House of the Dragon fans have known that King Viserys was going to die since the first time he got cut on the Iron Throne, so it wasn’t too surprising when he met his untimely end at the end of the 8th episode. That said, some viewers have now gotten suspicious about the circumstances of his death. Did the Hightowers have something to do with it, or was it just an unfortunate turn of events? Did Alicent actually poison King Viserys?
Viserys Targaryen has clearly been in a lot of pain over the course of the first season of House of the Dragon, and that pain came to a head, leaving him to rely on the milk of the poppy (a pain-relieving drug that in high doses can act as a sedative). His seemingly constant consumption of the drug makes him completely unaware of his surroundings and unable to hold onto his thoughts.
His inability to rule his kingdom in such a state leaves it at the mercy of Queen Alicent and the Hand of the King (her father Otto Hightower). The two of them are more than happy to take over ruling the kingdom in Viserys’ name without consulting him about any decisions they make.
It is after a visit from Daemon and Rhaenyra, during which his daughter begs him for his help, that Viserys decides to take action and refuses the pain relief that is brought to him. His mind makes a quick return and he manages to attend a hearing called by the court to determine who will rule Driftmark after Corlys Velaryon. Viserys declares Lucerys Velaryon (Rhaenyra’s son) as heir to Driftmark, refuting any and all allegations of him being a bastard and threatening to cut off the tongue of anyone that would doubt the legitimacy of his daughter’s children.
His sudden clarity of mind with his refusal to drink the milk of the poppy seems to have thrown a wrench into Alicent and Otto’s brief rule over the kingdom and whatever plans they might have had to try and secure Aegon’s place on the Iron Throne. With Lucerys Velaryon as heir to Driftmark and Rhaenyra, the heir to the Iron Throne the Hightowers will have no leg to stand on when the king passes, so they take action to secure their own future and the power they still hold.
Alicent brings her husband what is assumed to be more milk of the poppy and gets him to drink it, making him delirious once again. He says something to her, thinking she is Rheanyra, and then she leaves. It’s only a little while later that King Viserys dies.
The timing is way too convenient for the Hightowers to not be suspicious and Alicent’s claim that he wished for Aegon to be king is not helping matters.
While Viserys was a bit too trusting as a king and didn’t always make the wisest decision, he always came through when his daughter needed him and many fans are sad to see him go. The time of peace in House of the Dragon is very clearly over.