Spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 9 below!House of the Dragon writer Sara Hess explains Alicent Hightower’s true feelings about making her son, Aegon II Targaryen, king. The prequel series is set nearly 200 years before the events of HBO’s Game of Thrones and centers on House Targaryen as it tears itself apart following King Viserys I Targaryen’s decision to appoint his daughter Rhaenyra as heir to the Iron Throne. With royal succession a male-oriented tradition, Ser Otto Hightower and members of the king’s Small Council scheme to place Aegon on the throne instead.
The end of House of the Dragon episode 8 finds Viserys hosting a dinner for his entire family with both Alicent and Rhaenyra toasting each other in a gesture of friendship. The two seem genuinely keen on resolving their differences and remaining amicable toward each other in the future. Later in the evening, Alicent visits Viserys as he nears death, and finds him rambling about Aegon the Conqueror’s prophecy. The Queen misunderstands the meaning of her husband’s final words and takes it as a dying wish to see Aegon on the throne.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hess discusses Alicent’s true feelings about Aegon’s ascension to the Iron Throne. The writer reveals that she and Cooke shared the same sentiment regarding Alicent’s reaction to what she thought Viserys meant on his deathbed. When the Queen heard Viserys’ final words, she was immediately disheartened as she was ready to finally put everything between her family and Rhaenyra’s behind her. Read what Hess says below.
I know what my feeling is, and I later talked to Olivia about it and she had the same feeling: When she misunderstood him and hears him saying “I want Aegon to be king” — which is not what he’s saying, but what she sincerely understands him to be saying — that her thought at the moment was, “Oh, fucking Christ.” She was genuinely ready to let it go. She was like: “You know what? Rhaenyra is going to be the queen. It’s fine. I’m tired of being angry all the time. I’m done. This is the end.” Then he says that and she’s super annoyed.
Aegon Would Have Been King Even Without Alicent’s Support
Based on Hess’ comments, Alicent truly wants peace within the family, and likely reconciliation with Rhaenyra as well. This is illustrated in Alicent’s reluctant response to Otto enacting a well-planned scheme in episode 9 to root out Rhaenyra’s supporters and place Aegon on the Iron Throne as quickly as possible. House of the Dragon has managed to cast a slightly more sympathetic light over Alicent, and her initial frustration at thinking Viserys truly wanted Aegon to be king adds to that. Alicent wasn’t thinking of power maneuvers while she was at her husband’s bedside.
However, even if Alicent’s annoyance continued, the plot to make Aegon king would’ve moved forward anyway. During the Small Council meeting, Otto reveals that a portion of the group already had plans developed to usurp the throne. Otto’s machinations were so meticulously thought out that nothing would have stood in his way to achieve the highest power in the Seven Kingdoms. With the House of the Dragon season finale set to air next week, Alicent and Otto will face the consequences of their actions as Rhaenyra commits to war.
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