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Queen Alicent wearing green is a House of the Dragon turning point

The Green Queen is ready to go to war for her family.

Published: Monday, 19th September 2022 at 3:00 am
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**Spoiler warning for House of the Dragon episode 5**

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The fifth episode of House of the Dragon takes its name from the words of House Hightower, We Light the Way.

This is appropriate considering that is a turning point for the most prominent Hightower in the series, Queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey, Olivia Cooke), and for the Game of Thrones prequel as a whole.

Following King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) sacking him as Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) departs King's Landing and delivers a warning to his daughter Alicent on his way out: "The King will die. And if Rhaenyra succeeds him, war will follow. Prepare Aegon to rule."

He adds that Alicent can do this or can cling to her old friend Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock, Emma D'Arcy) and hope for mercy and that she doesn't kill potential rival claimants in Alicent's own children.

Alicent had chosen to believe Rhaenyra over the intel that her father had on the Princess, adding to Viserys' confidence in dismissing the Hand.

However, Alicent is keen for the truth and is delivered a major clue that Rhaenyra has been lying to her when Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) tells her that Rhaenyra had been provided with a medicinal tea - arousing suspicion that this may have been an abortifacient to protect Rhaenyra from any unwanted consequences to her sexual behaviour.

Emily Carey and Milly Alcock in House of the Dragon
Emily Carey as Queen Alicent Hightower and Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

After this, Alicent asks for information from Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) who, in turn, reveals that he himself had had sexual relations with the Princess - proving to Alicent that she could no longer trust Rhaenyra and that she had made a mistake in believing the Princess over her own father.

This revelation prompts Alicent to be late for Rhaenyra's wedding to Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) and the absence of the Queen at the celebration feast is noted.

However, Alicent makes a late grand entrance, in a luminous green gown and wearing a steely look of confidence as she enters and interrupts Viserys' speech and kisses him on the cheek.

The arrival causes a stir and when her uncle Lord Hobert Hightower (Steffan Rhodri) speaks with her, he notes how she is standing tall in the face of her father's absence and the family's ancestral seat of Oldtown stands with her and her interests.

Emily Carey as Queen Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon
Emily Carey as Queen Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon HBO

It is also noted that Alicent's choice of green is fitting as it is the traditional colour of war in the Reach and for House Hightower.

This transition for Alicent symbolises her mobilisation against her old friend Rhaenyra who she now views as a liar and an enemy, not just in regard to Alicent's children, but her moral standing too.

This is also a pivotal moment as in the book Fire & Blood, Alicent's green fashion choices become a signal to her faction in the court as many of her supporters don the colour, earning the faction the nickname 'The Greens'.

While we have yet to see it in the series, Rhaenyra herself will adopt the Targaryen colours of black and red, prompting her faction to wear black to support her interests, seeing them known as 'The Blacks'.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower and Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon. HBO

As various factions back the two warring senior ladies at court, so do the seeds spring for further conflict that will eventually bubble over into the Dance of the Dragons.

The series has gone very far in fleshing out the friendship between Alicent and Rhaenyra and despite the issues that arose when Alicent married Rhaenyra's father Viserys, the pair appeared to be mending their relationship when Rhaenyra's lie seemingly ended any hope of a full reconciliation for the ladies.

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In the sixth episode, as Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke take over the roles of Rhaenyra and Alicent respectively, we can only expect relations to be even more frosty.

It's downhill from here, but in terms of the conflict, Alicent will truly light the way.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon HBO

Will she succeed in destroying Rhaenyra's chances of sitting upon the Iron Throne?

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House of the Dragon airs on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW – find out more about how to sign up for Sky TV. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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