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House of the Dragon: How The Hightowers are Playing The Real Game of Thrones

By Rishabh Shandilya
August 29,2022

While the dragons and wild parties are what bring in the viewers, the royal politics is what keeps them watching. Not much has changed with The Game of Thrones spin-off, the House of the Dragon. Episode 2’s “The Rogue Prince” shows that things can become just as heated inside closed gates as they might in the sky, notwithstanding the show’s premise of flying creatures soaring through the air and burning the ground.

Maybe Otto Hightower and Alicent are the best examples of the show’s penchant for backstabbing and political maneuvering.

The Hightowers and Their Game of Thrones

Otto and Alicent Hightower

Otto and Alicent Hightower

Together, father and daughter have been able to completely change the status quo in Westeros in only two chapters. We were initially introduced to Otto, the King’s Hand when he was trying to counsel King Viserys in a private council meeting. Alicent and her closest friend, Princess Rhaenyra, were first seen by spectators when they were both little girls. At first glance, Otto and Alicent appear hesitant to cause a stir. That is, till chaos was unleashed upon the kingdom as a result of issues surrounding the accession to the Iron Throne.

After visiting with the grieving monarch in his rooms and commenting on his reconstructions of Old Valyria in Episode 2, the former quickly became a trusted companion. The king informed Alicent that he might marry Corlys Velaryon’s daughter, a young lady of just 12 years of age. At no point throughout their conversation does Alicent reveal his true feelings to the king, instead opting to play coy and say things like, “I’m sure she would enjoy your presence, as I have.” She went above and above when the king shattered a dragon figurine and asked her to restore it for him.

Alicent Hightower

Alicent Hightower

Elsewhere, Otto battled about how to respond to Prince Daemon’s dangers to stability, irrespective of the fact that he was engaged in his own plotting. One reason is that Otto is opposed to the king accepting his request to merge the two houses, which was made by Otto of Corlys. On the other hand, he confronts Daemon about his latest activities by sending Alicent to visit the king once more.

Although Otto ultimately prevailed, Rhaenyra’s surprise appearance on dragonback allowed him to really terrify Daemon and win the episode. Viserys has come clean about his intention to marry, naming Alicent as his intended bride. They might have alienated some allies in the process, but the Hightowers have established themselves as prospective contenders to the Throne now that his potential wife is anticipated to deliver the next successor.

Who Are Otto & Alicent Hightower?

Otto was a highly respected scholar who served as Hand of the King for Jaehaerys I as well as Viserys I in the Fire & Blood series. As one would be able to see from his strategy to court Alicent and Viserys, his brilliance might verge on hubris, yet he stays meticulous. Otto’s spouse is only referenced in the initial two episodes of the show but is absent from the novels. However, the TV show has only featured Alicent, in the novels Otto is the parent to multiple children.

Alicent Hightower

Alicent Hightower

Jaehaerys’ previous advisor and child, Baelon Targaryen, died, and Otto took up the role. Alicent, simultaneously time, became a member of the royal court when she was just fifteen. Disheartened by the death of his wife Alysanne, King Jaehaerys called for the Great Council, the dramatic inheritance scenario that kicked off Season 1 of House HBO miniseries.

Jaehaerys’ health rapidly deteriorated when Viserys was crowned king, and was housebound, thus putting the kingdom in the hands of Otto. Elsewhere, Alicent was tasked with keeping an eye on Jaehaerys as she recovered from her illness.

Even when she entered the midst of adolescence, Alicent was consistently portrayed in the novel as seeming youthful. Martin often used the word “beautiful and charming” to characterize her because of her attractive appearance even after having many children. Alicent’s upbringing in a royal residence offered her an advantage thanks to her shrewdness and her capacity to sympathize with others around her.

King Viserys I

King Viserys I

 Hightowers Ties To Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones fans will recognize Oldtown as the setting for the Citadel, where the Maesters get their education. This is where the Hightower household has maintained its seat since ancient times.

The moniker “Hightower” is instantly identifiable since it is the surname of Mace Tyrell’s bride, Alerie Hightower. Loras Tyrell Finn as well as Margaery Tyrell, who became Queen for a few months after marrying King Joffrey, were born to both of them.

It’s interesting to hear that Margaery’s predecessor, Alicent, also plotted to become a queen, considering the extent to which Margaery resorted to becoming Queen. To what extent the father and daughter meet the same destiny in House of the Dragon remains to be seen.