House of the Dragon chronicles the rule of the Targaryen family, especially focusing on the reign of Viserys Targaryen and his successors.
9 years into his reign, Viserys Targaryen is eager for his wife to bear a son so that he will have a rightful heir. Meanwhile, his daughter just wants her father to be happy while his younger brother, Daemon, is the current heir by tradition but doesn’t have too many admirers.
How does Viserys face up to this issue?
The heir for a day
Viserys is confident that his wife, Aemma, is carrying a boy even though there is no proven method of predicting the gender of the child. They plan to host a tournament in honour of the heir, despite the premature nature of the event.
Aemma says that this will be the last time she attempts to bear a child because she’s been through multiple failed pregnancies and cannot fathom the thought of mourning another.
Aemma goes into labour on the day of the event but there are complications. The baby has shifted within the womb and the Grand Maestor suggests cutting the baby directly out of the womb, which could lead to the death of the mother.
The baby is retrieved as Aemma dies, but to his misfortune, Viserys’ newborn son dies soon after his birth.
A rightful claim
As long as Viserys does not have a son, tradition calls for Daemon to be the next in line to the throne on account of being the King’s brother. He currently serves as the commander of the City Watch, only to keep him occupied.
Daemon is arrogant and violent in equal measure. He used his position to march into the streets and publicly maim local criminals as punishment for their crimes. He did this to portray strength in the face of the commoners.
His biggest critic is Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King. Daemon was moved on as Master of Laws and Master of Coin on Otto’s recommendation because he was unsuitable for the position and Otto holds the same opinion about Daemon becoming king.
Viserys cares for his brother but he also agrees that his brother isn’t the ideal candidate to become king because he lacks the ambition or the patience to become king.
A break from tradition
When Jaehaerys lost both his sons to tragedy, he had to invite other claims to the throne to choose his successor. One of them was his granddaughter, Rhaenys Velaryon. She was ultimately overlooked in favour of her male cousin, Viserys Targaryen.
After the death of his wife and son, the council gathered to discuss the topic of succession. The members agree that Daemon is unfit to be king and Otto and the Grand Maestor suggest that the king names his firstborn child, Rhaenyra as the heir, breaking from a 100 years of tradition.
Viserys does not want to choose between his daughter and his brother but his brother’s actions later on force his hand.
Daemon celebrated with his men in a brothel raising a toast to the king’s son, dubbing him as ‘the Heir for a Day’. Viserys is enraged by his brother and sends him back to Runestone while stating that he chose another as his successor.
He then calls upon his daughter and tells her that she will be the next queen of Westeros. He believes that she was made to wear the crown and is capable of being a great ruling queen.
He then tells her that Aegon Targaryen predicted the end of mankind and the only way to overcome the prophecy is if Westeros stands together with a Targaryen on the throne.