Decoding hostility: The reasons behind Alicent’s dislike for Rhaenyra in ‘House of the Dragon

The companionship that brought down a monarchy.

Similar to its predecessor Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon has a large cast of characters, but instead of kings scheming to kill their rivals and compete for the Iron Throne, the prequel story revolves around two female heroines as they face off in the cruel and harsh Seven Kingdoms.

One is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, who is tasked with rising to the position of authority in a society that does not embrace female rulers, having been crowned Viserys I’s heir. The other is Alicent Hightower, the only child of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and Rhaenyra’s closest friend. Otto is not beyond manipulating his daughter to further his own goals.

Alicent and Rhaenyra have been great friends from the beginning of House of the Dragon. The two were almost at one other’s throats by the eighth episode, which aired last Sunday. Their respective children also share this dynamic. That won’t end well for either side, if we know anything about Westeros. However, how did this rivalry begin, and why does Alicent detest Rhaenyra so much?

When Rhaenyra reached adulthood, Viserys intended to wed her into a wealthy family. However, due to the passing of his heir and Daemon’s own aspirations, the king designated Rhaenyra as the realm’s successor on the occasion of his passing. The marriage problem was not entirely resolved by that, since Viserys continued to pressure the heir apparent to choose a mate. However, Rhaenyra persisted on choose her own marriage, and ultimately the king gave in to her request out of fatherly affection.

In the meanwhile, the young Alicent, who had always sought her father’s acceptance, was unable to persuade Viserys to support her, and she was never again allowed the opportunity to choose her marriage. Alicent fulfilled her responsibilities to her father and her home, while Rhaenyra disregarded authority and followed her own way, which is what first led to this contentious scenario.

All in all, Alicent has experienced jealousy towards Rhaenyra even if she may not even despise her. Alicent is getting ready for battle since her boys are now in a dangerous situation because Rhaenyra is going to take Viserys’ place as the king of the Seven Kingdoms, and Rhaenyra’s own legitimacy has been called into doubt because of the contentious issue surrounding her children’s true paternity.

We’ll have to wait and see whether there will be any reconciliation for Alicent and Rhaenyra themselves as the trumpets of civil war swell to an overwhelming crescendo. The rivalry may prove to be the end of the reign of fire and blood still.

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