Welcome to the extensive world of Game of Thrones, where you often need an encyclopedia to figure out what’s going on. You may have noticed that House of the Dragon has not only introduced new characters from the GRRM universe but Houses, too.
Houses and their alliances play an important role in both HOTD and GOT’s politics. So, who are the Hightowers? Why are they so prominent in House of the Dragon? More importantly, why were they missing in Game of Thrones?
The Hightowers are one of Westeros’ oldest and most powerful Houses of the Reach. Their seat is also called Hightower, located in the city of Oldtown. Believing that they can seize power towards the end of Viserys I’s reign, Otto and Alicent Hightower play a major role in the Targaryen civil war.
Although the Hightowers take center stage in House of the Dragon, there is seemingly little to no mention of them in Game of Thrones. Let’s look into why that is, and who are the important Hightowers in HOTD.
Why are the Hightowers absent from GOT?
If the Hightowers appear so power-hungry in HOTD, they should’ve had similar tendencies in GOT. But this is a family that knows when to play their cards, especially when it’s a man like Otto Hightower making all the moves.
During HOTD, Otto is in a place of power and influence as the Hand of the King. The Hightowers are a family who’d rather indulge in trade than wars. But with Otto’s role, they find themselves quite snug with royalty.
This is why Otto encourages his daughter, Alicent, to seize power and win favors from other lords and houses.
After the events of the Dance of the Dragon, the Hightowers choose not to get involved in politics anymore. They were quite flexible in the sense that they decided to follow the orders of whoever was in power.
For example, during Robert’s rebellion, they were loyal to the Mad King. However, once the Targaryens were defeated, they bent the knee to Robert Baratheon, accepting his rule.
While playing for both camps kept them safe, it also made them incredibly boring. This is why we don’t see them as major players in GOT.
That doesn’t mean the Hightowers are entirely absent from GOT—Margaery Tyrell (first introduced as Renly Baratheon’s fiancé) is Alerie Hightower’s daughter.
Who is Otto Hightower in HOTD?
Ser Otto is a knight from the House Hightower, who serves as Hand of the King—first for Jaehaerys I, and now currently for Viserys I. He will serve as Hand to the next heir as well, so keep an eye out for that!
Although he has a commanding presence, he is not the Lord of his house. That title and responsibility belong to his elder brother, Hobert. Still, being the Hand is way more prestigious than being a lord, and as such, Otto is known to be calculating and blunt.
You cannot forget that this is the man who advises his teenage daughter to go “comfort” the recently widowed King Viserys, who also happened to be her best friend’s father. He will play a huge hand in orchestrating the Dance of the Dragons.
One of the people Otto absolutely loathes is Daemon Targaryen, a sentiment he doesn’t bother to conceal. He believes that if Daemon is allowed to sit on the Iron Throne, he may become the next Maegor the Cruel (a king that wasn’t all that beloved). Because of this, Otto will do anything to stop Daemon from being named the next heir.
Who is Alicent Hightower in HOTD?
Alicent is Otto’s daughter and Princess Rhaenyra’s close childhood friend and handmaiden. Right now, a young Alicent seems intelligent, graceful, and witty, but seemingly lacks her father’s ambitions. That’s all about to change.
If the hints haven’t made it clear enough, Alicent is soon going to be the realm’s next queen. When we see her all grown up, she’ll be married to King Viserys. The books don’t go into the reason why Viserys chose her, despite warnings from his Small Council, but perhaps we’ll see it played out on the screen.
Alicent will find herself at odds with Rhaenyra when she delivers Viserys’ first healthy son, Aegon II. There is no love lost between them as Alicent starts strongly believing that her son has more of a claim to the throne than Rhaenyra.
One thing is for sure, the Hightowers know when to scurry back and act neutral, and when to scheme and rise to power. House of the Dragon is one of those times where they’ll give the game of thrones their best shot.
About House Of The Dragon
House of the Dragon is the prequel series to HBO’s blockbuster Game of Thrones based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood.
Set three hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will show Westeros under the Targaryen family’s rule before the dragons went extinct. It will follow the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war between siblings Aegon II and Rhaenyra, who fought for the throne after the death of their father, Viserys I.
Directed by Ryan Condall and Miguel Sapochnik, the show stars Paddy Considine as Viserys I Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Tom Glynn-Craney as Aegon II Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon, Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole, and Graham McTavish.