Did Otto Hightower kill Viserys Targaryen? Warning spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon episode 9. Power is everything in Westeros, and we’ve seen the lengths people are willing to go to to get their hands on it. Would it be so surprising for a seemingly loyal servant to kill his king if it meant his grandson would take the throne?
That’s the accusation levelled at Otto Hightower by Lyman Beesbury in the fantasy series. Lyman gets his head bashed in professional skull cracker Ser Criston Cole for daring to suggest that Otto played a hand in Viserys Targaryen’s death but was there any truth in his words?
Well, we’ve done some digging to see if there’s any evidence to support Lyman’s bold accusations and get to the bottom of whether Otto Hightower killed King Viserys Targaryen. Warning spoilers for the TV series House of the Dragon ahead!
Did Otto Hightower kill Viserys Targaryen?
While it’s impossible to say for sure, Otto Hightower most likely didn’t kill Viserys, or not directly, at least. The king was known to be ill for decades, the victim of a wasting disease that slowly consumed his flesh.
However, just because Otto didn’t have the king poisoned or stabbed doesn’t mean he didn’t accelerate the king’s passing or grab as much power as he could while Viserys was on his deathbed. We saw in episode 8 that Otto and Alicent Hightower were basically serving as king while Viserys was ill, and he tried to have Rhaenyra Targaryen’s children exposed as bastards during this time.
Furthermore, we now know he stacked the privy council with supporters of Prince Ageon (later King Aegon II Targaryen) so that when the time came, and Viserys did die, they could more easily usurp Rhaenyra.
Finally, and this is pure speculation, we’re not sure we trust the maesters who treated Viserys for his illness. We know the maesters are based in Oldtown, the Hightower’s ancestral seat, and the two ancient institutions share a deeply connected history.
It would have been relatively easy for Otto, the maester’s biggest patron, to coerce —by force or honeyed words — the old grey cloaks into denying the king treatment that might have saved his life or perhaps sped up his death.
After all, it was the maesters potions that kept Viserys addled, but when he stopped taking them, he had the strength to sit on the Iron Throne again and save Rhaenyra. Daemon Targaryen did give the medicine a pretty suspicious sniff but didn’t seem to detect anything too untoward, but he’s not exactly an apothecary now, is he?
Ultimately we don’t have enough evidence to convict Otto of killing Viserys (maybe House of the Dragon season 2 will change that?). Still, there’s certainly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest the slippiest House of the Dragon character had the means and the motive to do so if he wanted.
If you’re enjoying all the scheming and backstabbing, check out our guide to the best Game of Thrones characters, or if you want to know how we ended up here, we have an article all about the Song of Ice and Fire prophecy.