Who Is the Hightower Family in House of the Dragon?
UThe sprawling is not for me. Game of Thrones, House of the DragonThis series has a more narrow focus. The prequel series focuses on a single family fighting for the Iron Throne, rather than jumping among different clans. It was nearly 200 years ago Game of Thrones, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) must choose among his potential heirs: His daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy, playing her at different stages in life), his brother Daemon (Matt Smith), and whatever son he might yet produce.
Another family is featured prominently in HBO’s drama, The Hightower clan.
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The Hightower family’s seat is located in Oldtown, home to the Citadel where the maesters study. This family didn’t play an important role in the events. Game of Thrones, though Margaery Tyrell, the daughter of Mace Tyrell and Alerie Hightower, is a descendent of the Hightowers on her mother’s side. Margaery briefly served the title of queen consort after she was married to King Tommen Baratheon. But Tommen’s power-hungry mother Cersei blew Margaery up along with Margaery’s brother and father in the explosion of the Sept.
The Targaryen dynasty had the Hightowers play a more prominent role in Red Keep. The Hightowers were quick to accept Aegon, Conqueror’s new Seven Kingdoms king. They became regulars at court.
The first episode House of the DragonHere we are able to meet Otto Hightower. (Rhys Ifans), the hand of King Viserys. Otto was a knight who served as hand to Viserys’ grandfather, Jaehaerys Targaryen, after Jaeherys’ son (and Viserys’ father) Baelon Targaryen died. Jaehaerys was well-known for his ability to rule over peaceful kingdoms while simultaneously building roads and sewage systems, as well as other vital infrastructure.
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Viserys might not be the worst king in the world, but he sure isn’t living up to Jaeherys’ legend. But Viserys has inherited Otto as hand and seems to value Otto’s loyalty to the Targaryen family.
And yet like every other hand we’ve ever met—except, perhaps, the noble and naive Ned Stark—Otto clearly has his own agenda. He often undermines Viserys’ brother Daemon (Matt Smith), calling him unstable and unfit for the Iron Throne. In fairness to Daemon, he does appear to be somewhat of a psychopath.
He also tries to undercut Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), the Sea Snake, in a conversation about threats to Corlys’ trade routes on the sea. The Velaryons share close ties with the Targaryens. Both lines go back to Valyria, the great city. Both families fled Valyria in the wake of its end. By seizing opportunities to weaken Corlys, Otto ensures his role as the king’s key advisor.
Otto also is an opportunity seeker. In the first episode of the show, Viserys’ wife Aemma (Sian Brooke) gives birth to a son in an excessively bloody scene that ends in the death of both mother and child. Viserys’ situation is difficult and Otto comes in handy to make his decisions.
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Otto may also be using his daughter, Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke, playing her at different stages in life), as a pawn in this show’s version of the game of thrones. Alicent is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen’s best friend. But when Aemma dies, Otto sends Alicent to Viserys’ chambers to “comfort” him, heavily implying that Alicent ought to try to earn the king’s affections so he might become dependent on her. Viserys may make Alicent queen once he is ready to get married again to try and produce another male heir.
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