The White Hart Appears in Front of the Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne (SPOILERS)
Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Episode 3 of House of the Dragon.
Although there have only been three episodes of House of the Dragon, we believe nothing can top Episode 3. The installment, titled "Second of His Name," brings viewers on a noble hunting trip to celebrate Prince Aegon II's birthday. Here, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) plans to track down the mythical white hart.
The hunt took center stage during the Sept. 4 episode, with King Viserys hoping to locate the stag in Aegon II's honor. Why is that? Keep reading to find out. Plus, stick around as we reveal what the white hart means in House of the Dragon.
What does the white hart mean in 'House of the Dragon'?
For many, the hunting trip represented a royal transition in which King Viserys would revoke his promise of the Iron Throne to his eldest child, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock), and instead bestow it upon his firstborn son, Aegon II. As a result, finding the white hart is more crucial than ever to the Great Council — why is that?
Well, if you recall, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) refers to the white hart as a symbol of royalty in the episode. He says, "The stag is the king of the King's Wood, your grace," Otto tells Viserys. "A regal portent for Prince Aegon's name day."
It's evident that many believe seeing the white hart will be eye-opening and force King Viserys to realize that Prince Aegon II is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, not Rhaenyra (most of them are against a woman ruling over the Seven Kingdoms).
The concept of the white hart being a "regal portent" is continuously reinforced throughout the episode, with one huntsman stating that "before the dragons ruled over Westeros, the white hart was the symbol of royalty in these lands."
Ser Otto Hightower chimes in yet again, telling King Viserys, "I've never been one for signs and portents, your grace, but if the gods did wish to show their favor." Ugh — he really can't stand the thought of Rhaenyra becoming Queen.
By the end of the hunting trip, King Viserys and his hunters locate a generic brown stag.
Meanwhile, Rhaenyra and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) camp out in the woods and not only manage to fight on and fatally wound a bore but, as they're staring out at Westeros the next day, the white hart makes its appearance known. Although Criston proceeds to draw his sword, Rhaenyra stops him and the stag quickly flees the area.
Since many, including Otto, believe the white hart symbolizes royalty, we now have reason to believe that Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen truly is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. However, by refusing to claim the white hart, Rhaenyra neglects the chance to prove to her father's sexist henchman that she is better suited for the throne than her younger brother.
New episodes of House of the Dragon air Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO and HBO Max.