Were Rhaenyra and Alicent in Love with One Another?

rhaenyra and alicent

One of the most interesting moments in House of the Dragon episode 9 happened between Queen Alicent Hightower and Ser Otto Hightower, as they were talking about what they were going to do with Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Otto’s statement regarding Alicent’s relationship with Rhaenyra was quite interesting because it brought to light the possible truth behind the two women. So, were Rhaenyra and Alicent in love with one another?

There is no proof whether or not Rhaenyra and Alicent were in love, but they acted like they were in a relationship on purpose so that their relationship would be left up to the interpretation of the audience. Anything between them when they were children is purely speculative in nature.

Ever since the series started, fans were already questioning the true nature of Rhaenyra’s relationship with Alicent, as their feelings for one another were left ambiguous on purpose. This is merely one of the many different things that make this storyline as complex as it is. So, with that said, let’s look at whether or not Rhaenyra and Alicent were in love.

Were Rhaenyra And Alicent In Love With One Another?

We all know that one of the main issues in House of the Dragon is the rivalry between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower, as they were almost always at each other’s throats during the time when they were already adults. Of course, the relationship between them will worsen during the Dance of the Dragons, even though they had previously reconciled in the final days of King Viserys Targaryen.

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But we all know that they weren’t always like that. Rhaenyra and Alicent basically grew up together, as they were just about the same age. They both grew up in the Red Keep, as Rhaenyra was the king’s daughter, while Alicent was the daughter of the Hand of the King. In that regard, they were very close to one another when they were still young.

Nevertheless, the relationship turned bitter when Alicent married Viserys, to Rhaenyra’s surprise because she didn’t know anything about the relationship between the two. The rift between the two only worsened because of the fact that Rhaenyra had done things that Alicent wasn’t entirely agreeable with. As a result, they became rivals and bitter enemies during the better part of their adult years.

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But one of the theories that people had in relation to the two concerned their relationship and whether or not they were actually just friends. This was given some traction in episode 9 during a scene involving Alicent and her father, Otto Hightower. 

In episode 9, there was a rivalry going on between Alicent and Otto because they both had different ideas on what to do with Rhaenyra after Aegon II ascended to the Iron Throne. That was the reason why Alicent sent her own men to try to find Prince Aegon after she found out that her father had sent the Cargyll twins to find him. Eventually, Alicent’s party succeeded in gaining custody of the prince, as the queen was now the one to decide how to proceed with Aegon’s coronation and what to do with Rhaenyra.

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Of course, Alicent was against the idea of killing Rhaenyra, as that was what Otto wanted to do with her originally. That was when an interesting discussion between the two happened, even though it was just as short one:

Alicent: My husband would have desired this mercy be shown to his daughter

Otto: Your husband? Or you, his daughter’s childhood companion?

At first, this seems like a harmless question on the part of Otto, but it does imply that there was something deeper going on with Alicent and Rhaenyra when they were still children. So, does that mean that they were actually in love?

It was never truly explored what was going on between Rhaenyra and Alicent when they were still young girls, but the choice of Otto to use “companion” instead of a friend is an interesting one because it left the interpretation of the meaning of the word up to the audience. As such, this makes things more interesting as it adds a wrinkle to the relationship between the girls and what they could have been up to when they were still very young.

But as far as we know, they were not in love because this was never mentioned at all. In the absence of any proof, we will not conclude that the two girls were in love with one another. As such, the rumor and theory that Rhaenyra and Alicent were in love with one another are speculative at best.

What Was The Relationship Between Rhaenyra And Alicent?

While we cannot say for certain whether or not Rhaenyra and Alicent were indeed in love when they were still young, we know for a fact that Emily Carey, the actress that played young Alicent, had an interesting input on this discussion. In an interview with Variety, she was able to answer a few questions regarding her relationship with Rhaenyra.

rhae and alicent

“I mean, we kind of started that discourse,” Carey said in relation to the discussion regarding Alicent’s relationship with Rhaenyra. “We were in the rehearsal room…I believe it’s Episode 4. I sat on the bench. It’s not necessarily something we had talked about yet. We were doing that scene, and Milly and I looked at each other like, ‘It kind of felt like we were about to kiss? That was really weird!’ And so, we talked about it. We didn’t intend to play it. We weren’t ‘making them gay’ or ‘queerbaiting,’ or anything like that. It’s just if you want to read into it and see it like that, do it. If you want to see them as more than friends, do it. If you don’t, then don’t.”

In a way, they did things on purpose because it allowed the audience to speculate what the relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent was, as that added an interesting wrinkle to the entire mess going on between the two women as the series went along. It made their dynamic much more interesting to see because of how it allowed different people to speculate whether they were a thing or if they were just really close friends.

“Being a queer woman myself, it was something that I was conscious of. But I wasn’t consciously putting it out there,” Carey added. “They’re 14-year-old girls, they don’t know the difference between platonic and romantic. They don’t even know what the words mean, let alone what the feelings mean.”

Nevertheless, Carey also implied that Alicent might have had feelings for Ser Criston as well, as that was one of the things that triggered the entire war between the two women. The fact that Alicent felt betrayed because she was in love with Ser Criston was one of the things that hit the nail on the coffin of the relationship between the queen and the princess.

Of course, even if it was indeed true that Alicent was in love with Ser Criston when she was still young, that doesn’t mean that she didn’t love Rhaenyra as well. They were still young girls that were exploring the world and their growing sexuality. And the fact that they only had each other when they were still growing up probably added to the confused feelings between the two.

  • Ysmael Delicana

    Ysmael “Eng” Delicana is a writer based in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Ateneo de Davao University before continuing to teach part-time at the same university. While teaching was a fun gig, being a geek and a writer seemed to be his cal...