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'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 8: Is Honor Worth Dying For?


Sunday nights are now for deciphering new clues on House of the Dragon that will surely spark debate—and our utmost curiosity—about its Game of Thrones foreshadowing. Episode 8 was packed with increasing tensions between supporters of Alicent (“the greens”) and Rhaenyra (“the blacks”), culminating in another excellent sequence set over a “Last Supper” of sorts for King Viserys with his entire extended family.

Each week, we’ll be answering all your burning questions and thoughts on House of the Dragon. Today’s question boils down to honor and we are wondering:

Is honor alone worth dying for? And how are certain actions taken by our characters dictated by honor?

Was the End of Vaemond Velaryon Worth His Choice?

Episode eight largely opens with drama around a character that spends exactly zero seconds onscreen—The Sea Snake and Lord of Driftmark, Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint). It’s been six years evidently since he’s last made a meaningful appearance, and the discussion of his succession has bred animosity between his supposed successor, Rhaenyra Targaryen’s (Emma D’Arcy) son, Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault) and the brother of Ser Corlys, Ser Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson).

This animosity boils down to a dramatic showdown in the Throne Room. First with Ser Vaemond making his case for why he should be named the next Lord of the Driftmark (while not so subtly showcasing his potential aligning to Alicent and Otto should they help make that decision).

His claim is blown to bits by the arrival of King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) who admittedly looks a little bit worse for wear. Vaemond switches his “negotiation” to a more aggressive reasoning, stating that there is no true Velaryon blood in Lucerys.

In a stunning turn of events, Viserys consults with a woman (!!!) in his sister, Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) for support, and she backs Rhaenyra’s family in a soul-crushing move for Vaemond. Enraged over the perceived injustice of letting Lucerys have Driftmark when he is (indeed) a Bastard, Vaemond goes a little too far with his truths and claims “her children are bastards and she is a whore.”

However frail Viserys is, he immediately calls for Vaemond’s tongue. But Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) saves him some time and immediately lops off Vaemond’s head with his sword, the Dark Sister.

Was it worth losing his head in the name of truth and honor? To be honest, we’re not so sure.

Did King Viserys Targaryen Correctly Handle the Situation in the Throne Room?

Given that Viserys is frail and clearly close to dying, he still handled the situation rather well. Instead of being doped up on milk of the poppy by his self-serving hand Otto Hightower (Rhys Ilfans) and Otto’s scheming daughter Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), he arrives with dramatic music to stonewall any attempts by Alicent, Otto (who hilariously had to depart from his seat on the Iron Throne) and Vaemond.

With that said, did things go a little too far when he drew his knife and demanded Vaemond’s tongue?

Yes, but that’s why you have a no-nonsense younger brother like Daemon, who is happy to defend his wife’s honor by removing Ser Vaemond’s head from his body in a gruesome fashion.

What are the Consequences of Viserys’ Last Supper?

When the combined families agree to the clearly-on-his-last-legs Viserys’ wish for a Last Supper, everyone is probably thinking that we’re going to get some level of rehashed drama from Episode 7 and the infamous wedding of Laenor and Rhaenyra.

The dinner starts as a rousing success for the power balance in favor of Rhaenyra. Beneath all the plotting and backstabbing, Alicent toasts Rhaenyra, saying that she will make an excellent queen. It might be more politicking by Alicent, but it’s the most we’ve seen them together—even for just a moment—since the beginning of the series.

All the while, we’re treated to an amused Daemon smirking from his seat along with the self-satisfied grins from Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell). Aemond will certainly become the Greens equivalent of Daemon (if you move the ‘d’ from Daemon’s name and move it to the end, you even get ‘Aemond’), which certainly spells more trouble.

The dinner is largely political as it maneuvers and subtly insults family members with the overwrought toasts to please Viserys. Eventually, however, he’s carried away when his aching body and pains become too much for him to bear…

What Happens After Aegon and Aemond’s Less Than Honorable Remarks About Jace and Lucerys?

Viserys’ departure opens the floor to the real verbal sparring. It largely begins with Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) making jests about his nephew Jace’s (Harry Collett) impending marriage and ends rather explosively with Aemond making a none-too-concealed reference to their true father, calling them (thrice) “strong.”

While it’s abundantly clear that both of Alicent’s sons lack any sort of honor, it’s showcased in two entirely different manners.

Prince Aegon has shades of Joffrey Baratheon and Viserys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. He’s a spoiled brat who doesn’t appear to have much military capability or skill, but is a confirmed rapist and troublemaker all the same.

Aemond has a penchant for trouble and fighting in the same manner that Daemon does. After insinuating a brawl with Jace and Lucerys, you can almost see the smug satisfaction from Daemon as he acknowledges the similarities between himself and Aemond. To his credit, Aemond as a true villain won’t be cowed by any attempts at a truce by his mother or his father. He wants to be in the middle of the drama and the fighting, and he’s been training with Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) to prepare for that inevitability.

Was Viserys Targaryen’s Final Message Made Clear—To Both Viewers and Alicent Hightower?

Our thoughts? The message is clear as day to the viewers regarding the Targaryen prophecy—Viserys is on his deathbed and believes he’s talking to Rhaenyra.

But Alicent Hightower hears prophecy and Aegon, From the look on her face, it’s obvious she thinks Viserys is talking about her directly. She’s likely unaware that Rhaenyra named her son (with Daemon) Aegon.

The Prince Who Was Promised be damned, it is ironic since all watchers of Game of Thrones know how that turns out—despite all the faith that Viserys has put in Aegon the Conqueror’s dream.

But all that mind, we can see that Viserys’ final words before his death are likely the last straw to set in motion the war that is about to begin with his passing.

How to Watch House of the Dragon and  Game of Thrones 

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Catch up on past House of the Dragon Burning Questions . . .

'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 7: Is the Newfound Targaryen Legacy in Danger?

'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 6: Will Family Feuds Impact the Dance of Dragons?

'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 5: Is Vulnerability a Weakness?

‘House of the Dragon’ Burning Question, Episode 4: Are Rhaenyra and Alicent officially learning the Game of Thrones?

'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 3: Does Anybody Exist Above Tradition and Duty in Westeros?

'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 2: Why Are Women Treated Unworthy of the Iron Throne?

'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode One: Will We See the White Walkers from 'Game of Thrones'?

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