Home of the Dragon: Alicent’s inexperienced gown, defined

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To this point, Home of the Dragon has taught us that among the many Targaryens, household is at all times political and intercourse is at all times political. On this week’s episode, “We Gentle the Manner,” we realized that trend can also be at all times political.

Like many of the different episodes so far, the secret is quiet however essential political maneuvering. Not counting the 2 explosive and bloody deaths that bookend the ep, many of the plot offers with Rhaenyra’s marriage to her childhood buddy Laenor Velaryon. It’s a superb match, besides that they’re each in love with different folks. By the point the credit roll, each of these romances are destroyed, and we’re reminded that that is Westeros, the place love and loyalty often die fast deaths.

However probably the most Thrones-ian chess transfer of all has nothing to do with that present’s violence and all the things to do with its symbolic political shenanigans. Till now, Home of the Dragon’s last key participant, Alicent (Emily Carey), has but to just accept her function and begin enjoying the board. Final episode, we noticed Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) start to make her first offensive strikes; on this episode, Alicent not solely lastly makes her personal energy play however one-ups Rhaenyra in a serious approach with lasting penalties: She wears a inexperienced gown to her stepdaughter’s marriage ceremony.

In case you’re a Thrones nerd, this can be a whole “oh, shit!” second. Please permit us to clarify.

Early on this episode, we lastly see a glimmer of humanity from the newly sacked Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). As he’s leaving his daughter behind in King’s Touchdown, alone and friendless, he urges Alicent to get up and put together to combat for the declare of her firstborn son, Aegon, to the throne. Till now, Otto’s given us nothing however chilly ambition, however right here we see a glimmer of actual concern and heartache for Alicent.

If she tries to assist Rhaenyra, he warns her, she’ll go down together with her — and Rhaenyra will go down. With this ominous sermon and 0 suggestions for how you can take care of being completely fucked, he makes his exit.

Otto’s conviction that nobody will settle for Rhaenyra as inheritor attracts on centuries of Targaryen custom during which solely a male inheritor might ascend the throne. And whereas the lords of the realm ostensibly swore the knee to Rhaenyra, we’ve seen that the populist view favors Aegon, solely as a result of he was born male and given a kingly title. Rhaenyra has largely rejected this argument, vowing to easily change the established order as soon as she is ruler.

Alicent, nonetheless, now appears to know for the primary time how futile a pipe dream that’s, in addition to how precarious her scenario is. It doesn’t assist that she’s realized Rhaenyra was mendacity to her about nonetheless being virginal, which appears to destroy all her private loyalty and love for her greatest friend-turned-stepdaughter. In her jealousy, bitterness, and newfound sense of self-preservation, Alicent makes an enormous choice: She decides to take her father’s recommendation and start stealthily advancing Aegon’s declare to the throne over that of Rhaenyra. To do that, she turns to that age-old methodology: coloration symbolism.

The colourful emerald robe Alicent wears to the marriage feast — displaying up late so she actually makes an impression — indicators to astute members of the King’s Court docket that she’s prepared and prepared to combat for the throne on behalf of Aegon. Inexperienced is the colour of Home Hightower and a reference to the colour of the beacon atop the tall tower of her household’s seat within the historical southern port metropolis of Oldtown.

The Hightowers are named after this construction, which features as each a safe seaside fortress and a lighthouse. The tower provides the household its crest and its motto: “We gentle the way in which,” a.ok.a. the episode title. And, crucially, when Home Hightower must name its troopers and bannermen to arms in its title, it summons them by altering the flame atop the Hightower to inexperienced.

The message, to those that see it, is obvious: Alicent is summoning her supporters to warfare.

Since Rhaenyra’s marriage ceremony and marriage into the high-powered Velaryon home is supposed to be a reinforcement of her declare to inheritor, Alicent’s trend assertion couldn’t be extra of an uppercut to the king’s agenda. Centered as they’re on the marriage feast, King Viserys and Rhaenyra don’t appear to comprehend the message the queen is sending. However many within the crowd do, and earlier than the night is out, a few of them have explicitly supplied their assist to Alicent. She even goes one step additional, recruiting Rhaenyra’s sworn protector, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), into her service at his most susceptible second, understanding she’s simply secured a robust ally.

What we’ve simply witnessed is the delivery of the dominion’s main opposing political forces within the civil warfare to observe: the Greens and the Blacks. The Greens are Alicent’s and in the end Aegon’s supporters. The Blacks confer with Rhaenyra’s supporters, as black and pink are the standard colours of Home Targaryen. This treasonous faction could seem small now, however we already know assist for Aegon is rampant all through the realm.

The Greens and the Blacks aren’t nearly which of the king’s youngsters is the extra well-liked ruler — keep in mind, Aegon is a toddler, so nobody is aware of what sort of king he’ll be. Help for him relies purely on the widespread populist perception that ladies shouldn’t be capable of inherit the crown. By taking on his declare to the throne, Alicent has to align herself with a deeply misogynistic pressure of considering. In distinction, aligning with Rhaeynra and supporting her declare to the throne is inherently an indication of assist for girls’s equality. In different phrases, on a rudimentary degree, the Greens and the Blacks are the Westeros model of pink states and blue states, with their political overtones doubtless having way more impression on who joins them and what they need than any direct assist for the 2 girls on the middle of their actions.

As for his or her precise historic analogue, some followers have argued that the Dance of Dragons appears to be primarily based on a lesser-known interval of British historical past known as “The Anarchy,” during which King Henry I named as his inheritor the highly effective warrior Empress Matilda, often known as “Maud.” Maud was a direct descendent of William the Conqueror and the king’s solely direct inheritor. As a result of she was a lady, nonetheless, the court docket rejected her declare, and her cousin Stephen primarily beat her to the throne and refused to present it up.

This conflict plunged England right into a 19-year civil warfare. (Enjoyable truth: The present official web site of the British royalty insists that “anarchy by no means unfold over the entire nation.” Good attempt, royals, however it’s known as “The Anarchy,” we all know what’s up!) The warfare lastly resolved itself, form of, when Stephen adopted Maud’s son Henry and agreed to cross the throne to him after Stephen’s personal demise. Henry II turned one in all England’s extra well-known rulers, and Maud wound up dying peacefully of previous age.

Alas, if you realize something in regards to the Targaryens and Westeros, you realize issues aren’t more likely to be resolved so harmoniously for any of our key gamers. So what Alicent’s inexperienced gown actually indicators is an indication to the viewers to buckle up: It’s going to be a bumpy, bloody trip.

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