Who is the Rightful Heir to King Viserys, According to Westerosi Laws?

Who is the Rightful Heir to King Viserys, According to Westerosi Laws?
Image credit: HBO Max

Could a civil war between the Targaryens be settled if they all studied their laws more carefully? Well...

The Dance of the Dragons that had House Targaryen divided and shattered happened because of the succession issues. A fight erupted between the two candidates for the Iron Throne: Rhaenyra Targaryen, King Viserys' daughter from his first wife Aemma, and Aegon II Targaryen, his son from his second wife, Alicent Hightower.

Rhaenyra was proclaimed an heir by the king himself, and all the Westerosi lords pledged their allegiance to her. Meanwhile, Aegon II has an advantage that is considered essential in the Westerosi patriarchal society: he is a male.

Is Aegon next in line for the Throne though?

But what do Westerosi laws say about it? The fact that Rhaenyra is a woman does not mean she cannot become an heir — this was proved by the king's and the lords' acknowledgment. Moreover, the Widow's Law — which is a codified law that overrules traditions — states that it is forbidden to "disinherit the children by a first wife in order to bestow their lands, seat or property on a later wife or her children."

This basically means that the law is on Rhaenyra's side — as are the majority of 'House of the Dragon ' fans.

"Once Viserys went through the rigamarole to officially make Rhaenyra his legal heir, the Iron Throne was her seat by inheritance, preventing any children from a later marriage from being ahead of Rhaenyra in the line of succession," Reddit user Matthew-the-First suggested.

There was just one chance for Aegon II to rightfully become an heir even under the Widow's Law — but King Viserys effectively stripped him of such a chance before he was even born.

"Had Viserys never affirmed Rhaenyra as his heir, I think Aegon would legally be the heir based on primogeniture -- it would've simply passed from Rhaenyra to him at his birth," Redditor GSGhostTrain noted.

However, it looks like the codified law means little when it comes to the throne ambitions. A lot of lords were ready to stick with the tradition rather than follow the rules, so they stood with Queen Alicent and her son instead of accepting the reality of Rhaenyra, a woman, inheriting the Iron Throne.

Interesting how that basically proves the words of Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was, when she said that the Westerosi men would rather put the realm to torch than see a woman ascend on the Iron Throne.

Just how it ends for the seven kingdoms, we will get to see very soon. 'House of the Dragon' is streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes premiering every Sunday.