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A Hidden Meaning in HotD Episode 8 Dinner Scene You Probably Didn't Notice

Image credit: HBO

The dinner scene in House of the Dragon episode 8, The Lord of the Tides, is one of the key scenes of Season 1, and one of the most tragic.

The dying King Viserys summons the last of his strength to drag himself out of bed, refuses his daily dose of painkilling opiates (though he gives the impression of being in constant pain even when drugged to the eyeballs), and gathers his family around him in a last-ditch attempt to make peace between his second wife, Queen Alicent, and his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra.

Through almost superhuman efforts, he even manages to rekindle old goodwill between Alicent and Rhaenyra, getting them to seriously consider reconciling...

…Until Viserys leaves, and their children reignite the feud between the two branches of the family.

Unsurprisingly for such a pivotal moment, it contains hidden meanings, nuances, and symbolism that can be interpreted in several ways.

For starters, Viserys is sitting between Alicent and Rhaenyra, with the rotting side of his face facing Alicent and the rest of the Greens, and the healthy side facing Rhaenyra.

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This can be interpreted as the Greyjoy being the source of rot and corruption in the royal house... or as symbolizing the fact that Alicent was the one who had to deal with the ugly side of Viserys for most of the series, while Rhaenyra got most of the King's affection.

(Even on this very day, Viserys tortures himself mainly to protect Rhaenyra after she left him for years.)

Then a subtle but significant moment occurs while Jacaerys and Alicent's daughter Helaena dance. Aegon -- Helaena's brother and husband - does not turn in his chair to watch them, even though they are doing so to spite him. Aemond, however, does.

Aemond once said that if Alicent had betrothed him and Helaena instead, he would have happily married her.

Aemond seems to have more reason to envy his brother than the fact that Aegon would become king an episode later. And, more importantly at the moment, Jacaerys pisses off Aemond more than Aegon.

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And after that, when Viserys, no longer able to bear the pain, leaves the room, the servants place a roasted pig in front of Aemond... and Lucerys giggles. The reason is obvious if you think back a bit.

Aemond did not have a dragon long after his nephews and brother Aegon had theirs, and the three of them taunted him about it, even going so far as to give him the Pink Dread, the "dragon" he was supposed to have, which was actually a pig.

So Aemond's mocking toast, not-so-subtly accusing his nephews of being bastards, was not out of the blue -- Jacaerys and Lucerys actually gave him two new reasons to seethe.

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