One of the most important characters of House of the Dragon is Alicent Hightower, who became queen consort to King Viserys Targaryen and is Princess Rhaenyra’s biggest enemy in the Targaryen civil war. But we aren’t strangers to strong and powerful women that carry an air of confidence because we saw the same in Melisandre, who we met in Game of Thrones. Melisandre, of course, revealed herself to be an incredibly old woman that was already around during the time of House of the Dragon. So, could Alicent Hightower be the Red Witch Melisandre?
Alicent Hightower and Melisandre are not the same person because they come from different backgrounds. The queen was born and raised in Westeros and eventually died at the end of the Dance of the Dragons. Meanwhile, Melisandre is around 400 years old and was a slave from Asshai in Essos.
Even though Melisandre was already around during the time of House of the Dragon, there is no way she is Alicent because she should be much older than the queen. They also come from entirely different places in the known world. So, with that said, let’s take a deeper look at why there is no way Alicent Hightower and Melisandre are one and the same person.
Alicent Hightower’s Story Explained
Queen Alicent, as far as House of the Dragon is concerned, was born as the daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, a knight from House Hightower of Oldtown. Because her father worked as Hand of the King to both Jaehaerys and Viserys, Alicent basically grew up in court and had spent nearly her entire life in the Red Keep in King’s Landing. In the series, she ended up becoming good friends with Princess Rhaenyra during their childhood years because they grew up in King’s Landing together.
However, when Otto told Alicent to keep the king company during his time of grief after the death of Queen Aemma, she eventually made Viserys fall for her to the point that he chose to marry her instead of Laena Velaryon. In that regard, a rift between Alicent and Rhaenyra started to form, as they eventually became bitter rivals when the princess started becoming a bit promiscuous and showed her spoiled side as the heir to the Iron Throne.
Alicent bore children with Viserys, as she gave birth to two sons (three in the book) and a daughter. The fact that she now had a son in the form of Aegon meant that she could now push the prince to become the new heir to the Iron Throne. But Viserys assured that he would never remove Rhaenyra as his heir. And during Viserys’s final moments, Alicent misunderstood a statement related to Aegon the Conqueror, as she thought that the king was talking about their son.
This was the fuel that Alicent needed to light the flames of war against Rhaenyra, as she now had every reason to put her son on the Iron Throne ahead of the princess. As such, the Targaryen civil war erupted, with the queen leading the Greens and the princess leading the Blacks.
Alicent, however, ended up surviving the entire war because she was never a fighter. Instead, she was merely one of the figures manipulating the war from behind the scenes. All of her children ended up dying in the civil war, and she was forced to be kept in the Red Keep her entire life when King Aegon III, Rhaenyra’s son, ascended to the Iron Throne.
Eventually, Alicent died in her room during the outbreak of winter fever a few years into Aegon III’s reign. She may have indeed survived the war, but she never lived to become an old woman, as she was forced to see her side losing in the war that she helped start.
Melisandre’s Story Explained
One of the most mysterious characters that we met in Game of Thrones was the red priestess named Melisandre, who seemed to have great control over magic. She was able to conjure up shadows and was able to use all sorts of different fire spells. As a red priestess, she serves the Lord of Light, who she said will manifest himself in the form of the Prince that was Promised, the prophesized savior that will defeat the threat coming from the north of Westeros.
While Melisandre may have been mysterious when she started out, we got to learn a bit more about her character. She revealed that she came from a country called Asshai, which is one of the different cities that can be found in the far east of Essos. She grew up as the daughter of a slave in Asshai and had to live in poverty throughout most of her entire childhood.
But she was able to become a red priestess of the Lord of Light, and this allowed her to live a life of service to the one they call the one true god. At some point before the War of the Five Kings, she crossed the Narrow Sea to get to Westeros so that she could come into the service of Stannis Baratheon, who she thought was the prophesized Prince that was Promised. As such, she became Stannis’s most trusted adviser as the Baratheon lord also believed that he was indeed the prophesized savior and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Meanwhile, after the death of Stannis Baratheon and shortly after she found herself living a confused life in Castle Black, she revealed herself to be an old woman when she removed her necklace. As such, she was merely using the powers given to her by the Lord of Light to make herself look a lot younger than she actually was. It was subsequently revealed that Melisandre is actually more than 400 years old, and that means that she existed long before the Targaryens conquered the Seven Kingdoms.
Melisandre eventually brought Jon Snow back to life using the powers of the Lord of Light. This was what made her believe that he could be the Prince that was Promised. And even though Jon Snow banished her from his side after learning that she killed Stannis’s daughter, she was the one that brought Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen together because she believed that one of them could be the prophesized savior.
During the Battle of Winter, she used her powers to light up the weapons of the Dothraki riders with flames, as they were able to use their swords effectively against the Army of the Dead. And after the Night King’s defeat, Melisandre walked out into the open and removed her necklace, as she began to age rapidly before she turned to dust.
Could Alicent Be Melisandre?
The fact that Melisandre was actually so old that she was still alive during the House of the Dragons is not a good reason to believe that she could have been Alicent from a previous life. That’s because Alicent Hightower’s life is well documented, as she was born to Otto Hightower and was raised in King’s Landing 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
On top of that, Alicent spent most of her entire life in King’s Landing and has probably never been to Essos. Her death was also documented in the book, as she died due to a fever years after Aegon III ascended to the Iron Throne.
However, Melisandre was born a slave’s daughter in Asshai, which is incredibly far from Westeros. This happened 400 years before the time of Game of Thrones and more than 200 years before House of the Dragon.
As such, the timelines of the characters and their places of origin are completely different from one another. There is also no doubt that they have personalities that are entirely different from one another. And that means that there is no way that Alicent is Melisandre.