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If You’re Wondering Whether Dyana Made It Out Alive on ‘House of the Dragon’— Here’s Your Answer

Was that tea poison or not?

A picture of Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in Episode 8 of House of the Dragon

Episode 8 of House of the Dragon revolved around the question on who could potentially succeed a wounded Lord Corlys Velaryon as “Lord of the Tides,” one of the titles held by the ruling lord of Driftmark and also of the episode in question.

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This succession issue wasn’t just the umpteenth proxy battle between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower on who has more influence and right at court, but also an occasion for the entire Targaryen family to gather at the Red Keep—leading right into the episode’s second major set piece, King Viserys’s final dinner.

daemon helping viserys in house of the dragon
Viserys coming to Rhaenyra’s aid was truly his last act as King (HBO)

At the same time, “Lord of the Tides” happened after the last timeskip for this season, and introduced us to the grown-up and final faces of all the newest generations of Targaryens. It didn’t miss the occasion to draw a parallel between two very different would-be kings. 

On the one hand, there’s Rhaenyra’s eldest son with Laenor (actually Harwin Strong, we know that by now), Jacaerys Velaryon, played by Harry Collett—whom we see busy learning Valyrian and defending his bethroted-cousin-step-sister Baela Targaryen. On the other there’s Alicent’s firstborn son Aegon, played by Tom Glynn-Carney and Rhaenyra’s direct rival for their father’s crown. 

We learn that in the six years that have passed ever since we last saw him getting drunk in Driftmark’s courtyard, Aegon has married his sister, Princess Helaena Targaryen, and had children—Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor—and that he still spends most of his time harassing the handmaids and servants of the Red Keep.

Helaena Targaryen in House of the Dragon
The only likable one among Viserys and Alicent’s children, honestly (HBO)

In fact, one of the first scenes in Episode 8 is Queen Alicent being called to her chambers by her principal handmaid, Talya (Alexis Raben), to deal with “a matter regarding Prince Aegon.” The matter turns out to be young Dyana (Maddie Evans), one of the nannies raising her grandchildren, who tells the queen that she found herself alone with Aegon and that Aegon proceeded to sexually assault her.

Because Dyana only appears in that one scene and then is not seen again for the rest of the episode, many viewers were left wondering what her fate would be. Alicent did appear sympathetic and did give her money, but the beverage she asked Dyana to drink left some doubts—after all, the show has been drawing some parallels between Alicent and Cersei and we know that Cersei would have had no trouble having a Red Keep servant killed to keep her son’s reputation intact. So did Alicent actually poison Dyana?

Dyana, the handmaid who goes to QUeen Alicenf after having been assaulted by Prince Aegon in House of the Dragon
Dyana is played by young British actress Maddie Evans, who is sixteen years old (HBO)

The answer is no, because Alicent Hightower is Alicent Hightower and not Cersei Lannister. Her kindness to Dyana was sincere— she payed her to disappear from the Red Keep, and gave her moon tea to make sure she wasn’t leaving while pregnant with Aegon’s child.

Moon tea appears several time in A Song of Ice and Fire canon—a concoction of herbs meant to prevent pregnancies, sort of the Westerosi version of the morning after pill. It’s the same drink that King Viserys sent young Princess Rhaenyra after her escapade with Daemon in Episode 4.

Geeta Patel, the director of Episode 8, commented on the scene to The Hollywood Reporter. “I think we’re all waiting for the answer [on Dyana’s future]. I know [showrunners Ryana Condal and Miguel Sapochnik] were talking about Alicent paying her off and that she would disappear. The tea was definitely to prevent pregnancy— the same tea Young Rhaenyra got. But after this, I am curious where we go with that character. Does she come up again?”

So yeah, no poisoning on Alicent’s part. While of course some money and a chance at avoiding pregnancy aren’t nearly enough, considering that Aegon gets away scot-free minus a furious dressing down from Alicent, it’s pretty much as good as it gets in Westeros. 

Patel also described to The Hollywood Reporter how the scene was meant to help the audience feel closer to Alicent before the Dance of the Dragons got into its full swing. “The big challenge for this episode was, I really wanted to be in Alicent’s shoes. I didn’t like her anymore. So coming into this episode, we needed to love her. We needed to feel her point of view. My feeling was: Let’s make this like a day in the life of a working mom. You see everything she’s dealing with. You see when she’s doing ugly things, but you understand her vulnerability. You understand she’s picking between two evils. […] Then Olivia brought so much dimension. I remember after her first take, I was like, “Oh, thank God.” She brought everything, and so much more than I could have even thought of. So that was one of my favorite scenes to work on because I felt like it had the dimension with Alicent we were looking for.”

(featured image: HBO)

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Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.

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