Twitter Agrees: ‘House of the Dragon’s Alicent Hightower Is a Karen
We’re more than halfway through the first season of HBO’s House of the Dragon, the network’s highly anticipated prequel to Game of Thrones. And so far, the series is delivering on everything we’ve come to expect from a George R.R. Martin property. Incest? Check. Courtly intrigue? Double check. Dragons? A shit-ton of them. And the series also has no shortage of morally dubious villains, from creepy uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) to scheming fratricidal gossip Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) to snotty princeling Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney). But the character that continues to bother many viewers the most is judgmental queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey/Olivia Cooke).
Alicent begins her journey as best friend to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock/Emma D-Arcy), the heir to the throne. But once the queen dies in childbirth, Alicent is steered by her ambitious father Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) to “comfort” the king and worm her way into his bed. It’s yet another example of Westerosi parents manipulating their daughters into unhealthy marriages, and we cringed when Alicent married the much older King Viserys (Paddy Considine). It’s easy to sympathize with Alicent’s plight: after all, she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter, losing both her choice of husband and her best friend in one well-orchestrated swoop.
But fans began to turn on Alicent when she expressed hypocritical dismay at Rhaenyra’s rumored seduction by Daemon, and later at her actual seduction of Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). Even though Alicent is the queen of Westeros, she lacks the sexual agency and freedom that Rhaenyra does. And as Alicent begins having children, she becomes keenly aware that her offspring will be in direct competition with Rhaenyra to ascend the throne. In the ten year time jump between episodes 5 and 6, we see that the former friendship between the two has deteriorated, to the point where Alicent demands to see Rhaenyra’s newborn son the moment he is born. Rhaenyra indulges her, dragging her still bleeding self through the castle, only to be met with snide remarks about how her children don’t look like their father.
Alicent has not only been trashing Rhaenyra for having children with someone other than her husband, but she angles to use the kids parentage to disqualify her from the throne. Alicent has also taken to complaining to Criston Cole, Westeros’s first incel, who has harbored a toxic grudge against Rhaenyra since she rejected him. She’s also taken up company with Lord Larys, who passes along toxic gossip and murders in her name (despite her protesting that she didn’t want said murders). Alicent even rejects a marriage proposal between her daughter and Rhaenyra’s son, the princess’s latest attempt at an olive branch to her estranged friend. Alicent remains crystal clear: she sees Rhaenyra as a threat, and she remains jealous of Rhaenyra. So much for female friendship in Westeros.
Many took to social media to call out Alicent for her blatant, hypocritical Karen-ness, and just for being the worst. Let’s take a look:
(featured image: Ollie Upton/HBO)
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