House Of The Dragon Alicent Actor Explains Rhaenyra’s Betrayal
House of the Dragon’s Emily Carey, who plays Alicent, breaks down Rhaenyra’s betrayal in detail and what it means for the future of her character.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon episode 5.
House of the Dragon‘s Alicent actor, Emily Carey, breaks down Rhaenyra’s betrayal in detail and what it means for the future of her character. Taking place almost 200 years before the start of Game of Thrones, HBO’s latest fantasy show chronicles the events of the Targaryen civil war. House of the Dragon has been a hit with audiences and critics alike thus far, and the show had the highest viewership for any HBO show premiere of all time. Although the series chronicles the lives of a host of characters, many of the events revolve around the dynamic between Alicent and Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock).
The House of the Dragon premiere episode introduces the two characters as close friends but, as additional episodes have aired, the two characters are slowly pulled apart. A major rift between Alicent and Rhaenyra comes in episode 2 when, in a shocking reveal, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), Rhaenyra’s father, chooses Alicent to be his new wife. Rhaenyra, on the other hand, becomes increasingly frustrated with the restrictions placed on her life as heir to the Iron Throne and craves personal freedom, first engaging in romantic relations with her uncle, Daemon (Matt Smith), and then sleeping with Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). After Rhaenyra lies about both events to Alicent, Carey’s character learns the truth in House of the Dragon episode 5 when Cole comes clean.
In a recent interview with Variety, Carey, who uses she/ they pronouns, breaks down Rhaenyra’s actions and how Alicent sees them. The actor explains that, after Alicent was particularly vulnerable with Rhaenyra in earlier episodes, her friend’s various betrayals in later episodes pave the way for a very different dynamic moving forward, citing Alicent’s discovery of Rhaenyra’s romance with Cole as the moment when things take a significant turn for the worse. Check out Carey’s full comment below:
“She goes through so many emotions in one go — a concoction-cocktail of all of these feelings. First of all, there’s the betrayal of, ‘You lied to me.’ Then the betrayal of, ‘I swear this upon the memory of my mother,’ which is what you see in Episode 2 with their shared trauma. It’s something that they bond over. Alicent took Rhaenyra to the Sept and showed this emotional vulnerability, and let her see this part of her that she doesn’t really show to anyone. And then it’s the betrayal of, ‘Hold on. You slept with him, and I’m in love with him, and you know this. That’s not fair.’ Alicent is all about duty, through and through. It’s always duty versus heart with her… I’m glad that I got to show how she became this angry woman. And I think that scene is such a turning point.”
Episode 5 ends on a big cliffhanger, with relationships between Alicent, Rhaenyra, and Cole left in a very contentious place. Although fans have come to love Carey and Alcock in their roles, House of the Dragon is set to undergo a 10-year time jump with episode 6, with Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy taking over as older versions of Alicent and Rhaenyra, respectively. It remains to be seen how the dynamic between the two characters will have evolved, but Carey’s comment suggests that Rhaenyra’s betrayals will continue to have consequences and that older Alicent remains angry at her former friend.
The relationship between Alicent and Rhaenyra is, in many ways, the heart of House of the Dragon. As Alcock has alluded to in the past, the downfall of their friendship is ultimately due to events that are largely out of their control, with both female characters suffering at the hands of systems and regulations put in place by men. It remains to be seen how Alicent and Rhaenyra will interact in the House of the Dragon episodes to come, but Carey’s breakdown of their bonds hints that things will likely get a lot worse before they get better.
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