Like all Game of Thrones fans, it’s almost a game to try to connect characters with similar purposes and souls. A dangerous trap because Alicent is not Cersei (more Sansa), Rhaenyra is not Daenerys (I think she is original), Viserys is far from Ned Stark (I think he is more Tommen) nor Daemon is Jaime Lannister. We could say that everyone is individual, but it’s a fandom joke. And in that context, Otto Hightower, perfectly captured and played by Rhys Ifans, would be a Tywin Lannister-class Littlefinger. I never realized how much the Hands are so united in purpose until I saw Otto acting in House of the Dragon. Like Tywin, he is a villain in the greatest sense of the word. Relentless, without nuances. Tywin seemed to like Jaime, but he could barely tolerate Cersei or Tyrion. Honestly, Littlefinger wanted to be both, but he’s light years away from them.
As in the series, in the book Ser Otto Hightower is an enigmatic man. Cold, organized, methodical and calculating, while everyone else is leaving, he’s already on his way back, with the weak King Viserys in almost complete control. What Otto didn’t have the advantage of was the blood connection, which put his two enemies – Rhaenyra and Daemon – at an advantage. Cunning, he planted his daughter right next to the princess and then the widowed King. He won the game because he was playing all the time, while the others were thinking that everything was right.
By George R. R. Martin‘s story, Ser Otto first served as Hand of the King after the death of Prince Baelon Targaryen, who was Viserys’ father and Jaehaerys I’s heir. Crown demands and for at least two years, Otto was the de facto King of the Seven Kingdoms. During this period, he already started to use Alicent, his only daughter, planting her as Jaehaerys’ caretaker. In the book, in the series, she becomes Rhaenyra’s best friend and confidant.
For Viserys, who was happy to be King but wanted to please everyone even more than to rule, it was practical to keep Otto in position and his ears were generally swayed by him. Since Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) was never wrong about Otto’s presence, he obviously reciprocated the suspicion. In the book, there are those who allude that he didn’t like the approach of Daemon and Alicent, but in the series, there is nothing that confirms this theory.
We know from quotes that Otto always convinced Viserys of incompetence in any position on the Small Council leaving the position of commander of the City Watch, placing two thousand men under Daemon’s command, and generating regret for his opponent. Openly, Otto says he fears Daemon will become “a second Maegor the Cruel”, something that apparently everyone agrees, including Viserys.
From the moment Aemma dies without giving Viserys an heir, Otto has come to fear the obvious. Daemon would be the heir and so his house would be in dire straits. The suggestion to name Rhaenyra as his successor was always implicitly provisional. Immediately Otto was already positioning Alicent as the future queen, which he succeeds, but perhaps he accelerated the strategy when he saw that Rhaenyra and Daemon understood each other and that both saw him clearly. Otto won. For a while.
As of this Sunday’s episode, Alicent will be pregnant with her second child and has already given Viserys the long-awaited son. She and Otto begin to pressure the King to resume the tradition of passing the crown to the son, never a woman. But Viserys will resist. Soon, Otto will be removed from his position. Some claim it was traded by Rhaenyra, others that the King himself grew tired of the obvious ambition to place Aegon II as his successor.
After the suspicious death of his replacement, Lord Lyonel Strong, Otto returns as Hand of the King until Viserys’ death, being in a crucial position in the coronation of his eldest grandson as King Aegon II, in defiance of Viserys I’s last will, which specified Rhaenyra as his successor. The most classic coup d’etat.
Is there any doubt that when Aegon II is crowned he wouldn’t want the grandfather for Hand? Aegon will have the crown, but Otto Hightower will rule Westeros. For a while.
In this period of the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons, Aegon may have the name Targaryen, but he is green and Hightower of blood. Every Hightower House will have more power than ever at hand. But the black faction will be cruel.
One of Rhaenyra’s sons will take an eye out of their uncle, Aemond. Aemond eventually kills his nephew, Lucaerys, and in revenge, Daemon has Aegon’s firstborn killed. The child is killed in front of her mother, Haelena. Nice family!
Problems for Otto start to get closer to home. After a few years in power, Aegon II begins to find his grandfather overly diplomatic as his half-sister seems to have the upper hand in the war. In a bold decision, he replaces Otto with Ser Cristian Cole. For those who don’t like Otto Hightower, we will have a quick feeling of revenge. When she succeeds in taking King’s Landing, Rhaenyra’s first decision is to behead her most hated enemy. Otto’s death will not be welcomed by the Greens, but that is another matter.
The story of Otto Hightower is impressive and he managed to get his bloodline into the Targaryens. His relationship with Alicent, even when affectionate, is so dark that on Reddit there are those who bet that there was sexual abuse. Eventually, we’ll have so many bad characters that Otto won’t be the worst, but for now, he’s put on the villain crown and nobody takes it off.