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.