Episode 1 of House of the Dragon saw how the tenuous hold by King Viserys (Paddy Considine) to claim the Iron Throne was successful.
Viserys’s cousin, Rhaenys (Eve Best), was closer in line of succession, but because she was female, the majority voted to have Viserys rule after King Jaehaerys I (Michael Carter).
When Viserys failed to produce a male heir, it was assumed that his younger brother, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), would take over.
However, when conflict arose between the brothers, Viserys snubbed tradition and decided to place his daughter, Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), next in line of succession.
In Episode 2 of House of the Dragon, it was revealed that Daemon was not one to step down and let his claim be overlooked and he is actively campaigning to reassert his position as heir to the Iron Throne.
So, does Rhaenyra ever end up claiming the highest position in Westeros?
Rhaenyra is the official heir to the Iron Throne — for now
While Viserys may have decided to overlook tradition and announce his daughter will replace him on the Iron Throne, she has yet to take on the role.
Viserys is still healthy and has just revealed he will be taking on a new wife after the death of Aemma (Sian Brooke) in Episode 1 of House of the Dragon.
So, the potential is still there that he will produce a male heir, and this is suggested in the trailer for Episode 3, where it is revealed that his new wife, Lady Alicent (Emily Carey), has already given birth to a son, Aegon.
While this child can certainly be seen as a rightful heir and a replacement for Rhaenyra, Viserys has previously stated that Rhaenyra will remain his heir. However, things might change now that he has a son.
Will Rhaenyra ever rule over Westeros?
House of the Dragon is based on a book by author George R. R. Martin so, for those wanting to find out ahead of time what happens in the TV show can do so via the book Fire and Blood.
For those who don’t want to know ahead of time, though, need to be warned that the rest of this article will deal with potential spoilers from Fire and Blood, so step away now if you don’t want to learn more.
In the book, Viserys never claimed his son, Aegon, as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, leaving Rhaenyra to succeed in his place.
Rhaenyra went on to marry Laenor Velaryon, son of Lord Corlys (portrayed by Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon), to which she had three sons, Jacaerys ‘Jace,’ Lucerys ‘Luke,’ and Joffrey ‘Joff’ Velaryon. Although, who actually fathered these children is up for debate in Fire and Blood.
When Laenor dies, Rhaenyra then goes on to wed her uncle, Daemon, and they produce two sons, Aegon and Viserys. (Yes, Targaryens like to repeat family names.)
When her father, King Viserys, died, it seemed likely Rhaenyra would rule in his place. However, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) overruled the King’s wish and degreed Alicent’s firstborn son, Aegon II, as the rightful heir.
Rhaenyra was heavily pregnant at the time of her father’s death and the news was withheld from her until Aegon II’s coronation, leading to Rhaenyra going into early labor and losing her child.
As pointed out by Hitc, this led to a civil war among the Targaryens known as the Dance of Dragons, which resulted in Rhaenyra’s success, and she was then able to rule as her father intended.
However, this is House of the Dragon, so not all was great after that.
Having to raise taxes as a result of the civil war, the people started turning against Rhaenyra, and, eventually, a riot ensued.
Rhaenyra, having only ruled for half a year, fled King’s Landing and made her way to Dragonstone. Here, she was betrayed and eventually fed to the dragon, Sunfyre, by her half-brother, Aegon II, who was now reaffirmed as the true leader of Westeros.
After this, she was always referred to as Princess Rhaenyra and never the Queen in all official documents and records.
House of the Dragon airs every Sunday night at 9/8c on HBO Max.