Warning: This article contains spoilers from episode 1 of The House of the Dragon
In classic Game of Thrones fashion, the first episode of House of the Dragon featured bloody violence, an unexpected death (or two) and political intrigue. It was a lot to take in for viewers, and we’re here to help you better understand what’s going on in King’s Landing with our weekly power rankings.
Let’s dive in:
1. Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
Princess Rhaenyra was an afterthought to her father, King Viserys I, at the start of the episode. Viserys always wanted a son to be the next heir, but his dream was extinguished after his newborn son Baelon died after a few hours. Despite opposition from his High Council, Viserys named Rhaenyra heir to the Iron Throne. In a society that has historically viewed women as second-class citizens, it’ll be interesting to see how the Seven Kingdoms responds to Rhaenyra being named Viserys’ heir.
2. Otto Hightower
I think we can all agree that Otto Hightower won’t be winning any Father of the Year awards anytime soon. However, the Hand of the King clearly knows what he needs to do for his family to gain more power (while also maintaining his spot alongside King Viserys as his Hand). When he sent his daughter Alicent to comfort King Viserys following the death of Queen Aemma, it was disgusting. After that initial wave of disgust, you could start to see some similarities between Otto Hightower and Littlefinger (Petyr Baelish) from the original Game of Thrones series.
Otto Hightower is playing 4D chess and hoping that his daughter will become the next queen. In the wake of Queen Aemma’s death, Otto Hightower’s actions bring to mind this Littlefinger quote: “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try it again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb. They refuse. They cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”
Get an exclusive insider look at ‘House of the Dragon’ from the cast who are living it.
3. King Viserys I
Viserys Targaryen might be the King of the Seven Kingdoms, but he had a really rough time this week. His wife passed away during childbirth, and it was due to Viserys’ fiery desire for a male heir. It was heartbreaking to hear Viserys opt for his wife to undergo a primitive C-section without her consent. At the end of the day, this is the king’s world, and everyone else is just living in it.
4. Ser Criston Cole
We don’t know much about Ser Criston Cole quite yet, but it’s clear that Princess Rhaenyra is smitten by him. After Ser Criston defeated Prince Daemon during the big jousting tournament, it felt like the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven would have an important role in the Seven Kingdoms. Not much else is known about Ser Criston, but his proximity to potential power (the heir to the throne Princess Rhaenyra) makes him an interesting character to follow.
Familiarize yourself with this fiery cast of characters in our ‘House of the Dragon’ guide.
5. Alicent Hightower
It was sad to see Alicent Hightower being used as a pawn by her father. From the looks of things, she might end up being King Viserys’ next wife. On top of that, she’s best friends with Princess Rhaenyra. With so many connections to the Targaryens, Alicent is sure to be a key character in King’s Landing.
It was awesome seeing a dragon on-screen at the beginning of the episode. In the premiere of Game of Thrones, dragons were merely mythical creatures, but they’re commonplace in House of the Dragon. The Targaryens have 10 dragons, and Syrax — Princess Rhaenrya’s dragon — hogged most of the screen time in the premiere. It’ll be lot of fun seeing Syrax and the rest of the dragons soar through the King’s Landing skies in House of the Dragon.
7. Rhaenys Targaryen
“The Queen Who Never Was” still seems to be unhappy about losing out on the Iron Throne to her cousin, King Viserys I, but the announcement of Princess Rhaenyra as the heir to Viserys has set up an interesting dynamic. It’s inferred that Rhaenys didn’t become ruler of the Seven Kingdoms because she is a woman, so it’ll be interesting to see if she’ll gain more respect after Rhaenyra’s ascension as heir to the Iron Throne.
8. Lord Corlys Velaryon
It looks like Lord Corlys (aka the Sea Snake) knows how to play the political game. He initially supports Prince Daemon for the throne before briefly throwing out the idea of his wife, Princess Rhaenys, as a potential heir to the Iron Throne despite losing out to King Viserys years ago. At the end of the episode, Lord Corlys is seen swearing his loyalty to Princess Rhaenyra as the heir. Also, the reactions of him and his wife Rhaenys at the joust tournament were hilarious to watch.
9. Prince Daemon Targaryen
At the beginning of the episode, Prince Daemon — King Viserys’ younger brother — is assumed to be the heir to the Iron Throne. However, his actions throughout the episode quickly lead to Princess Rhaenyra being officially announced as the heir. Prince Daemon is physically one of the strongest men in the Seven Kingdoms, but his brashness and thoughtlessness show that he’s not ready to be the king. As the head of the City Watch, he led a massacre of supposed criminals in King’s Landing. Apparently, he was Master of Coin before, but his tendency to spend way too much money led to a demotion. He’ll undoubtedly be one of the key players in this season, but he ended this episode on a low note as he departed King’s Landing no longer heir to the Iron Throne.
10. Queen Aemma Targaryen
The death of Queen Aemma is equal parts shocking to see and relevant to today’s society. When King Viserys makes the decision to move forward with an unmedicated C-section without her consent, it shows how women are viewed in the Seven Kingdoms.
Stay tuned for more ‘House of the Dragon’ Power Rankings right here.