WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8, “The Lord of the Tides.”Daemon and Viserys’ heartwarming scene at the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon episode 8 reveals the upsetting truth behind their first fight of the series. After Rhaenyra tells her father that he must defend her if he wants her to be his heir, the dying King Viserys Targaryen gathers all of his strength and sits on the Iron Throne for the first time in years. Hardly able to walk, Viserys’ journey up the steps is grueling, with his crown sadly falling off his head. Viserys won’t let anyone but his younger brother help him onto the Iron Throne, where Daemon takes his hand and places the crown on Viserys’ head. Considering Daemon was the one to help Viserys rather than Hand of the King Otto Hightower, House of the Dragon episode 8 proves Daemon always deserved to be Viserys’ second-in-command.
House of the Dragon episode 8’s touching scene between the Targaryen brothers harks back to another emotional moment in episode 1. Following Prince Baelon’s death, the indecisive King Viserys exiled Daemon for his disrespect and said he could no longer defend him. Daemon expressed that his anger and outbursts were based on the fact that in the 10 years since Viserys became King, not once did he ask him to be his Hand – the only job he ever wanted. Viserys assumed that Daemon had ambitions for the Iron Throne, but he really only desired to be standing next to his brother, helping him up the steps, and placing a crown on his head. Instead, Viserys went the easy route and chose Otto Hightower as his Hand – not once, but twice. Daemon is proving himself right all these years after their big throne room fight from House of the Dragon episode 1, as he was there in “The Lord of the Tides” when Viserys needed a hand while the real Hand of the King sulked away.
HOTD Proves Daemon Always Should Have Been Viserys’ Hand
Viserys’ biggest early mistake was making Otto Hightower the Hand of the King over Daemon. Otto – who deliberately tried to ruin Rhaenyra’s name, manipulated Alicent into seducing the King, and incessantly pressed Aegon’s claim throughout House of the Dragon – took advantage of Viserys’ weakness, whereas Daemon wanted to defend his brother’s name and stature. Where Viserys was weak, Daemon was strong; the brothers were entirely dissimilar, but House of the Dragon indicates that their combined strengths and weaknesses could have better avoided the outcome that Otto Hightower manipulated. Perhaps the entire question of the heir to the Iron Throne would have been done away with if Viserys had made Daemon his Hand and married him to Rhaenyra early on, which fulfilled his desire to further the Targaryen line with pure Valyrian blood.
In the most crucial moment of Viserys’ tenure as King of Westeros, it was Daemon who picked him back up and sat him on the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon episode 8. Viserys’ Hand Otto Hightower, however, simply walked down the steps of the Iron Throne when he realized that Viserys would actually be in power and have control again. Otto was always searching for a way to enhance his own power and rule over the realm, with Viserys’ illness and weakness effectively making Lord Hightower the king in all but name. Daemon quite literally serves as Viserys’ hand as he helps him ascend the Iron Throne, whereas Otto resents Viserys’ power and allows the King to helplessly struggle in front of the court. Otto was the easy choice for Hand of the King upon Viserys’ ascension, and Daemon may be unpredictable and unforgiving, but Viserys’ brother is the one who has demonstrated himself to be the right man for the job.
Why Viserys Never Made Daemon Hand Of The King
Westerosi kings choosing their family members as Hand isn’t uncommon, so had Daemon served Viserys as his chief advisor, it would have suited Targaryen tradition. However, Viserys was young and inexperienced when he was named the successor to King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, so he wanted an even more experienced Hand to help him rule. Since Otto was already the Hand to Jaehaerys, Viserys decided it was best to keep Lord Hightower in his position. However, this became a slight to Daemon after a decade of Otto’s service, which was filled with subtle betrayals and manipulations. At the same time, Otto was poisoning Viserys with the idea that Daemon was incapable and too mercurial to serve on the council, with Viserys naively trusting Otto’s judgment. Since Daemon continued living up to this reputation through his impetuous nature and disregard of council meetings in House of the Dragon, Viserys no longer considered making Daemon his Hand – if he ever had.
Since Viserys elected to exile Daemon on multiple occasions before House of the Dragon’s big time jump, he likely thought his brother was far too risky of a choice. However, Daemon had calmed down substantially over the 10 years he spent in Pentos, suggesting he could have made a better hand upon his return in House of the Dragon episode 7. But, only a few days earlier, Viserys had reinstated Otto Hightower as his Hand after the death of Lord Lyonel Strong. Since Otto had already proven himself untrustworthy in House of the Dragon, this was the point when Daemon had the best chance to become Hand, though he hadn’t truly interacted with his brother in a decade. By the time Daemon Targaryen demonstrated himself a worthy Hand of the King in House of the Dragon episode 8, Viserys was already on his deathbed.
What Viserys’ Death Means For Daemon In House Of The Dragon
WARNING! Spoilers ahead for George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book.Most of Daemon’s actions in House of the Dragon season 1 were driven by his desire to receive approval from Viserys and make his brother proud of him. As such, Daemon is apt to be just as utterly broken as Rhaenyra when they receive the news of King Viserys Targaryen’s death. Considering House of the Dragon episode 8 already emphasized how much it pained Daemon to see his beloved brother in such a weak and sickly state, it will tear him apart to hear that his brother has died.
Viserys is idolized by both Daemon and Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon, with the King always defending them and inviting them back even when the rest of the realm stands against them. Since Daemon and Rhaenyra have both deemed the Hightowers and greens “vipers” that take advantage of Viserys, the Targaryen husband and wife are apt to be even more intent on seeking vengeance during the Dance of the Dragons. As the husband to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, Daemon will also finally be able to prove how he would have handled being Viserys’ most trusted advisor and second-in-command.
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