With the help of an idea from Alicent actor Olivia Cooke, House of the Dragon author Sara Hess has addressed fan rumors that Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen were romantically involved. There have been various hypotheses about the connection between Rhaenyra and Alicent during the first season of House of the Dragon, with some fans believing the two were romantically linked at one time. These speculations of a potential prior relationship persisted even as the series continued and the two started to drift apart, turning bitter wartime foes by the conclusion of season 1.
Rhaenyra and Alicent’s connection in House of the Dragon was intended to have a romantic undertone, according to Hess in an interview with Variety. Hess stated that she wasn’t against the idea that Cooke felt the two had engaged in illicit amorous contact in the past. Here is Hess’ whole statement:
There’s an element of queerness to it. Whether you see it that way or as just the unbelievably passionate friendships that women have with each other at that age. I think understanding that element of it sort of informs the entire rest of their relationship… Even though they’re driven apart by all these societal, systemic elements and pressures and happenings, at the core of it, they knew each other as children, and they loved each other and that doesn’t go away.
Olivia has told me she believes — and this is her headcanon — that they at some point kissed or made out or had some kind of physical interaction that Alicent’s mother found out about and forbade. And that was Olivia’s head story, ‘Oh, I can’t do that. That’s not right.’ And that’s the background for her in their relationship going forward. I would be 100% down with that.
Was there a romantic connection between Rhaenyra and Alicent in House Of The Dragon?
Hess’ assertion and Cooke’s theories about Alicent and Rhaenyra’s history suggest that the two of them may have had romantic affection for one another, even if it was never explicitly established in House of the Dragon. The sequences in House of the Dragon depict the two as close childhood buddies rather than outright addressing this. The two start to argue in a way that can be seen as a heated breakup when Viserys Targaryen decides to wed Alicent. As the story continues, their relationship worsens until Alicent helps proclaim Aegon Targaryen king when Viserys dies.
The main focus of House of the Dragon is the dissolution of Rhaenyra and Alicent’s friendship, but Hess’ confirmation of the show’s intentional queer coding highlights the desired love spark between the two. Their attraction to one another on a love level also explains their power-grabbing plots in Westeros, which further shatters their relationship. Cooke’s headcanon is also at play in how she plays Alicent, channeling memories of her relationship with Rhaenyra to enhance her acting.
What Can We Anticipate From Rhaenyra & Alicent In House Of The Dragon Season 2?
No matter how intense the potential love story between Rhaenyra and Alicent could have been in House of the Dragon, season 2 seems to be putting an end to whatever potential loyalty the two characters might have had to one another. As a result of Aemond Targaryen, Alicent’s son, inadvertently killing Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys Velaryon, Rhaenyra now appears to be in favor of attacking King’s Landing in order to reclaim the Iron Throne. The Dance of the Dragons will begin, according to House of the Dragon season 2, therefore no matter how things were before, Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship cannot be fixed.