Just two episodes after a massive 10-year time gap, HBO’s House of the Dragon has skipped over yet many more years in Sunday night’s eighth episode.
The new episode – entitled The Lord of the Tides – reveals that Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) has been ruling as the Hand of the King in the stead of the seemingly ailing Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine).
It seems that Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) have had enough of the Hightowers assuming the throne, as they make plans to head to King’s Landing.
While the official synopsis reveals that 10 more years have past, Rhaenys (Eve Best) mentions it’s been six years since she’s seen her husband Corlys (Steve Toussaint).
Ruling: The new episode – entitled The Lord of the Tides – reveals that Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) has been ruling as the Hand of the King in the stead of the seemingly ailing Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine)
King’s Landing: It seems that Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) have had enough of the Hightowers assuming the throne, as they make plans to head to King’s Landing
The episode begins with Rhaenys saying she hasn’t seen her husband in six years, as she speaks with Maester Kelvin (Haqi Ali)
‘He led his sailors into an ambush. A ship made to look as if it were abandoned. In the fighting, his neck was slashed by a corsair’s dagger,’ Kelvin says.
‘He fell overboard into the sea. The wound was severe. Much blood was lost. But the greater concern is the fever that followed. The ship’s maester said he burns from within,’ he added.
Rhaenys: The episode begins with Rhaenys saying she hasn’t seen her husband in six years, as she speaks with Maester Kelvin (Haqi Ali
While Corlys doesn’t seem to be dead quite yet, it might be just a matter of time, as Vaemond (Wil Johnson) wonders who will take the Driftwood throne.
Rhaenys says his words could be considered treason though he wonders what will become of the Velaryon family line.
The episode cuts back to Dragonstone where Daemon retrieves dragon eggs, as he tells two men in High Valyrian that Syntax bore three new eggs.
Wonder: While Corlys doesn’t seem to be dead quite yet, it might be just a matter of time, as Vaemond (Wil Johnson) wonders who will take the Driftwood throne
Treason: Rhaenys says his words could be considered treason though he wonders what will become of the Velaryon family line
He tells the men to place the eggs in the warming chambers, as they leave and follow his orders.
Prince Jacaerys (Harry Collett) is practicing his High Valyrian, though he can’t quite get the hang of it yet.
His mother Rhaenyra arrives and tells him, ‘I don’t expect you to learn High Valyrian in a day, Jace,’ though he adds, ‘A king should honor the traditions of his forbears.’
Practicing: Prince Jacaerys (Harry Collett) is practicing his High Valyrian, though he can’t quite get the hang of it yet
Learn: His mother Rhaenyra arrives and tells him, ‘I don’t expect you to learn High Valyrian in a day, Jace,’ though he adds, ‘A king should honor the traditions of his forbears’
‘Well… Unless you’re planning to depose your own mother, you have plenty of time to study,’ she says as Daemon arrives.
She tells him that Otto Hightower, ‘means to call into question Luke’s legitimacy. And by extension Jace, and by extension my own claim to the throne.’
They agree that Vaemond only caress for Driftmark and not their politics but Laena has no love for them.
Planning: ‘Well… Unless you’re planning to depose your own mother, you have plenty of time to study,’ she says as Daemon arrives
‘Those vipers rule in my father’s name. And my father– (sighs) What choice do I have?’ she says as Daemon says, ‘To King’s Landing then.’
Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) is in the middle of a small council meeting when she’s told that Rhaenyra and Daemon have arrived.
They say that, ‘It was my understanding Lord Corlys wished for his grandson Lucerys to succeed him as Lord of the Tides,’ though they say, ‘The boy has been raised most of his life away from Driftmark. He can fly a dragon, yes, but can he command a fleet?’
Alicent goes to greet her guests when she’s told by Ser Erryk that there is a ‘delicate matter’ about the Prince.
Rhaenyra and Daemon goes to see Viserys – and it’s clear he’s near the end – with a cloth over one eye and he’s quite weak.
Daemon says, ‘There is a petition to decide upon the succession of Driftmark and the heir to the Driftwood Throne.’
He tells her that Alicent and Otto, ‘see to all that business now’ but they want Viserys to, ‘affirm your position for Lucerys to be Corlys Velaryon’s successor.
They introduce the King to his grandsons and say they have names fit for a king.
Meanwhile, Alicent goes and visits Dyana (Maddie Evans), who has, ‘found herself in some trouble,’ and it’s clear she’s quite shaken.
She says, ‘I was fetching the Prince his wine, and I put it on his table, and when I turned– I didn’t see him. I asked him to stop, Your Grace. I did, truly… You must believe me.’
Alicent embraces her and says she does believe her but thinks others might not believe her, insinuating she might try to besmirch him.
‘I wouldn’t dream of breathing another word to anyone, Your Grace. I, I swear it on my life,’ Dyana says and Alicent says, ‘I know you won’t and hands her some gold, ‘for your troubles.
Some tea is brought in for her by Talya (Alexis Raben)- likely the same tea that terminated Rhaenyra’s pregnancy with Daemon when she was a child.
‘It’s best to be certain,’ Alicent says, making sure she drinks the tea.
A furious Alicent goes to see Aegon, who is still sleeping, and when she tells him about Tayla he insists it was just, ‘harmless fun.’
She says he is, ‘no son of mine’ but he says he never asked for any of this and he’s tried to do everything she wanted.
Alicent goes to see Rhaenyra and Daemon and Rhaenyra questions if there will be judgment on her son’s inheritance.
Alicent says she will forget about the allegations she has hurled this day.
Outside Ser Criston (Fabien Frankel) is training with the one-eyed Aemond, who easily defeats Criston.
Criston says he will be ready for tournaments in no time but he insists he doesn’t care about tournaments.
He finds his nephews watching and asks if they have come there to train.
Rhaenyra goes to find Rhaenys (Eve Best), telling her, ‘I wondered for many an hour what your purpose was in coming here. Whether you’d speak for or against the suit brought by Ser Vaemond. But then, I realized… You intend to advocate for yourself. This is no fair proceeding. It is a trap set by the Queen and the Hand, I’d wager, to proclaim my son illegitimate.’
Rhaenys adds, ‘Yet you did worse than that with Laenor. Did you not?’ though Rhaenyra insisted, ‘I loved your son.’
‘You may not believe it to be true, but I did. I did not order his death. Nor was I complicit in it. I swear this to you. I’ll make you an offer. Back Luke’s claim, and let us betroth Laena’s children to mine. Baela will be Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and her sons will be heirs to the throne. Rhaena will rule in Driftmark, and… the seat will pass to her and Lucerys’s children in time.’
Rhaenys says it’s, ‘A generous offer…. or a desperate one,’ though Rhaenyra sayss, ‘What does it matter?’
‘You are right in this, at least. It does not matter. You can bargain with me all you like. Bring my granddaughter with you to soften my resolve. But tomorrow, the Hightowers land their first blow. They force you to your knees… And I must stand alone,’ she says.
Rhaenyra goes to see her father at night, asking if he believes the Song of Ice and Fire – the secret about the future of the realm he told her all those years ago.
‘Aegon’s Dream. You told me it was our duty to hold the realm united against a common foe. By naming me heir, you divided the realm. I thought I wanted it. But the burden is a heavy one,’ she says.
She adds, ‘ If you wish me to bear it, then defend me. And my children,’ though Viserys cannot speak, only mutter uninteligently, which causes Rhaenyra to cry.
Later, Viserys tells Otto that he wants to have dinner with his whole family at the Red Keep and he wants them to all dine together.
The frail king moans in pain as he’s being treated, as Otto tells the maesters to bring, ‘milk of the poppy.’
Otto is seen standing in front of the Iron Throne, as they address the succession of the Driftmark throne.
‘Though it is the great hope of this court that Lord Corlys Velaryon survive his wounds, we gather here with the grim task of dealing with the succession of Driftmark. As Hand, I speak with the King’s voice on this and all other matters. The crown will now hear the petitions,’ Otto says, with Ser Vaemond of House Velaryon going first.
‘My Lord Hand. The history of our noble houses extends beyond the Seven Kingdoms to the days of Old Valyria. For as long as House Targaryen has ruled the skies, House Velaryon has ruled the seas. When the Doom fell on Valyria, our houses became the last of their kind,’ he begins.
‘Our forebearers came to this new land, knowing that were they to fail, it would mean the end to their bloodlines and their name. I have spent my entire life on Driftmark defending my brother’s seat. I am Lord Corlys’s closest kin, his own blood. The true, unimpeachable blood of House Velaryon runs through my veins,’ he says,
Rhaenyra interrupts, ‘As it does in my sons, the offspring of Laenor Velaryon. If you cared so much about your house’s blood, Ser Vaemond, you would not be so bold as to supplant its rightful heir. No, you only speak for yourself -and for your own ambition.’
Alicent cuts him off saying, ‘You will have chance to make your own petition, Princess Rhaenyra. Do Ser Vaemond the courtesy of allowing his to be heard.’
Vaemond says, ‘What do you know of Velaryon blood, Princess? I could cut my veins and show it to you and you still wouldn’t recognize it. This is about the future and survival of my house, not yours. My Queen, my Lord Hand. This is a matter of blood, not ambition.’
‘I place the continuation of the survival of my house and my line above all. I humbly put myself before you as my brother’s successor… The Lord of Driftmark and Lord of the Tides,’ he concludes.
Otto says, ‘Princess Rhaenyra, you may now speak for your son, Lucerys Velaryon,’ as she begins, ‘If I am to grace this farce with some answer, I will start by reminding the court that nearly 20 years ago, in this very…’ as the doors open and King Viserys slowly makes his way to the Iron Throne, half of his face obscured by a gold plate.
‘I will sit the Throne today,’ Viserys says as he drops the crown and Daemon comes to his side and helps him up to the throne, placing the throne on his head.
‘I must admit my confusion. I do not understand why petitions are being heard under a settled succession,’ Viserys says.
He adds, ‘The only one present… Who might offer keener insight into Lord Corlys’s wishes is the Princess Rhaenys.’
‘It was ever my husband’s will that Driftmark pass through Ser Laenor to his trueborn son… Lucerys Velaryon,’ Rhaenys says.
‘His mind never changed. Nor did my support of him. As a matter of fact, the Princess Rhaenyra has just informed me of her desire to marry her sons Jace and Luke to Lord Corlys’s granddaughters, Baela and Rhaena. A proposal to which I heartily agree,’ Rhaenys says.
Viserys adds, ‘Well… The matter is settled. Again. I hereby reaffirm Prince Lucerys of House Velaryon as heir to Driftmark, the Driftwood Throne, and the next Lord of the Tides.
An angered Vaemond says, ‘You break law… And centuries of tradition to install your daughter as heir. Yet you dare tell me… Who deserves to inherit the name Velaryon. No. I will not allow it.’
‘Allow it? Do not forget yourself, Vaemond,’ Viserys says, though Daemond points to Rhaenyra’s sons and says, ‘That is no true Velaryon, and certainly no nephew of mine.’
‘Lucerys is my true-born grandson. And you… Are no more than the second son of Driftmark.
‘You… May run your house as you see fit… But you will not decide the future of mine. My house survived the Doom and a thousand tribulations besides. And gods be damned… I will not see it ended on the account of this– Her children… Are bastards! And she… Is… A whore,’ he says, causing everyone to gasp.
‘I… Will have your tongue for that,’ Viserys says, standing up and pulling out his dagger, but before the King can take action, Daemon cuts his head off.
Whore: ‘You… May run your house as you see fit… But you will not decide the future of mine. My house survived the Doom and a thousand tribulations besides. And gods be damned… I will not see it ended on the account of this– Her children… Are bastards! And she… Is… A whore,’ he says, causing everyone to gasp
Daemon: ‘I… Will have your tongue for that,’ Viserys says, standing up and pulling out his dagger, but before the King can take action, Daemon cuts his head off
‘He can keep his tongue,’ a smarmy Daemon says as they call to disarm him but Viserys says there will be, ‘no need.’
Alicent says he must take something for the pain but he does not want to ‘cloud’ his mind.
Rhaenys is told, ‘The body will be ready for its return to Driftmark on the morrow, my lady. You may wish to leave the Silent Sisters to their work. It is ill luck to look upon the face of death.’
‘The Stranger has visited me more times than I can count, Grand Maester. I assure you… He cares little whether my eyes are open or closed,’ she says.
As Viserys requested, the entire family has gathered for dinner, telling them, ‘How good it is… To see you all tonight…’
‘This is an occasion for celebration, it seems. My grandsons, Jace and Luke, will marry their cousins, Baela and Rhaena, further strengthening the bond between our houses. A toast to the young Princes… -And their betrothed,’ Viserys says.
Aegon jokes with Jace, ‘You’ll finally get to lie with a woman,’ as Viserys says, ‘Let us toast as well Prince Lucerys… The future Lord of the Tides.;
Aegon jokes, ‘You do know how the act is done, I assume? At least in principle? Where to put your cock and all that.’
‘Let it be, cousin. You can play the jester if you wish, -but hold your tongue before my betrothed,’ Jace says.
Viserys slowly gets to his feet and removes the gold plate over his face, showing how his health has declined.
Plate: Viserys slowly gets to his feet and removes the gold plate over his face, showing how his health has declined
‘It both gladdens my heart and fills me with sorrow to see these faces around the table. The faces most dear to me in all the world… Yet grown so distant from each other… In the years past,’ he says.
‘My own face… Is no longer a handsome one… If indeed it ever was. But tonight… I wish you to see me… As I am. Not just a king… But your father. Your brother. Your husband… And your grandsire. Who may not, it seems… Walk for much longer among you. Let us no longer hold ill feelings in our hearts. The crown cannot stand strong if the House of the Dragon remains divided,’ he says.
‘But set aside your grievances. If not for the sake of the crown… Then for the sake of this old man,’ he adds.
Faces: ‘It both gladdens my heart and fills me with sorrow to see these faces around the table. The faces most dear to me in all the world… Yet grown so distant from each other… In the years past,’ he says
Rhaenyra stands and makes a toast to her former friend Queen Alicent, stating, ‘I wish to raise my cup to Her Grace, the Queen.’
‘I love my father. But I must admit that no one has stood… More loyally by his side than his good wife. She has tended to him with… Unfailing devotion, love, and honor. And for that, she has my gratitude… And my apology,’ Rhaenyra says.
Alicent stands to make a toast, adding, ‘Your graciousness moves me deeply, Princess. We are both mothers… And we love our children. We have more in common than we sometimes allow. I raise my cup to you… And to your house. You will make a fine queen.’
Aegon goes to Jace’s betrothed, joking, ‘I, um… I regret the disappointment you are soon to suffer. But if you ever wish to know what it is to be well satisfied, all you have to do is ask.’
This angers Jace as he slams his hands on the table and stands up… but he calmly delivers a toast to Aegon.
‘To Prince Aegon and… Prince Aemond. We have not seen each other in years, but I have fond memories of our shared youth. And as men, I hope we may yet be friends and allies. To you and your family’s good health, dear uncles,’ he says, as Aegon says, ‘To you as well.’
King Viserys calls for music and is enjoying himself briefly before the pain takes hold again and he’s carried back to his chambers, just as the food is brought in.
Aemond stands and grabs his glass, offering a ‘final tribute’ to his nephews.
‘To the health of my nephews: Jace… Luke… And Joffrey. Each of them handsome, wise… Hm… Strong.’
He adds, ‘Let us drain our cups to these three… -Strong boys,’ though Jace adds, ‘I dare you to say that again.’
They are all restrained before a full brawl breaks out, as Alicent asks Aemond, ‘ Why would you say such a thing before these people?’
‘I was merely expressing how proud I am of my family, Mother. MM, though it seems my nephews aren’t quite as proud of theirs,’ he says.
Rhaenyra tells them to, ‘Go to your quarters. All of you go, now,’ before Alicent comes to speak with her.
‘It’s best, I think, if we go back to Dragonstone,’ Rhaenyra says, though Alicent says, ‘You’ve only just arrived. Let me see the children home.’
Rhaenyra says, ‘I’ll, um… Return on dragonback,’ and Alicent says, ‘The King and I would both like that.
Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) – Daemon’s former mistress – is seen for the first time since Episode 4… and it’s revealed that the handmaiden Talya is her informant, updating her on everything that has been happening in King’s Landing.
Alicent goes to check on King Viserys, who seems to mistake her for his daughter Rhaenyra.
‘But you wanted to know… If I believe it to be true. Aegon… His Dream. The Song of Ice… And Fi– It is true. What he saw in the North. The Prince That Was Promised,’ he says,’ but Alicent says, ‘I don’t understand, Viserys.’
‘The Prince. Prince Aegon? To unite the realm against the cold… And the dark. It is you. You are the one. You must do this. You must do this,’ he says.
‘I understand, my King,’ she says before leaving the King in his bed… as his breathing grows more and more tiresome… finally uttering, ‘My love,’ before his breath stops… King Viserys has died as the eighth episode comes to an end.
The preview for next week’s penultimate episode confirms the King has died, as Alicent reveals she took Viserys’ deathbed admission to mean he wants their son Aegon to take the Iron Throne.
Otto is seen telling someone that, ‘No one can know who you are or what you seek,’ while Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) tells someone that he found out something that person should know.
Rhaenys is heard saying, ‘Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?’ as the preview comes to an end.
The ninth episode of House of the Dragon debuts Sunday, October 16 with the season finale airing Sunday, October 23 on HBO.
Grave: The trailer for this week’s episode also teased that Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), a.k.a. The Sea Snake, has suffered a grave wound while battling in the Stepstones
Title: The episode’s title itself – The Lord of the Tides – is interesting since it was mentioned in the previous episode
Renewed: House of the Dragon has already been renewed for a second season, though there already has been a creative shake-up with co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik not returning for Season 2