Viserys that she was caught having sex with Daemon in the city. Despite this not being entirely true, Daemon refuses to deny these claims and even suggests that he marry Rhaenyra, but Viserys banishes him (again) instead. House of the Dragon’s Viserys then meets with Rhaenyra to explain more about Aegon the Conqueror’s dream and scold her for her scandals, informing her that she must marry Laenor Velaryon without protest.
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The whirlwind of an episode concludes as Viserys fires Otto Hightower as Hand of the King, citing that he can no longer trust his judgment due to his self-serving motivations to replace Rhaenyra with Aegon. In House of the Dragon episode 4’s final scene, Viserys sends Rhaenyra a special brew of moon tea, which is used in Westeros to prevent or abort pregnancies. As House of the Dragon sets up Rhaenyra’s marriage to Laenor, a new Hand of the King, and an exiled Daemon, Viserys is proving the lengths he will go to defend Rhaenyra as the rightful heir.
What The Potion Viserys Gives Rhaenyra Really Means
Rhaenyra ardently denied that she and Daemon slept together, but Viserys still sent her the moon tea to prevent pregnancy. Although it’s true that she did lose her virginity that night, she was telling the truth in that it wasn’t Daemon, with Viserys having no idea that she had really slept with Criston Cole. As such, Viserys sending her the moon tea in House of the Dragon episode 4’s ending proves that he no longer trusts her word. Although he’ll do whatever he can in his power to defend her claim and secure the unity of the Targaryens, Viserys doesn’t believe her anymore. He also likely now realizes that Rhaenyra will continue to seek her pleasures just as any male heir would do, and moon tea is the only way that he can be sure she will not produce any bastards before marrying. Viserys’ underlying motivation in House of the Dragon is to unite the realm and protect the succession of House Targaryen, so keeping Rhaenyra’s name from being "sullied" by a bastard pregnancy or rumors of affairs is a crucial priority.
What Rhaenyra Marrying Laenor Velaryon Sets Up
Following the rumors of her tryst with Daemon, Viserys informs Rhaenyra that she will be marrying Ser Laenor Velaryon without protest. Rhaenyra agrees as it is her duty as Princess of Dragonstone, but counters that Viserys must deal with Otto Hightower first as his duty as King. Rhaenyra immediately realizes that her betrothal to Laenor is a way for Viserys to heal the rift between the Targaryens and Velaryons, as the Sea Snake’s plan to marry Laena to a Sealord of Braavos already weakens the crown’s power. With Laenor and Rhaenyra married in House of the Dragon, Viserys regains the Velaryon fleet and necessary strength as the two families of Old Valyria rule the realm.
Their marriage also sets up Rhaenyra to further secure her succession through heirs, which is what Viserys advised her to do in House of the Dragon episode 3’s ending. Since Rhaenyra’s position as heir continues to be undermined by her half-brother Aegon as the King’s firstborn son, having the power of House Velaryon behind her is an incredible asset for her claim. Corlys and Rhaenys will be far more likely to support Rhaenyra over Aegon if their son stands to be the king consort and their grandchildren are next in line for the Iron Throne.
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New Aegon's Prophecy Reveals & Catspaw Dagger Origins Explained
One of the most intriguing early reveals from House of the Dragon’s trailers was the return of Game of Thrones’ Valyrian steel dagger. The catspaw dagger was used in Game of Thrones season 1 to try to murder Bran Stark, then returned in season 7 when Bran gave it to Arya. The ancient knife then had an integral role in Game of Thrones season 8’s Battle of Winterfell, as Arya Stark used it to kill the Night King and destroy the White Walkers. House of the Dragon now gives more clues to the Valyrian steel dagger’s origins and its deeper connection to Aegon’s prophecy and the Night King.
Viserys Targaryen notably carries the catspaw dagger everywhere he goes, with the King finally showing Rhaenyra the inscription on the steel in House of the Dragon episode 4’s ending. Viserys reveals that he is unsure of the true origin of the blade, but knows that it was once owned by Aenar Targaryen, who brought the family to Dragonstone before the Doom of Valyria. The dagger was then passed onto Aegon the Conqueror, who had his Song of Ice and Fire dream etched into the steel by a pyromancer. Written in High Valyrian, the inscription reads “From my blood come the Prince That Was Promised, and his will be the song of ice and fire.”
The words on the dagger now tie Aegon’s dream to the Prince That Was Promised prophecy, which was what motivated Melisandre throughout Game of Thrones. The Red Woman's prophecy claimed that the Prince That Was Promised was a savior in the religion of the Lord of Light who would pull Lightbringer from the flames and bring an end to the darkness. This meant that the prophesied Prince would save humanity from complete annihilation by the Night King and White Walkers, which is exactly what Aegon sees in his vision. However, Aegon’s dream before House of the Dragon adds another layer by revealing what Melisandre wasn’t exactly aware of: The Prince would be a descendant of House Targaryen who would sit on the Iron Throne and unite Westeros against the cold and dark. The prophecies now essentially being one and the same indicates that the envisioned Prince That Was Promised is both Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow.
WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Fire & Blood!
Has Daemon Been Exiled Again? What Happens To Him Now?
After Otto tells Viserys that his spies caught Daemon and Rhaenyra entangled in a brothel, Viserys once again sees the unpredictable and scandalous nature of his brother. At first angry that Daemon would seduce his daughter, Viserys’ decision for how to proceed with Daemon becomes clear once he realizes that it was really a powerful proximity to the Iron Throne that he wanted. However, this isn’t entirely accurate, as Daemon’s priority is not to become the King of Westeros or even sit on the Iron Throne. What Daemon wants is approval from Viserys and to have a seat next to him without being undermined by those around him, but House of the Dragon’s Rogue Prince always goes about this in the worst of ways.
In House of the Dragon episode 4’s ending, Viserys exiles Daemon from King’s Landing yet again. He suggests that Daemon return to the Vale with his wife, but later explains that he doesn’t care where Daemon goes or what happens to him as long as he’s out of his sight. In George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, Daemon heads back to the Stepstones for a brief time after his exile, but soon leaves for the Vale to try to claim Runestone once his wife Rhea Royce dies. After he’s sent away from the Vale, Daemon goes to Driftmark, where he convinces Corlys Velaryon to let him marry his daughter Laena.
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Who Will Replace Otto Hightower As Hand Of The King?
Now that Otto Hightower has been fired as Hand of the King and sent back to Oldtown, Viserys Targaryen requires a new most-trusted advisor after House of the Dragon episode 4’s ending. In Fire & Blood, Otto’s successor is Lord Lyonel Strong, who previously served as the master of laws on Viserys’ small council. Lyonel is actually the only advisor of Viserys who has been giving sound counsel throughout House of the Dragon, and who seemingly presents the least self-serving solutions to the King’s problems. It was Lyonel who suggested that Viserys marry Laena Velaryon for political advantage, and also Lord Strong who put forth the solution that Rhaenyra Targaryen marry Laenor Velaryon for the same reasons.
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