The 5 Worst Character Pairings In House of the Dragon Season 1

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The 5 Worst Character Pairings In House of the Dragon Season 1

House of the Dragon season 1 introduced several alliances and character pairings that significantly shaped the season’s plot. As readers and viewers of George R. R. Martin novels and HBO’s Game of Thrones know; alliances are important in King’s Landing. As anticipated, HOTD season 1 introduced new alliances within just two episodes.

Whether direct or indirect, each major character pairing in House of the Dragon contributed to the events leading to the Dance of the Dragons. Some of these pairings proved beneficial for both characters, while others were self-centered and often led to fatal consequences, resulting in devastating outcomes. Here are the 5 worst character pairings in House of the Dragon season 1.

5. Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Criston Cole

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Criston Cole

In House of the Dragon Season 1, episode 4, Daemon takes Rhaenyra to explore King’s Landing. After a night out watching racy plays and visiting brothels, Daemon walks away from an expectant Rhaenyra halfway into his seduction and foreplay. Back at the castle, Rhaenyra’s sexual urges lead her to invite the closest and most available person, Ser Criston Cole, onto her bed. Acting on suppressed feelings for the Princess, Ser Cole breaks his Kingsguard’s celibacy vows.

Although the night became the start of their sexual affair, it was much more intimate for Ser Cole than it was for Princess Rhaenyra. In episode 5, Ser Cole suggests to Rhaenyra that they elope to Essos and start a new life. Although satisfied with their sexual affair, Rhaenyra rejects the proposal, refusing to abandon her duties as Princess and heir to the Iron Throne. A scorned Ser Criston later switches allegiance to House Green, faithfully serving Queen Alicent. Rhaenyra and Ser Cole’s sexual relationship was avoidable and unnecessary, leading to a trusted ally becoming a sworn enemy.

4. Princess Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon

Princess Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon

After being ordered to marry Ser Laenor Velaryon, Princess Rhaenyra discovers, in episode 5, that Ser Laenor is gay. Rhaenyra sees an opportunity to make a pact with Ser Laenor to unite their Houses, House Targaryen and House Velaryon, by marriage, fulfilling their royal duties of producing heirs. During the course of the marriage, both parties are free to pursue their lovers or sexual desires.

Besides being a husband figure, the pairing did not benefit any of them in the long run. Failing to consummate their marriage and produce heirs as promised, Rhaenyra turned to Ser Harwin Strong to father her children. This led to questioning her children’s legitimacy to the throne, thereby also challenging Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne. On the other hand, Ser Laenor, heir to Driftmark and House Velaryon, agrees to fake his death and run away with his lover, Ser Qarl, choosing to forever abandon his claim to Driftmark.

3. Prince Daemon and Lady Rhea Royce

Prince Daemon and Lady Rhea Royce

There’s no better description of a toxic relationship than the one that existed between Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Rhea Royce. As with most royal marriages in Westeros, Daemon and Rhea’s marriage was arranged by Daemon’s grandmother, Queen Alysanne, the sister-wife of King Jaehaerys I – the King before King Viserys. However, the union intended to join House Royce of Runestone with House Targaryen.

However, Daemon despised Rhea so much the relationship ended fatally in the opening scenes of episode 5. Banished to The Vale by his brother, King Viserys, Daemon encounters Lady Rhea on the road on her way back from a hunt. After startling her horse, which falls backward, and crushes Lady Rhea’s spine, the scene ends with Daemon holding a stone in his hand and walking toward the now paralyzed Lady Rhea. It isn’t evident if Lady Rhea gained anything from the union; however, Daemon, with her death, freed himself from the legalities and obligations of marriage, as well as having a claim to inherit The Vale.

2. Queen Alicent and Larys Strong

Queen Alicent and Larys Strong

Unarguably one of the most unusual pairings in House of the Dragon season 1 was between Queen Alicent and Larys Lyonel. With her father, Ser Otto Hightower, dismissed as Hand of the King by King Viserys at the end of episode 4, a 10-year time jump in episode 6 sees a frustrated Queen Alicent feeling sidelined and alone. In a moment of despair, she confides in Lord Larys Strong, informing him of her desires and wishes to have her father close to her again as the Hand of the King.

With Larys’ father, Lord Lyonel Strong, as the Hand of the King, Larys chose to forge an alliance with Queen Alicent by granting her wish. Larys kills his father and brother by burning them to death at the family’s Harrenhal castle. With Ser Lyonel Strong dead, King Viserys reinstates Ser Otto Hightower. However, this usual relationship between Alicent and Larys takes a turn when the Master of Whisperers humiliates Queen Alicent by masturbating at the sight of her feet to satisfy his foot fetish. Alicent’s quest for secrets has placed her in a union with one of the most dangerous characters in House of the Dragon.

1. King Viserys and Ser Otto Hightower

King Viserys and Ser Otto Hightower

As far as the laws of Westeros go, a King will need his Hand for trusted counsel. HOTD season 1 episode introduces Ser Otto Hightower as King Viserys Hand. After the death of Viserys wife, Queen Aemma, Ser Otto begins his scheming by planting his daughter, Alicent, as a Viserys confidant.

Although he succeeds in making his daughter Queen, a series of events will lead to Otto’s dismissal as Hand of the King. 10 years after, and with the death of King Viserys’ Hand, Lord Lyonel Strong, King Viserys chose to reappoint the same Hand of the King he dismissed for scheming and manipulation. Otto returns to King’s Landing and continues right off from where he stopped. This relationship between Viserys and Otto ultimately worsened the rift between House Black and House Green in House of the Dragon season 1.

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