What the White Stag Meeting in “House of the Dragon” by Rhaenyra Targaryen Means


Everything in Westeros has a purpose, and Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) experienced a crucial moment in House of the Dragon Episode 3.

Rhaenyra flees from the celebrations during a royal hunt to honor her step-brother Aegon’s name day because she feels denigrated by the nobles for being the heir to the Iron Throne.

She encounters a white stag, the king of the woods, as she makes her way into the wilderness. There is more to this scene than meets the eye.

What the White Stag Meeting in “House of the Dragon” by Rhaenyra Targaryen Means

The white stag has been sighted, and their party is certain to find it and kill the beast, King Viserys I (Paddy Considine), Rhaenyra’s father, learns throughout Episode 3 of the show.

The white stag represents the king’s son Aegon’s claim to the throne, according to the king’s men. If the child were to kill the king of the wood, it would undoubtedly be a sign of success for his rule.

Although her father maintained that he had already selected Rhaenyra as his successor and would not change his mind, it appears that the people of Westeros do not think that Rhaenyra can be queen and feel that her father should favor his male heir.

Despite his objections, Viserys continues to enter the woods in order to kill the stag. However, the stag that the royal kills with a spear is not the white stag that they were looking for.

While Rhaenyra and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), a knight, are traversing the woods, the king of the forest encounters them.

Ser Criston tries to kill the white stag when he first sees it, but Rhaenyra stops him and lets the animal get away.

This encounter has several meanings, the most obvious of which is that Rhaenyra is the legitimate heir to the throne.

It can be assumed that the creature’s meeting with Rhaenyra is a sign the king of the wood acknowledges her as ruler given how Viserys’ subjects believed the killing of the white stag would be a good omen for his son Aegon.

Rhaenyra’s encounter with the stag contrasts with her father’s slaughter of the animal’s offspring and serves as an effective allegory for patriarchy and how it will affect her ascent to the throne.

It also suggests that Rhaenyra would be a just and kind ruler, something that might be seen as a weakness because she is a woman because she spares the white stag instead of her father and the men around him.

Sundays at 9 p.m., House of the Dragon is broadcast. HBO and HBO Max’s ET.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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