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House Of The Dragon Director Sheds Some Light On Alicent And Viserys' Confusing Episode 8 Scene

Contains spoilers for "House of the Dragon" Season 1, Episode 8 — "The Lord of the Tides"

For every episode, "House of the Dragon" has been inching closer and closer to civil war, and The Dance of the Dragons is all but guaranteed. But in Episode 8, Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) and Alicent's (Olivia Cooke) collision course is not that simple. In light of the ailing King Viserys (Paddy Considine), the former friends finally understand that their love for the king is genuine indeed. As heartwarming as it is to see Alicent finally accept Rhaenrya's right to the throne, nothing in Westeros is that easy.

After many years of the king's illness, Viserys finally succumbs to death. And while his last memories are of a happy family, his final words on his deathbed quickly put a stop to that. Thinking he is continuing a previous conversation with Rhaenyra, he states that Aegon the Conquerer's vision of A Song of Ice and Fire will come to pass and his firstborn daughter is the one that will put a stop to it. But it isn't Rhaenyra who hears this, it is Alicent who now thinks that Viserys wants her son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) to inherit. All goodwill of the past episode is destroyed in one moment and raises even more questions. Did Alicent really think that Viserys was lucid enough to trust anything he was saying? The Director of Episode 8 has some thoughts on the matter.

Alicent was too naïve for her own good

As it turns out, a misunderstanding is what leads to The Dance of the Dragons. While Alicent is helping Viserys to bed, she hears the prophecy about A Song of Ice and Fire. But of course, since she has no context for what the secret prophecy really means, she takes it to mean that Viserys wants her son to inherit. Alicent's frame of mind is ambiguous. Was this just a scheme on Alicent's part to put forward her son, or was this truly a case of an innocent misunderstanding? Greeta Patel directed the episode and had some clarification to offer on the subject.

"The intention was that she genuinely thought he was telling her that her son was going to be the heir," Patel explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "The only way to get even close to achieving that was to feel the vulnerability and innocence in Alicent. We had to feel less of the conniving and more of the girl that we grew up with in episode one." Without the context of conversations that Viserys had with Rhaenyra, there is no way for her to truly understand his meaning. All Alicent hears is her son's name and takes that at face value. The great tragedy of the series is that Alicent has been manipulated every step of her life and has become a weapon of the patriarchy. Though unintentional, this one misunderstanding will lead to violent and brutal ends for many characters.