Why King Viserys Selects Alicent Hightower as His Wife

In Season 2 of “House of the Dragon,” King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) makes a contentious decision to wed Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) as his second wife. King Viserys lost his wife Aemma and infant son Prince Baelon in childbirth during the first episode of Season 1 of “House of the Dragon.” As a result, he named his sole child, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, his heir. Even though he was still mourning Rhaenyra’s mother, the king was persuaded to pick another wife because he was still a young man and could yet have several more heirs.

Following the terrible murder of Aemma Arryn, noble houses all over the kingdom started plotting to have their daughters succeed her as the next queen consort. At the conclusion of House of the Dragon episode 1, Otto Hightower, the Hand of the Monarch, discreetly dispatched his adolescent daughter Alicent to Viserys’ room under the pretense of comforting the bereaved king. Numerous marriage proposals, including those from Rhaenys Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon’s 12-year-old daughter Laena, were made in “House of the Dragon” episode 2. The slightly older Lady Alicent Hightower, the best friend of the king’s daughter, was ultimately chosen.

King Viserys had a duty to remarry in order to protect the Targaryen family line, but his decision to do so was primarily motivated by his long-standing friendship with Alicent. Since Aemma Arryn’s passing six months prior, Otto had been sending Alicent to visit Viserys in his quarters; the two had developed a bond that was kept a secret from Rhaenyra. Alicent is a viable candidate to succeed Rhaenyra because she is somewhat older than Rhaenyra, her father is the Hand of the King, she is old enough to provide Viserys with several heirs, and Viserys truly loves her company. Alicent is young, but unlike Laena Velaryon, she is not a child, and Viserys is aware that she and Rhaenyra are particularly good friends, so it doesn’t seem like she would be a very objectionable choice.

What Viserys’ marriage to Alicent Means for the “Hosue of the Dragon”

The troubles that would arise after King Viserys marries Alicent, specifically the feuds that will arise with Rhaenyra, were already alluded to in the “House of the Dragon” episode 2 conclusion. The “House of the Dragon” character played by Milly Alcock had previously expressed her concerns that Viserys remarriage would result in the creation of heirs that would undermine her claim to the Iron Throne. However, Emily Carey’s persona failed to reveal that Rhaenyra had been meeting with the king covertly for months with the goal of becoming Viserys’ next wife when she confided in Alicent about her worries. Now that Rhaenyra’s greatest friend is also her stepmother, her position as Princess of Dragonstone may be threatened by the heirs Rhaenyra’s best friend bears.

The marriage of Alicent to King Viserys in the first season of “House of the Dragon” also places House Hightower, especially Otto, in a position of even closer proximity to the Iron Throne. If Alicent has a son, the Hand of the King may plan to have him crowned king of Rhaenyra on the day that King Viserys passes away. If this occurs, Rhaenyra will be more likely to support her uncle Daemon and Corlys Velaryon, both of whom King Viserys rejected in their efforts to forge strong ties to the throne. In Season 1 of “House of the Dragon,” Alicent becoming queen not only raises concerns about the line of succession but also makes it more personal for Rhaenyra Targaryen.

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