Editor's Note: The following article contains spoilers for Episodes 1-3 of House of the Dragon.
The sighting of a white hart during a hunt in Season 1 of House of the Dragon may bolster Viserys' belief that his son Aegon will rule. On the other hand, it might stoke internal turmoil within Viserys. Is he really sure that his daughter would rule, or is he making a huge error that might result in civil conflict?
White harts are seen as almost mystical creatures and harbingers of good fortune in George R.R. Martin's books and in actual mythology. According to House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal, a white hart signifies the beginning of King Arthur's reign. In Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte dArthur, a white hart signifies the beginning of an adventure.
What Does Rhaenyra's White Hart Appearance Mean?
Rhaenyra, Visery's daughter and heir, sees the white hart instead of the hunting party, and it's a curious decision. Perhaps she doesn't want to occupy the throne, because she does not want to be ruled by fate or fortune. Perhaps it's a way of demonstrating her capacity for mercy and compassion.
Viserys and his hunting party lose track of the white hart and capture only a brown stag. Instead of delivering one clean fatal blow, he has to repeatedly stab the creature to death as it cries out in agony. (It may also be a meaningful sign that Rhaenyra slaughters a boar prior to encountering the white hart).
Prophecies and symbolism in George R.R. Martin's work are meaningful but often misinterpreted. Many characters have strong opinions about Azor Ahai, and many of those characters are wrong. The precise interpretations of Rhaenyras decision not to kill the white hart, as well as Viserys' clumsy killing of the brown stag, are debatable.