‘House of the Dragon’: What Is the Moon Tea Viserys Gave Rhaenyra?

In House of the Dragon Episode 4, Rhaenyra is given moon tea after her night out with her uncle Daemon. The tea is more significant than it may seem and is brought up to Alicent in episode 5. Here’s what moon tea is used for in the prequel series.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 4 and 5.]

Rhaenyra drank moon tea in House of the Dragon Episode 4. In this photo, Rhaenyra and Viserys look at a dagger in the fire.
Paddy Considine as Viserys and Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra in ‘House of the Dragon’ | Ollie Upton/HBO

Rhaenyra drinks moon tea in ‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 4

In House of the Dragon Episode 4, Rhaenyra spends an evening out with her uncle Daemon. The pair visit a brothel and kiss but do not have sex. However, rumors that they slept together quickly spread and Rhaenyra did sleep with Ser Criston Cole on the same evening.

She later swears to her father, King Viserys, and Alicent that she remains a maiden. Alicent believes Rhaenyra, but it later becomes clear that Viserys does not. That evening, Grand Maester Mellos brings her tea under orders from her father. The tea will rid her of any “unwanted consequences,” the Grand Maester says.

Here’s what moon tea is used for and why it’s so important

In George R.R. Martin’s books, moon tea is a medicinal herb used to prevent and abort pregnancies. It comprises of tansy, mint, wormwood, a spoon of honey, and a drop of pennyroyal.

According to westoros.org, George R.R. Martin once stated, “Tansy and pennyroyal are two powerful (and DANGEROUS) natural abortifacients. Carelessly used, however, they can kill, so I was purposely vague and added a few fantasy touches to ‘moon tea.’ I did not want anyone trying them in real life.”

The moon tea comes up again in House of the Dragon Episode 5. Alicent Hightower comes across Lord Larys on the grounds. He mentions his belief that Rhaenyra is unwell because on the night Otto Hightower was dismissed, the Grand Maester delivered a tea to her under orders from the King.

Alicent quickly realizes the truth. King Viserys himself does not believe that Rheanyra remains a maiden, leading him to order her to drink the tea. Alicent understands that her former best friend was lying to her face.

Alicent discovers the truth in episode 5

Later in House of the Dragon Episode 5, Alicent’s moon tea revelation leads her to question Ser Criston Cole. Alicent still believes that Rhaenyra slept with Daemon, but her interrogation leads Criston to confess that he was the one to sleep with her.

This discovery about Rhaenyra’s deception leads Alicent to make a decision. She heeds her father’s advice that Aegon II should become King and dons a green dress to Rhaenyra’s wedding. For the Hightowers, it represents a call to war.

House of the Dragon airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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