This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon.
With the first season of House of the Dragon set to end this weekend, there’s no shortage of theories circulating the internet as fans pick apart scene after scene trying to predict the big reveals and twists that the series and its predecessor Game of Thrones are known for. A recent theory based on a scene from the penultimate episode “The Green Council” suggests that Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) might not be the father of Helaena’s (Phia Saban) children after all.
In a clip posted by Twitter user Fanny (@darklesdarkling), supposedly Helaena’s twins can be heard babbling “Aemond” rather than Aegon after Alicent barges in with her father looking for her first born son. After Alicent says “father” to Otto (Rhys Ifans) is when they claim you can hear the twins call out for their “real” father.
There are many responses to the tweet that seem to agree with Fanny’s theory, with Twitter user Lily of the Vally (@Deedamai) pointing out that the twins both have pin-straight hair like Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) rather than curly like Helaena or Aegon. But just like Fanny’s theory, it could purely be a coincidence.
As far as theories go, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Aemond does appear to treat Helaena better than his brother, and given Aegon’s self-destructive behavior, it makes sense that Helaena would seek comfort and companionship with someone else.
But as others in the comments of the original tweet have pointed out, this clip isn’t enough to go on to support this theory. Sure, some argue that this is why Aemond just waltzes right into Helaena’s room and why he later claims to be next in line for the throne after Aegon instead of Aegon’s son, but as of now a secret relationship between Aemond and Helaena is based more on conjecture than what the show has actually presented to us thus far.
Personally, I can’t hear the twins say “Aemond” clearly enough in the clip to give this theory my full support, but, trying to ignore the fact that he’s also her brother, I can see why fans would ship Aemond and Helaena instead of Aegon and Helaena. Aegon sexually assaulted a girl in the previous episode “The Lord of the Tides” and spent a good part of their family dinner making sexually suggestive comments toward their cousin Baela (Bethany Antonia). As much as Aemond also sucks as a person (i.e. the Vhagar incident), Helaena unfortunately doesn’t have many other options.
Helaena deserves better than Aemond and Aegon, but unfortunately for her the Targaryens; proclivity for incest and Alicent and Otto’s desire to hold onto power for the Hightowers means that those two are really her only options if she wants to avoid the scrutiny that Rhaenrya has faced regarding the paternity of her children. It’s not that she doesn’t deserve the same sexual freedoms that Rhaenyra has enjoyed, but rather that she’s even more trapped in her situation than Rhaenyra was.
If Aemond really is the father of Helaena’s children, then that could be a potential weakness for Rhaenyra and her supporters to exploit as they fight for her rightful place on the Iron Throne. It’s even harder for Alicent to take the moral high ground and argue for Aegon’s right to the throne if the paternity of her own grandchildren can be called into question.
Even though I don’t fully believe in this theory yet, it would be interesting to see how and if it would factor into the Dance of the Dragons and future episodes of House of the Dragon. I don’t want to see Helaena chastised or punished, but it would be interesting to see how the Hightowers change their tune regarding lineage to fit their own needs. Given how fervently they tried to expose Rhaenyra, how willingly Alicent has covered for Aegon’s misdeeds thus far, and the fact that Alicent almost stabbed another child in the eye for Aemond, it’s not unlikely that they would find some way to either spin an affair between Aemond and Helaena in their favor or kill anyone who would suggest that Aegon’s heir isn’t his.