House of the Dragon: 5 things to know about Otto Hightower

Rhys Ifans stars as Ser Otto Hightower in HBO Max
Rhys Ifans stars as Ser Otto Hightower in HBO Max's House of the Dragon (Image via Instagram / @houseofthedragonhbo)

Ser Otto Hightower, played by Rhys Ifans, is a knight from House Hightower, who serves as Hand of the King to King Viserys Targaryen on House of the Dragon. It is a prequel to the eight-season-long groundbreaking fantasy drama, Game of Thrones. The first season of House of the Dragon premiered on HBO Max on August 21, 2022, and consists of 10 episodes.

House of the Dragon is based on George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel, Fire & Blood, which is set in the world of Martin's fantasy novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and chronicles the history of the Targaryen family.

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The series will also draw material from two novellas: The Princess and the Queen and The Rogue Prince. The story is set about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen.

Created by screenwriter Ryan J. Condal and director Miguel Sapochnik, with Martin himself serving as an executive producer, the series will focus on the events leading up to Dance of the Dragons, a war between Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra.

The Civil War, also known as the Dying of the Dragons, was a bloody and brutal Targaryen war of succession that pitted various Targaryen family members and their companion dragons against each other, which ultimately led to the downfall of House Targaryen.

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Before diving into the world of dragons, power-hungry battles, and political diplomacy again, check out these interesting facts about Ser Otto Hightower.


5 facts about Ser Otto Hightower from House of the Dragon

1) He also served as Hand of the King to King Jaehaerys Targaryen

Ser Otto Hightower also served as Hand of the King to King Jaehaerys Targaryen, the grandfather of King Viserys Targaryen. He ruled the Seven Kingdoms as Hand in the final two years of Jaehaerys' reign. It was during that time when the King was devastated by the death of his son, Prince Baelon Targaryen, and his beloved wife, Queen Alysanne Targaryen.

Otto also sent his young daughter, Lady Alicent Hightower, to Jaehaerys to nurse the grief-stricken and ailing King who had become bedridden. He continued to serve as Hand of the King to King Viserys Targaryen, Jaehaerys' grandson, and the chosen successor to the Iron Throne.


2) His daughter goes on to become the second queen of King Viserys Targaryen

Ser Otto Hightower's children included Lady Alicent Hightower, and the Knight, Ser Gwayne Hightower. He sent Alicent to King Viserys Targaryen's chamber to offer consolation to the grieving King following the death of his wife, Queen Aemma Arryn, and his newborn son, Prince Baelon.

Based on the course of action that took place in George R. R. Martin's Fire & Blood novel, this was Otto’s ploy to advance his own ambitions for power using ulterior methods. This ploy to put House Hightower in a considerable position of power came to fruition when Alicent became King Viserys' second wife. Gwayne Hightower also became the second in command of the gold cloaks.


3) He rivals King Viserys' brother Prince Daemon Targaryen

Ser Otto Hightower has always been a bitter rival of King Viserys' brother, Prince Daemon Targaryen. When Daemon was named Master of Laws, Otto convinced Viserys to remove him from office by declaring Daemon's laws tyrannical. When Daemon was named Master of Coin, he again convinced the King to revoke the title, claiming that Daemon's spending habits were careless.

When Daemon was named commander of City Watch, it put two thousand men under his command. Otto again strived hard to distance Daemon from the crown by citing that the public measures used by Daemon and his men to round up the criminals of King's Landing were too extreme.


4) He was removed from this position by King Viserys Targaryen

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After the death of his wife, Queen Aemma, King Viserys Targaryen named his only surviving child, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, as his heir. He stuck to this decision even after the birth of his male heirs through his marriage to Lady Alicent Hightower.

According to Martin's novel, Ser Otto Hightower repeatedly hounded Viserys to declare Alicent's sons as the heirs to the Iron Throne instead of Princess Rhaenyra. This led Viserys to remove him from the position of Hand of the King.


5) He started the Dance of the Dragons

After the death of King Viserys Targaryen, Ser Otto Hightower crowned his eldest grandson Aegon Targaryen as the King, by defying the orders of Viserys, who had named his eldest daughter Rhaenyra as his chosen successor. He also served as Hand of the King to his grandson, Aegon.

This act of defiance by Ser Otto with the help of The Greens, a group of powerful lords, who were loyal to Queen Alicent and supported the rights of her sons, ultimately resulted in the brutal civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.


Don't forget to watch House of the Dragon only on HBO Max.

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Edited by Sohan Dasgupta