Easter Eggs
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon

Alicent's Dagger In House Of The Dragon Is A Major GOT Easter Egg

It's got a long history — or, rather, future.

by Ani Bundel
Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon isn’t exactly a parade of Game of Thrones easter eggs; it’s more of a rough remix of the same power struggles that plagued the Iron Throne. However, a few specific things *do* show up — Baelon’s dragon head, for example, newly put up in HOTD, has hung for years in GOT. Lannisters are still blonde, and incest abounds. And if Alicent’s dagger in House of the Dragon looked familiar, it should — Game of Thrones viewers knew it well.

Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 7 follow. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and no one imitates those they love so well as children do with their elders. Everyone who’s ever had a younger sibling parrot back their favorite phrases (or bad words) knows this to be true. Never repeat in front of children what you don’t want them to say in public.

Alicent, barely 14 when she married Viserys and started breeding with him, never learned that lesson properly. It was only a matter of time before at least one of her children repeated her thoughts that Rhaenyra’s sons were bastards in the middle of an altercation, as a jab designed to hurt. Unfortunately, her youngest, Aemond, did it in the middle of a knock-down drag-out fight in which one of the kids had a knife. In the famous words of A Christmas Story, he got his eye poked out as a result.

Ollie Upton/HBO

When asked what happened, Rhaenyra’s boys tattled: Aemond called them bastards. Unable to lie to the king (and unwilling to be the only one going down for this), Aemond admitted that his older brother Aegon said it regularly. For the first time, the issue Viserys had been avoiding raised its head. It wasn’t just whispers of the common folk. Everyone said it, including his wife Alicent, in earshot of their children. With the bravery of being only 15 (or perhaps the folly of it), Aegon said as much: “Just look at them,” referring to their dark hair and very un-Laenor-like looks.

Rhaenyra now had game, set, and match against Alicent. Calling her honor into question is technically high treason, and Aegon and Alicent could be executed, should Rhaenyra call for it. Out of options, Alicent lost her composure and grabbed a dagger from her husband’s belt — the same one he held in the fire the night he told Rhaenyra she’s be marrying Laenor. Alicent flew at Rhaenyra, ready to murder the heir to the Iron Throne rather than see Aegon harmed.

Alicent failed, just leaving a scratch on Rhaenyra’s arm — a clean one, as the Valyrian steel blade was super sharp. Rhaenyra’s whispered response cut just as deep: “Everyone sees you now for what you are.”

Helen Sloan/HBO

But back to the blade itself: Fans first caught a glimpse of it in Game of Thrones Season 1. It’s the famous cat’s paw dagger, made of Valyrian steel and centuries old. Just like Alicent stabbing Rhaenyra with it was an indirect declaration of her intent to fight once Viserys passed away, it was indirectly responsible for the fight for the Iron Throne that began after King Robert passed away.

The cat’s paw dagger went on a journey in Game of Thrones. First, it came to Winterfell, where it was used in a failed attempt on Bran Stark’s life. Ned Stark then took it to King’s Landing, where it ended up in Littlefinger’s possession. He kept it during his journey North with Sansa, and when she took possession of Winterfell, he brought it with him, giving it to Bran in what he assumed was a gesture of gaining the young man’s trust.

Of course, Bran saw right through Littlefinger and gave the dagger to the person who would need it most: his sister, Arya. She famously used it during the Battle of Winterfell to take out the Night King, making the dagger the most crucial blade in Westerosi history.

It remains to be seen what other adventures the cat’s paw dagger will have as House of the Dragon goes on. The series continues with new episodes on Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO and HBO Max.