The 4th episode of “House of the Dragon,” titled “King of the Narrow Sea,” takes us through the changing perceptions and political developments that had the potential to impact the future of the House Targaryen. Viserys had arranged for suitors, whom he thought were eligible to marry his daughter. Princess Rhaenyra rejected everybody, though she knew that her father wouldn’t be pleased with her decision. But still, Rhaenyra acted out of her own will as she was not like other women, who were not allowed to make their own decisions.
How Does The Return Of Daemon Change the Course of Things In King’s Landing?
Princess Rhaenyra saw a familiar dragon hovering over them while she was coming back to King’s Landing after meeting a group of suitors, arranged by her father. The prodigal son had returned. Daemon Targaryen reached Kings Landing unannounced, after defeating the Triarchy and being made the King of Stepstones. People knew that there would be some purpose, some treacherous motive behind his return, but Daemon surprised everyone. He said that after being named the emperor of the Stepstones, he realized that there was only one true king who ruled the seven kingdoms and sat on the Iron Throne. This sudden change of heart seemed pretentious, but Daemon spoke with a lot of conviction. Viserys was overwhelmed by this unlikely gesture from a man whom he had known to be rebellious, reckless, and erratic. Viserys knows at the back of his head what Daemon was capable of, and that he didn’t have a good track record when it came to trust and loyalty, but he still wants to believe his brother this time. The blood of the dragon indeed ran thick. The brothers were reunited once again, though Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen couldn’t believe that suddenly Daemon had become this conforming idealist who wanted the best for his brother and Kings Landing.
Otto Hightower saw the drama happening in front of his eyes, and he knew that Daemon’s intentions were not so noble. But at that moment, he knew that he couldn’t speak against him, because there was a chance that Viserys would have thought that the Hand was speaking because of his own greed and desire. So, he stayed quiet and waited for that opportunity when he would get some evidence that would corroborate the ill intentions that Daemon had. Rhaenyra, finding the opportunity, talks to Daemon alone. She asks him why he returned and casts aspersions on his motives. Rhaenyra tells him that Viserys was happy to sell her off to the Lord, who had the biggest castle. She was as rebellious as her uncle. She was not somebody who would be confined to the norms if she didn’t like them. She didn’t care if she was breaking the age-old traditions and customs, unlike her father. Viserys was somebody for whom it was very important that things were done as they had always been done. He was not somebody who would sway from the fixed course. He held Targaryen’s history and traditions in high reverence. For him, it was blasphemous to even think that he could go against them.
Rhaenyra tells Daemon that she had witnessed what happened to her mother and that she didn’t want to meet a similar fate as her. She had always thought that there was more to being a woman than just producing heirs for the throne. Just like her uncle, she was rebellious and didn’t mind breaking a few rules for her own sake; most of all, she had the spirit of a warrior. Daemon tries to make her understand. He tells her that her father wanted only the best for her and that there were worse things to be sold for. He says that marriage is nothing but a political arrangement, and once you enter into it, you have the freedom to do anything. But Rhaenyra feels that it is very convenient for a man to say that because, for women, things are very different. She felt that marriage was nothing less than a death sentence. She had such extreme views because she had seen how her mother had given her life just so that the kingdom could get an heir. Daemon understood his niece, but as a person who had seen a bit more of life than she had, he told her that if she continued to live in fear, she would miss out on the best parts that life had to offer. He tells her that living in solitude was rather a lonely prospect, that would devoid her of all the pleasures of life. Something has changed in the relationship that Daemon and Rhaenyra shared. He was treating her like an adult. They were both always fond of each other, and maybe Daemon had decided that the time had come to take their relationship to the next step.
Why Does Alicent Envy Rhaenyra’s Life?
Sadness was visible on Alicent’s face. She was pretending to be happy, doing her duties, but she had started feeling imprisoned in her own castle. She envied Rhaenyra’s life. She tells her that it was rare for a girl to get a choice between two suitors, and contrary to that the princess had an ample amount of choice. But Rhaenyra told her that it didn’t matter if there were 100 men standing in line waiting for her approval, because all she wanted was to have a meaningful relationship with a person who understood her. She knew that they only wanted her name and the Valyrian blood for their children. Alicent felt a slight pinch while talking to Rhaenyra. She had just become an object who was being utilized by men who wanted to gain leverage. She was rather young when she was married to a man who was more than double her age. She was forced by her father, and she was not like Rhaenyra, who could speak out against the wrong that was being committed against her. She was a subdued person, just like any other woman in those days. She was taught to obey, to listen, and blindly follow the orders of men. The patriarchal system always deemed it fit to deny a woman equal status, and those who fought against it were considered to be immoral and unethical.
Rhaenyra used a secret doorway in her room, and escaped without getting noticed by Ser Criston Cole, who was keeping guard on the front door. Daemon had told her about the secret passageway. He wanted to make her experience a very different kind of life than she had never witnessed. He took her amidst the commoners, and Rhaenyra came to know first-hand what the public thought about her. She witnessed a play that advocated how Aegon II, the son of Viserys and Alicent, was more deserving to sit on the Iron Throne. Society was still not ready to entertain the idea of being ruled by a woman. They considered the woman weak and incompetent. Rhaenyra knew that she was more capable than any heir would imagine herself to be. But the world around her didn’t see that. They had blindfolds of patriarchy over their eyes, and they were not ready to be radicalized for good. Daemon takes Rhaenyra to a pleasure house. The two give in to their impulses and share an intimate moment that goes far beyond the relationship dynamics of an uncle and niece. But something snapped inside Daemon. He stopped midway. He knew that their actions would put a blot on her character and that no other lord would want to be associated with her. Indulging in physical pleasures before marriage was not seen in a very good light. Furthermore, their blood relationship prohibited them from engaging in such acts, though there had been a few precedents supporting their actions, in the past. Daemon stopped and left the scene. Rhaenyra went to her room, and Ser Criston Cole was shocked to see that the princess was not in her room, in the first place. Rhaenyra called Criston Cole inside. The heir to the Iron Throne felt unrestrained. She was inclined to give in to her wants and desires. Criston Cole was hesitant in the beginning because what his princess was asking him to do, ousted the norms of his position. But still, they went ahead and gave into their carnal desires.
There is a stark difference established between the lives of Alicent and Rhaenyra. Where the princess was enjoying this newfound freedom, the queen felt that she was being held captive behind the bars of royalty. She didn’t know how her life had panned out to be like this. She envied how Rhaenyra was allowed to make her own choices. Though Alicent Hightower was the queen and had all the comforts of life, she was emotionally deprived, to the point where she had started feeling numb. She valued Rhaenyra’s existence in her life, as she knew that she didn’t have a lot of people whom she could call friends.
‘House Of The Dragon’ Episode 4: Ending Explained – Who Did Viserys Choose for Rhaenyra’s Marriage? What Did Daemon Demand of Viserys?
Through his informers, Otto Hightower came to know that Rhaenyra was seen late at night, with Daemon, in places that she shouldn’t have gone to. He knew that it was a very delicate matter, and the accusations were quite serious in nature. But still, he takes the leap of faith and tells the king about it. Viserys lost his temper. He told Otto that he had known what he wanted to do for a very long time. For the first time, he invalidated the motives of his trusted advisor. He told him that his desperation to make his blood sit on the Iron Throne had taken over his judiciousness. Otto tells him that he didn’t have any malicious intent, but Viserys was not ready to believe that his daughter had indulged in such an act. Alicent overhears this conversion and confronts Rhaenyra about the same. She asked her if the allegations made by her father were true. She asks her if she had gotten physically involved with Daemon. Though Rhaenyra had the intention of doing that, Daemon had stopped in between and left her. So logically, she could say that she didn’t do anything with him, though later that night, she did indulge with Ser Criston Cole. So that is why she swore on her mother’s name and told Alicent that she never did anything with her uncle. Alicent believed her and communicated the same to Viserys.
Daemon was taken to Viserys, who asked him if he had committed the sinful act of defiling his daughter. The wrath of the king was visible in his demeanor. If he had an option, he would have killed Daemon there and then, but he gave him a chance to speak. Daemon asks him to get Rhaenyra married to him. He told him that even Aegon the Conqueror took a second wife, and following the precedent, he could do so too. Viserys still felt that his brother was doing all this only because he craved to sit on the Iron Throne and not because he loved his daughter. Viserys tells him to leave King’s Landing and try to save whatever respect, dignity, and honor that remained. Alicent vouched for Rhaenyra and told Viserys that his daughter was still a maiden. She tells him that Daemon tried to corrupt her, but it couldn’t happen. Viserys was not ready to believe that Rhaenyra was innocent, but the words of his queen did have an impact on his judgment.
Viserys meets Rhaenyra and shows her the dagger that was once owned by Aegon the Conqueror. Rhaenyra read the words inscribed on the dagger, which said, “From my blood comes the prince that was promised, and he will be the song of ice and fire.” Viserys told her that the truth didn’t matter in such circumstances, and only perception did. He says that by telling her about the dream of Aegon the Conqueror, he had vested her with a huge responsibility. Viserys, as it has already been established, was a person who saw himself as a dreamer and had huge respect for such prophecies. Rhaenyra questions the flawed and unjust perceptions that people hold. She tells her father that if she had been a man, nobody would have questioned her actions. But Viserys was not in the mood to listen to his daughter. He tells her that he wanted her to get married to Ser Laenor Velaryon, son of Lord Corlys Velaryon, and this time he was not ready to put up with her rebellious attitude. Rhaenyra couldn’t believe that, once again, she was being used to gain political leverage. Her father wanted to unite the two strongest realms. Rhaenyra tells her father that Otto Hightower was a greedy man who wanted his blood to sit on the Iron Throne. Viserys had been overlooking the inevitable for quite some time, though this time, Otto’s information actually had some merit and wasn’t all fabricated. Viserys calls Otto Hightower and tells him that he saw through his intentions and motivations. He told him that it was a calculated move from his end to make the king marry his own daughter and distract him from the sadness that he was feeling after losing his wife. Viserys removes Otto Hightower from the position of Hand of the King and sends Rhaenyra a contraceptive drink to ensure that the consequences of her actions do not jeopardize the alliance he wanted her to enter into.
Viserys was steadfast. He didn’t want to take any risks now. It will be interesting to see how the political terrain will change with all the new developments. Viserys believed that Laenor Velaryon was the best match for his daughter, but what he didn’t know was that his romantic inclinations were not quite in line with the morals and ethics of society.