What Was Really in the Cup Alys Rivers Gave Daemon in 'House of the Dragon'? (SPOILERS)

Daemon Targaryen is seeing things in 'House of the Dragon' -- but is that Alys Rivers' fault?

Sara Belcher - Author

Jul. 7 2024, Published 10:01 p.m. ET

Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO

This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 4.

Daemon Targaryen isn't coping well with his place in the battle for the Iron Throne. Though he claims that he supports his wife Rhaenyra's claim to the title of the Queen of Westeros, it's hard for him to look past his brother's blatant decision to bypass his potential claim as heir.

By Episode 4, Daemon has claimed Harrenhal for the blacks, but also seems to be losing touch with reality. What's wrong with him?

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What's wrong with Daemon in 'House of the Dragon'?

Daemon has only been at Harrenhal for a little bit, but it seems like the castle may be getting to him. Harrenhal has long thought to be haunted or cursed (or both), and within the first day he's already had a run-in with local prophet and illegitimate child Alys Rivers. The first words the healer of Harrenhal says to the Prince is "You will die in this place" -- which seems like a dream in itself for its bizarre nature. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of what he'll experience.

Ser Simon and Daemon
Source: HBO
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In Episode 4, Daemon wakes from a dream in which he beheads a young Princess Rhaenyra, who accuses him of resenting her over Viserys's obvious favoritism. He wakes to the news that a raven has come with news, though he is briefly befuddled by the temporary sight of blood on his hand.

Throughout the rest of the episode, he seems to slip in and out of reality, losing track of his requests and doing little to move against the army being formed for Aegon's conquest.

It seems to get worse after his second encounter with Alys, in which she gives him a drink. From there, he forgets that he's asked the seats of the local houses to meet with him, attempting to rally an army for Rhaenyra in the Riverlands, and offers a series of nonsensical remarks in meetings.

It's currently not entirely clear if Daemon is experiencing a haunting, as Harrenhal has a reputation for, or if he's simply losing touch with reality.

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Daemon Targaryen and Alys Rivers
Source: HBO

What's in the cup Alys gives Daemon?

It's not entirely clear what's in the cup that Alys gives Daemon, nor is it clear if his subsequent detachment from reality is related to the contents of the cup. She claims it's something to help him sleep, though viewers don't see him actually rest at any point after the fact.

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Though not technically someone with status is the world of Westeros (yet), in the books, Alys eventually becomes Aemond's lover, aiding him with her psychic abilities. But Aemond and Alys have yet to meet in House of the Dragon, so it doesn't seem as though the healer is secretly poisoning Rhaenyra's husband to help the greens and their claim to the Iron Throne.

For now, we have few answers as to what is causing Daemon's odd disposition, though as the Dance of the Dragons continues, answers are likely to surface.

See it all unfold when new episodes of House of the Dragon air on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO and Max.

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