Warning: contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 7 ‘Driftmark’.
House of the Dragon episode seven left Rhaenys and Corlys Velaryon without a son, Prince Aemond without an eye, and Rhaenyra and Alicent’s respective court factions the Blacks and the Greens without any doubt that they were at war – the “ugly game” for control of the Seven Kingdoms had begun. Despite King Viserys I’s weak pleas for togetherness, the blood of his family runs far too hot for forgiveness. Their enmity is now in the open, and as Rhaenyra and Daemon travel to King’s Landing from Dragonstone in next episode, ‘The Lord of the Tides’, that only promises to deepen.
Watch the teaser trailer below:
Here’s what fans can expect from House of the Dragon episode eight, directed by Geeta Vasant Patel (The Great, Sweetbitter, Superstore) and written by House of the Dragon producer and Light as a Feather screenwriter Eileen Shim.
Otto Hightower on the Iron Throne
As a quick reminder – Rhys Ifans’ character was removed from his position as Hand of the King in episode four after he reported Rhaenyra and Daemon’s night-time brothel outing to Viserys. The King called the report a lie and sent Otto Hightower away in an act that publicly accepted Rhaenyra’s protestations of innocence. Privately though, Viserys acknowledged his daughter’s lies by sending her a maester with a pot of Moon Tea (the Westeros equivalent of the morning-after pill).
After Otto’s replacement as Hand Ser Lyonel Strong was burned to death in Harrenhal, Otto was reinstated and reunited with his daughter Queen Alicent. In episode seven, instead of admonishing Alicent’s bloodlust after the ‘eye for an eye’ incident, Otto congratulated his daughter on her fighting spirit. In episode eight, Otto is seen on the Iron Throne, ruling in an ailing King Viserys’ stead, provoking the ire of Princess Rhaenyra, who calls the Greens “vipers”.
New actors for Aegon, Aemond, Helaena, Jayce & Luke
Get ready for another time jump as ‘The Lord of the Tides’ appears to skip ahead a further eight or so years, ageing up the Targaryen and Velaryon royal heirs from children and teens to twenty-somethings. Prince Aegon is now played by 27-year-old actor Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk, The Last Post) , his brother Prince Aemond is now played by Ewan Mitchell (Trigger Point, The Last Kingdom), and their sister Helaena is played by 24-year-old actor Phia Saban (The Last Kingdom). Rhaenyra’s son Jacaerys is now played by 19-year-old Harry Collett Casualty, Doolittle).
Note Queen Alicent’s seven-pointed-star necklace, a symbol of the Westerosi faith of the Seven – perhaps a sign of her growing piety and yet more distance from the Targaryens’ historically Essosi line.
The Driftwood Throne Succession Question
The Iron Throne isn’t the only one with a disputed succession. Following the fiery death of their dragonrider daughter Laena and the faked death of their son Laenor, Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys Velaryon were left without a direct heir to their family seat of Driftmark. In episode seven, Laena’s daughter Baela was suggested as the preferred heir to the Driftwood Throne, but the matter remains unresolved. In episode eight, Corlys (also known as “The Lord of the Tides – this episode’s title – and “The Seasnake”) appears to have been injured in battle, while his younger brother Vaemond Velaryon is seen marching with troops under the family banner.
King Viserys’ Failing Health
Speaking of ailing leaders, King Viserys I isn’t even seen in the episode eight trailer, only his voice is heard warning his family that “The Crown cannot stand strong if the House of the Dragon remains divided.” Viserys’ health has failed steadily since the series began, likely due to septic poisoning contracted from cuts he sustained on the swords of the Iron Throne – proving that metaphor is alive and well in Westeros.
Prince Daemon and the Dragon’s Egg
It’s Targaryen tradition to place a dragon egg in the cradle of a new-born baby, with the hope that the egg will hatch into a dragon that the child will claim in time. The egg of Daemon and Laena’s younger daughter didn’t hatch, depriving her of a dragon mount like Prince Aemond until he claimed Laena’s dragon Vhaegar. Prince Daemon handling another egg (after the one he stole to provoke his brother the King in episode two ‘The Rogue Prince’) suggests the birth of another Targaryen child.
Lady Mysaria/The White Worm Returns
We’ve seen Prince Daemon wear a hood like this on nefarious business – the murder of his first wife Lady Rhea Royce, for instance, or arranging the ‘death’ of his second wife’s husband. If that’s him under the hood again, it looks as though Daemon is visiting old beau Lady Mysaria, now a King’s Landing spymistress nicknamed “The White Worm”. It was one of Mysaria’s spies who spotted Rhaenyra and Daemon in the Flea Bottom brothel back in episode four, which led to the expulsion of Otto Hightower and the isolation and growing isolation of his daughter the Queen.
The Greens vs the Blacks
The training yard scrap between the King’s sons and their nephews in episode six paved the way for the episode seven fight that lost Prince Aemond an eye. That matter is clearly not over in episode eight, which sees not only hostile glances between the Greens and the Blacks, but yet more violence. As Ser Otto Hightower says in voiceover as Ser Vaemond Velaryon and his men march through the city gates, “the threat of war looms.”
House of the Dragon episode eight ‘The Lord of the Tides’ airs on Sunday October 9 on HBO in the US and on Monday October 10 on Sky Atlantic in the UK.