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House of the Dragon: What Viserys said at the end of Episode 8 and how it differs from the book

Paddy Considine stars as King Viserys Targaryen in Episode 8 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Paddy Considine stars as King Viserys Targaryen in Episode 8 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

In every episode of House of the Dragon, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) seems to get older and wearier, and his illness is getting much worse.

In fact, with all the time jumps, many viewers were questioning how Viserys has managed to make it this far already, and Episode 8 showed a king that was severely incapacitated.

His wife, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), has been keeping him medicated on milk of the poppy to keep him pain-free, but that came into question when his daughter, Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), arrived with her husband, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith).

After being bolstered by seeing his daughter and new grandchildren, the king decided to make one last decent day of it and got up, got dressed, and sorted out a mess of ownership involving Driftmark before having a feast with his family.

Later that night, while Viserys was in bed, Alicent arrived to give him his medication, and the king started talking about Aegon, which Alicent interpreted as their son, Aegon.

Then, Viserys up and dies, and now it looks likely that Alicent will use this information to her own advantage.

Emma D'Arcy stars as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, as seen in Episode 6 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Emma D’Arcy stars as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, as seen in Episode 6 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Here’s what Viserys meant when he spoke to Alicent

Viewers who have been paying attention will know that Viserys was talking about Aegon the Conquerer and not his firstborn son to Alicent.

The king has had several conversations with his daughter, Rhaenyra, regarding Aegon the Conquerer and his famous dream that spoke of the Prince That Was Promised. And, after an earlier conversation, it is apparent to fans that he thinks he is talking to Rhaenyra, not his wife.

And while fans of Game of Thrones know that this vision will not come to fruition for around another 150 years, for Viserys, it becomes apparent in his conversation with Alicent that he believes Rhaenyra is this promised prince, remembering that in High Valarian, the translation means either a prince or princess.

Although, it is also possible that Viserys also believes his daughter will be the one to birth the famed hero who will unite Westeros against the cold.

But, as pointed out by Mashable, while Alicent is tending to him, her questions to him go unanswered, and she appears to interpret what he says to mean her son, Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), as the Prince That Was Promised.

And, considering she is a Hightower and not a Targaryen, it makes sense that she might not have paid much attention to Aegon’s Dream or the other stories regarding this ancestor.

Added to this is the fact that Alicent and her father, Otto (Rhys Ifan), have also leaned very heavily for Viserys’ firstborn son to rule in Rhaenyra’s place, so this will give her the perfect reasoning – in her eyes – for denying Rhaenyra’s claim.

Olivia Cooke stars as Alicent Hightower in Episode 8 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Olivia Cooke stars as Alicent Hightower in Episode 8 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Here’s what happened in the book

In Fire and Blood, the book on which House of the Dragon is based, no such conversation occurs – or not one that was written down. After all, the book is written like a historical manuscript and includes various versions of the same events, just from different people.

However, if the written word is to be taken at face value, this conversation did not occur, and Viserys died quietly in his sleep.

Instead, Alicent and her father, who is also the Hand of the King, decide that Rhaenyra does not have a claim to the Iron Throne even though Viserys has repeatedly declared this time and again concerning his wishes for the line of succession.

In order to maintain the ruse, the death of Viserys is kept quiet by his wife as she readies her son, Aegon, to be the new king.

With Rhaenyra at home in Dragonstone, this was fairly easy to do, and by the time Rhaenyra does find out about her father’s death, it is too late, and Aegon has already been crowned.

This will then lead to a vicious conflict between Rhaenyra (Team Black) and Alicent (Team Green), known in Fire and Blood as the Dance of the Dragons.

House of the Dragon airs every Sunday night at 9/8c on HBO Max.

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