Rhaenyra and Alicent romantic theories have been addressed by House of the Dragon writer Sara Hess, who reveals Olivia Cooke’s interesting headcanon.
House of the Dragon writer Sara Hess has addressed fan theories that Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower had romantic feelings for one another, using a suggestion from Alicent actress Olivia Cooke to clarify their relationship. Throughout House of the Dragon season 1, there had been many theories regarding the relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent, with some viewers seeing the pair as romantically involved at some point during their decades-long relationship. As the series progressed and the pair began to drift apart, growing into wartime enemies by the end of season 1, these theories of a possible past romance continued to stick around.
In an interview with Variety, Hess revealed that there was supposed to be a hint of romance when it came to Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship in House of the Dragon. She revealed that Cooke believed the pair had some kind of forbidden romantic contact in the past, something Hess revealed she wasn’t opposed to being true. Check out Hess’ full statement below:
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 Rhaenyra & Alicent’s House Of The Dragon Relationship Romantic?
While never confirmed outright in House of the Dragon, Hess’ statement alongside Cooke’s beliefs about Alicent and Rhaenyra’s past indicate the two of them may have had some romantic feelings for one another. The scenes shown in House of the Dragon do not clarify this directly, instead presenting the pair as close childhood friends. However, upon Viserys Targaryen’s decision to marry Alicent, the two begin to fight one another in a way that could be construed as a heated breakup. Their relationship continues to worsen as the series progresses, ultimately fraying after Alicent assists in crowning Aegon Targaryen king following Viserys’ death.
House of the Dragon puts the destruction of Rhaenyra and Alicent’s friendship at its forefront, however confirmation from Hess regarding purposeful queer coding in the show’s writing underscores the desired romantic flame flickering between the pair. Their romantic interest in each other also explains the schemes they utilize to gain power in Westeros, lashing out against one another and further breaking their relationship apart. Cooke’s headcanon also comes into play with the way she portrays Alicent, channeling ideas of her past with Rhaenyra to deepen her performance. By having elements of a past romance between House of the Dragon‘s central characters without outright stating it, Hess, Cooke, and others working on the show make it possible to analyze Alicent and Rhaenyra’s relationship to better understand their conflict on an emotional level.
What To Expect From Rhaenyra & Alicent In House Of The Dragon Season 2
No matter how deep the possible romance between Rhaenyra and Alicent was in House of the Dragon, season 2 appears to be quashing any semblance of allegiance the two could have toward one another. Now that Alicent’s son, Aemond Targaryen, has accidentally killed Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys Velaryon, Rhaenyra seems to be supportive of declaring war on King’s Landing to take back the Iron Throne. House of the Dragon season 2 promises the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons, meaning Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship – no matter how it was prior – has no hope of being rectified.