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House of the Dragon stars confirm ‘purposeful’ queer vibes between Rhaenyra and Alicent

"You do toe the line between platonic and romantic,” Emily Carey said.

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: HBO/Ollie Upton

The much-anticipated Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, arrived on HBO and Sky Atlantic this week (22 August) and fans have picked up on the “fruity” vibes between two particular characters. 

In scenes of the teenage Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower (Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, respectively), viewers noticed the closeness and chemistry of the pair. Even the show’s Twitter account has referenced the “close bond.” 

Rhaenyra and Alicent are best friends, the first episode sees them spending all their free time together and helping each other get dressed for ceremonies, but even the actors have highlighted that the underlying romantic subtext fans are picking up on was very much “purposeful.”

“I think any woman could think back to the best friend that they had at 14 years old, and it’s a relationship and a closeness unlike any other,” Carey told Insider. “You do toe the line between platonic and romantic.”

“It’s something we brought up with Clare Kilner, one of the directors we also work with for the younger version of the characters,” Carey continued. “It was something I was immediately conscious of when I read the script as a queer woman myself.”

Exploring this dynamic of young queer women, Alcock noted that the thematic of Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship was indicative of wider themes in House of the Dragon, including gendered dynamics and the societal roles associated with those labels. 

“These women aren’t given the privilege to know what choices they have because of the world that they live in,” Alcock said, noting that thread runs through the show’s storyline as well as Alicent and Rhaenyra’s relationship.

In the press junket Emma D’Arcy (who plays the grown-up version of Rhaenyra) detailed that they see the intense teenage relationship to have an “erotic energy… because it’s a period of trying to work out what one is and what one wants.”

The “tactile closeness and emotional closeness,” as Carey puts it, has definitely been spotted by the show’s fans who took to Twitter to share their love for the two characters.

“The way rhaenyra looks at Alicent bye this whole ep was fruity asf and no one can tell me otherwise,” wrote one fan.

Another shared: “rhaenyra and alicent (house of the dragon) are the cottagecore lesbians ever.. “i wanna go ride a dragon w you and eat cake” WHILE LAYING TOGETHER ON THE GRASS???? THATS GAY”

One fan was particularly enamoured by the scene of Rhaenyra and Alicent in their private quarters: “OK BUT ALICENT CLOAKED RHAENYRA WHICH MEANS METAPHORICALLY AND LITERALLY THEY GOT MARRIED IN EPISODE ONE OF [House of the Dragon].”

While queer characters, like Yara Greyjoy and Oberyn Martell, previously existed in Westeros in Game of Thrones there have been no openly defined queer relationships, so far, in HBO’s George R.R. Martin adaptions.

However, fans seem very taken by the idea of a possible lesbian relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent, time will tell if the pair can last. 

The show currently has an 83 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes

House of the Dragon is based 200 years before the original Game of Thrones series and is an adaption of Martin’s 2018 Fire and Blood that sees the Targaryen family fight to rule.

House of the Dragon continues on Sunday nights on HBO in the US and airs on Mondays at 2am on Sky Atlantic in the UK before being repeated at 9pm.

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.