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The Small Council Of King Viserys I Targaryen In HOTD

By Mohit Srivastava
August 31,2022

As shown in both series – GOT (Game Of Thrones) and HOTD (House Of The Dragon), the King’s small council at Red Keep plays a very vital role in the politics of the seven kingdoms. The small council is essentially a sort of “government cabinet”. Also, each of its members is anointed at a different position to manage their king’s rule. The members are appointed at the behest of the King himself and can even be dismissed at his pleasure. However, only King has the power to convert his council’s decision into a law/decree. The small council meets at the capital city of King’s Landing in the Red Keep, in the same building as the Iron Throne courtroom. Here we take a look at the small council members of King Viserys I Targaryen, during his reign as shown in the series – HOTD.

1. Hand of the King – Otto Hightower

Otto Hightower

Perhaps the most important seat at the council, the Hand of the council is the most trusted advisor to the King on the throne. The Hand is the King’s closest advisor, appointed and authorized to make decisions in their name. The Hand is the highest ranking official at the small council table, and can even lead their meetings in case of the King’s absence. In both the series, Hands of the King is shown to wear a badge of office shaped like a hand.

In HOTD, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), a Knight of House Hightower is shown to be the Hand. He has two children Gwayne and Alicent Hightower. Also, Otto eyes the royal blood and intents her daughter Alicent to marry King Viserys, after his wife’s demise. In the book Fire and Blood, on which HOTD is based, Otto served as Hand of the King under Jaehaerys I, and Viserys I, but was not Hand continuously.

2. Grand Maester – Mellos

Mellos

A Grand Maester at the small council’s table is considered the most learned person among all. He may be a master in a particular field e.g. medicine, history, and science, or could be wise enough for all of them. In the show, a Grand Maester is shown to wear a long necklace made of iron rings. The Maesters obtain their knowledge from the Citadel. The number and the shape of these rings is a representative of Maester’s experience and expertise respectively. He is next in ranking among the members after the Hand.

In HOTD, Master Mellos (David Horovitch) is shown to be the Grand Maester to King Viserys I. He is a member of the Order of Maesters. In the book Fire & Blood, there were actually two Grand Maesters during most of Viserys I’s reign: Runciter and then Mellos. The TV series apparently condensed both into one character. Mellos is shown to be as politically neutral and his only goal is to ensure the stability of the realm.

3. Master of Coin – Lyman Beesbury

Lord Lyman Beesbury

A Master of Coin sees into all of the King’s financial matters and is in charge of the royal treasury. He sees into all of King’s expenses including – those during his personal matters, tours, battles, tourneys, weddings, etc.

In HOTD, Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson), the Lord of House Honeybolt is shown to be the Master of Coin on the small council of King Viserys I Targaryen. In the book – Fire & Blood, Lord Lyman was the Master of Coin during the reign of both Jaehaerys as the Conciliator and also under Viserys I.

4. Master of Laws – Lyonel Strong

Lyonel Strong

Another member of the small council, the Master of Laws is responsible for advising the King on all his legal matters.

During Viserys I Targaryen’s reign, as shown in HOTD, initially Daemon Targaryen was the Master of Coins.  However, after a suggestion by Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, Viserys appointed Lyonel Strong, the Lord of Harrenhal, as the Master of Laws. He is the father of Ser Harwin Strong and Larys Strong. Lyonel is portrayed by Gavin Spokes in HOTD.

5. Master of Ships – Corlys Velaryon

Corlys Velaryon

In the small council, the Master of Ships is in charge of the King’s royal ship fleet. His duties include arranging for the building and maintenance of warships, obtaining crews for the warships, and commanding naval operations.

In HOTD, it is shown that Corlys Velaryon, aka ‘Sea Snake’ of House Velaryon is the Master of Ships to King Viserys I Targaryen. He is also referred to as the Master of Driftmark. He is the husband of Rhaenys Targaryen, the cousin sister of King Viserys, and the father of two children – Leana and Leanor Taragaryen.

6. Lord Commander of Kigsguard – Ser Criston Cole

Ser Criston Cole

Founded, along with the Kingsguard itself, by Aegon the Conqueror, Lord Commander supervises all of the King’s safety and security. Given that at a time, there are only seven Kingsguard members at any one time. He is skilled in combat and battle skills. They are generally referred to with a prefix – Ser.

In HOTD’s first episode, Ser Ryam Redwyn (Gary Cooper), a Knight of House Redwyn, is shown to be as the Lord Commander to King Viserys. Ryam also served the previous king – Jaehaerys I. However, five months after the events of the first episode of HOTD, Ryam dies in his sleep due to a long illness. He then is succeeded by Ser Harold Westerling (Graham McTavish) as the Lord Commander. The Kingsguard is granted to Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).