The following comprises spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 8, “The Green Council,” which debuted Sunday, Oct. 16 on HBO.
House of the Dragon‘s broiling animosity between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower is reaching its peak — however the rivalry by no means made sense within the first place. The HBO collection does higher than the guide in attempting to elucidate how the very best associates turned rivals. However, their relationship nonetheless appears like a unnecessary use of the previous “women don’t get along with each other” trope.
The collection begins with Rhaenyra and Alicent as extremely shut associates, with scenes that would’ve even performed as subtly romantic. But after Alicent and King Viserys marry, Rhaenyra is inexplicably offended with Alicent. Ten Alicent grows offended after Rhaenyra spends the night time with Ser Criston Cole. Alicent stays involved about Rhaenyra’s non-public life till that battle ends in a bodily assault. Watching these succesful and competent ladies navigate the world of Westeros solely underscores how their battle makes completely no narrative sense. If something, the 2 ought to have turn out to be shut allies, even after their emotions of betrayal and line of succession issues.
Alicent and Rhaenyra Should Never Have Been Rivals
Before King Viserys declares he is taking Alicent as his new spouse in Season 1, Episode 2, “The Rogue Prince,” he and Rhaenyra have a dialog through which she accepts that he should take a brand new queen. While the information that her father selected Alicent would come as a shock, it is a match Rhaenyra should not be so offended about. More than anybody else, Rhaenyra is aware of how powerless ladies are relating to males’s selections about their lives. Just earlier than Viserys declares the match, the digicam cuts to Rhaenyra, who provides him an approving nod as if to say “Go ahead.” The rift between Rhaenyra and Alicent opens not as a pure development of the story however as a contrivance demanded by George R.R. Martin’s plot.
Eventually Rhaenyra appears to let go of her animosity in direction of Alicent, however her good friend’s resentment solely grows. Alicent’s obsession with Rhaenyra’s non-public life might need stemmed from her personal state of affairs. Yet Season 1, Episode 9, “The Green Council” features a second with Princess Rhaenys through which Alicent realizes she’s been manipulated each time she made an influence play. House of the Dragon ought to have resisted this drained trope and made the 2 ladies allies. The males in energy may nonetheless disrupt their plans and get viewers to the Dance of the Dragons. Yet the very best friendship between two ladies within the present was decreased to basically sniping over boys.
House of the Dragon may have been a narrative about two ladies who remained associates regardless of their conflicting political ties. That narrative would have match thematically with the remainder of the collection, serving as a heartbreaking harbinger of the struggle that none may keep away from.
House of the Dragon Can Still Get Alicent and Rhaenyra’s Relationship Right
“The Green Council” features a succession of scenes displaying the ladies of Westeros being merciful. Despite their rivalry, Alicent won’t permit her father or her son to kill Rhaenyra. Similarly, Rhaenys does not finish King Aegon’s reign when she stares him down together with her dragon Meleys. If the merciful pattern continues, Rhaenyra will doubtless lengthen the identical courtesy to Alicent by means of not attempting to kill the half-brother who usurped the rightful inheritor. But all these makes an attempt to keep away from bloodshed may very well be undermined by the violent and silly actions of the boys who maintain the actual energy.
Alicent and Rhaenyra’s rivalry labored in Fire & Blood as a result of Martin wrote it from the attitude of Westerosi report keepers who would not get the nuance. House of the Dragon is meant to indicate viewers what actually occurred. But the way in which the storytellers created the wedge between Alicent and Rhaenyra by no means felt actual in any respect.
The House of the Dragon Season 1 finale airs Oct. 23 at 9:00 p.m. on HBO and streams on HBO Max.