After five episodes featuring Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, House of the Dragon is on the verge of a major time jump that will see Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke take over the roles. The trailers made it clear that Rhaenyra vs. Alicent would be a big part of the series once the older stars took the spotlight, but a newly-released episode clip is the first full scene that really drops a clue about how bad things will get between the former best friends. And after watching it, I easily know whose side I’m on after the jump.
The clip from the next episode (which will air on September 25) doesn’t actually feature Queen Alicent, but instead centers on Princess Rhaenyra and husband Laenor Velaryon. Their marriage seems to be going strong despite his lover being beaten to death at their wedding feast, and Laenor is happy to see that his wife has given birth to a son. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only good news to come out of the clip, and Alicent doesn’t need to appear for me to declare for Team Rhaenyra after the time jump. Take a look:
Look, I’ve never had to walk through a castle at the bidding of an enemy stepmother immediately after giving birth in an era that still used leeches as a go-to medical treatment, but there’s no way that I can side with anybody who put Rhaenyra in a position to have to do this. Alicent has children herself, and even if she didn’t have terribly challenging labors (as suggested after the first big time jump), she probably didn’t have to do what looks like the most uncomfortable walk in Westeros aside from Cersei’s walk of shame in Game of Thrones!
We’re probably missing a fair amount of context about what led to Alicent demanding to see the baby before he’s been born long enough to even be properly cleaned, but consider me Team Rhaenyra. Plus, the worst thing that Rhaenyra has really done to Alicent on screen is not tell the entire truth about what happened after Daemon took her to a brothel. (She wasn’t lying about not sleeping with her uncle; she just didn’t mention that she seduced Ser Criston!)
As far as viewers have seen, Rhaenyra hasn’t given any indication that she’d kill her half siblings to protect her own claim. Alicent heard that from her manipulative father and ran with it in the last episode before the time jump. Clearly, things have not gotten better. I’m wondering what Viserys is up to that things have escalated far enough that his postpartum daughter has to drag herself across the castle to present her son to his wife.
It’s possible that they keep what seems to be a serious feud from him, or that he’s just not well enough to do anything. After how the fifth episode ended, it’s almost surprising that he survived through to this latest time jump! Based on the trailer for Episode 6, it seems that the time jump has been around ten years, and a lot has undoubtedly happened beyond the change in cast members.
See the full context for this clip of Rhaenyra, Laenor, and her newborn son with the next new episode on Sunday, September 25 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO or streaming with an HBO Max subscription. Check out the rundown of House of the Dragon characters who are about to age up to prepare, as Rhaenyra, Alicent, and Laenor aren’t the only ones who will be looking different. For some more viewing options sooner rather than later, check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.
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