Skip to main content

Do ‘House of the Dragon’ Changes to Alicent Hightower Hurt or Help?

alicent hightower in her green power dressalicent hightower in her green power dress on HBO's House of the Dragon.

HBO’s House of the Dragon has followed in Game of Thrones’ long tradition of deadly weddings, with a bloody one between Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and her gay cousin, Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate). It ended with a man dead, but there was another attack in the form of a green dress worn by Queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey).

House of the Dragon spoilers ahead!

At the halfway point of the series’ first season, with five episodes down and five to go, I find the character of Alicent to be really interesting. I may not “root” for her, but I have appreciated the layers to her character that have been highlighted. She is clearly a loyal person who cares about doing her duty—duty to her father, husband, and the gods. At the same time, it is hard not to feel frustrated that she then sees Rhaenyra’s pushback against the norms as disrespecting her.

I don’t see why Alicent would or should care about who Rhaenyra sleeps with—in a context where they are meant to have been friends. Friends would try to help keep a secret, or at least give advice. Instead, it is clear Alicent is disgusted when she finds out Rhaenyra has done, even if the person Rhaenyra slept with wasn’t Daemon but Sir Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

Why Alicent Hightower’s green dress is important

As noted in the episode, green is the color of the Hightowers and also the color flashed when they go to war. With her father now ousted from court due to his attempt to replace Rhaenyra with Aegon as heir to the throne, Alicent has accepted these actions and supported her husband and step-daughter, until the realization that Rhaenyra is not a maid and has slept with Sir Criston Cole. Feeling betrayed, Alicent wears the green dress to signify taking her father’s place as a representative of House Hightower—and as a giant “F you” to Rhaenyra for lying to her.

For book readers, this is also a shoutout to the fact that the rival factions between Alicent and Rhaenyra are called the Greens and the Blacks.

We knew that Rhaenyra was sad to lose her best friend, but the show has also given very little context for just how bad things have gotten between the two to drive them to this point. If Alicent had been depicted as ambitious from the start—which the book, Fire and Blood, played up more—it would have been different, but it seems as if Otto has put a paranoid fear of Rhaenyra’s ascension into his daughter’s mind. As we are about to jump ten years into the future, there are a lot of small moments we are going to miss that further show the breakdown between these two former friends. I think it both raises the emotional stakes, but it also makes it hard to think that, at one point, they were holding hands and lying on each other’s laps.

War is coming.

Who are you going to miss most as the cast changes? I will always love what Emily and Milly brought to their roles and the characters. 10s all around.

(featured image: HBO)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.